LINK TO PPP Posts
LINK TO FINAL MEDIA PRODUCTION Posts (arranged chronologically through the production process)
LINK TO PPP Posts
LINK TO FINAL MEDIA PRODUCTION Posts (arranged chronologically through the production process)
Everything Is Fines was a 3am thought that I had night when I couldn’t sleep, as I thought more on the idea it developed from being a Black Comedy to something much darker and serious. For me it was a chance to break off from the light hearted topics people know me for in my film making and try something different and challenging. The film was written to identify the darkness in all of us, by placing the audience in the shoes of Andrew Fines – But without giving them any premise to the situation they are viewing. Watching objectively I feel the film has done this and as a piece of cinema is very effective pulling in the small audience who have viewed the film so far. The faults of this film how ever I feel lay behind the scenes in the Pre Production of the project.
On this film I was Writer, Producer, Director & Editor (Might as well write the theme tune as well!) Which to some people they prefer, because it means they can take a film in a very particular direction, for me how ever I can safely say it didn’t work for me. As a producer I found it hard to organise myself, I naturally do not fit into the position as I am very much a creative person and felt the role had more to do with admin, it was also hard to break away from the role whilst directing – felt the two roles didn’t gel well, as it was hard to balance the priorities of both roles.
The film itself looks fantastic, and that’s only through listening to others reviews of the footage and final edit. I do feel how ever there are certain parts that are lacking. The sound is the foremost obvious issue, We had lost out sound recordist which meant we were to record through the cameras – Although it sounds reasonable, if we played both a separate and integrated recording together you would notice the difference massively. In post I had to spend a huge amount of time using noise removal from the beginning and end scene. On the subject of noise, only after beginning the editing process did I notice the high amounts of gain on some of the footage when we shot in car park, and the basement. The camera crew had to work in darkness and obviously couldn’t tell on the screens that the image was rather noisy - I was able to reduce a lot of the noise on the image by playing with the contrasts. This all aside I am very happy with the way in which the film looks.My intention with this film, was to create a gritty, good looking short film that highlighted the darkness in all of us. I feel Everything is Fines has done this, its beautiful and dark locations bring the audience into the world of Andrew Fines, the acting is believable and flows with emotion close to all of us.
There are several things I would change if I had the chance to do this again, the most important I feel Is that I would have involved a few more people in the preproduction, I myself am not very organised and found it hard to keep up with the necessary paper needed to make a film – this is something that will come with practise and time. Again, working so close to the project as a producer took away from my ability to direct. When concentrating on a scene or working with the actors, In my head I was worrying about other things ‘will the extra arrive’ ‘will there be enough parking’ ‘have they got the equipment set up and ready’ many questions and worries where in my head when I should have been concentrating on the Direction of the film. I would also if I had the chance bringing in a separate sound recordist, sound is vital to any film and it should be treated just as important as the visuals. Whether or not any this have taken anything away from the film I am not sure, I feel I did my best with what I had and worked as hard as I could on the project.
Everything Is Fines is to me the best project I have ever worked on, not because of my huge involvement on the project but because of the people I worked with. It was the first time working on something of my own and every single actor, crew member and person involved new their role, responsibilities and did it to the best of their ability. This is all any film maker can hope to have on a film, and for me it made the project that bit more special. I set out to create a cinematic short film, and I feel that with all the hard work and dedication of the crew and myself we have done that.
I hope you do to.
The development of the poster/DVD came about rather quickly. After the finishing the shoot I looked through the footage to find suitable image which met the requirements but didn’t give away to much away of the plot and scenario. It wasn’t until a few days later when I got hold of the stills from the runners. Several of the images looked rather amateurish but there in midst of the out of focus shots, was this fantastic image. It was exactly what I imagined when I spoke of a character in a harsh lit shot in a previous post;
The image took little editing as it was well coloured and contrasted well. Also much like many of the films in the genre my film fits into, with the marketing they tend to push one particular image when advertising which transfers to the DVD & Posters. This is because they want to create a picture memory - something very particular that the audience will remember. That is what I have tried to achieve with my DVD/Posters.
After a small amount of time off not thinking about film I began the editing process. When editing many people have their own system on how to get it done. I allow myself the time I need with breaks at points so that I can have some time off the from the edit and come back to it with a fresh mind. When it came to organising the film, I simply ordered the film in files as too the scenes and which lens I was shooting on, so that I could then reference back to the log sheet as to what shot I could use and whether or not it had any problems. This is by far the largest edit I have ever done, with well over 250 takes and individual files to look through I was glad to have this system, as it would have been far to time consuming to look at every take.
