MY PRODUCTION JOURNAL
Production Journal 11/04/2016
First day back.
Monday 11th April
I am looking into the production schedule today so that I know what I will be doing and when and where.
JOURNAL UPDATE 12/04/2016
Today I have been asking friends if they are available to be part of my cast and crew. I have been working with them to get our schedules to work together and making sure we are able to be in the places we want to be at the times we are planning to film. This is a very lenghty process as we all need to do a lot of work and know exactly what we’re doing over the next few weeks.
JOURNAL UPDATE 13/04/2016
Toady I am spending the day analysing other short films on YouTube. I have decided I want to make an apocalyptic based film. I have looked at many different films and they all seem to be either based on a nuclear fallout or virus. I want to make a film that will stand out and not follow the mainstream line so I am coming up with a new cause that will lead to an apocalyptic setting.
Rather than analysing a short film, I decided to just simply watch them in hopes of finding inspiration to make something different, something that will stand out. I made notes on each film and paid close attention to each shot; taking into account the type of lens they used and how the camera was moved throughout the shot. It depended on the scene that they were shooting that changed how they shot and edited it.
JOURNAL UPDATE 14/04/2016
After I looked at the shot types etc. I looked into costume design. There is obviously a typical look to apocalyptic and survival films; large coats, old jeans and walking boots. That pretty much sums up costume design for a budget film maker. I wanted to go more in depth with it because I wanted to portray the characters personality through what they wear rather than have the audience find out who they are by having to learn and see how they act trough the film. I want the characters to have a personality before they even speak.
JOURNAL UPDATE 14/04/16
So after looking at existing costumes from budget films and feature films, I have a rough idea of what I want each character to look like.
JOURNAL UPDATE 14/04/2016
I have spoken to each actor about the costumes and roughly taken their clothes sizes because I am planning on going to some charity shops in my home town to get so cheap clothing that matches my idea for the characters. Today I have been researching inspiration and practitioners. I think the walking dead and the book of Eli are a massive part of my inspiration as these are both apocalyptic based films. A very large part of my inspiration is short apocalyptic based films on YouTube. I must have watched about 50 different short films but I noticed they all had something in common. There was very little dialogue in comparison to the rest of the film. Another thing that I noticed about these films are that they were all results of very similar causes. I could probably narrow these down to 3 causes. Number one, probably being the majorities favourite, the zombie apocalypse. Number 2, a very feared disaster in the real world, the virus epidemic. Recent viruses that struck the population was the Ebola virus. People stopped going out in public because they feared the virus. And finally, number 3, worldwide annihilation through war. A particularly favoured version for the film industry is nuclear war. Although most of these were made in the 50s through to the end of the 70s because it’s what the public feared the most at the time. That’s why I am working on making something people fear in the present. With the world becoming more economically developed, we are discovering more viruses, leading to more cures. What I am trying to say is the world is becoming more interested with the concept of bacteria and viruses, which in 50 years, not as many people will be interested in. Many people believe the world will not be here in 100 years or so. This is because of the theory of global warming. So in 100 years, the feared topic may be global warming so that will most likely be the peak topic of apocalyptic based films. I’m trying to predict a few years into the future when the topic of bacteria is peaking
Because apocalyptic films are rather similar to one another, I have used the thought of creating something different as inspiration. I’ve set is as a challenge for myself to prove to myself I can do something that seems a little further than my current capabilities.
JOURNAL UPDATE 18/04/2016
Today I plan to continue with my research and start researching my practitioner. Have started to look into makeup for a lived-in dirt look. This is to add detail into the characters facial expressions as it shows the movement a lot more than if it was just the persons skin. The dirt look can also be used to show that time has passed and that it has had time to look lived in. This is a good way to tell the audience time has passed because it subconsciously tells them something has happened since the last time they saw them.
In the short films I watched, I noticed they were all linear except one. I am going for a different type of apocalyptic film so I am considering having my film as non-liner. It also allows you to start the film at the end of the film so you are able to open the film in the fast paced action. This can interest the audience because it shows them what they can expect later in the film and it makes them look forward to it. Its almost like a mini teaser trailer at the start of the film.
