#creativact – Creating an Impact

So for the creating impact challenge for week 6, I’ve decided to hit 2 birds with 1 stone and use the teaser trailer for an upcoming film I am working on. I have the role of DOP and PR so by using this, I’m getting the trailer to as many people as possible. Were trying to make these pieces of media make some king of impact in the world, and the key is to distribute it in a way that will get the work notice.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/38696831]

So for this to make some kind of impact, I need to utilise every part of the media to it’s potential. My first stops were Twitter and Facebook. My tweet held a tag of #StephenKing. That # tag get’s included in over 5000 posts per day so there is plenty of scope for this post to be viewed. So far, I have received 3 retweets and a couple of new followers interested in the film.

Then I decided to post it on a few websites that I am a member of. Crossfire.nu is primarily a gaming community, but there are many film fans and members are worldwide so it will gain more attention then just in the UK.

Another site that get’s lots of viewers is Reddit. Often called “the homepage of the Internet”. With over 1million unique hits per day, and over 750,000 subscribers to both the film and video sub-sections, the trailer has massive potential of being viewed by all types of people. I still have to wait for the post to be approved.

So far, after only 2 full days online, the video has been viewed 74 times which is great and there is plenty more room to get this seen in many more places. I could look at some of the big movie forums on the web, get a listing on IMDB or even speak to film related websites to see if they will run a story on the project.

In my opinion, this video will never go viral. It  may get some attention which would be great, but what I find with most viral videos is that they either funny or have a shock factor. Take these 2 for examples;

 

Our teaser trailer has neither. I don’t think you purposely make a viral video either, it just tends to happen. I also didn’t choose to do my own video to make a stand against something because I’m slowly getting bored with those types of videos. Everyday on youtube, you see these people talking to their webcams about problems in the world without them doing a great deal about it. I don’t see them making a massive about of difference in the long or short term. Even other mediums such a student protests made no difference what-so-ever. For change to happen, you have to look at the hierarchy. If they want something changing, they will do it. If they don’t, they won’t. And if people kick up a fuss, they still won’t change.

#creativact – Analysing the KONY 2012 campaign (For Assessment)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc]

Over the past few weeks, a video from the group ‘Invisible Childeren’ titled KONY 2012 has been getting mass attention from both the media and the public. Currently, it’s view count on both Vimeo and Youtube combined racks in at over 80 million has has received so many comments that the option to do so has had to be removed. Media coverage as been widespread with national press around the world such as the BBC, ITV and CNN running stories on the campaign.

But what actually is the campaign? Well it’s a simple call to take action. Make Joseph Kony and his resistance army so famous so that he will be caught. This will in turn end the forced kidnapping of children into his ever growing army, girls forced into sex slavery and people being murdered. The campaign is also linked with the International Criminal Court who are seeking to prosecute Kony for crimes against humanity. By increasing the attention of Kony’s actions, it drum’s up support from the general public in the form of several campaign’s such as ‘Paint the Night’ or by buying the ‘action kit’. Then as it increases further, Invisible children lead you to believe that the U.S government will keep up their support of the campaign by keeping the troops they have stationed in Africa since October 2011 there or by increasing the amount of bodies available. But is that really so? The video does contradict itself in regards to this issue. They openly admit that if the U.S get’s nothing from taking action, then they see it as a non-issue. You only have to look at the likes of the war on terror to see America’s stance on world issues. I don’t think for 1 second that the USA would be involved in the middle east conflicts unless they believed that dictators such as Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin-Laden were involved in the 9/11 attacks. And don’t even get me started on how wealthy these middle east countries could make the US economy via it’s copious amounts of raw materials. I can’t see what America can get from stopping Kony. Ok, they may get a warm round of applause from the International Criminal Court and the public, but it’s doesn’t give them anything in return, and I’m sure they won’t be asking for Africa apparent lack of support in the future.

