Blog Post 2

In this evaluation I am going to critically reflect upon the short film my group produced, from planning of pre production and drawing to a close in postproduction. As a group we looked into many short films online that were similar to our idea hoping that would help us in building a structure of our narrative throughout production. The process of pre production didn’t really start well as a group everyone was all over the place and we didn’t have any real direction with a narrative, for the film. Everyone wasn’t putting his or her full focus on the job at hand, this left us with a bit of catching up to do, working to the deadline. Even though it didn’t seem that it would affect us on the long run, as we got to post production and the final stages we certainly seen how important that stage was.

However we started to build on our narrative highlighting the key element of our potential story, by getting together for meetings and getting feedback from lecturers. This was beneficial to our production getting good and bad feedback for us to develop on our narrative. After we had a strong narrative and fully agreed on the storyline for our film, we began working on our treatment as this would help when writing up the script. This was important especially being a mistake of mine from past experiences not doing a treatment before I started writing a script. After we completed the treatment we then started writing numerous drafts of script, which really good as it allowed us the chance of improve while getting a real feel for the film.

A major blow to our film was when we had to change our idea, which meant scripts and all other relevant paper work up until that stage of production. The issue was regarding legalities of using a young actor in our film. We wouldn’t have had time to get the chaperone licence, again in such as short space of time. I suppose we should have looked into that area a bit earlier as we would have avoided wasting so long. I was really disappointment as I thought that narrative was really strong, and the visual would have complimented the storyline. We had to go back to drawing board and create something were able to produce in an even shorter deadline.

After we changed our story and put together treatments, scripts etc., we had to move fast in looking for actors. The casting stage was really hard in allocating actors especially as this process was our first as a group, we had never really went about making a film so professionally. We had a lot of setbacks throughout this stage, as when we arranged auditions a lot of the potential actors and actresses didn’t turn up. As a result of this we would have to reschedule or get someone last minute, which is not entirely what we hoped for. Throughout this stage of looking for contributor, we found casting websites really unreliable taking quite a while for a response. I suppose the reason for this was because we were behind schedule and we should have had it up on the sites much earlier. Nevertheless we didn’t dwell on that, as we had it advertised on more than one platform. We got more joy on our Facebook group we created advertising a brief outline of the film. The response was really good, as people were recommending others to our advertisement.

Immediately after we sorted out actors we then planned days for the shoot, which we had to rearrange a few times. This wasn’t good for our production as you can lose interest in yourself and most importantly your actors may think your not professional and back out. However as we had a real direction we were prepared and confident in executing the task at hand. I focused on the shooting script for our initial idea, which fell through, but we used it as a template to adjust to our new script, without that much drastic change.

On the first day of the shoot we took quite a while to get the right setting for the visual for example the lighting. A lot of takes were shot, positioning the lighting numerous places, in attempt to perfect our shots. I wish I could have got more lighting skills session as I really intrigued in cinematography and how it helps the way of telling a story, through visuals. Initially I think we were a bit rusty with our camera work and sound recording until we got into and everything started running much smoother. The shots and composition were really good but after we looked back at the footage a few of the stand out scenes were out of focus. This was a disappointment, as we had to reshoot on another day, if we had a monitor we would have avoided this, which we forgot to book out on the day. Sometimes when you just looking at the screen on camera it’s too small to pay that much attention to detail. Handing in a rough cut of our film was good process in gaining feedback from our peers, which we took on board. Luckily we had a decent shoot and when we came back we just back had to sharpen up and improve upon a few mistakes made in the first shoot. The scene of charity shop was the most challenging and took quite a lot of takes to get it right, being in a busy environment. I was filling in for sound on the day, which was quite challenging as were in shopping centre, and people were making a lot of noises. I suppose this is come with territory of production of films the task in getting the sound right. Personally it felt really strange but interesting as a sound operator, as I usually like to operate the camera or direct. Although I did enjoy the task and I learnt quite a lot from focusing on a sound scape.

Overall the experience of making the film has really developed by skills in many different aspects and brought me out of my comfort zone, working in different job roles. For example focusing on the paperwork side of things, sound operating and helping out with the director being the 1st Ad. This assignment has given me the advantage in having an understanding of what goes on in the making of film professionally. I have enjoyed every moment of this assignment and was excited by the challenge in producing a short film from scratch to a high standard.

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Blog Post 1

The film industry isn’t all what we see it to be, that being just the joy in watching the creative visuals constructed in many different ways. We watch films through many different mediums such as our smartphones, laptops, tablets and the traditional experience of the cinema. However, there are a lot of components and different stages you have to go through whilst conducting the long process in the making of a film. Especially in this case a short film, many will think because the length of the visual is short its must be easy produce oppose to a feature, but there a lot what goes into the production. Many people will not understand the strong mentality you have to have in the film industry, as a lot of films with great potential don’t make the cut in being produced and don’t get he recognition they deserve. You have to give credit to the filmmakers as they persevere to come again when they are knocked back, as it’s easy to lose hope within the film industry. “Having drive enthusiasm and determination requires you to remain on-task and energized, it inspires others to follow suit, it can save a struggling project or make a mediocre project better, it provides the energy to solve yet another problem and to continues other may have given up and it instills confidence in the team which see the project through to its very end.” (Dawkins and Wynd, 2010: 44)

Firstly, focusing on what goes before we see it on the big screen and initially determines how strong the narrative, of the potentially film will be. The long process that involves, writing treatments, scripts, and drawing up storyboards. All of this process aids the in development of the story. Filmmakers will start with drawings up ideas of a narrative, building towards a clear direction of where they want it to go. From past experience this stage is really difficult as sometimes you think the initial idea you went with should be the final idea, but that’s not always the best decision. Until you go away and think it through amongst your team or even yourself, you may alter a few things what make your narrative even stronger. What I’ve learnt is sometimes it not about just rushing an idea just because of the excitement in creating a film, as you can rush ahead but you might come across a few doubts, as it doesn’t just quite click. After you have a final idea you will start to think of writing the script, fitting your ideas together for your storyline.

