FMP Scrapbook

Draft 1

Rational:

This college year I have made a small collection of short films.  I feel I have become much more confident and competent at using the sound and lighting equipment and at operating the cameras including the Cannon 5D, C100 and Sony FS700.  As I have decided that I would like to aim for Directing as a career I have deliberately focused on learning the people skills a director needs to get the best from cast and crew. This has been especially fun in the last two projects in which I have directed both family and drama students. Both projects were extremely stressful but I have loved the satisfaction at the end. From feedback, the things that I need to work on most now are my level of positivity, my assertiveness (as there were instances in filming where I should have been harder on people who weren’t doing what they were supposed to be) and my communication with others as  there were times where cast didn’t see where the film was going and so started loosing confidence. Last time I made a film my research and planning worked really well and I was able to confidently get the shots I wanted with a knowledge of how and why, so I hope to repeat this.  Being a director  has given me greater insight into every area, from working with actors, communicating my ideas to crew, planning the shots to entering festivals.  This all encompassing role has helped to deepen my understanding of  how equipment works and has massively challenged me to grow as an individual.  My favourite thing about directing short experimental dramas is that the creative freedom is basically unlimited.  This means that i am able to explore any mixture of styles and techniques and try to find ways of blending them together to create an original film.  My main aims for this project are to show how much I have learned as a film maker.  I want to show my creativity, show my ability to  with actors and crew, to use a variety of equipment and software, to show that I have developed skills as a  self directed learner who can apply relevant research to create and adapt a short project. Also that i am able to bring my knowledge and skills from other creative areas into the realms of film.

Concept:

The stimuli I have chosen from the Brief is the word ‘FLOW’:

The Amuletworking title

This will be a short film of no longer than 4 minutes, about a lone traveler who travels the dunes with an amulet. The desert wants this amulet as it values the artifact and so sends a sand creature to fight the traveler at night. The conflict will be expressed as a two and a half to three minute film made up of contemporary dance and a fight sequence which will be embellished with CGI fire. The conflict concludes with the sand creature being destroyed, but if there is time the desert will soon after takes its revenge dragging the amulet and the traveler down into the sands or by swallowing them up in a sandstorm.

For this project I shall be primarily directing which with it containing a dance piece will cover choreography, shot planning and crew management. This means that I will be able to combine the directing ability’s gained from my past projects and my passion for dance in order to create a meaningful, emotive and aesthetically pleasing video which will demonstrate conflict and a narrative ark without the need for dialogue. In terms of lighting I would like to have at least one case of Rembrandt lighting as this style of lighting looks natural and can easily be set up whilst maintaining strong aesthetic appeal. In terms of camera movement I want to get the flowing feeling whilst keeping high energy; so dynamic movement and transitions will be key to keeping the feeling right.  For my locations I shall be using the coastal sand dunes around Roanhead with the use of special effects make up and some custom costume designs to procure a desert  feel.

To evaluate my work I shall record my ideas and how they change by recording of all of my written work, short videos and photos of each stage on this blog so that I can reflect on each stage I see what I could improve and what worked well in order to learn for next time.

Bio: (to be done at end)

 

Draft 2

In a nutshell, during this project I would like to show how much I have developed as a film maker and learner and to challenge myself further to produce a visually attractive film that closely fits the brief given and grabs the audience.

Throughout this course I have  benefited greatly from the blogging process.  Reflecting on and evaluating my work has really helped me progress in the right direction.  I now encourage feedback from others rather than feel defensive about it because it is usually so constructive.

Feedback from my last two film projects has  informed me that I need to work on being assertive when delegating tasks, that I need to work on managing my stress levels and remaining positive in my mood when on set and also that I  need to try and communicate better with others.  For example, when filming ‘Tenebrosity’ I noticed that my cast felt very downcast themselves when as the Director, I didn’t hide my low mood and that conversely, when I was more positive that everyone was lifted and things went much more smoothly.  When Directing my last short film, ‘Facade’,  though I remained outwardly positive, there were instances where  I should have been more assertive and kept on top of crew more to keep them on task and  communicated more with cast who had at times had no idea where the film was going and so lost motivation and confidence.  I found both these projects more stressful than I had ever anticipated and that there is so much more to directing than I had thought.  Directing as a career however, still draws me but represents  a massive challenge and involves a very high level of interpersonal skills.  During this final project, I want to work on keeping the atmosphere on set positive and improve my ability to communicate my wishes to my crew and so  support and direct others better.  Moreover, I want to work on that I can del

During this course when it comes to written work I am aware that I have a tendancy to be a little over the top in the quantity of written work I produce.   In this project I would like to show that I have learned from feedback from my tutors in the respect and will endeavour to keep my research relevant  when planning the costumes,  makeup and devising the narrative/choreography.  I will make sure I  show that there is that method and reasoning behind my  shot list and visual effects used that relate to the brief and help develop the narrative.

