Breath Taker: My First Film

Nathan Yessler

Nathan Yessler

One of the things I’d been wanting to do, but just hadn’t made time for, was making a film. I hadn’t done one before, and was curious as to how it would turn out under my direction. I was already working on an idea for Narrative Screenwriting, and really wanted to see something on screen. Capstone gave me the opportunity to do just that, and I started to work on a trailer for the film I had in mind.

I’d already come up with the idea for an assassin film, starring Michael Fassbender, and had the first scene for the movie in my head (which is in my script, though not the trailer). I just needed to find actors, and equipment. My friend Norman was already interested in filming, and he was perfect to have as my main character, so that worked out perfectly. The other actors kind of just fell into place after that.

We started off small and simple, just filming at Norman’s house, getting the feel for his camera, and what could be done with it. I had a general idea of what I wanted, so when something I really liked came into frame, I just went with it. After I became more familiar with the camera, we started filming other places.

Now while the idea for this project was initially mine, an assassin film, and while I was the director and writer, I did take advice from others. The painting scenes were Norman’s idea, and I liked the concept so much I wrote it in with my script for Narrative Screenwriting. The arrest scene I came up with after DC Cathro(the cop in the arrest scene)suggested that for my script, I open with something to grab the audience’s attention; I went from there and he had a police uniform, so everything worked itself out. The poster I went to Hunter Garcell (the guy being arrested), because he has fantastic artistic abilities. I just gave him a general idea of what I wanted, something like the Friday the 13th poster where the teenagers are within Jason’s outline. He completed the poster shortly after, and I hadn’t seen his concept til I got it in person. The only things we changed were the typography (to match the trailer), and we added in some red coloration for the body of the character.

Something I learned from this project was that I really enjoyed working with others on this kind of project and listening to what they had to say. If I had tried to micromanage or tried to be too stringent, I don’t think this project would have turned out as well as it did. I had a lot of fun, and Capstone provided me with the perfect avenue into film-making. I’m gonna be making films with the same group on a regular basis, or so it is planned. I’m really glad I got to have this opportunity, and don’t think I would have done it this semester if it wasn’t my capstone.

Presenting it to others at the Student Center was really enjoyable too; I got good feedback, and was surprised at how many people wanted to see a feature length version of the film. It was a nice introduction to what an actual screening of such a film might be like, and I just may work with the others to make a feature length version because of it.

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