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Making ‘Quiet’

Quiet is a World War II drama created by VCE Media student Ben Head. The film was selected as part of Top Screen 2017 and was one of three films to receive the annual People’s Choice award.

“My film, Quiet, is about a group of British soldiers in the Second World War who have scrambled into a nearby forest for safety and protection from the German army and have dug in and are hiding there trying to seek shelter from whatever the German army may throw at them,” Ben said in an interview.

The inspiration for Ben’s film came from the real life story of his grandfather who fought in World War II. To develop ideas for the film, he conducted extensive interviews with his mother and father about his grandfather’s experience and used that as the basis for his story. “My dad was in the army as well and he’d created this bond with my grandfather,” Be said. “Both being service men, they felt they could talk to each other about things that they wouldn’t talk to other people about. So I asked a lot of questions my dad and my mum, stories that he told and I kind of I wrote down heaps of things, did heaps of internet research on his unit and what they got up to. There was also an old dictaphone recording that he’d done before he died of just my mum asking questions of him and him giving answers on the war.”

After doing extensive research, Ben set about writing a screenplay for the film. The pre-production of Quiet involved considerable organisation and preparation, particularly when it came to selecting a location to film. Ben also put considerable effort into sourcing uniforms and weapons for the film, contacting a military reenactment group based in Geelong. Ben’s father is an armorer and was able to help him organise appropriate permits for the production of his film. “The other part I had to do was notify emergency services in case someone rang up hearing all this gunfire and thinking there was a war going on down the road,” he said.

“The most important part is your logistics and organising things so once you’ve got absolutely every detail mapped out your day of filming, your principal photography will go down without a hitch,” he said. “Your location, your transport, your food, your costuming, your makeup… if that’s all properly organised and confirmed, then, you know, fingers crossed things will go fine on the day.”

During post-production, Ben spent considerable time colour grading his footage to give it a bleach-bypass look used in films like Saving Private Ryan. He also spent countless hours honing the soundtrack and edit.

“Be bold,” he advises VCE Media students. “Realistic but still be bold.”