When it came to actually editing I work on Adobe Premiere Pro, although trained on both Final cut & Premiere I feel that Adobes software is far more versatile and user friendly than that of Final cut. It took me just under two weeks to finish the first cut of the film which at first i wasn’t to happy with. Because we couldn’t record externally it meant that the audio was already synced to the video clips, this saved me a lot of time on the edit – BUT it meant I lost a lot of control with the audio and had to use what ever we had.
In terms the style with the edit, I felt that to stay true to the original idea and mood of the film, I was going to use long and slow shots to create tension, forcing the audience into a false sense of security when playing with the mood and overall pace of the film. A lot of film makers believe a shot should never hold for more than 3 seconds to keep an audience interested, this simply would not work with my film. I want the audience to study the image, take in every detail of a characters mannerisms and expressions and notice the small details embedded in the plot of the film such as the lighter which holds huge amount of significance to visually aid the audience.
Once I had finished a rough cut I sent it to a few people whose opinion I value, and then showed it to a few people who don’t work in film, thus giving me a broad range of feedback;
Duncan Thomsen BBC Editor.
Ok, i can see that it will be a good movie.
The performances are good and the shots work. I like the overall idea.
I think it could benefit from a different style of cut
because the shots are good and crafted and the story is flashbacks
i would mix it up alot more and with clear audio sign posts
James Dove – Peer
Mate its so good, if not the best film ive seen from our year!
Victoria Smith – Peer
I really like, the performances from your actors are amazing.
Sean Maitland – Peer
The sequence at the beginning is a bit noisy and the cuts are a bit awkward, needs a bit of tightening but overall brilliant.
I took the feedback as best as I could, and applied it to several more cuts which I worked on with a lecturer Ross Varney. We went through the bits that did and did not work and now the final edit is looking good. I am now just waiting to here from composer Andrew Simmons who is composing the score for the film, So far what has produced sounds fantastic and I look forward to putting it all together.
A few days after the shoot I thought it would be wise to start working on a trailer so that I could begin to push the film on social networking sites such as twitter and facebook. I would be advertising the film through my production company page so that the traffic would later benefit any other possible clients who might want to work with my company. With the trailer I wanted to keep it short and sweet, so that I would interest an audience without revealing to much of the plot. This method has been used by film companies for years long before a film is due to be released, this keeps an audience interested, allowing the companies to later release a full length trailer. ( I wont be doing this my film is only 15 minutes long)
Few days after releasing the trailer we had another presentation with Saskia Sutton and she gave us some feed back for the trailers, this is what she said about mine.
Alex/Everything is fines
* Like it
* The trailer does a good job of setting the scene & also misdirects the audience with the use of an unexpected response from the main character
* Quick cuts work well – appropriate
* Will appeal to its audience (music etc)
* Remember what your audience is used to (and wants) – however great you think it is or the effort you put in is not the reason to keep footage in. Don’t be afraid to cut shots to improve the overall narrative
* Running time worries me (15mins)
* Brill – good luck
‘Fines’ Is Psychological Thriller which means that it has to come under certain genre expectations so that an audience or viewer can with visual memory make an assumption as to the films genre and feel. Now bigger budget films have been known to break this method, which in some cases can be very effective – but because my film is only a short I need to use the methods that would get a bigger audience interest through direct advertising.
One of these genre ‘cliches’ is that with dealing with dark topics, comes the use of dark imagery to signal the topic of the film – this works with both dark & light themes. Here Is an example of dark imagery reflecting the films themes and feel.
‘The Rite’ a horror thriller, uses the same poster as it does DVD cover. It uses high contrasting dark images, immediately signalling to the audience that it a dark film. The simple use of the ‘cross’ also tells the audience that the film deals with religious topics. To add to the surreal/Strangeness of the image, the supporting (not the lead, but obviously used because he is the most famous cast member) Is in the centre of the image, in a strange unnatural light. Putting this all together we can understand, it is a horror/thriller that deals religious topics. The image is very striking and makes the viewer want to know more.
Again above are two examples of Psychological Thriller DVD/Posters. It appears from only looking at 3 major titles, that the genre often depicts the main characters in a high contrast, one directionally lit & dark image on a black ground. The depiction of character with a shadowed face like the ones above, often resembles a character that battles with a type of ‘good Vs evil’ situation, light vs dark, conscious vs the unconscious. It in this use, usually entails the protagonist battling with some inner demon. This is very help for myself, as my film deals with topics such as; Causality, reality, guilt, the conscious and conscious mind, all topics that the films above deal with. I will apply this genre method on the DVD and poster of my film as it is obviously highly effective.
