Directed by Shaun Rose and Andrea Stangle
December 19, 2020
This is a documentary by filmmaker Shaun Rose chronicling several years in his life.
One thing you must know before see Making and Unmaking is that it is a low budget film. I know there are budget snobs out there that will turn their nose up at something on the lower cost side.
Not sure what the cost of the project was but it could not have been too much. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. Budget size is not as important as what the people behind the project accomplish with what they got. And I do not necessarily think Shaun Rose does too poorly for a no budget film though there are issues.
Though he mentions other projects, the main focus is Rose’s time working on a film called Upstate Story. The audience gets a good feel of his highs and lows and the stress he was under while working on Upstate Story. And there were some serious lows. The man had a stroke for crying out loud! This film is about one man with a vision and his journey through the creative process to make that vision a reality as well as his efforts to get that film out there.
The first gripe I must voice is in this documentary we are shown footage from an uncompleted film and he speeds it up. Personally I think it should have been done in small clips. I understand he felt it was important to the story he wanted to tell but it lightened the tone at that moment in what was a serious project. I think of The Benny Hill Show or old timey comedies when people do that.
The pacing feels a bit slow at points, and it could be because Making and Unmaking is broken up into several chapters. Ten actually and that seems a bit much for something that is little more than an hour in length. I am not against the use of chapters but just as the story gets going you get a title card that stops everything. And I was being pulled into what he had to say each time prior to the chapter break.
Making and Unmaking works best when it is Mr. Rose being interviewed out on location. The static shots of him being interviewed indoors speaking into the camera are not as good. He is a bit stiff in those and looks to be fighting himself from pulling physically back from the camera.
I also like the personal bits where he let us into himself. We learn a little about his life. We also learn the meaning behind this odd-looking beard he sports for much of the film. It is part of his process and mercifully he removes it at the end of movie as a reward to himself for finishing things.
The amount of support this man has from those around him is oddly heartwarming. I give props to his dad especially. The man has made some appearances in Shaun’s work as well as at least once, as mentioned here, fashioned some equipment for him to use and that is just awesome. That is a very supportive dad. And his two children are a motivating factor in just the general aspects of his life.
I think most of this film’s issues could have been overcome if the director had worn fewer hats in its making. He has his hands in just about every aspect of this film. Sound and cinematography and editing. I think it might have benefitted things a little if he had become less invested in production since he IS the subject.
On a sidenote he seems to have a lot of interest in gaming and sports and becomes a little bit more animated when talking about either of those. I do not know anything about the filmmaker, but I am curious if he has ever considered doing something on those. I think that could be a winning endeavor for him on a much smaller budget.
Making and Unmaking is not a bad film and is an ode to one man’s creative process. Despite the flaws it is worth watching to see how one artist pushes forward with his vision and the highs and lows he experiences.