I learnt an immense amount whilst doing this project. I went through quite a lengthy creative process before I got to my final idea for a film. I had originally planned to do a documentary about eSports using a green screen and a lot of stock footage; however during the production process I realized that I would be using too much stock footage and not enough of my own. The only things I would be filming would be green screen and some interviews so I decided to change my project. I chose to keep the theme of eSports in my project, but I would make a short film instead. After I created all of the pre-production documents for this project I had a talk through my project with my head of film and we came to the conclusion that the project I had decided to do was too difficult to achieve, as it would cost too much money and too many actors and extras.
I was obviously disheartened after this, as I had already put so much work into the project only to have redo it. At this point I really wanted to just give up, as I’d already done a full set of pre-production documents twice already. I decided to keep the same themes and general storyline from the project, but put it into a different scenario that I could achieve. I ended up choosing to use the cheating storyline, but put it into the scenario of cheating in an exam. I was able to reuse some of my pre-production documents like my budget, risk assessment and location recce’s. This made doing the work again a lot less time consuming.
In my Project Proposal I said that I would create a short film about a boy who is caught cheating in an exam after being pressured by his father into passing it. This is the film that I did end up producing.
I didn’t keep to the schedule that I put in my Project proposal, as I actually managed to get it done faster than I had originally planned. I thought it would take 2 days to film it all originally, but we managed to get it all done in one day; even if filming went on until 7:00 pm when i’d originally planned to finish at 5:00 pm. The editing also only took me 2 days when I had originally planned to use 3 days. I could have actually done it in 1 day if I hadn’t had so many audio problems.
I wasn’t able to use some of the equipment that I had planned to use. I wanted to use a shotgun mic for my production, but due to the amount of pre-production I ended up doing I didn’t get signed off until a lot of people were already filming their projects, therefore there wasn’t any mics left to borrow to use for my project.
In my proposal I wrote that my target audience would be teenagers and I think my film has achieved that. The story is from the point of view of the teenager and so it makes the character easily relatable to people of a similar age.
One of the shots I was particularly happy with was the over the shoulder tracking shot I did when the main character is entering his house. As seen below:
I took inspiration from the films Goodfellas (1990) and Birdman (2014) as they both utilized these tracking shots and long takes that I think are really awesome and so I decided to try and use something similar in my film which I think I did achieve.
Introduce the project in your own words
My project is a short film about a boy who is pressured by his father to do well in his exams or he’ll be grounded for the summer. To ensure he can go on holiday with his friends he cheats in his exams, but his dad finds out…
I wanted to try out some new things when making this project and so I chose to go for more of a drama film than a comedy which is more in my comfort zone.
List five strengths and five weaknesses in your final design
- It has a strong story that will resonate with a lot of teenagers that have been through exams and the pressures they feel.
- The camerawork in my opinion is quite good. I tried to use a variety of shots that are inspired from acclaimed films I like. I sued a mix of static and in motion shots to make the piece more interesting.
- Considering my actors aren’t professional I think their performances were pretty strong. Especially my main actor who gave a particularly good performance.
- The use of sound effects to create an atmosphere for the scene without yet having any visual input gives a more interesting film.
- The use of a realistic environment makes the film feel more real. The use of the train especially.
- Due to not having a proper mic there are a lot of moments in the film where the sound is far from perfect. Especially outside the house, as there is a lot of wind noise.
- The film could do with having a few more scenes to fully tell the story. I feel that the story feels a bit abrupt and rushed.
- Due to not being able to get an actor for the father role; I had to use one of my friends who was already in the film. For starters this was a big continuity problem, but also it meant I couldn’t really have any extended dialogue between the dad and the son without it becoming obvious the 2 actors were the same age and one of them was a different character in the film.
- I filmed some of the scenes multiple times at multiple angles. This means that when I’ve cut between them there have been quite a few continuity errors. Some of them are relatively easily noticeable even after I tried to cover them up with editing which is a problem.
- The end of the film is quite lengthy and a bit boring when he’s packing bags and the scene could be a little more interesting if I had some music in the background.
Was there a theme for the design ideas? Can you describe it? Can you reference any influences here? – art movements, designers, media companies/campaigns etc.
At the start of this project when doing research into our interests and different types of styles I came across some concept art pictures from a small indie game company. Although not really to do with film I really liked the deep green colours of it and so I chose locations for my films with a lot of green bushes and trees, as i think they look good on screen.
You can see that the school location I chose had a lot of green in the background. Also the establishing shot for the train station I made sure that you could see I made sure to keep the green plants in shot.
Also the colour of the jacket he wears at the end of the film is also green coloured.
What experiments and exploration did you do (what happens if). How did it affect your development?