During my time at college, one of my main strengths has been that I have always managed to meet deadlines set and prioritise my workload effectively.  I would like to maintain my record here and not let myself down, despite wanting to push myself and use up all the hours available to produce the most visually appealing experimental short I can.

In the past I have reflected and had feedback that I have a tendency to be stubborn and inflexible when it comes to my ideas.  Though this can be advantageous at times, I would like to show you in this project that I have honed my problem solving skills and am much  more flexible now,  particularly when it comes to such things as killing my darlings and welcoming the contributions of others.

Finally, I would like to show that I am a safe, reliable and professional film maker.  I will demonstrate this by carrying out a risk assessment to keep my crew/cast safe.  I will plan carefully so we film when there is less risk of the weather and environment  damaging the equipment and I will produce a checklist so the right kit is too hand and the  equipment is booked out when needed, fully charged and prepared for use.

 

Evaluation Points

Ideas Generation Strengths

  • I used brain storming and free association to mind map a wealth of ideas for each brief stimuli

  • I quickly identified the stimuli of flow as the area in which the ideas spoke to me.

  • I explored four ideas in more depth for the brief stimuli of flow

  • I combined two of my explored ideas for flow to come up with my final idea and in doing so I benefitted from the strengths of both ideas and reduced the impact of the weaknesses of each individual idea.

  • I now have a couple of good ideas I can add to my bank of ideas for future films

Ideas Generation Weaknesses:

  • I didn’t explore the ideas of the other stimuli in any depth

  • I cannot shut the gate….I am still getting ideas about ‘flow’ although I have made my decision as to what I want to do…I can’t stop the ideas coming.

  • In combining two ideas I have created some new problems for myself, mainly in terms of time and organisation.

  • If I am absolutely honest there is a bias behind my choice of ideas. As soon as it ocurred to me that I could do a dance and work with a performer, the other ideas paled into insignificance.

Planning Strengths:

  • I researched what other film makers advise you do when starting a short film so had a good idea of useful things to include in my planning such as doing shot list, resource lists, call sheets, as well as storyboards

  • I produced a time line, production diary form and schedule that helped me to monitor my progress

  • I produced a variety of documents to help with my planning that I will recycle and use again with other projects because they proved useful for example, my call sheet form and production diary record sheet.

  • My main aim with my planning was to ‘crack on’ and to be as organised as possible, because I knew I had a lot of post production to do and this aim will be what saves my project. I met a lot of problems with applying the vfx that would have meant I didn’t get my project finished if I hadn’t got a move on right from the start.

  • Luckily with my planning I knew, where I wanted my FMP to be at certain points and in reviewing my progress regularly I kept an eye on the overall progress of my project throughout. This overview of my progress led me to make some very difficult decisions to abandon aspects of vfx despite having done a lot of work on them. This was essential to completing my project on time.

  • I planned to cover heatlh and safety aspects of my project as part of my research and carried out a risk assessment for my cast/crew and shoot days. This may of helped keep my cast and crew safe and the equipment in good order. I certainly felt more professional for having done one and more able to concentrate on filming knowing this aspect was taken care of.

Planning Weaknesses

  • My plan to do a project that involved me in doing so many roles was all abit too ambitious. I have over stretched myself and put my health at risk. My tutors questioned me on whether I would have enough time to do the vfx as well as everything else very early on but I got carried away with myself, even though I knew the grading criteria wouldn’t reward me for so much extra work.

  • I allowed a crew member to arrange to pick my dancer up on the second day of shooting which meant I had the two many eggs in one basket that day. I also didn’t build any allowances for later comers and traffic problems into my shoot days. This meant when my crew member was held up in traffic that day it nearly led to my dancer going home as they had waited 40 minutes to be picked up. It took a lot of texting on facebook and sweetening everyone up with tea and biscuits when they arrived at my house.

  • I put too many shots down on my first shoot day and possibly over faced my crew, although he said nothing to suggest this. I was over ambitious that first day and with hindsight would of been better doing 3 shoot days.

  • I didn’t plan to do enough shots for my B roll. I did do some extra footage but more shots of eyes and over the shoulder shots etc would of helped my editing more.

Visual Narrative Development:

What went well :

  • my narrative does have a beginning, a middle and an end.

  • I did use a variety of shots in my visual narrative as planned, for example, wide shots showing climate and location, mid range establishing shots of the dance start, single shots to show opposition and agression, close ups to show the emotion of the traveller.

  • My narratvie does have the set up, conflict and conflict resolution in the right places.

  • There is a jump scare after around 70 seconds that represents an action plot leading nicely on to the confrontation section.

  • My visual narrative fits the brief as it shows ‘flow’ in a number of ways. I have flowing sands, flowing dance movements, flowing cg fire.

