A filmmaking story - On shooting at night and working with different timezones.
Hi! I'm Gabriel, I'm a 23 years old director from France currently living and working in Seoul, Korea.
Horla was my third short and the one in which I dedicated the most of my time and energy. Actually, it even cost me a year of part time waitering in the notorious district of Pigalle, saving up just for the production to be even possible. In comparison, my two first shorts were very simple two-day productions with an unexperienced student crew (like myself at the time) but for my third one I really wanted to push all the odds in our favor. The deal for the crew was : they would get to spend a week in the beautiful countryside of Normandy, with free meals, and get to sleep in the mansion which was our location. In exchange, I would ask them to trust me and put aside their regular sleep pattern for a few days.
Shooting at night was essential to our four-day production because we had so many interior night scenes and we wouldn't have time to cover systemically all the windows of the place (my cInematographer from Poland would have argued the contrary, willing to work day and night non stop but we had to reason her!). Besides, my production designer would bave killed me if by any misluck a piece of foil covering the windows would have made its way into the shot!
What's more, besides the fatigue, that stalked us at all times, waiting to trigger an accident (which didn't happen!), the main obstacle we faced was keeping the crew motivated, especially with the World Cup soaring at the time! We fixed that by adapting our call sheets to the big games and according to the numbers of each nationality (French, Colombian, Polish...). Moreover we had our PA on sandwhich duty during the tough hours 11-12pm, 2-3 am. It worked out pretty well in the end! I remember talking to our grip one morning, trying to formulate an apology for staying up so late but he cut me right off "I'm having a great time" he said, "when else will I have the occasion to light a mansion at night?".
Furthermore, I would say that, aside from the night shifts, another challenge we faced on this film was the post-production. The film was produced and shot in France in mid-July but by that time I already knew I was leaving to Korea by the end of September. I thought (too naive I guess) that I would have finished the film before that but it turns out I was not fully satisfied by the outcome by the time I was checking in the plane. I had to re-edit thus once again in Seoul, with my editor now residing in Colombia and my color correctionist still in Paris! The trick was to calibrate each day in function of the working hours of each other. I knew I could send emails in the evening and expect an answer by the time I would wake up. Of course I would not be able to make any calls between 9am and 4 pm but we managed!
Last but not least, the crucial thing was hiring a post-production coordinator from Seoul, who put me in touch with local filmmakers. That really helped to go through all the technicalities that had to be fixed (had the last color bits from France been synced and properly forwarded to the sound guys?). But it was once the film was finished that I really enjoyed all the effort put into it especially as it came together from different parts of the world and in French, Spanish, English, Polish and Korean!
I'll say no more except that I hope you enjoyed my short! And you are welcome to ask me anything about the film or my contacts.
Written by Gabriel Galand, Director of Horla.
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