At the Department of Film and Television – Film Academy Vienna, students’ third semester includes the so-called Directing Tutorial (Regieübung). Students from all majors must pass this course, which concludes their introductory phase of general training at the Film Academy. The initial preparations begin in the autumn, followed by construction of the set—which is built and put in place entirely by the students. Afterwards, all of the participating students rotate through the entire range of responsibilities that are essential to a film’s production: script, camera, production, directing, editing, and assistance functions such as sound and light. Their final goal is to produce short films from start to finish. Saskia Arth, one of the students admitted to the Film Academy in 2017 and now in their third semester, is working on her BA in Production, and we followed her and her team through a typical day of filming work.
The set for Saskia’s short film is more or less ready to go—save for a few final touches. There’s some prop preparation that still needs doing, like painting a cake and wrapping gifts needed for tomorrow’s shoot. And as that gets done, Saskia discusses a few final points about individual camera angles with her team.
She also joins the makeup and costume people to do another review of her ideas on how the individual actors’ should look.
As the lighting gets set up and the cameras are fetched and adjusted along with lots of other on-set preparations, Saskia’s actors arrive at the Film Academy.
She takes them aside, and they go through the script together as well as discuss some final last-minute changes, all necessary preparations for their on-camera blocking rehearsal.
When everything’s ready, the actors and the director walk out onto the set. Various types of shots are tried out and the scene gets played through, with the director providing some final guidance. And with this, everyone’s now prepared for what tomorrow will bring.
In the evening, Saskia pays a visit to the Gartenbaukino. The annual Film Academy Vienna showcase at this cinema is presenting selected works by her fellow students that she definitely doesn’t want to miss. So she bids us goodnight and heads in to find her seat, reassured by today’s successful blocking rehearsal and looking forward to tomorrow’s film shoot.