Making ‘Proof or (The Tale of the Legendary Big Shrimp)’

Proof or (The Tale of the Legendary Big Shrimp) is a short film that was created by Tom Hughes and selected for Top Screen in 2017. The film is a quirky comedy about a boy who find the proof that his father caught an enormous shrimp.

Tom was inspired to make the film by a Christmas holiday to a small coastal town in New South Wales. “It was like the night before Christmas Eve and we just watched people shrimping and it inspired me to make a movie at least about people living in a beach town,” he said in an interview.

During pre-production, Tom did a lot of research on the 1970s. He talked to his parents and watched programs like Puberty Blues to get a sense of what the story should look like. He also went in search of period appropriate costumes.

In VCE Media, students are required to complete production experiments as part of their initial planning. Tom used this opportunity to experiment with Super 8 film which was used to shoot the flashback scenes in Proof or (The Tale of the Legendary Big Shrimp).

Tom recommends that VCE Media students spend time obsessively planning their project.

“I’m not the most organised person,” Tom said. “So I had to put kind of buffers around myself so that lateness or disorganisation just couldn’t be a problem they couldn’t they couldn’t be a problem and that’s the folio that we had to make for Media was actually really helpful in that I’d never done that much preparation for a film before and it really, really paid off.”

“I’d never made a schedule before and having a schedule there was incredibly important. A lot of my shoots in the past have gone pretty chaotically and this one went really, really well.”

One of the biggest challenges during post-production was finding music that was copyright free. In the initial edit, Tom used a song that he was unable to get copyright clearance for and had to spend a lot of time finding alternatives. “My suggestion would be just start off with songs that you know you can use,” he said.

Tom urges young filmmakers to focus on sound. He recommends selecting environments that are suited to recording clean audio and taking steps to remedy issues such as wind noise as they occur.

To ensure that the shoot went well. Tom conducted rehearsals and read throughs of the script with his actors.

“The best thing you can possibly do for a film is to to over plan it and to completely go overboard on the preparation. It’ll be tedious while you’re doing it but it’ll make everything less stressful in the long run and I think you’ll enjoy the process more if you have everything sorted out,” he recommends.