I am now moving onto locations for my film. I have a lot of abandoned, run-down and un used locations. Such as disused buildings and local wild life reserves.
I’ve began finding royalty free music to use and I’ve been listening to it in the background as I work to make the most of my time. I found that doing this can help to envision scenes in my head and I wrote notes when I came up with an idea and I also wrote the song down so I know that I think a song will work with an idea.
JOURNAL UPDATE 19/04/2016
Today I am carrying out primary research. I am going to sign up to surveymonkey to do this as it allows me to make an online survey and send it to peers for them to take. I will get the results online as they are easily accessible.
I have published my survey and sent it to my peers and I am planning to research Legal and Ethical issues which could be related to my idea.
JOURNAL UPDATE 24/04/16
Today I have been analysing the results from my primary research which I set up on survey monkey. I made a blog post on it saying all about each question and what I can take from the information I have received.
During my research I found out on the BBFC that my selected age which is 15-30 is suitable for my short film because the only restriction that is in my film is graphical content. The only graphical content is blood. The cause for the blood isn’t shown so this cannot overcome an 18 rating.
JOURNAL UPDATE 26/04/2016
It is Thursday and today is my day off college so I thought I would take advantage of it and do test shots and go out doing my location recce. I’m going to be testing different lights and setups and experimenting with all the camera settings to find distinctive looks. I used my studio lights to experiment with shadow, direction, light spill and background fill.
For the locations, I went to a public footpath 100m down my road and went to a half- fallen down small stone house. This is in the middle of the woods. I felt this fitted the film really well because I’m going for an abandoned look. Another location is renovated WW2 bunkers. I have access to these as a family member owns the land they are on. On the way to the bunkers, we travelled down a very long stretch of road which I believe is called ‘The 5 Mile Stretch’. I felt I had to include it somehow and not just pass up the opportunity to use something most people don’t have access to. The road is not busy so it looks completely abandoned, which is exactly what im going for. There is also a public common 100m in the other direction of my house which consists of a variation of land. It can be completely dense woods and suddenly be a large open space. I believe I can use this location for more than one scene because it seems like a completely different place if its out of context.
I also planned some of these locations way before we started the project. I started writing a journal a few weeks before we started to just get a bunch of ideas together. So wherever I was, I was able to write down an idea when I thought of it. This helped a lot as I can read through the progression of the idea and story in real time and that means I can get into the train of thought that I was in when I was coming up with the ideas originally. I have made a post with each page of my journal on it. I started a board and filled it with ideas that I was going to later choose which ones will work with what I had and what I liked most. This can be seen below:
This board was split into 4 different sections; plot, equipment, locations and characters. A large inspiration for my costume design was The Walking Dead. The main inspiration was from 3 main characters; Rick Grimes, Carl and Maggie. I wanted to have a female role within the film to make it more interesting and it would also engage with a female audience more. It also would allow for more of an opportunity to add romance to the film which will definitely hook onto a female audience as well as the male.
JOURNAL UPDATE 28/04/2016
I have done all my test shots over the last week and I also did a test sequence where I used the costumes I plan to use. This way I can see it from an outsiders perspective and I can make any changes I fell are necessary. I will make a blog post including all the test shots.
JOURNAL UPDATE 29/04/2016
I uploaded the test shot sequence last night and in college today I have had my work shown off by one friend to teachers and peers so I guess he liked it. This means I know what I should do in my film because I’ve got positive feedback from many peers and teachers. Even friends from outside of college have got in touch with me to tell me that it looks very good.
I started thinking about locations and I know that I want one scene to be in a restaurant or diner. I have recently been to a diner just down the road from college and I believe it would be perfect for the shot I want to do. I have emailed the manager at Ruby’s Diner to ask if it was possible to film a short scene in there.
The conversation that takes place can be seen below.
(These emails took place over a week but I put them together to help it chronologically make sense).
