Stage 6 Drama – Video Drama – Newtown High School of the Performing Arts – Student interview

[MUSIC PLAYING] ASHER HARRIS-COHEN: My name’s Asher. I did the video project for the [? HSA ?] in drama.

An important experience I took from year 11 drama was, in the earlier stages of the year, we got an assignment where we had to do a design-based project based on a play that we were studying. And I made a film for that. This gave me a good grounding for my year 12 film project, as I’d already practiced making a film to fit into the drama mold.

I chose to make a film for the individual project as I’d been making films since I was 10 years old. And I saw this as a great opportunity to hone my craft, get more practice with film work.


CREW: Score.

CREW: How long has your cousin been staying with you?

CREW: Too long. A week. He’s [INAUDIBLE].

CREW: Is there something wrong with him?

CREW: He’s a weeb. He doesn’t play soccer. Doesn’t play any kind of sports. It’s just– he does magic tricks or something.

ASHER HARRIS-COHEN: I wanted to create a sense of tension and unease in the film to show that, in life, there is no black and white. It follows a typical underdog kind of story. But in this case, we don’t know who exactly to root for, as the protagonist who we’d usually be following shows that he has a much uglier, more violent side.

There’s not meant to be a hero of the story. There isn’t one. I didn’t intend to challenge the audience necessarily. I just wanted to tell a story and not a particularly nice one. You’re not meant to feel comfortable while watching it.

CREW: Yeah. Yeah, it was cool.

ASHER HARRIS-COHEN: My text choice did end up changing as I was initially going to remake an older short film that I’d made. But when I found out that I couldn’t do that, I had another idea that I’d been wanting to make for some time. And this was the opportunity to do it.

My IP logbook wasn’t necessarily key in developing or refining my ideas as I really had the film planned out in my head and in the script and storyboard. However, I did write down my ideas as I went along. And this contributes to your final mark. And it’s still a great habit to have in the industry in general as you need to be able to communicate your ideas clearly to other people involved in any project you’re going to be working on.

A challenge I faced while making this project was one of the two principal actors dropped out a week in advance as did a grip who didn’t give any notice, unfortunately. Luckily, I was able to get another actor involved who very kindly helped out with the project. And I ended up having to do the lighting work myself.

It’s really important to organize everything at least a month in advance, because it’s very likely with volunteer actors that something’s going to come up. Someone might not be able to make it. So you’ve always got to have a contingency plan for this.

Another important thing is take care of your actors. Make sure they’re comfortable, happy, because they’re working for free. And you want them to potentially work with you again in future projects.


CREW: Say it.

ASHER HARRIS-COHEN: For me, the two most important structures when preparing for my IP were the storyboard and the script. It’s impossible to make a film without these two things.

It’s also important to plan heavily and be economical with your time on set. On independent projects, especially, people tend to relax, just hang out with their friends. But at the end of the day, if you’re not careful, the film ends up not getting made.

Looking back on my [? HSA ?] video drama, my number one piece of advice if I had to narrow it down is plan ahead. The thing is you can wing it. But at the end of the day, you’ll run out of inspiration. You’ll run out of energy. And without that script and storyboard, you’re not going to be able to conjure a film out of thin air.

Another important thing is in term 4, year 11, make a decision what you’re going to do for the project, because you’re going to want as much time as possible to devote to planning ahead for the film or whatever you choose to make.


So I’ve been making films since I was the age of 10. And I really enjoyed honing my skills throughout high school. And I’m fortunate enough now to be studying film at a tertiary level. And I’m very excited about what the future may hold in the film industry.

End of transcript

Content updated 22/9/2020

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