Jason Russell is the man in control of the ‘documentary’. I don’t personally class it in this genre, I see it more as a motivational speech. His voice is the one you hear throughout the campaign video given his main reasons to stop the LRA from taking anymore children. He attempts to play at the heart-strings of viewers. After all, every campaign needs a “sob-story” and this is no exception. Russell gives us his inspiration for the campaign by introducing us to Jacob Acaye, a local Ugandan boy he met in 2003 who is a survivor of the army attacks but who has seen his family and friends die. By highlighting us Jacob’s wish “to die”, the audience immediately feels aggrieved with his plight. Russell also use his son, Gavin to hit home the point of what Kony is achieving. He uses Gavin in a Q&A session which I find by distressing and insulting. This child is only about 6 years old, and to have him respond to questions such as “What he thinks about Kony?” is condescending. Because the majority of people find this child cute (and he is….) they will take his side of the story. That majority who are watching this video are old enough to have a coherent opinion, so let them have one, don’t brainwash them into thinking what you want them to think. Russell does this throughout the film. He often refers to “we” or “us” making you believe that you are already in this campaign. The statement he makes “If we succeed, we change the course of human history” just bugs the hell out of me. It’s used to give the viewer that sense of belonging, and you can’t really belong to a campaign like this until you know all the facts.

 

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Rough-cut – Short Film Crit #2

This week was our 2nd crit of the module in which we had to show our rough cut of ‘Whodunit?’. This is now the final title of the film.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/38498131]

We decided to go first in the session mainly to get it over and done with and to get some feedback early in the session. This would enable us to think about what the rest of the group has said about the film and what types of things we have to look for in everybody elses.

Here are the main thought’s on our film from the rest of the group;

  • The lighting is really nice and works with the film, however, you can’t see some parts in the darkness.
  • The narrative is great and the punchline is nice, especially with the puppet as the reveal shot.
  • A few cuts in the film are not needed. Character changes position during 1 cut.
  • The film changes direction with the camera angles by roughly 90°
  • Actors are brilliant and make the film stand out.
  • The sound needs fixing.
  • Use a different voice for the punchline, it was unclear to some.

So overall I am really happy with what we have acheived so far. Listening to both the comments from our peers and lecturers, it’s clear that it was a great idea to shelve the previous narrative and concentrate on this. We were also applauded on how well we pulled off the project in such a short space of time. We only took on this new narrative with around 20 days till this rough cut was needed so it just goes to show that you can do a lot in such a short space of time.

We have already began work on correcting the small errors in the film. We have taken out the un-needed cuts, changed a few camera angles and completely redone the soundtrack with added wildtrack. We have also asked a voice artist to narrate the puppet’s line. This will give it a more polished feel which is what we are aiming for. We still need to grade the film and add titles and credits, but we will be doing that earlier in the week.

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Shooting Day! (For Assessment)

So today was shooting day and for me the most exciting day in this project! We decided to get an early start and get to the location as quick as possible to set up, run through a couple of scenes and make sure everything was working properly.

So we all met at 8.30 at the Ellen Terry building to pick up the equipment, loaded it into the car and set off to the ‘Moathouse Leisure Centre’. As we arrived at 9.15, the centre wasn’t expecting us. Although we boked the room and had a confirmation email and payment receipt, the centre didn’t have us booked in the room. Luckily, it wasn’t being used so after a few phone calls, it got sorted and we started our set up. Once we ran through a couple of quick test shots, I wasn’t really liking how the room was set-up. Even when we set up the lighting, the room just looked really open and not enclosed as I would of liked.

So we changed it around a little, we turned the table side ways against the far window which meant we could get some really nice and enclosed shots by using an ‘invisable wall’. We picked up both Actors and started to shoot at 11.15.

 

Overall we had 14 shots and angle to get, and we were looking to film each shot twice or 3 times dependant on how each one went. We envisioned about 6-9 hours of filming in total but we actually got it completed by around 3 o’clock which was down to the good work by the cast and crew!

In the past on all the shoots I have been on there have been numerous problems that occur during the day, but this was different. We worked efficiently and when a problem did arise such as the lamp bulb running out, we had a couple of spares available just in case. The lighting on a few shots was a bit off too, but we used all our skills and knowledge to make the scenes match and look authentic.

I also think we hit the ‘jackpot’ with our main actor, Anthony Glennon. He was very professional in the way he worked, his attitude and his skill and precision in each take we did. Darrell Springer was also very enthusiastic in what was his first role in a film and that came across well throughout the day, and improved in each take we did.