JOURNAL UPDATE 30/04/2016
I am writing the official storyboards for the film using the draft storyboards and the script as a guide. I am using images from google of the diner to get the scene set up right in the storyboard. This way I will be able to set up and get the shot done with no hassle whatsoever. I have printed official storyboards with the exact aspect ratio I want to be filming in to give it the cinematic effect. Each page has 9 boxes to draw in and has a box below it to write a description of each shot.
JOURNAL UPDATE 02/05/2016
I have completed every storyboard.
(This was uploaded after filming, hence the tattered pieces of paper and page 11 is missing because I believe I lost it on location but it was not a problem because we had already filmed that part).
Today I went into the town and went to the locations which are 15-20 minutes from the college. I have edited and uploaded a vlog from today onto YouTube and I have also made a blog post with the video linked.
JOURNAL UPDATE 5/05/2016
Today is the day we film the first scene at the diner. (Page 2 on the storyboards). I have planned to meet with the crew outside the diner before they open. I am taking my camera, both lenses, microphone, dead-cat, tripod and gorillapod. I know everything here is not necessary but if I find another way to do the shot, I don’t want to know I could have done it and regret it every time I see the film in post production and during screenings because I know I could have done it better. After we film my scene, we are all going across town to a local skate park to film for a crew members film.
The shoot went successfully and I’ve come back with all the footage I planned to go out and get. So all in all, I can say todays shoot was a successful one! I’ve imported the clips into the editing project and saved as ‘FMP’. Each time I add new footage to the file, I will save it as a different name so I have a back up in case anything corrupts. This way I am not risking loosing all footage and editing progress because I have it all backed up many, many times. I have also backed it all up onto an external hard drive along with the actual software I use to edit. This way I can edit on any computer if I absolutely have to.
JOURNAL UPDATE 9/05/2016
Today I am discussing with the crew about the next filming date. I believe the 11th will be the best bet. This is for the locations that I visited on the 2nd. These scenes are very important scenes in the film so I’ve shown the crew the pre-production so they don’t have to process it all on the day of filming.
We are all set to film on those days. We will all meet in college on the day and get a lift over to the location. We have to go with a BT employee to gain access to the location because it is an alarmed building and is completely off limits to the public. In fact, during the location recce we did set off the building alarms and I had to ring the operators and explain the situation. We had to explain we had permission from Mike Hill.
The crew understand the arrangements that I’ve set. They will be staying at my house that night so we can go out early the next day and film at the WW2 bunkers.
The BT scenes require us to take imitation firearms in site for the film. These imitations are airsoft/bb guns. I researched into how to transport imitations safely and legally. The transportation of airsoft/bb guns for re-enactment, sport and filming purposes are possible under the legislation of these rules:
- The imitation must be unloaded with any form of ammunition casing unattached from the weapon.
- The weapon must be disassembled as far as possible.
- The imitation must be covered to avoid any possible public distress.
- It must be contained in its original box in the case of the imitation becoming uncovered during transport.
Once we are in the building we are allowed to reassemble the imitations as we are on private property with permission.
JOURNAL UPDATE 10/05/2016
Today is purely to prepare for the filming tomorrow. This means confirming transport, times, charging batteries, clearing SD cards, checking all the equipment is ready to be loaded into the car. Today is a full day at college so I’m making sure the entire crew know what is happening and what we are filming.
JOURNAL UPDATE 11/05/2016
So today we are filming 3 different scenes in an abandoned office building. All I can think to say now it that I’ll admit I’m a little nervous but I hope all goes well.
JOURNAL UPDATE 12/05/2016
Yesterdays filming went very well and we managed to get it all done by draining all 3 batteries. The battery died literally at the end of the last shot. Lucky us.
Today is the Bunker scene. If it goes as well as filming yesterday then I’ll be more than happy. The bunker is rather dark so we are taking filming lights and I will be using my 50mm f2 lens because this lets in much more light than a normal lens. This will give me a better image.
JOURNAL UPDATE – 13/05/2016
Luck seems to be going my way at the moment because filming went better than I could have hoped. Today I am just spending the day putting all together then touching it up with colour grading, foley sounds and suspense music.
