Random Acts filmmaker Eleanor Edwards talks about the experience of devising and making her short film Illuminated.
How did you come up with the idea for your film – and what inspired you to make it?
Honestly I was lying in bed one morning and it sort of just came to me. But an idea that takes seconds to formulate takes months to produce and the idea I had is nothing like the end product. At the time I pitched the film idea to Random Acts North, I was investigating int eractive projection which was something I wanted to continue. As well as reflecting on the cyclical nature of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Talk us through the process of making your film. What were the exciting parts and the challenges when making the film?
The film spent a lot of time in development, where the interactive projection elements gave way to the visuals and animation being much more prominent. The core theme of the film never changed nor the flow of the storyline. But finding the right ways to represent them in correlation to my own artistic style and practice was challenging. I am not one for representational imagery which I think is quite clear in the final product. I actually ended up learning an almost completely new program for the animation which was quite a big task. The testing nature of the film making process (and other creative practices) actually correlated with the story and underlying theme of the film, highs and lows and how we battle through them. So this in itself gave fresh inspiration as well as, I hope, a wider interpretation of the abstract imagery.
Beyond the artistic challenges, more everyday life ones were: the time it took and needing to work whilst also trying to focus on the film which was not an easy division of time. Also, what might seem like a small thing, was only communicating being able to communicate via phone and email with people such as producers and other collaborators. I don’t think anything can beat a face-to-face meeting in terms of understanding each others thoughts and generally being able to bounce off people. That is why the talent weekend at the beginning where you get to meet your mentor and the other participants is so much fun!
I guess I can’t write about the exciting parts without mentioning about being selected to be actually shown on the Channel 4 Random Acts TV show. Still not sure I believe it…
Describe your Random Acts film in one sentence.
This is what the inside of my brain looks like.
Tell us about yourself and your artistic background
Well my artistic background doesn’t really exist much outside an educational format, except for Random Acts. That’s why this has been such a good experience. After studying art at school, although I wasn’t going to as “I can’t draw”, I went to University for the Creative Arts in Canterbury to study Art Foundation and then to Leeds College of Art where I completed a degree in Visual Communication. This was a great course for me because it allowed me to combine my passion for environmental sustainability with my technology based art and design practice. I do like to experiment and play around when it comes to developing visual styles and I certainly feel more comfortable working with abstract forms, shapes and colours than people and realistic representations of objects. As I said before I usually use some form of technology to produce work, which I take a similar experimental approach to until I find my own little personal process.
How was the whole Random Acts experience?
A definite learning curve. I’d never considered myself as a filmmaker, although I think 10 year old me did want to be a director, so Random Acts North gave me the opportunity to experience something new and different. It was great working with a professional team and meeting other young people with similar interests but on different paths
Would I recommend the experience to others? Yes, of course. Everyone should apply just for the challenge of pitching an idea and condensing that vision in your head into such a few words on one piece of paper.
Eleanor’s film Illuminated is available to watch now as part of Season 3 of Random Acts on Channel 4.
Find out more about Eleanor’s work at eleanoredwards.co.uk
Browse Eleanor’s Vimeo profile here.