Diary of a Deaf Filmmaker, Month 11: My film premieres TONIGHT at Deaffest! Here’s what I learned

Posted on May 15, 2015

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teresa garratty

We’re nearly at the end of the road for my short film The Quiet Ones.

The trailer has been released and the film premiers tonight in Wolverhampton, where it is being shown at Deaffest’s 10th Anniversary (eek!).

So now seems like a good time to reflect back on the whole process and share a few pearls of wisdom I’ve discovered along the way (cue enchanting flashback music)

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Pearl One: Simple things can often be the hardest.

I thought that I was being extremely clever and budget wise when I decided to set The Quiet Ones in a small, empty featureless room.

After all, how hard could it be to find such a basic location…?

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Very hard, apparently.

We literally had to look everywhere and even considered building a small featureless room in a studio…

But this taught me an important lesson: easy tasks can quickly become big problems during film making.

Luckily this happened early on in the process so we were sure to be ready for any more unsuspecting hiccups down the road, and we did eventually find a fantastic location, which is where I learnt my next lesson…

Pearl two: Networking is important!

I’m not a particularly social creature and I don’t think I can blame that on my deafness either…it’s probably just because I hate people.

But people do have their uses and as the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

So, it was through a network of contacts and professional friendships that we were lucky enough to shoot The Quiet Ones at the prestigious Pinewood Studios. If I didn’t have those friends and contacts I’d probably still be in my garage trying to build a set…

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Pearl three: Fight your corner.

I think some people expect Deaf film makers to be push-overs in some respects.

Perhaps they assume that we don’t have the knowledge or experience to back up our arguments but for whatever reason, some people out there will try to manipulate and bully you during the film making process and you must not let them!

It’s important to stand up for what you believe is right for your film. Sure, take good advice when it comes as there might be things that you can let slide here and there, but when you’re certain of something, it’s time to put your foot firmly down.
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Pearl four: You are always in the office.

People *shudder* need to be able to contact you at all times. For a Deaf film-maker, this may have been avoidable in the past…but then along came emails.

It’s not a bad thing though as it means you can be more productive…as long as your recipients are always in their office too of course!

For instance, I was in Malaysia during post production for two weeks but still managed to communicate with my team and get things done!

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Pearl five: Grow a thick skin…quickly!

It can be one hell of an emotional journey when you make a film. Things will go right but then they’ll go wrong.

Everything will be fine one moment and then it will all seem doomed to fail the next. It’s pretty much the same as becoming a teenager all over again…

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At some point, maybe during post production, the shoot or after the first screening someone is going to say something incredibly insensitive and stupid about your film.

If you’re a Deaf film-maker, making a film about deafness, these comments can cut pretty close to the bone but just try to remember why you are doing this.

You are making films to challenge peoples’ perceptions & beliefs and showing them a world through your eyes with your opinions and if they don’t “get” that, well then quite frankly they’re a “you know what”….

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(NOTE: I still haven’t grown thick skin and will weep at even the slightest hint of criticism…just so ya know!)

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So those are my little top tips for anyone who has yet to embark on the film making quest and I suppose that’s the most important part of all…Just get out there and DO IT!!!!

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