As I have an external Rode Videomic, we recorded some foley sounds on location. I did this so the room tone would match the scene and there would be no obvious background noise when the sound was inserted. It was a sound of a large metal chain being moved. I recorded it close up to get the best quality sound possible and we did it many times so I could choose the best one in post.
In post I added the sound effect in with the reaction to the sound and panned it left to where the character hears it. I also reduced the volume a little to male it sound a bit more distant.
(A quick side note, the shoulder rig I was using to film has a loose screw on the camera platform and it is quite prone to falling out. It is rather essential as it holds the camera on the rig. It had fallen off in the car and we had to ring to get this tiny screw back. We lost a valuable 45 minutes because of this tiny screw. Not everything goes right… We also had to survive off quavers for the day).
We also filmed one scene of running down a super long road. Just thought I would mention…
JOURNAL UPDATE – 16/05/2016
So crazily enough, 5 scenes done. And, might I add, done to a standard that I thought was beyond my capabilities… It’s a Monday and we have a pretty short day at college. I’ve decided to dedicate this day to talking to my crew about their films and helping one member with their storyboards and ideas as I am acting for him.
JOURNAL UPDATE – 18/05/2016
So everything is looking good for me at the moment. Today I am filming in the skate park with a crew member, we are mainly going for b-roll as he is making a documentary and the park is quite busy on days like today so we are going to ask if we can film any of them.
JOURNAL UPDATE – 20/05/2016
Today I plan on getting on with any written work I need to do. I am going to be looking at the brief for this. I’ll be looking into legal and ethical issues.
MY KEY PRACTITIONER
I have decided that Don Burgess is my practitioner. There are 2 main reasons for this.
- He did the cinematography for The Book Of Eli (which is my main inspiration for my film).
- He is close with Tom Hanks and did the cinematography for Cast Away and Forrest Gump; my 2 favourite movies of all time.
Burgess is obviously a very good cinematographer because he has been director of photography for 5 movies in my top 10 list of all time greats. I didn’t know it was Burgess that did the cinematography for The Book Of Eli until I looked it up after watching the film for the first time because I really liked the style of shots in it. I feel like Burgess’ style really reaches out to me and will always be my first inspiration for cinematography.
So inevitably Burgess has been nominated for a few awards because of his recognition with Cast Away and Forrest Gump but unfortunately he never actually won them. He has been nominated for 9 different awards. The first time he was ever nominated was in 1991 for The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson which was released a year before in 1990. This award was an ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Movies of the Week/Pilots.
He then went on to be nominated for 3 awards all at once in 1995 for possibly his most famous film; Forrest Gump which was released in 1994. One award was an ASC Award, another was a BAFTA Film award and the other was an Oscar. The BAFTA and the Oscar were both for Best Cinematography. The ASC Award was for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases.
Then in 1998 Burgess was nominated for 2 awards for the film ‘Contact’ which was released in 1997. One award was an OFTA Film Award and the other was a Golden Satellite Award. They were both for Best Cinematography.
He was then nominated for an award in 2000 for Cast Away (which was released the same year). This was a Sierra Award For Best Cinematography.
A year later he was again nominated for Cast Away. One of these awards was a CFCA Award and the other was a PFCS Award. Both of these awards were also for Best Cinematography.
Burgess is mainly known for working on Cast Away and Forrest Gump.
He has seemed to have an interest in acting as he acted a small role in a feature length film called ‘Ankle Biters’. The film didn’t have great reviews but then again, acting isn’t Burgess’ profession. But here are the films he has worked on as the cinematographer.
