Looking at Magazines and Writing Our Article.

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Today Courtney and myself looked through a number of magazines to get an idea of what to include.

I looked at Total Film’s review of ‘The Raid‘ for inspiration on the styling of articles…

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The findings…

  •  Only one or two pictures – which includes the main actors in the film.

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  • Simple colour scheme – Red, White, Black & Grey

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  • Highlighted ‘talking points’ – [I’d like to do something similar to break up the article]

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  • A ‘interest curve’

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  • Star Rating and Tagline including information on release date

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  • Interesting bits of text repeated much larger and bolded to draw attention to key points in the article.

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Overall I think on the style front I shall be including the style points of the following: Only one or two pictures, a simple colour scheme, a star rating, a talking point/feature of some kind and the quoted text

Courtney also found out what is included within the actual writing of the article.

Writing the Article…

Courtney looked at this article by Empire Magazine on ‘Trance‘ to get some ideas.

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Here is what Courtney found and she followed this to write the article for the film. Which you will be able to read soon!

– Jay

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Sound Design of ‘The French Leaves’

I recently watched this video on sound design by Simon Norman which made me realise the importance of sound design, particularly in repairing dialogue or adding in foley.

As you can see from my rough cut the sound at the moment is unmixed and unedited therefore as I haven’t yet finished my sound design for my film I shall work to make sure the levels of the dialogue are all the same and that I have a background track to make the sound and shots flow a lot better – as he demonstrates in the tutorial.

Before watching this video I didn’t realise the importance in having layers to the sound in order to a achieve a professional feel to the film. I’ve also learnt that bad sound is much more noticeable than bad camera work and it takes an audience out of the experience of a film much more if something is distractingly wrong with the sound design.

I’m going to be using the perfectly named site SoundJay as it provides free sound effects which I can use to build up the sound scape of my film to make it a more immersive experience for my audience.

– Jay

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Audience Feedback

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Yesterday we showed a rough cut of our film to the class and received some written feedback from everyone about what they liked and disliked about the film.

This was a really good exercise as we could collate the overall results and find trends about what peoples feedback was. For example many people said they loved the camera work, mis-en-scene & acting so I knew there was not an issue there, however they mentioned that some of the pacing was off; especially with how quick the pills being spilled and the ending therefore we knew we had to fix that area.

Here is the rest of the feedback here shown on the rough cut of the film at the adjacent time.

– Jay

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Script Revisions, Killing My Babies & The Cutting Room Floor

Recently I watched an interview with Kevin Smith and it really related to what I’m going through currently. After filming the main four scenes in our film, Courtney and I quickly realised we weren’t going to have enough time in our five minute limit to fit in all of our script so we are going to have to cut some bits out or alter how they are filmed. So it was great to hear Kevin Smith’s advice on how to go about it…

[Watch from around 2:35 onwards]

We have had to cut two main things from the original script including the bus stop scene and the time lapses in Arthur’s house although this is a shame it is necessary to be able to fit within the five minute time limit.

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But as Kevin Smith says ‘you have to let go’ and I know these bits are not essential to the script so I shall have to get rid in order to keep under the time limit.

This is particularly a shame after already filming the time lapses however, after really strictly reviewing them I know they probably would not have fit with the pacing of the film anyway as you can see from this clip.

Filmmaking is all about being critical of ones own work and I feel my film will be better after going on a diet!

– Jay

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How I make my 3D Storyboards

Here is a little video on how I make my storyboards using a program called FrameForge, its a brilliant program that really lets you get a clear vision of your film without having to have any drawing skills!

– Jay

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Directing – My Approach

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As Director of our project one must have certain characteristics and attributes to be able to be successful at it. In previous projects such as my other short film Bystander I feel I have a prospered due to my approach to the task at hand. During the Bystander shoot I had to deal with two main actors, ten extras, two other crew members and a car a total of fourteen people and we were also located in the centre of a busy town with both our main actors covered in fake blood. To handle all of the stresses of this project considering the amount I had to remember and do I divided the job as Director into three main areas:

  • Keeping everyone happy (including on lookers)
  • Making sure everyone knew what they had to do, and had something to do!
  • Getting the film shot!

The first – keeping everyone happy was very important to the success of the shoot as everyone wasn’t getting paid to be there it was crucial that I made sure that they were kept satisfied in other ways, such as having a good time or just enjoying the experience of filming. I did this through being very open with my vision of the film and inviting people to ask me questions, including passerby who took an interest in the filming to stop us seeming too much of a nuisance to them. By having a detailed and set storyboard and script I was also able to accurately say how much longer we would be this was inspiring when enthusiasm for the shoot started to dwindle in the final few shots just knowing that once we had the shot we were finished pushed us all on. Additionally just a positive attitude and constantly talking and pushing people on with a smile did wonders for the cast & crews moral it just shows simple things like not showing your stress can really make a difference to the atmosphere of a set.