Here’s my thoughts on the rest of the group;

  • Tori – Did a good job throughout the day, made sure the actors were prepared for each scene and that they were ok with how the day was going. Organised lunch and gave feedback on how the shoot was going.
  • Sean – As editor/dop, he marked down all the footage to make his job at the end of the project easier to complete. He worked in conjunction with Gov (the other DOP) really well, and gave me some advice on the scenes.
  • Gov – As chief DOP, he set up each scene with different lighting, camera angles and again assisted me with the scenes.
  • Tik – As camera op, he worked intuitively with the camera and the equipment which made the day run smoothly. It was as if he was ‘at-one’ with the camera!

Personally, I thought I did a good job at directing, which was reflected in the good feedback I got from both actors and the rest of the group. I was precise in what I was asking the actors to do in each scene, and when we had to make a quick change in the script, I was able to get across the mood I wanted the actors to be in during that particular scene. If I was to improve in any way it would be to be a bit more open with the people I’m working with. There was certain times I thought the group lost their way a bit and I was apprehensive in telling the group to concentrate on their particular roles.

Overall the day went really well without many major issues which was nice to see. Let’s hope any future shoots go this way!

#creativact – Our Flash Mob Reflection (For Assessment)

I have given myself 24 hours before writing this to give myself some time to think about yesterdays ‘activities’ or apparent lack of them. I’ve received numerous messages from the other group all asking the same question “where is your flashmob?” or “what happened at Ikea?”. Well the simple and most convincing answer is, our flashmob never truly existed.

And here’s why.

Certain things happened that we are not supposed to talk about, but screw democracy, I’m going to. It got out of hand. Various members got removed from the store, others got barred and some simply just walked out without any knowledge of what just happened. We never truly imagined the scope of what we were going for in regards to visiting Ikea. It all happened so quickly.

The first group was situated in the bedroom. For some, it’s the most comfortable room in the house, but what that group did made it ever so slightly uncomfortable for both the staff and shoppers. They acted out a generic sex scene (under the bed covers, of course) with a unsuspecting wife coming ‘home’ to find her husband with not 1, but 2 males in bed with her. A very funny scene if you imagine it, even better when you actually saw what happened. I was on the other side of the store at the point this was going on, and it was so loud, I thought there was an actual fight going on. As I walked around to that direction, the general public were asking questions to the staff and each other. Great I thought, this is exactly what we wanted. The reactions of some were priceless, I got some great footage on the handy-cam under my sleeve, I felt like an undercover agent! It’s gone now, but more on that later. Shoppers were turning around, moving in the direction of the noise just to see what was happening. Human’s love to know what is going on around them, it’s a simple fact of life. When there is an argument or a crowd gathers, natural human reaction is to see what is happening. These reactions lead directly to what we learnt from Guy Debord’s theory on psychogeography. In such an enclosed space with access to the whole floor, it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see them moving towards the disturbance.

My group was situated in the bathroom. Often the room of solitude. A place to ‘relieve’ yourself, clean yourself and for others a silent room to gather your thoughts. Now, this is where the flashmob got interesting for me, and we can take a lot from what happened in this ‘place’. We had already gone through what we were going to do in the bathroom scene. It was simple, somebody was going to sit on the toilet reading the paper and the other person was going to take a shower. The problem we had was that the bathroom we wanted to use was ‘in-use’ by the public and store staff members. That was until the ‘bedroom’ scene took place. As I said before, people tailed off into that area to see what was happening, and this gave us the opportunity to strike. The 2 guys went for it, they got naked and acted in there scenes. It was very funny and on the other hand distressing, particular for me; the one with the camera. One of the lads sang a fantastic rendition of Boys 2 Men’s hit “I’ll Make Love To You”. It was like a new extreme version of X Factor. Get in the shower, and sing the chorus of a song before the security can catch you. I heard more movements through the Swedish store, including those generic security walky-talkie noises you always hear. It was time to depart, I left quickly as to not be noticed with the camera, and I left the “naturists” to it. I never saw them again; until back at Uni, with at their disposal, the exclusions and permanent banning notices they were handed for anti-social behaviour!

