It Always Feels Like The End of The World

Read about Charlotte and Clara’s experience and watch the short-film here.

Charlotte Halpern:

Making It Always Feels Like the End of the World was a great learning experience for me, and also a very surreal process to go through during a major world event. I came up with the idea in November 2019, it was based on feelings of uncertainty I had about the future and wanted to explore the effects that our changing world might have on our mental state in the years to come. 

A lot of the pre-production of this film took place while I was away visiting family. I would definitely not recommend this! It was tricky trying to organise everything from afar, I was very lucky to have Clara (producer) on hand to help me out with the logistics. Because of this, we cast the film through Starnow and Mandy self tapes and were unable to hold auditions in person. We were very fortunate to find Tobias who had an affinity with the script and was such a joy to work with to play our lead. I also roped in some of my closest friends to fill the rest of the roles as cast and crew. It was a treat to be able to work with people who already know me well and definitely eased some of my nerves! I also had a lot of support from Eastside, and mentor Alex who gave me resources to get things done efficiently and refine and improve my idea. 

The film is a monologue that takes place in one room, as it was a 3 minute short filmed in one day I didn’t want to overcomplicate things, however, it was still very full-on shoot with its own challenges. We filmed the weekend before lockdown was announced in the UK and by this point, the context of the film had taken on a life of its own. Other than the film itself, this was the main topic of conversation on the day as we speculated about what was about to happen. Other than this minor distraction, we encountered into a time issue as the shoot overran. I definitely think we could have done with an extra pair of hands on the day but again due to the situation, I think we were hesitant to have any more people on set than was needed, especially as we were filming in my house! We also had a child actor (my boyfriend’s little brother) who’d never been on set before. This required a very relaxed and patient environment and was definitely a learning curve for me as well as I hadn’t directed kids before. 

Overall on the shoot, although it was longer than anticipated, I think everyone enjoyed themselves and I definitely learnt a lot about adapting and taking in lots of information all at once.

Probably the biggest challenge of all was the edit. By the time we started the edit we were in lockdown, so I was unable to meet up with our editor, Sade (another person I was very lucky to work with). All our communication was over messages, phone calls and one very laggy zoom meeting! It felt quite strange having to give notes back and forth instead of collaborating on it together, and for this reason, the edit took much longer than expected.  Overall I think it was a good experience as I had to fine-tune my communication skills and think much more carefully about what I wanted. 

What started out as an idea about the not so distant future, became something that is definitely more in line with our current world and has been a real adventure to work on over the last few months. If you are considering applying to the Eastside Film Crew or Fund, I would definitely recommend it. There are not very many opportunities like this out there, especially funds for young people that allow you to make your film from start to finish with support, mentoring and resources to make it happen. I learnt a huge amount from this process and definitely feel more equipped and prepared to deal with the challenges of making my next film!

Clara Helbig:

Coming from a documentary background, it has been a really interesting and valuable journey to experience what it is like to produce a narrative short film. 

Having a clear script and detailed plan on every aspect of the filming was something new to me and setting up schedules for the production day proved to be a joyful challenge do engage with. I’ve learned a lot about the importance of communication and the challenges between supporting the director in her creative vision whilst still keeping financial and safety frameworks in check. I was lucky to work with a talented, motivated team who made the production day a really great experience. 

One thing I underestimated (or rather overestimated) was the catering – it was quite hard to know how much food a crew of eight would need! Luckily, I kept everyone well fed and happy with plenty of food to take home at the end of the day. 

Overall it has been a great experience working with Charlotte and everyone involved and I am proud to have been part of making this film come to life. 

Thanks to this opportunity Eastside has given me, I now feel a lot more confident in producing my own projects as well as continuing to support my peers with their creative visions.