It was the first semester at university as a student of film production. I had not been to Melbourne, (my city of origin) for 8 years. I was working on the short film Reinstating Hope (2010), looking for a location for the opening scene. This opening scene had to show a man named Bruce had just been released from prison. We were being taught about the concept of “mise en scene”, or everything in the frame. We challenged ourselves with showing that Bruce had been released from prison by using just one shot, the actor and a location.
It turns out Melbourne is full of old architecture and just behind RMIT is the Old Melbourne Gaol that has been preserved as a tourist attraction. We thought about shooting inside however, the building runs tours and when negotiating with the person in charge we found out they wanted money to let us shoot there. If we could get the shot we wanted without it costing us any money then that is what we were going to do. The person in charge said if we wanted we could shoot stuff outside the gaol for free so the next day we went to shoot some tests around the location. It was during these tests that we realised all we had to do was use the barred windows on the old gaol wall as our background and have Bruce waiting in front of the wall with satchel bag of his belongings. With the large gaol wall towering behind him, it was clear in the opening shot that Bruce had just been released from gaol.
Two things I took from this:
A film only needs what is necessary to communicate the information the audience needs to know.
You don’t need a huge budget to establish an idea.
There are many locations in Melbourne I have since used to communicate ideas in my short films and every day I am thankful that I am living in such a wonderful, colourful and diverse city.