  • My visual narrative is edited to be of the right length.

  • My visual narrative is unusual and very different from those of my peers.

  • My narrative is visually attractive with the cg fire, costumes, makeup, dance/combat action and fabulous location.

Visual Narrative Development :

What didn’t go as well :

  • my characters lacked depth and detail, for example, what does the traveller do in his work, who is he in his personal and private life, what is his point of view, place in the world or dramatic need. Who is the sand creature, what does he want etc. I hadn’t done enough of the fundamental character development work to define them properly.

  • similarly to the point above, there was a lack of back story shown. It wasn’t clear why the main character was in the desert; why he had the amulet; what power the amulet had; where the traveller was going; why the sand creature wanted the amulet etc. I should of used some exposition shots to give a back story and set up the dramatic premise or alternatively a voice over to set up the narrative more……..I was so busy focusing on showing ‘flow’ and fitting the brief that I have ended up filming more of a scene than a short that is a whole story in itself. My story in a nutshell is too confusing and vague.

  • my main character was reactive rather than having a dominant role… leading the action. It may have given him more strength as a main character to have shown the sand creature being drawn to the amulet and then to have the traveller starting the fight.

  • It definitely wasn’t made clear that the sand creature was part of the desert.

My Pitch Strengths

  • I must of made a reasonable impression on Rebecca Day as she contacted my tutor at a later date suggesting I applied for an opportunity in vfx she had come across.

  • My power point went down well as I didn’t use it to cover all my material ……

My Pitch Weaknesses

Research Good Points

  • I used both Primary and Secondary Sources, sought out the opinions of my peers and

    audience and used previous research I had already carried out for other projects on this course. As stated in my proposal, and hence as intended, I ended up with a wealth of material that demonstrates my work is well researched and informed.

  • My research was kept to areas relevant to my project and the sources I used were mostly appropriate / experienced professionals.

  • My research (particularly seeking the opinions of my peers /audience) helped with my decision making and so helped progress my project.

  • My research helped me plan better and gave me confidence as the director. For example, on the shoot I knew I had considered health and safety, what we were going to focus on as dancers and what shots I wanted and why. I felt well prepared.

  • My primary research helped me develop my networking skills. I now have more contacts in the dance / choreography world and feel more confident about approaching people for advice as I have found people are generally very happy to help if they can.

  • My research into health and safety has allowed me to identify that as a future film maker I may benefit from First Aid training and perhaps risk assessment training.

Research Bad Points

  • I feel I have carried out extensive research for this project and appreciate that this may be a nightmare for my tutors wading through it and may mean my project is more academic and hard work than was needed.

  • Interviewing a choreographer and my mother as part of my primary research has added to the pressure I have been under and the degree of interest people now want to show in my project. The choreographer Aleyna Woodend not only wants me to keep in touch with her but wants to attend the screening. My mother wanted to check my risk assessment and be at the shoot as a trained first aider!

  • My research has involved seeking the opinions of others and their advice. Sometimes people’s opinions differed from one another and to my own and sometimes I didn’t take peoples’ advice. This has meant I have had to struggle with finding ways to politely reject some ideas, explain my choices and be more assertive than I would of liked. For example, Aleyna Woodend the choreographer I interviewed was quite keen for me to attend classical ballet lessons with a colleague of hers and she gave me a CD of Matrix music she thought I could use. However, I wanted to use copyright free music in my project so I could enter my film into festivals and on trying the dance lessons she suggested I found myself in a class of awkward young girls feeling rather out of place and that I was wasting everyone’s time including my own. I am now concerned that Aleyna will feel I have disregarded all her advice and kindness.

  • Many of the suggestions /tips that came out of my research, were things I feel I would have know anyway and/or would of done instinctively. For example, I may not of choreographed a dance before but I knew instinctively to encourage my dancer to improvise. Similarly, I may not of designed a costume before but didn’t need telling that it had to reflect the character and not cost much.

My Choreographing the good bits:

  • I recognised we hadn’t got the same level of dance experience and made Mattie the lead and took on a smaller role myself

  • I delegated choreographing a solo section for Mattie to him to overcome problems I had met trying to meet up and rehearse.

  • In using a performer from outside my usual circle of family and friends I have improved my communication skills and ability to work with others.

  • I used our experiences of martial arts to inspire our movements

  • Our movements were very flowing and did lend themselves to my adding vfx later

  • I used lots of words and videos to inspire out choreography and had thoroughly researched how to go about choreographing.

My choreographing the less good bits:

  • I chose a dancer that had a lot more experience than myself which meant we weren’t well matched.

  • I would have been better

Visual Effects / the positive points

  • My use of different visual effects in this project I believe does show I am a good self directed learner able to use the internet and trial and error to develop new skills.

  • The visual effects did add to the visual narrative and films audience appeal. The fire was an important part of the conflict and was an essential element in the conflict climax and resolution. The fire effects did give an extra layer of interest for my audience without distracting from the performers.

