I want to shoot something.

Let’s face it: I’m a crap writer.

But I do well with images, and I have a lot of 16mm cameras.

So I’m sitting on the ferry from Nanaimo, as happens from time to time. In the past I’ve noticed something, and I did again this time. The “sun deck” has large rectangular windows in the outboard bulkheads. I’ll sit on a rear bench and look out the window in front of me. It’s like a TV, with people walking by, ships in the distance, and of course the sea.

So I want to set up a 16mm camera, load it with black and white film, and shoot the conveniently framed scenery and activity. I envision getting shots of people looking out the window as I do. Maybe one is eating popcorn.

Shooting from the deck to the mast would be a good image too.

Then I got the image of a woman. She’s petite, with short dark hair. She’s wearing a black Chenel dress. She’s going somewhere.

I’m going somewhere too, but I don’t know where. As I said, I can’t write. The “feel” is sort of Godardian.

Anyone want to throw out some ideas?

If you get bored, you can always switch from shooting people with a 16 mm manual to shooting people with a 9 mm auto.

Although there are those pesky laws about injury, murder, and loaded carry without a permit to deal with.

Don’t fall into the trap of being too pretentious with imagery in your first film. Almost a surefire disastrous route.

Come up with a story first. Sounds to me that it would work well for a simple “traveller returning home to their family” scenario, or something along those lines. Perhaps with no dialogue.

I’ve worked on several films. I shot my first film on super-8 for a class. I thought it was crap, but the rest of the class thought it was brilliant the way I showed the violence occuring in a field of poppies. Actually, it just happened to be Spring when I shot it.

Anyway, it’s not for distribution. There are images that I have in my head, and they need to be put on film. But it would be nice if there was a story around them.

Oh! These 16 mm cameras you’re talking about are 16 mm movie cameras! I didn’t pick up on that in the OP. (I thought 16 millimeters was a little on the small side for film in a still camera.)

For whatever reason, your image reminded me of Anton Chekhov’s The Lady with the Dog. It’s a story about an affair. How about writing down all the stages of an affair, the emotions that go with them, trying to capture those emotions simply using the woman on the deck, and then mixing up the order of the scenes so it doesn’t follow chronological order?

Or you could take the archly selfconscious route, and film yourself in the throes of creative stasis, a la David Holzman’s Diary, but actually filming yourself trying to put a movie or documentary together. (Director Jim McBride had used an actor as a stand-in for himself.)

You could begin with as simple a set-up as you addressing the camera, talking about how you’d like to shoot a short film, but not sure of what exactly you should do or could do, but you’re feeling paralyzed by “influence anxiety,” or whatnot… You could then intercut with your discussion of the styles, plots, and themes you’re considering with snippets of work done that way (i.e., the B&W footage of the mysterious woman in Chanel on a ferry).

I think you should call it Infinite Cosmos in Limbo. Definitely.

She goes to the railing and holds a cigarette, looking out to the waters. Eventually, a nervous looking man in a business suit comes to her side. They exchange a few words. He gets out a lighter and lights her cigarette for her as she shields the wind with her hand. They both look over the railing. Since the camera’s behind them, you can’t see if they’re talking. He then takes out a satchel, as if responding to her instructions. She takes it from him, looks down for half a minute, then looks up again. He turns to look at her, as if he’s listening to her, then seems to be beckoning her. He then cradles his face in his hands. She does not turn towards him, nor does she seem to be displaying any emotion.

Then the horn sounds, that the ferry will be docking soon, and she departs the railing. The businessman stays for a few minutes, then departs.

Interesting stuff.

I’m thinking of just getting the original shot (through the window) and seeing how it looks. No worries about actors or anything. I can just do it. It may be a good block to build on.