Filmumentaries

'Making Of' Documentaries By Jamie Benning

Filmumentaries Recap and the Making of Inside Jaws

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After tackling Star Wars I soon went on to create Raiding The Lost Ark, an exhaustive view of Indy’s first adventure from the other side of the camera. Thanks to the wide range of contacts I’d made on my other Filmumentaries (yes, they finally had a name), Raiding was seen far and wide too. It was on this basis that I was contacted in March by a Jaws collector from the U.S. One of the biggest collectors in the world in fact. “Would you ever consider doing a filmam..docu…thing on Jaws?” he asked. I’d considered Temple of Doom or Back To The Future as my next project. Two films that seemed to further define my generation. But, no I hadn’t really considered Jaws. Until now I had been picking the low hanging fruit so to speak. Subjects that I knew well and knew where to go to get what I needed. Jaws was a different kettle of fish altogether. A blockbuster, granted. But a more grown up film in many ways. In truth it had scared me since I had first seen it as a nine year old. Could I tackle it? I like a challenge. So in late March 2012, I set about collecting material, reading books, logging documentaries, hunting down and extracting interesting sound bites and clips. All the time with amazing guidance from my new collector friend Jim Beller. He’s like a Jawswiki!

I’ve spend the last four months trying to fit this all in, in between looking after my two young kids and travelling the globe as a live TV editor. I go through phases of a complete motivational vacuum. Other weeks I can go to do some filing in the spare room/office and find myself editing for two hours or more. Nevertheless, I have grown to love Jaws. I always thought it was a very effective film. Too effective perhaps. I am not a strong swimmer probably because of Jaws. But now I appreciate it on so many levels. Watching Dreyfuss and Spielberg excel so early in their careers, watching Shaw at the top of his game and feeling huge admiration for Scheider’s performance as the neurotic family man stuck in the middle and ultimately becoming the hero.

Thanks to publications such as Edith Blake’s making of Jaws, Carl Gottlieb’s The Jaws Log, and the Jaws bible of sorts – Memories from Martha’s Vineyard, one gets a rare glimpse of a single event from several different angles. I can’t think of another film that has offered us this gift. By reading these books and watching the film almost endlessly as I edit bits in an out, I’ve started to feel part of it. Rather than the creation process it’s more like delicate dismantling and recycling. Trying to preserve the precious resources and let people experience them in some new way. That in essence is the ethos of the filmumetary really. If I can find something ‘new’ for somebody along the way, all the better.

The story of the making of Jaws is very well known. I’d seen many of the documentaries but I hadn’t seen any of the convention interviews with cast and crew, who often give more details than they would in an official Universal release. I was also delighted to see Robert Shaw on set in his Quint constume talking to two New England interviewers about how boring he found it in the company of Dreyfuss and Schieder. A glimpse of his hard edge sitting right alongside his sharp whit and charm. It was also great to include snippets from Dreyfuss from 1974 in which he says he’s made a mistake by being in Jaws. Then later when he is so proud to be part of it all. It reminds us of the fragility and unpredictability of film making. Another Jaws collector was kind enough to tell me the story about how he came to be the current owner of Quint’s chair. Without doubt an absolutely iconic film prop. And ideal fodder for a Filmumentary.

Thanks to the power of social media, one of my followers, Jenna Stern, I was put in contact with the great screenwriter Carl Gottlieb who was very giving and pointed me in some good directions for further material I had not already seen. We had email exchanges over a number of weeks. He was kind enough to wish me well with my “very interesting” project.

Inside Jaws should be released by the end of the year. My hope was to get it finished in time to coincide with the blu ray release but I’ve just been too busy in ‘real life’.

In the next week or so you’ll be able to see two new snippets. Keep watching for details.

Author: filmumentaries

Creator of the Filmumentary (TM) format.

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