Island Resident Charlotte Savage directs short movie about Dewees

Charlotte Savage is one of those kids fortunate enough to have grown up on Dewees.  She finished this video recently, all shot on Dewees over Thanksgiving.  She has some lovely footage here…   and she is getting great comments from online reviewers.

Charlotte was kind enough to answer some questions for me about the movie:

Charlotte, you have been on the island for many years.  What can you tell us about your experiences here?

So many wonderful memories have come from my experiences growing up on Dewees.  When I was little, Dewees was a place where I could let my imagination soar.  My brother and I would spend hours exploring the island’s crevasses searching for treasures. Now that I am older, Dewees has become a kind of sanctuary for me.  It’s a place where I can come and relax, bring friends, and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the island.

Why did you shoot on Dewees?

I had wanted to shoot on Dewees for quite some time.  The scenery and breathtaking beauty of the island is a videographer’s dream and I am so fortunate to have that access.

Is this a film for a school project or just something you decided to do?

This was something I just decided to do while I was visiting Dewees during Thanksgiving break from college.  I had recently purchased a new camera and knew that Dewees would be the perfect place to test it out.

Was there a particular reason why you chose that model for your film?

Geraldine is a close friend of mine that I know through high school and has spent numerous weeks, if not months, throughout the past 5 years visiting Dewees with me.  Of any model that I could have used, Geraldine was the perfect choice because I identify her with the island and I know that she appreciates Dewees as much as I do.

Why are some of the clips in the film cut short and quick, while some seem to linger for a longer period of time?  Did you do this to achieve a specific effect?

There are a few reasons why I chose to cut some clips shorter than others.  I always want to make sure that the viewer is constantly kept entertained.  The last thing I want is for the film to be boring, so including short, fast cuts is important to keep the audience’s attention.  At the same time, I definitely wanted to translate the beauty of Dewees in longer, more drawn out clips as well.  Another reason why some clips are shorter and some are longer is that I made sure to cut to the music.  The film flows a lot better if I make the clips on beat with the song, versus if I had ignored the music.

I love the way you use the seeds from the groundsel (salt myrtle) bushes in your movie.  Was it hard to capture them with the light?

Actually, the light is what made shooting the groundsel seeds easier.  When shooting small, floating particles such as seeds or dust, backlight is extremely important.  The setting sun lit the seeds the right way, which gave it the look that I was trying to achieve.  When I went out to shoot that day, I had not thought about using the seeds in the film, but after driving around searching for good locations, we saw seeds floating and realized that that would look awesome in the film.

One commentator on vimeo is impressed with the way you use light and lens flare in your film.  Was all that intentional?

Yep, the lens flares were intentional.  I love how a lens flare can enhance the beauty of a shot and I knew ahead of time that I wanted to create that kind of look.

Did you know what song you were going to use before you started?

Yes and no.  I had thought about using the song for a film months before I shot on Dewees, but I never got the opportunity.  After I shot on Dewees, I played the song while watching some of the raw footage and thought that it would work.  I would have liked to compose an original piece specifically for the film, but I didn’t have time to write anything before its scheduled premiere on January 23rd.

Did you create a storyboard and then go collect the video assets, or did you shoot a variety of video and then weave it together?

To be honest, no planning every really occurred.  I shot a bunch of footage all over the island and weaved it together.  I knew that I wanted to shoot on Dewees, and that was pretty much it.  I called up Geraldine and said “Come to Dewees!  I just got a new camera and I want to shoot you on the island!”  We set off in the golf cart with the camera and just shot everywhere that we could think of that would look good, which wasn’t too hard because everywhere on Dewees is stunning!

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