Nevertheless before the script filmmakers will write up the treatment as its act as springboard for the script you will producing, it gives you a strong outline of your idea before you develop a story through the writing of the screenplay. “Video makers should be like sponges, soaking up everything up and stealing ideas and bits of ideas: types of framing, ways of lightings, types of narrative, methods of editing.” (Dawkins and Wynd, 2010: 32) Treatments are really important as it gives you the freedom to build on a brief idea, and take it wherever you want having no limitations. For example you might think of writing something a bit extreme within the script, but you have doubts as you think it’s a bit too much, thinking of the visual. But due to the extreme log line you wrote in your treatment, it’s the perfect fit of action associated with your style of film. This is something I’m a really huge fan of even though it can take long being the early stage in strengthening your story, as you get a lot of inspiration as you start visualizing your potential film. Sometimes looking into other scripts could be an idea, as there are a lot of scripts out there with the potential of being really good films. You can access scripts on many websites and networking with other scriptwriters, you will be surprised we have some really good scriptwriters amongst us.

Once you have all that together you can go ahead and start looking into funding. Although you have to do your groundwork in researching funders of short films and which one is more appropriate for the production of your film. You have to go with whom supports you best and believes in your vision of the film, and not just because you are getting money out of them. There are many organizations that fund short films but you really need that have that clear direction and passion in driving forward a production of a film from your potential scripts or one you want to produce. It’s important that your proposal for funding is at a real high standard, engaging the funders with the creative imagery, and strong narrative for them to buy into. A film proposal must include a treatment, synopsis, mood boards, personal, a rough-cut, budgets, marketing strategies plus many more. This gives the funders more understanding of where you are at and your long time vision.

A film I researched was The Beast a short film funded by BFI (British Film Institution) in 2014, written and directed by Corinna Faith. The BFI is a filming charity organization that supports the art of film, television etc., with funding, distribution and even education. The film was rewarded for it strong narrative with a funding of over £43,000 towards production, which is high up in the amount that BFI has ever funded. The film is drama/thriller and is constructed well with stand out conventions of the genre, such as suspense and thrill. Since then the film has received a lot of good reviews after being submitted into a lot of festivals. However it’s not easy to get funding but there are ways to go about it, whether that’s a lower amount of funding or just keep trying without becoming disheartened. This part can really knock your confidence hoping for funding for your film, after going through all the process of writing your script and having an real outline of your story.

To take your film to the next level such as marketing and promotion you will need a distributer, to act a representative of your film for example at festivals, in attempt to sell it to the audience. A distributor will sort out the theatrical release of your film giving them a timeframe to gain the awareness of the brand, in this case the film. A lot of people will argue that distributors just take all the money after you do all your groundwork such as writing the scripts, treatments etc. This is assumption of the traditional distributors of feature films where the budget is much bigger oppose to a short film, and they capitalize on the profit, but at the same time help your films with major promotion.

In conclusion shorts are a really great way to showcase a narrative in such as short space of time, and challenges you to condense your story, which has the potential for a full-length film, with the most engaging visuals. Although it may not be highly profitably oppose to a feature it’s a good way to build you portfolio, attaining the fundamental skills your need in the film industry getting yourself ready for a full length movie.

Bibliography:

Dawkins, S. and Wynd, I. (2010) Video Production: Putting Theory into Practice. United States: Palgrave Macmillan.

‘Short Film Funding Guide’ (no date). WLMager.com. Available at: http://wlmager.com/funding-guide/ (Accessed: 17 March 2015).

writeratthesea (2012) ‘How Important Is The Treatment?’. Screenwriter On Location. Available at: https://screenwriteronlocation.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/how-important-is-the-treatment/ (Accessed: 17 March 2015).

‘The Short Guide to Making an Awesome Short – Part 1: Scripting’ (2013). Film Shortage. Available at: http://filmshortage.com/the-short-guide-to-making-an-awesome-short-part-1-scripting/ (Accessed: 17 March 2015).

completed, UK, producers in the, Europe, Japan, barked, R. F. F. and Cinemas, V. with Grove, E., training, no and experience, no, the British Independent Film Awards in 1998, 5 feature films. He has written eight scripts, and TABLE 5 (1997) was shot (no date) 10 Routes to Finance Your Film. Available at: https://www.raindance.org/10-routes-to-finance-your-film/ (Accessed: 17 March 2015).

‘Short Films Funded by the BFI 2011-14’ (2014). Stephen Follows. Available at: http://stephenfollows.com/the-short-films-that-the-bfi-funded-2011-14/ (Accessed: 17 March 2015).

‘The Movie Making Process: from Development Hell to the Shark Pool of Distribution’ (2011). Free Online Film School: Learn Filmmaking. Available at: http://www.lavideofilmmaker.com/filmmaking/movie-making.html (Accessed: 17 March 2015).

Film Network – FilmMaking – Guide – Distribution (no date) BBC undefined. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/filmnetwork/filmmaking/guide/distribution/distribution#what (Accessed: 17 March 2015).

(no date b). Available at: http://www.sundance.org/pdf/press-releases/2009-06-08-docfund-checklist.pdf (Accessed: 18 March 2015).

dandelion and cenatus, burdock // (no date). Lighthouse. Available at: http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/bfi-shorts-2012/the-beast (Accessed: 18 March 2015).