A bit over the top? Yeah, I think so, but that’s what making a point is all about, especially using comedy. You never seen a comedian just sitting there trying to make a point, they are always moving around, using expressions and changing the pitch and tone of their voice. Lee Evans is the master of it, and he get’s his point across well, I never get sick of hearing people re-enacting his jokes. Now, onto the “naked” part of flashmob. For us to completely do these scenes properly, a but of nudity was needed. Thinking about it in more detail, was it the place for nudity? Probably not, there was small children about, and perhaps others wouldn’t of found it the same way we did. But I suppose that’s what being an activist is about, and in life you are suspect to thing’s happening that you don’t have no control over. Western culture is full of nudity, in print, tv and on the Internet. You can’t tell me that these children or others have not seen some kind of body part in their lives. It’s absurd. If this kind of thing was done in the 60’s nobody would blink an eyelid. If you look at extracts from the book “The 60s Communes” by Timothy Miller (1999) you can see that this was the norm in the apparent hippy culture. It says “In many communities nudity was practically order of the day”. But I suppose we wouldn’t have a swinging 60s version selling awful flatpack furniture for us to stroll around with our bits out.

I think we rushed the whole flash mob experience too much. 6 hours is not enough to create a spectacle that is worthwhile. After reviewing the footage, that was apparent; and after the senior lecturers gave us a word of warning, the footage is now a distant memory sitting in a trashcan on a iMac. We we right to delete the footage? I don’t think so, even if we just showed the reaction footage that I got, we could of made something really nice out of it. It would lead to that suspense and a few questions. “Why are these people running towards the noise?”, “What did they find?”. The truth is, they found nothing. Did it make an impact? Well It made an impression rather then an impact and now I have to live with those visions of naked bum cheeks firmly etched into my mind, along with the rest of the days ‘activities’.

#creativact – Developing our Flashmob (For Assessment)

This week’s task is to complete a flash mob. This is the task I have been waiting for! First thing’s first, what actually is a flashmob? Here’s a short description;

A flash mob  is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression. (Wikipedia)

Throughout this morning we have been learning the background behind flash mobs and their existence. Guy Debord came up with the term ‘psychogeography’ which links with flash mobs. Here is a definition;

The study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals

To put it simply, it’s the study of how people react and the emotions that they feel in certain places or when certain things are happening. This links with flash mobs as they happen in lots of random places where people don’t expect it so it’s the study of how those people respond. Take the following for example;

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwMj3PJDxuo]

With this flashmob, we can see that the general public are unaware of what’s about to happen and what is happening around them. Some are confused, some people are laughing and others are just shocked. I like how the worker on the buggy reacts, although I think his voice has been dubbed over the top of the audio.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB3NPNM4xgo]

This flash mob from T-Mobile is also great at looking at reactions. Most of the people featured in this video are coming back from a trip and the last thing they will expecting is them to be involved in a song and dance. Some people get involved, laugh and others are just completely confused!

So, yesterday evening, I started to think of different ideas for flashmobs that we could set up in a day. I thought of 2 main ideas. The first was a giant human snake. We would all be in different parts of town, and as the snake came towards you, you would just latch on the end of the snak unsuspectingly as if it was like a magnet. My 2nd idea was to include some famous music and go around as a carnival. I got the idea from the following video;

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFHjLtGq7Gw&feature=related]

To me, the Mario music is iconic, but the only problem I thought of with this was, were we able to get a group of musicians quickly who knew how to play the tunes. I doubt it very much,

So during the workshops, we were given our groups and were asked to come up with ideas for flash mobs that we liked. In turns we went through each person’s ideas. Some were similar to previous flash mobs created and some were completely original. The main thing we wanted to do was to gain attention.

We decided to try and develop just 4 ideas that were put to the group. They are;

  • Live choir singing famous theme tunes – Different groups in different areas all joining in with the songs
  • Living in Ikea – 3 groups living in the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen and re-enacting scenes from that specific room.
  • The Human Snake (My original idea also thought of by other group members).
  • The WOW factor – We get in a big huddle and start shouting, oh my god and wow whilst only pointing at a sign saying “Look at this”.
I really enjoyed the Ikea the most. It had something different and it stands out. Ok, it may not be original (Was used in the film 500 Days of Summer) but every scenario that people were thinking of using for the rooms kept making me laugh! However, after a majority vote, the live choir was chosen to be our flashmob. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, but I had to put all my efforts in the new idea for the good of the group.
Now it was time to choose the songs. We had to go for iconic music so that people would respond to them in different ways, and more importantly, they needed to recognise the tune. So after much deliberation, we went with the following;
  • The Pink Panther
  • The Great Escape
  • The Adams Family
  • The Imperial March from Star Wars
  • Harry Potter

