Sian FiddimoreLast week I had the pleasure of working with 11 Napier students on a Masters programme to create a 16mm film at the Screen Academy.

Hit Me! It’s the story of a divorcing couple at a casino playing Black Jack to decide who gains the family assets – but they are really playing for the marriage.

This was a great little script that carried tension and leant itself perfectly to the film noir genre.

The benefit of working with students who are learning to use 16mm film to shoot a 2 minute film is that they love to rehearse each frame – a bonus for the actors.

It is a steep learning curve to realise that every second counts and time is money – so they have to get it right and there is not much room for error – no relying on digital technology to airbrush or cut and paste at the editing stages.

I also learned the term – Check the Gate – the action of opening up the lens at the end of every take to make sure that there is nothing on the lens that could spoil the take, like dust or a shred from the film reel.

There was a real team effort from the whole crew who worked perfectly together over a well prepared 8 hours to ensure that all the actors had to do was deliver the lines.

I can’t wait to see the end result and I imagine that the scene will look much more glamourous than it felt sitting at a table in an empty classroom.

It is amazing how the director can create a picture from the words on a page. Well Done to all and thanks for including me in the process.

Sian Fiddimore is an actress and occasional contributor to DJ Mac

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