In 1980 he did cinematography for a documentary called Superstunt II. In 1982 he worked with National Geographic in making a documentary called The Sharks. In 1985 he was director of photography for a Biography called Fury to Freedom. Then in 1986 he was cinematographer for a feature length crime and drama movie called The Night Stalker. After this, Burgess became more consistent with projects. He did 4 projects all in one year. In 1987 he did a documentary called Playboy: Bedtime Stories. (I don’t recommend you google that one). In the same year he worked on Death Before Dishonour, Summer Camp Nightmare and World Gone Wild. In 1988 he worked on Too Young the Hero and Under The Boardwalk. 1989; Blind Fury and Breaking Point, 1990; The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson (which got him nominated for an ASC Award). 1991; Tales from the Crypt (1 episode). 1992; Two-Fisted Tales, Mo’ Money, Night Trap. 1993; Space Rangers, Josh and S.A.M. 1994; Forrest Gump, Richie Rich. 1995; Forget Paris. 1996; The Evening Star. 1997; Contact. 2000; What Lies Beneath, Cast Away. 2002; Spider-Man. 2003;Terminator 3, Radio.
The rest can be found on IMDb.
Burgess grew up in the Pacific Palisades and was born on 28 May 1956, Santa Monica, California. He went to the Art Centre College of Design, Los Angeles to study Filmmaking. Burgess was inspired by his fathers passion for film as he was an avid 16mm film hobbyist and he also had a family friend who was a cinematographer and he travelled the world. Burgess thought it was a great life and was ‘fascinated by the mystique of photography’. Burgess started off by taking thousands upon thousands of still photos; working on progressing his skill and learning the different possibilities and different results that could be achieved in photography. After his first year in film school he took a break and worked as an assistant cameraman on the second unit crew of ‘Sorcerer’ in the Dominican Republic. After he graduated he moved onto work as a camera operator for commercials, documentaries and industrial film. He did so many different documentaries about professional and Olympic athletes. He soon started moving onto the commercial films and was introduced to directors who hired him this escalated his career.
In The Book of Eli, I noticed how the colours were all very similar. There was no range at all.
I want to replicate this but change it a bit by having the character more colourful than the rest of the film. I want this so that the main character is almost like the beacon of light within the film. I want to be able to subconsciously tell the audience from the first moment they see him that this character is the good guy.
The Book Of Eli Scene – ANALYZE
Mise En Scene;
The scene started with tension which then led to the tensions conclusion. It then led to distress. This scene reflects what I want to be able to achieve as this scene is my original inspiration for wanting to make an apocalyptic based film.
In this scene, the main character is shown as brave and that they believe in what thy are saying so much that the are confidently standing up to the enemies single-headedly and unarmed. This showing that the MISE-EN-SCENE of this character is brave and is not afraid to show what he believes. I believe that this could grab sympathy and other emotions from the audience because he is already at a disadvantage and still he is taken further to the point of humility. This will hopefully be what I can achieve with my character. I want to be able to open up the audiences emotions to this character so they almost feel connected to them. My character will try to stand up to what they believe even in the face of death.
The scene seems surreal. It doesn’t seem like a real place. Surrealism can be better than reality. Each has their advantages. Surrealism takes the audience into a new world which allows their imagination to wonder. They wonder about the world they are looking at and think there are more possibilities to predict. This means the viewer may not guess what is happening as easily as if it was a film based on the world they live in. Reality can be good because it engages the audience because they can relate to the film more. This will make them more interested because they have more in common.
The reason the world in The Book Of Eli seems surreal is because its all the same colours wherever you look. In the real world there is always different colours everywhere you look.
The very first shot in this scene is of the main character. The camera is below him to make him seem more authoritative and meaningful. But then when it cuts to the enemy the shot is at the same level as him. This makes him seem weaker compared to the previous shot.
Instantly after, there is a shot from below of the enemy as he draws his gun. Eli is visible in the left of the screen which makes the audience feel like they are seeing in Eli’s perspective. In this shot the gun is drawn and fired when the weapon reaches the point where it is at the level of the camera. This makes it feel like the gun is being fired at more of a POV than a outside perspective.
The gunshot is repeated many times and with each time it is repeated the camera moves further away from the scene and reveals Eli stood in the middle of the group of enemies with guns drawn. This shows the event from an outsiders perspective that makes Eli seem like the unfortunate minority of the scene. Therefore making the audience feel sympathy for him because they have seen it from Eli’s perspective and then they see how unfair the situation is.