An EPK or electronic press kit is an essential digital artefact for any filmmaker or film that wishes to be seen. The EPK serves like an information booklet, giving any and all info that a person would need to know about the film, this includes;
This can be given to people for many reason such as a newspaper doing an article on the film, or an investor. Its is important that the EPK looks professional, organised and eye catching so that it holds the reader.
Inside Cover page.
This is the first EPK I have ever put together and I felt that the it should reflect the film itself, So I designed it to be minimal and creatively felt it should be black and white with the only colour coming from the photos. This actually has a deeper meaning than at first glance, the film itself deals with the inner battles in all of us and the colours and design of the EPK is trying to reflect that. Once the EPK and the film are both finished I will send this around to several film festivals and newspapers to gain some press for the film.
The last day of the 4 day shoot was upon us and it was going to have to be a good one, because we only had from 9am till 12 to shoot 3 scenes in the Drs Office. In terms of the shot list I had planned for this scene, it was rather weak. I had only scene the room once before which meant I didn’t know the lighting conditions or the placement of where the actors would be, in turn effecting the shots. I gave a brief description of the shots that I wanted but the rest would be up to the camera crew and cinematographer to decide.
When the actors arrived like the other days I went through the script with the direction and anything particular that I wanted. James Parson who was playing the Dr had to be the best actor I have ever worked with, not because of his acting ability but his ability to take my notes and direction an apply it. When I would ask him to do something different he would do it to the exact way in which I had described it, this is a dream for any Director but for an actor as well. Once a director is happy sometimes an actor will ask if they can try something out, which James asked several time, which I was more than happy with.
The day went very well with few issues, the only major issue was the sound. Because the council house is on a main road through the centre of Coventry and the room being right next to this road we had a lot of sound from people walking by, but with clever cutting it should be all right. We wrapped up with only minutes to spare, and I have to be honest wrapping that film was one of the best feelings I have ever had. It wasn’t over yet though, now the editing process was to begin!
As a part of this unit and to better our online presence we were asked to create an ‘online profile’. I myself having a personal twitter for the last 2 years and vimeo for 3 I have been uploading content to the web for quite some time. My previous website which I created for a first year unit at university served no purpose but to tick off a learning outcome – but this website I intend to better it and to start uploading and working on content for it.
I myself am not very good web design myself and currently have a professional working on an actual website for myself, in the mean time to start with a online presence I built a small functional website to forward people to my showreel.
The website although simply in design will be updated in the coming weeks with the ‘hopeful’ success of my latest film. Which means the site served to purposes, it will hopefully aid any possible freelance work, but also direct traffic to view the trailer for my latest film .
On the third day of the shoot we ran into our first problem. The days shoot was the waiting room scene, we had Our lead Nathan, extra Harriet but not ‘Din’ The actor Joe Rainbow who I had been in contact with to play the role over the last 2 days, decided at the very last minute to drop out. This was at first seeming to be a disaster but would later turn out to be a blessing. I called nearly every contact I knew in Coventry asking if anyone knew of an actor (I wasn’t being picky) but it seems no one did. Whilst we were setting up the set only 45 minutes before the Actors call time, I posted up on ShootingPeople.org of an urgent actor needed in Coventry, When (what I believe was act of a God – If I believed in religion) A man names Akir called me, I explained this situation and he said he thought I meant next week. When I said of what we were in need he spoke of a friend of his who acted and was from Coventry, within in 10 minutes I was on the phone to Adrian Mason who said he was more than happy to involved. I was thanking the film gods for their mercy on the project!
Adrian arrived and looked exactly how I had imagined the character of Din, skinny, tattooed and by a stroke of luck had missing teeth. During the morning I decided that I didn’t like the location of the waiting room so we moved to another area of the building which was a lot more suitable. After the mornings hiccup, the shoot went pretty well, the footage was looking great – the crew again like the previous days worked brilliantly. We had a few issues with lighting and sound but there wasn’t much we could do to change either so again, it was saying that horrible phrase ‘Pick it up in post’ – I cringed saying it.
Adrian was very receptive to my directions and bounced well off Nathan, you would think they hated each other to the core until I said cut. Harriet who was playing ‘Janet’ the PA, was fantastic, despite her small part it was easily seen she was a talented actress. She remembered all her marks, and they way she was in each cut, even when in the background you could see reactions and changes adding to the visuals. We fired through the shoot finishing at 9pm and it was nice to see everyone so pleased with their work. The film was shaping up to look incredibly cinematic and I was really looking forward to the editing process (I’m sure I will regret that thought)