Case Study: JANE DOG

Director, writer, editor and audio-visual artist Koen Blauwblomme about his film JANE DOG.

Koen Blauwblomem opens up about the way he writes and thinks about film scripts, choosing the right music for your film and tells some interesting anecdotes about his project JANE DOG.

“An idea is just an idea. Making it into something takes a lot of time, thinking and scrapping.”

Sitting Down and Writing

“Jane Dog was written in my second master’s year. I have been working for a while on a script that ended up getting dangerously close to feature film length. Which didn’t seem doable at that time. So I had to come up with something else, starting with only a vague notion of two characters.”

“I invited a good writer friend of mine, got some drinks and started bouncing ideas back and forward. It evolved from there to an “emotional foundation” and some story beats. From that point on it was daily writing.”

“An idea is just an idea. Making it into something takes a lot of time, thinking and scrapping.
I am a big fan of Stephen King’s thoughts on writing. Just sit down and do it, don’t wait for an idea.”

Letting Go the Rigidity of a Scipt

“The Script was written over a period of 5 months, I passed it through numerous friends and eventually a producer. We ended having roughly 8-9 drafts.”

“I feel that scripts have a tendency to change at every shoot, either lightly or heavily. Story can emerge at the most unexpected moments. When actors “get in the zone” and play, interesting things can happen but you have to let go of the rigidity of the script.”

Working with the Script

“For starters  I keep a personal notebook on me with the things I want to get out of a scene but keeping a door open for some improvisation, actors are also artists and it pays off to give them time to act freely.” 

“The shotlist was made mainly by Pieter De Ridder (who is responsible for an incredible amount of work on how the film looks and feels). That took us 2-3 days to finalize.”

I don’t have any romantic stories about having music, nature or a special place to go to when I write scripts. Just my desk at home and a random music playlist.” 

A Providential Encounter

“The producer took care of the shooting days and again it was Pieter de Ridder who I have to thank for finding a great extend of the crew. I was extremely happy with the crew and grateful that they managed to get through 8 straight long intense days with me.”

“About the actors, Pauline (Jane) was found through a casting agency but about Lora there is a funny story: A few weeks before shooting I couldn’t find the ‘Catherine’ I wanted.  I was on my way to a job. It was summer and I was hurriedly biking in 30+ degrees Celsius. I made the mistake of wearing a sweater and jeans that day. On the way to my job I was passed by two women handing out flyers on the streets for a new ice cream parlor. Thinking nothing of it I kept cycling further. 15 meters later something clicked and I slammed on the brakes. I got of my bike and briskly walked to them with my sweaty face. I went to Lora, looked at her and thought that she was the one we were looking for. I feel like I overwhelmed her a bit at  our first meeting. But after listening to my rushed explanation of the film she agreed to do an audition, the rest is history.”

“We crowdfuned the movie through Cinecrowd. Once again I would love to give a huge Thank You to everyone who helped on the Crowdfunding. None of this was possible without them.”

The Advatage of Having a Great Crew

Production was an intense 8 days with very long nights and little sleep. At times like these not everything will go according to plan, but having a great crew like we did will dramatically lessen the impact of any setbacks. In the end I think we only dropped two scenes, no extra shooting days and we got the film done on time.”

Editing the Film

“Jérôme Bartholomeüs was the editor of the film. The Production Company set us up with him. Having a good editor is invaluable, I had to put my ego aside and let someone else work the footage and I am glad it was Jérôme who did it. He’s a great guy who helped getting some focus in on the edit, he brought in fresh ideas while being open to input. The final edit is different from the script, a subplot was dropped and the chronology also changed slightly. It is not rare that the film gets made in editing as they say sometimes.”

The Musical Soundscape

“I prefer using music that I already love. Having your own favourites in there makes it feel like there’s even more “you” in the film. My happiest moment was when I got permission for using ‘Her friends the wolves’ by CoiL who have been my favourite musicians for ages.  All the other musical soundscaping was made by Patrick Houssen, an incredibly fast worker who managed to get everything done just in time for the final mixdown. Patrick is an interesting composer with an equally interesting leaning to audio experiments. He understood exactly what the film needed.”

Postproduction

“Olivier Ogneux was the one responsible for the darkness and colour drenched look of the film. He is someone who isn’t afraid to go intense on the colour and that’s exactly what we wanted.”

“DCP’s were a new world for me. I learned most of it through Jérôme who also made the DCP’s inhouse.”

Distribution

“Our premiere was at the Film Fest Gent. We had some smaller festivals in Belgium. We are going to Aesthetica soon (and ShiFT obviously). The season is not over yet so we are still seeing where we can get in. To promote I like to be on the festival in person mostly, time permitting.”

Closing Words

“Please take risks. Tell stories you would want to see. Love one another deeply. Hug your friends more. Get out of your house more often. Find adventures. Read more books and don’t stick to just fiction or filmmaking manuals. Work out once in a while. Don’t eat animals. Get encryption on your digital communication. Write stuff that isn’t film scripts and when you do please do not romanticize depression. That is all. Thank you for your time and the opportunity. I hope you all enjoy Jane Dog.”

Vind je dit interessant?
Come and watch JANE DOG November 16th during SHIFT Film Festival 2018.
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