Digging in the archive: ITN Source Competition

by Amar Patel in

The other night I was having a chat with a friend of mine about filmmaking and editing. We are both determined to get busy behind the camera this year but, in fairness, I'm the one that needs to pull up his socks.

My script writing for branded short films is developing nicely but it's been a while since I last said, "Cut!" on my own set. I am currently scheming with my good friend Paul Reson, who is a talented editor and director, so we may collaborate on a few documentary projects this year.

Of course, there are myriad technical skills to acquire if you want to be a professional filmmaker but one of the most crucial is editing. Even if a producer/director works with an editor, it's only going to be a fruitful collaboration if he/she has a good understanding of the edit and shoots accordingly. Being an experienced editor can even make you a better director.

There are two main options for software, apart from Avid. Many seasoned filmmakers still swear by Final Cut, while others find Adobe Premiere more manageable. I tried the latter last year for the first time when entering the ITN Source Short Film Competition. It was great fun to root around their gargantuan archive, and quite a challenge to stay focused on task. Thankfully, selecting, chopping and changing were simple tasks with Premiere. (It still went down to the wire on deadline day.)

I needed to pick a theme and then try to convey the corresponding mood within 60 seconds. It's often said that a film is made in the edit. As I started working with all the clips in my bin, I quickly realised how influential editors can be in constructing a narrative, particularly on a shorter piece. The impact of quick cuts to add tempo or a pause to heighten suspense, putting the right sounds to a sequence to project a certain mood… 

Unfortunately I wasn't shortlisted but I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn a new skill with the support of ITN Source and Audio Network. Hopefully, they will run the competition again this year. If so, definitely give it a go; especially if you're a beginner. Experiment, play, let your imagination run wild. Even greats like Kubrick and Herzog had to start somewhere.

Here is my entry. Can you guess what the theme is?

Music: Audio Network
Stonk (Chris Blackwell)
Chase (Evelyn Glennie)
Batucada (Neil Clarvis)

Amar Patel