  • The visual effects did reflect the brief stimuli of flow in that the fire extended the flowing movements of the dancers and it had a flow all of its own.

  • The visual effects have made my film very different from those of my peers. No one else was foolish enough to of attempted to use them.

  • Using computer generated effects can cover a multitude of sins if necessary and can be used to make tranisitons look more smooth for example, I used it to cut from the duet by the fire into the next stage of the conflict.

  • Researching and using visual effects in my film has helped me decide on the direction I want my career to take. I have found that sitting behind a computer screen for so much time has been quite tedious and isolating which impacts on my mental wellbeing. Hence, I now know I want to be on location as a cinematographer or director in the thick of the action.

  • Having drastically changed the visual effects I used during this project, definitely shows I can be flexible and am less stubborn now with my ideas. This was an aspect of my approach to work, that I mentioned in my proposal that I would like to work on. Indeed, I have now killed so many of my visaul effect darlings, I could be accused of being positively psychopathic.

  • Looking at visual effects has given this future cinematographer and director an invaluable insight into what a CG team requires from a scene.

Visual Effects / the negative points

  • I was over ambitious with my some of my ideas for using certain CG visual effects. After investing a lot of time and effort researching and attempting to apply them, I realised I had to stop and change direction. Try as I might the college computers didn’t have the rendering power I needed and I could see from what I had achieved so far, that there were not enough hours in the day for me to be able continue adding them.

  • Some of the CG visual effects I initially applied although they showed my skills off and looked interesting didn’t fit in with the film as a whole. Indeed, they detracted from the continuity and for this reason had to be abandoned.

  • The time I spent trying and then abandoning my use of some of the visual effects took much needed time away from the rest of my project. It skewed the focus of my attention. I had to keep altering my plans and going back to editing the film with my new direction.

  • The time and energy I spent behind a computer screen working on my visual effects damaged my mood, and has left me physically unwell with a throat full of ulcers and feeling exhausted. I have hidden this well and just grit my teeth and hung on in there.

  • The time and energy spent on visual effects is not justified given the grading criteria for this unit. Although I wanted a visually appealing film for my show reel, I know I will not be rewarded, grade wise for the hours I have put in.

The Shoot / My Directing, choreographing and crew management : the strengths demonstrated:

The Shoot / My Directing, choreographing and crew management : the weaknesses identified

Costume / Hair and Makeup : the best bits:

  • I explored different options for the makeup and costume for the sandcreature and took the strengths and weaknesses of different options into account including the opinions of my family and friends into account when making my decisions.

  • The sand creature’s makeup /costume reflected the brief and the story. There was a flow to the tassles and the makeup added to the reptilian feel of the character.

  • The sand creature was exciting and unusual which added to the visual appeal.

  • I had learned from past mistakes with the sand creature’s costume and made sure it didn’t blend in too well with the background.

  • Both costumes were inexpensive cheap to make, quick and easy to make and were able to withstand being danced in for the required number of times in the dunes.

  • Both my characters costumes were comfortable to dance in and fitted well.

  • I explored different options for the Travellers costume as well. Again I took into account the opinions of my family and friends and took the strengths and weaknesses of the different options into account when making my final decision.

  • The travellers costume reflected the brief of flow and fitted the story well. His boots and staff showed he was a traveller, the colours reflected he didn’t want to draw attention to himself. There was a flow to the staff and poncho tassles.

  • The Travellers costume added to the visual appeal of my film and my dancer loved it.

  • I thoroughtly researched areas to consider when designing costumes before beginning my own designs.

Costume / Hair and Makeup : the worse bits :

  • my travellers costume was a bit of a cliché

  • the colouration of the travellers costume and the tassles on both costumes did not make the job of rotoscoping easy

  • the sand creatures costume left me exposed to the elements and the clay I applied for the sand creature’s makeup left me cold despite having blankets too hand. This left me vulnerable as when dancing being cold can increase the risk of injury as muscles are more likely to tear when cold.

  • The clay restricted my movement a little and the cracking effect didn’t show up as well as I had thought it would from my test shots.

  • Wearing a skirt as the sand creature restricted my movments a little. I understand the feminist argument more now when they point out that dressing little girls in dresses can restrict their behaviour for example, a skirt flops down over your face when you do a cartwheel.

  • The amulet could have been more porminent and special….perhaps something custom made would have better reflected the narrative.

  • I used black ribbons to bind my feet on the first day of shooting. These didn’t stay in place and were a nuisance, so I had to think on the spot and use black electricians tape instead.

  • I had used gravy browning to stain the staff and this attacted dogs on set!

 

About kitjaytaylor

Film student
This entry was posted in Fmp Year 2, Uncategorized, Year 2 Films. Bookmark the permalink.

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