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The making of Confidentially

Narelle Summers in 'Confidentially'.

The film won a Gold Standard award
and its star, Narelle Summers, won the Best Acting Prize.

The idea for Confidentially had been around for two or three years. It was one of those things that started life as a project by one of the actors, in this case, Narelle Summers.

Often it happens, that one of our actors wants to write or direct a film of their own. We are a very flexible group at Phase 4 and I encourage everyone to add their own ideas on a shoot. Sometimes a few of them want to bring their own film projects for evaluation, though in practise, these rarely end up as a finished film. As anyone who makes fiction films knows, the process is a long and complex one and there are numerous pit falls along the way. It seems as though my casual approach makes it look easy, which is far from the truth. But obviously as actors are creative people themselves, they want to break out of the mold with characters created for them by other people, usually me, and produce something of their own.

Narelle mulled over her idea for some time. She said it was very difficult to write down and to get on paper what was in her head. Eventually, I asked her if she wanted me to develop it and write the script. I would take the bare bones of the idea and come up with my own plot. Our plan was that I would write the whole thing and then she could adapt it into a form she was happy with and one she could act out in the way she wanted to. However, as it turned out, Narelle liked the script and it was scarcely changed at all.

It would be a difficult role to play and Narelle would be on screen the whole time. She asked for much more direction than is normally the case. It was because of this, that my wife Carol, became a co-director, guiding the performace so that the tension would build logically and evenly.

After each take, the three of us would discuss how the scene was evolving and if the drama was hitting the right level. Should we accentuate the drama or take it down a touch? As a monologue, every word and every facial gesture, becomes critical as it is all magnified so much on the screen. A face fills the screen and anything false will easily destroy believability.

Gradually over five shoots, we shot the film (in chronological order) with the three of us working closely as a team. The actual camera positions and angles, were the only things than I had autonomy over, as all other aspects became part of our arena of open discussion.

Narelle Summers in 'Confidentially'. Narelle Summers in 'Confidentially'.

After the edit, the film was longer than anticipated. At 23 minutes, it was 3 minutes too long for the North vs South competition, the one for which it had been intended. Careful examination of every shot revealed that it was almost impossible to reduce the running time to any great length and still retain the flow of the narrative. I managed to remove one minute after some very critical but minor trimming, but that was all.

I think we are all pleased with the end result and personally, I think it was a great performance by Narelle.

- Ken Wilson    March 2006


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Page updated on 08 October 2011
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