Now it was time to practice the songs. There is only 1 word to describe how that went. Shambolic. Nobody could keep the pitch or in time and it was turning out to be a hopeless session. It was nice to see people passionate about the idea, but the execution was hopeless. It was turning out to be a lost cause, and it was quickly recognised that we needed a change of plan desperatly and it was decided that we would revert back to the Ikea idea. So after a few brief chats with the lecturers, they agreed that we should of gone with this idea in the first place anyway.

The idea from then was produced quickly. We got ourselves into 4 teams for 4 different scenarios. The bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. Each room had a camera person who was going to film each scenario as it happens whilst the rest of the group had to act. Each group met up to run through what they were going to do, and then it was decided that all of the groups would act there scenario out in Ikea at 2.45. This would give security in the store a less of a chance to catch everybody in the act at the same time, whilst also making the standard shoppers have different things going on around them. So off we set, ready for our flashmob and blissfully un-aware of what was about to happen….

The Director Role (For Assessment)

For our upcoming short film project, I put myself forward as the director of the piece. Directing is a role that i’ve always enjoyed and had success with in the past. For this project however, I wanted to take it 1 step further and see it as a purely professional project as I would out in the ‘real world’.

So what does a ‘film director’ do? Here’s a quick definition;

A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film’s artistic and dramatic aspects, while guiding the technical crew and actors.

Personally I feel I have great management and communication skills which are key in the art of directing. I also have a great eye for detail, and I am hard-working which are again 2 characteristics needed in this role.

I needed to get more of a feel of directing on a shoot. So I had a look at a few videos of directors in action. Peter Jackson, currently working on The Hobbit is one of my directing hero’s. He has been keeping a video blog whilst on set, and this video eludes to what he does on a day to day basis;

So being a director is not just about sitting on a chair and shouting, action and cut. You are involved in the whole project and you oversee everything. It’s all about getting the public seeing your vision, and your management and creative skills achieve this. Communication is key.

So how did the role of directing come about. From what I can see, Thomas Edison who invented the motion picture camera can be classed as the first director of a film sequence during the testing process, but it is perhaps Louis Le Prince’s who directed the oldest surviving film, ‘Roundhay Garden Scene’ who actually directed people in a film. Information before that is scarce and unreliable.

One of the main points that famous directors make is that you need to have a great relationship with the actors. They are the ones that make your dreams and ambitions a reality on the screen and these are the people that the audience will respond to.

You only have to look at the biggest names in the business to see that this is true. Take these for example.

  • Martin Scorsese & Robert De Niro (8 films)
  • Tim Burton & Johnny Depp (8 films)
  • Peter Jackson & Andy Serkis (5 films)
  • Steven Soderbergh & Matt Damon/George Clooney (6 films)
So I really need to get our actors thinking the same way I am. The only way to do that is through the art of communication of which I am great at.

To give us a hand, Filmnation came in to give us a masterclass in the art of directing. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go due to being ill, but our groups DOP, Govie Singh stood in. He took notes and videos from the day

The day started of with a couple of warm up games so each person can softly give out orders in order to construct a scene. Three people to a group. One person makes a stance, one person explains the stance and the last person has to make the stance according to the orders being given.

The second tasks was that we were given a script, which we had to read thoroughly. The actors that we worked with were Hamsil and Frankie. They performed for us and from that we had to reproduce the scene as we saw fit. We got into groups of five and went for it. Judging by the script everyone kind of produced the same work, it had the same feel to it in terms of personalities, the cameras were quite close and were catching the essence of the characters, however they told us to completely swap it around. They then showed us countless ways in which the script could be performed. One was a russian spy game, one was a playerish game, and one was a nerd asking out a girl. All these worked for the script and all that changed was the directors view of it.