It could also be seen as an out of body experience attempt for Eli. This is because the shot before was from his perspective and an out of body experience is a technically a point of view. So it could be indicating that Eli would possibly die. I think this because an out of body experience usually happens when someone thinks they are close to death or on their deathbed.
The lightning strike in the background on the moment Eli gets shot could be a sign of God getting angry because Eli is a man of God.
SECONDARY RESEARCH – AUDIENCE FEEDBACK.
This audience feedback is from the film scene that I analysed above. I’m using the comments under the video on YouTube for this.
The comment made by RCP Pilot almost identically illustrates my point.
LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES
I understand the rules behind the legal issues such as copyright and I will not using material which I do not own or do not have permission to use. This includes music, sound effects, video clips etc. If I use any material created by other I will be linking to their work and crediting them. Any music I use will be royalty free or created and recorded by myself.
I understand the ethical issue and I will not discriminate anyone as I understand the racist, sexist and disability remarks people may make.
The Equal opportunity act is where anyone, no matter the age, sex, religion or ethnic origin, or disability must be seen as an equal and not be discriminated because of a difference. This act was introduced to eliminate discrimination against anyone with differences.
I understand the issues of risks and I know to have the cast and crew to sign a sheet explaining the risks that are likely to happen.
Trademarks. If a brand logo is being used in the film, for example a Nike tick, then you would firstly have to seek permission to have it in the film. Or you could contact the company and ask for a partnership in advertisement and work with the company and be paid on the amount of views.
DATA PROTECTION ACT; CONFIDENTIALITY. All the cast and crew must sign to say they will not reveal confidential information. For example, this can be about other crew members or about the film plot, locations etc.
Going onto the BBFC, I had researched the age range of 15, this age being the rating that I am going to be setting for my film.
My film originally had one bit of strong language which I took out because I felt it ruined the flow of the film. The film would be a 15 rated film even if I left strong language in.
Strong Violence; The film contains violence which also give the film a 15 rating.
Researching my Competition
My competition is based on short award-winning film on YouTube.
This one for example:
This won these awards:
Buffalo Dreams Fantastic International Festival, 2015
“Best Action Short Film”
The Action on Film International Film Festival, 2015
“The Xristos Award” – Gabriel Simon
IndieFest Film Awards, 2015
“Award of Merit – Film Short”
“Award of Merit – Actor: Leading” – Chris Barbis
“Award of Merit – Actress: Supporting” – Kesley George Mogensen
“Award of Merit – Original Score” – Patrick Simon
I am looking to achieve something worthy of a “Best Action Short Film” and “Award of Merit – Original Score”. I believe I can achieve this because I have written and recorded 2 soundtracks for the film.
This film was made with a proper budget whereas my film is made with next to no budget and actors are working as a favour in exchange for me to help with their projects.
This film is aimed at fans of action and narrative based storylines. I have been working to make my film as narrative based as I can. I wan the audience to be able to take the story away more than anything. From my primary research I found out my film would appeal to 15-25 year olds. My primary research was the most beneficial to me. The majority of the audience would be male as it is an action based movie. The minority of the audience would female but the adventure and drama genres included will appeal to them.
I believe I have achieved what I wanted and therefore I have met my stated needs as I wanted the film to be recognised for the story and I have had positive feedback saying this. I feel my work does in a way compare with my practitioner because I have essentially recreated some of my favourite scenes from his work. I didn’t make many changes throughout the making of the film as I had set out what I want to do and had already gone through making any changes. I know that it appeals to the lower age range of my target audience as that age range are the only people I got feedback from so far. The audience reacted really well to the film. I think this product shows my skills because it shows how I edit and my understanding of shot types. I feel this is an accurate reflection of my skills because I put all my time and effort into making it as good as it can possibly be. Next time I would probably do a different genre of film because I want to experiment further with how to portray different moods. Of I had a larger budget I would hire more camera men and set the scene up like a real set to get a better image. I would also hire actors.