The crew & me on the set of Bystander

The crew & me on the set of Bystander

The second point – making sure everyone knew what they had to do, and had something to do was vital to achieving the first area to as well as making the shoot a successful one. This was particularly true of extras who were only in one or two shots at the most therefore before and after their shots had nothing to do. I realized this beforehand and made sure that if an extra was not doing anything I roped them into helping move equipment or blocking a scene which kept them busy and feeling involved as we were filming shots which didn’t contain them. Another important thing and this was again to do with the solid script and storyboard was being able to let extras go home when their part was done and knowing for sure we didn’t require them anymore in the shoot, this meant no one had to hang around and get bored which as we all know can quickly fall into messing about!

The third and final was getting the film shot, obviously this was the most important. As we only had a certain amount of timing making sure everyone was motivated and as quick as possible without losing quality of the takes was essential. We were in a public place so people would only let us continue for so long until we were just getting in the way so I allotted us two hours to get the film shot. By setting a time limit I could easily plan how long we spent on each take by dividing Two hours by the number of different shots we had to get, this worked well and helped us stay on track with the shoot. Again another essential element to achieving this was planning if I had not planned so thoroughly I would not have been able to accurately estimate how long the shoot would take or be efficient in only getting the shots we needed rather than dump truck directing and trying to get coverage from every angle which takes way too long and is unnecessary.

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Learning from filming Bystander is important for my A2 project ‘The French Leaves’ as taking from my successes and replicating them in filming the short will be important to achieving what I want. Therefore I feel that if I just do the same as I did last time and expand upon that I cannot go far wrong – also within our script the maximum amount of actors in a scene in three therefore, without tempting fate, organizing and remaining in control on set should be easier.

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In terms of expanding my philosophy of being a Director I’ve researched how other famous directors handle their jobs, what techniques they use on set to complete the film and keep everyone happy and their overall film making style which makes them stand out.

The first Director I looked at was Oliver Stone

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Oliver Stone films have been very influential on my shooting style, the experimental nature of Natural Born Killers made me realize that with film, anything is possible and that it is only by taking chances that one can distinguish themselves as not just a Director but an Artist. Stone has pushed boundaries with his often controversial films by highlighting a whole range of American issues  from social to political. This inspired me to also speak upon these issues in my films even if it was just a background theme or at the forefront as can be seen in Bystander.

Stone has been said to direct his films in a ‘pummeling style’  his films can only be described as having a boxing match with the audience and hitting them left and right with what he wants them to see through various cross cutting, tight angles and bending of the narrative order.

His films have taught me a lot about having a vision and just trying to acquire that vision only getting what is necessary to the plot and stripping back all of the excess.

The second Director I looked at was Alfonso Cuarón 

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Alfonso Cuaron is a highly praised Mexican Director known for his boundary pushing Children of Men and more recently his up and coming sci-fi thriller Gravity. Famed for his long takes and unique directing he is definitely a role model to all aspiring to be in the film industry.

Cuaron tends to derive his style from capturing the whole scene in one or two takes therefore often taking a handheld approach to the camerawork in his films. This puts his audience right in with the action and doesn’t break the reality as much for them. However these long takes take a lot of planning a choreographing for them to work therefore this shows how Alfonso is meticulous with making sure every eventuality is covered for so the takes to run smoothly.

You can see this in the behind the scenes of Children of Men where he uses the most advanced technology available to him to make sure his long takes are done to the highest standard and remain cinematic but efficient.

The third and final Director I looked at was Martin Scorsese 

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Martin Scorsese is  hailed as one of the most significant and influential filmmakers in cinema history. Scorsese has directed landmark films such as  Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and more recently has been listed as director of the controversial up and coming film The Wolf of Wall Street.

Scorsese’s films have had pathetically influence on me the character development and physiologically of the performance from Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver is something I really want to emulate with my project, The French Leaves as they are both stories of a man who has been let down by society.

I found these clips of the behind the scenes of The Wolf of Wall Street on Youtube and found out a lot about Scorsese’s directing style

Here are a list of things I learnt from the video about how he directs his film:

  • He is friendly – Scorsese seems to build a real rapport with his actors and crew by befriending them, this can be seen with the amount of one on one conversations he has with them.
  • He appears in control – Scorsese does not once look stressed or nervous during the entire video, he handles every situation with a smile on his face and I can only imagine this confidence must of been projected onto everyone involved in the film.
  • He is personable – he does not act as if he is above everyone else or as a dictator he merely blends in with the rest of the cast and crew but still makes sure everyone knows what they are doing.

Evolution of Our Storyboard

In order for our storyboard to become the 3D picture it must go through a number of evolutions as you can see below:

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And then number 4, the film itself.

1) Is the script where we initially have the idea

2) Is the terrible drawn storyboard that Courtney and I made to get a rough idea of how our film was going to be shot

3) Is a 3D and clearer version of what we drew using a program called FrameForge. Watch how I do it here.

4) And for is of course what we filmed on the day using the storyboard/script to guide us.

Its very nice to have a clear image of how we want the film to look as it allows us to be focused and efficient on the day of the shoot so we don’t waste our actors time trying out shots that we don’t know are going to work.

– Jay

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