After the tasks we had a Q&A with the actors and the conversation went into depth, that your actors are really important to your films, because they are going to make your films what they are. so in terms importance of your film your actors are on top of the list. After everything we had done today this is what it came down to; the relationship between actor and director. Keep constant talking with your actors to make sure there doing okay, tell them that they are doing well and keep telling them stuff to do, in order for them to act in a certain situation explain the story to them so they can get there real emotions on show and feed them. All these things are important in terms of keeping you actors alive for your production. The last thing that was said was organisation. Never call the actor until your set up and ready o shoot, it wastes your time and their time and they won’t want to work with you again.

Ever since I was a child, I always had the ambition to become a film director. I take most of directing inspiration from people like Tim Burton, Peter Jackson, Steven Soderbergh and Takeshi Kitano. The latter has inspired me a lot. I love his deadpan style in his earlier films then changing his approach to use controversy to it’s potential whilst keeping a massive amount of humor. For this short film, I am looking to take influence from Nicolas Winding Refn who has directed my favorite film over the past 2 years, ‘Drive’. I decided to watch his interview from the Sundance Film Festival. He believe’s that you need to “Eat, sleep and drink your film when your a director”. That’s the way I am feeling at the moment, I’m always thinking of new ideas for films, and i’m finding that with our current film idea, I’m waking up during the night with new endings and new lines to put in the film. I love how sophisticated he makes all his characters seem, but on the grand scheme of things, they are simple but in a very complex situation. I also believe his stance on ‘the less dialogue, the better’. It’s important that the audience feel what the character feels, and people do feel emotion just by the look of somebody.

This is what I want to get across in this short film. I want the characters in the film to influence the audience whilst building up tension for the reveal shot. It’s important that I get this across to the actors for them to portray their roles well. So with this in mind, I have set up a Skype meeting with both actors to get them thinking the way I am. For DCI Scott, I want him to be very mysterious and in the background of the film, I want people to think “Who is this police officer, we havent seen him”. Then with him having the major line in the piece it’s going to have major impact. My skills are going to be used to the max on the shooting day, so I will have to think carefully what I want in each scene. Like all good directors, plan ahead!

Casting and Location Issues

So with our new idea now finalised and agreed, we have been working at getting 2 actors for our main roles in the film. One will be playing DCI Scott and the other DCI Adams. We wont both actors to look like stereotypical police officers. They will need to wear suits, have facial hair and have an angry tone on their face. As the director, I will have to get the actors in the mood that we want to to portray in the film.

So the task was for the producer to get in touch with various casting websites to see which actors were interested in taking part in our film. We had over 15 responses in 48 hours which was really encouraging and a lot of praise was put on the script which made me personally feel great. I enjoy writing and getting some recognition for my time and effort was really nice to hear.

So after sieving through the applications and looking at various showreels, we came to the decision that wanted Robert Nicholas and Darrel Springer to play the roles.

Both agreed to the playing DCI Adams and DCI Scott respectively, and we arranged dates and contract details with both. Unfortunately, Robert wasn’t able to re-arrange his other filming duties so we had to go back to the drawing board in regards to our lead role. I didn’t really like the look of the other applicants, they all tended to either look to young or there showreels weren’t great. So i decided to take a look though the ‘CastingCallPro’ website to see if there was anybody else available, this is where I came across Anthony Glennon. He looked perfect, had that rugged look and his showreel was impressive. I asked Tori to message him to see if he was available and more importantly, interested in working on this project. He said yes which was great. This just goes to show that you don’t always have to take the first option, and with a little work you can get what you want.

This is Anthony.

So with our actors all set up, now we need a location. The film is set in a police interview room. The logical choice would be to film in a an actual police interview room but when we went to view one, they are very small, cramped, dark and nothing like you see in films or on TV! So we had to brainstorm other ideas. Options we came up with were a classroom or a garage. The problems with both of these though are the sound may be poor and they don’t really look like an interview room. The location is such a vital part of the film, it gives the audience that safe knowledge of knowing where they are and is the first thing you recognise in a scene. I got the feeling the rest of the group just wanted to find a ‘safe’ location, but personally I wanted something a little better but it was proving a challenge to get. So we all left Uni a little deflated knowing that we have a great idea, great actors but no-where to film. I took to the Internet to see if there was any website listing locations for films, this is where I came across the ‘Coventry & Warwickshire Filmakers’ website. I put up a post to see if anybody local could help and low and behold, somebody responded within 10 minutes. This is where we found the ‘Moathouse Leisure Centre’ and I organised a meeting with the poster to see what it looked like.

