Week 8: The Burning Kiss

23 Sep

This week in the lecture we were very lucky to have Director Dr Robbie Studsor and actor Liam Graham as our guest speakers to discuss the new film they have made, The Burning Kiss. I thought their presentation to be very informative and engaging. As I wish to peruse a career as a screen writer and director, what was revealed was very inspiring and relative to my own discipline. I hope to one day work a feature film to the standard that has been executed but Robbie, who is undoubtedly very dedicated to his profession. I would like to outline the key points that I took away from this presentation.

Studsor expressed that when you have created a script or story it is very hard to articulate or pitch your idea of your film to others. I have found this to be true in my own experiences when I have tried expressing my ideas to my peers. It is hard to give my creative visions or concepts justice with just words. Recently when planning for a photo shoot, after discussing my ideas with others I was met with the response of ‘that sounds interesting’ or ‘different’. It is obvious to me by their facial expressions that they didn’t mean those comments in a good way. After showing to my peers the artist I used and my influence (David Lachepelle) and the final result, they understood my vision and could give me nothing but praise. The words “I told you so” echoed in my conscious at this point.

Studsor overcame this issue by making what he calls ‘mood reels’. He collaged different photographs he used as influence or inspiration and paired them with correlating audio to make film piece that replicated his creative vision. Graham agreed that this was very helpful towards understanding the director’s vision and he used the mood reels to influence the portrayal of his character. In relation to this process Studsor very wisely stated that “communication is the essence with collaboration” (2013) and with this I cannot agree more.  I admire that even though this film was written and directed solely by Studsor, he still considers his work a collaboration, realising that everybody involved in the film create work together and create a team. I think that this is a great insight to have as a director.

Another point that I found to be very useful is that Studsor suggest that there are three integral components that need to be considered to make a film look professional and effective: lighting, location and production design. If these elements are not mastered, no matter how good the script is, how great the talent is, or how expensive the equipment used is, this film is undeniably going to look cheap and loose affect. This is a great tip to know and I will take great consideration with these elements when I start production on my short film in two weeks time.

A point that was raised by both Studsor and Graham is how beneficial the rehearsal process is. Although extra time needs to be put aside to conduct theses, it is a very important process and cannot afford to be skipped. Rehearsals help the talent get into character and create a good relationship or chemistry with their fellow actors and the crew. It is during rehearsals that issues can be raised and ultimately this will save time later down the track. The short film that I have written and will be directing has two main characters: Melissa (25) and Lucy (8). As working with children encumbers many issues in itself, I hope by conducting extensive rehearsals will help the child become more relaxed and comfortable with the crew and the other actors and aid in eliminate any other issues before we begin filming.

What was also discussed by Studsor was the obstacles that arise in making a film. He proclaimed this film in particular to be the most challenging, difficult endeavor of his whole life, putting it above obtaining his Doctorate. A director must be prepared for these and constantly use their problem solving skills to overcome these mishaps. Studsor also emphasizes that “decision making is pivotal when directing”(2013). Often decisions need to be made on the spot. Even when a director is unsure of the correct response they must make a quick and decisive decision. If it happens that the decision turns out to have been wrong or costly, the Director must wear that weight and use their problem solving skills to overcome the issue. This can be both the best and worst part of being a director.

I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to be educated by Studsor and Graham, and very grateful for this new found knowledge. I can immediately apply what I have learnt in my own practice in making my short film and throughout my film making career.

Find more about the feature film The Burning Kiss here at www.facebook.com/theburningkissmovie


Studsor, R. Graham, L. (19/09/2013). [Lecture] Week 8: Visual texts. Edith Cowen University, Perth WA.


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