It was perfect, had great lighting, lots of space to work in and had great atmospheric sound. We decided to go ahead and book the room for shooting day and we were able to get a discount of 75% on the hire which was great. It has really good potential, and we can use the ‘invisible wall’ trick to make the room seem really tight and enclosed. And as the film is going to be dark, the walls and windows are not vitally important as we will be covering them up or you wont see them at all!

Overall, even with all the problems we have faced, it just goes to show that a little hard work and determination can get you a long way.

Scripting ‘Whodunit’

So with the ‘demise’ of our original idea, we have decided to run with another one from my list which was;

2 police officers interrogate a unknown character, but with no response the officers take to other means to get the answers they want.

So the group left me and Sean to come up with a script for the idea.

To begin, we brainstormed the pitch to come up with scenario’s that would happen in a police interview. We watched several videos of actual police interviews to get the types of questions used. This one was quite intriguing;

We also looked at some scenes from the popular UK drama, ‘The Bill’ to get some knowledge of how the public think a police interview takes place .With this in mind, we were getting an idea of how we wanted the film to go and look. We took the decision that we wanted the interviewee to be completely unknown till the ending as a reveal shot. We also wanted them to be silent throughout the film, this we thought would build up tension well until the end. We then played with the idea that what if the character wasn’t a person, but perhaps an animal and make it a slapstick comedy. It was at this point that we thought of using a puppet. This would make people laugh, would be unexpected and would go well by having 2 contrasting sides of the interview, the serious police officers and the jokey puppet.

So the next plan of action was to note down what typical things happen in a police interview and which of those we wanted to use. We decided that the officers need to have a small conversation between themselves before the interview begins, they are drinking a coffee and having a cigarette.

So with all this in mind, this is our completed narrative for ‘Whodunit‘ (Final script, added 3/3/12)

Change of Idea (For Assessment)

As a group we are having major issues with our film ‘Assembly’. It’s easier just to make a list;

  • Actors

This is perhaps the biggest concern with the film. Every child talent agency I have spoken to love the idea of the film, but they don’t want their clients taking part in this type of film currently. The child is majorly important in this story, and we can’t exactly write the part out as then the story and narrative becomes broken.

  • Location

After visiting 3 schools and having numerous conversations with headmasters, the schools are not really interested in having us film there, especially during term time and using their children as extras. Plus we all need to be CRB checked, that includes the actors which may take a long time to complete, of which time is not what we have right now!

  • Narrative

After 3 production meetings with the lecturers, we all feel that the idea is good but it has no real coherent ending. Do we finish with the boy taking the bomb to the school, do we end with the mother blowing the bomb up? All questions we don’t know how to answer, and more importantly me as the script writer. We were also asked the question, “Would a mother really want to blow her child up, even for the so called ‘greater good?”. Thinking about it, I don’t think she would, no matter how many problems she has.

The  thing that has concerned me most is how far we have changed the original idea’s narrative. In my mind, it was simple. A child finds instructions to make a bomb on the Internet, proceeds to make the bomb and then plants it in his school. We don’t know the reasoning behind it, thats for the audience to decide. I love story’s that work that way. So with all this in mind, I put the following to the production group on Facebook.

Guys, I know we have worked REALLY hard on this project and the story, but I think it’s time we shelved it and move on quickly. I understand that it’s a bit late in the module to be completely going back to the start, but after numerous meetings I get the feeling we are just going around in circles. I have several more ideas; [IDEAS LISTED] but obviously, if you have others, get them in the open. We have roughly 24 days to turn this around and make something brilliant. It’s so achievable you just possibly don’t know it yet. Let’s stick together and go all out to make this a success.

Everyone agreed and we decided to draft up ideas for new films. The idea that I am straying towards is my police interview idea. Here is the pitch;

2 police officers interrogate a unknown character, but with no response the officers take to other means to get the answers they want.

I like this idea as it has legs. We can make it how we like and have various different endings. I see it as a dark, slapstick comedy film of which I have many ideas for.

So what I have I learnt from this process so far. Have a backup idea ready to go to straight away, always think of the long term problems, of which in this case was not getting actors and locations and most importantly, dont keep banging your head against a brick wall. Sometimes, you just have to let things go.