I did some experimentation with green screen for this project. Here are some of the test shots that I did when I was originally considering doing some green screen work for my project:
When I chroma keyed the green screen the shot was very patchy and didn’t look particularly good at all. As you can see on the subjects clothes there is a lot of distortion on them. This is the best that I could get and still have a black background. I think this was because there wasn’t nearly enough lighting on the green screen and so there were a lot of shadows on it. The fact the green screen was quite creased may have added to the shadows as well. I now know that you need a lot of powerful lights to fully light the green screen in order to get a good green screen shot.
I also experimented within myself by doing a genre that I’m not usually too comfortable with. Most films that I’ve made in my life have been comedy based. As that’s what I feel that i’m good at and have the most experience in. I wanted to try something different and try and expand my knowledge and skills within filmmaking and so I decide to a drama film for this project.
Find a similar type of design publication – place it next to your own
The picture on the left is from the film Starter for 10 (2006). The film comes under the same genre as mine (drama) and this film was one of my main inspirations for my film. As the film revolves around the main character cheating at one point and getting caught. The scene on the pier is a personal favourite and so although it’s not the same location i wanted to try and recreate the scene in my own film.
What were the key areas of development in this project?
I think my directorial skills have developed a lot in this project. In previous projects I had directed, but I think I learnt a lot more this time, as I was out on locations that weren’t my own house. It meant that I was in charge of quite a large group of people in a public place. I felt this time I had to be more in charge and got people to focus on the task instead of messing around a bit which happened in my previous projects. Mainly due to the time restraints.
I also honed my editing skills in the project, as there were a lot of audio problems I had to do a lot of editing of the sound to make it sound better. I used audacity and Adobe Audition to edit the sound files and try to clear up some of the background wind noise for the school and train station scenes. I used some online tutorials and trial and error to help make it sound clearer. It was a good learning experience and I feel a lot more confident with the software now and could now use it again if I have audio problems.
Review your proposal – what changed, what developments did you make, did you manage to complete everything you set out to?
One of my locations did change from Monkton Court house in Monkton to another friends house in East Studdal. It was more convenient to use the other house, as it was closer to my other filming locations and my original location was no longer available on that day.
Some of the developments I made on the day of filming was alterations to the script. When I was talking through the script with my actors we changed some of the lines to make it sound more like a flowing conversation instead of just a written script. This did however cause some issues with audio later on, as in each take the lines were slightly different, as I allowed the actors to improvise and change their lines as we filmed.
What did the client think of your concept? How did that make you feel?
The client was happy with my original concept, however my project proposal needed to be changed and the way I was approaching the project also needed to be changed. I was approaching it in the wrong way looking at it in a general filmmaking way instead of the role of a producer.
For my final proposal which is the film I actually produced the client was very happy with my concept. This made me feel so relieved, as i’d been through such a struggle just to get to this point that to actually be signed off and able to finally produce a film was great.
What could you adapt about the work produced to improve and develop it?
I had originally planned for the film to be roughly 3 minutes long and that is the rough length that my film turned out, however I think that it should have been longer. The scenes that I had planned were filmed and edited, however the whole film to me feels a bit abrupt. A lot happens in very quick succession and I think if it had a run time nearer 5 or 6 minutes it could have been a better film.
Another thing I would do is make sure that I have a proper shotgun mic on a boom pole like I had originally planned to. This would have improved the sound quality a lot.
I also would have filmed each scene with multiple cameras at the same time; instead of doing multiple takes, as this lead to having a lot of continuity problems where people were in different positions than here they were in the first take. They would also say slightly different lines each time which meant I couldn’t use one audio track for one scene and I had to try and use sometimes 4 or 5 different audio tracks together which at times doesn’t sound too fluid. If I did film each scene at once then it would have sounded smoother.
I should have used more than just one shot for the first scene, as it is almost a 35 second shot which is too long. I also could have filmed him writing out the cheat sheet after the altercation with his dad, as that would have made the story clearer to the audience
Is the final work appropriate for the needs of the client? Does it sufficiently answer their brief?
My project follows what I put down on my project proposal without any large alterations except a few equipment changes and modifications to the script. I did create the exact film that I wrote down on the proposal which was the film about cheating in an exam.
Reflect on your pitch to the client; how did you feel about it before? Did it go better or worse than you expected? What was the feedback from the client/lecturer? What do you think you could improve next time?
When I first presented my project proposal there was a lot of problems with it. I was quite nervous before I started, as I had spent a lot of time on the work and I obviously wanted the clients to approve of it. The way i’d written it and what I had written was wrong according to the people I presented to. I was obviously quite upset after this, as I’d been working on this for weeks and for someone to then pick it apart was disheartening. I think it was a good learning experience for me, as it prepared me for what can and probably will happen in the future if I want to go into a career in the media industry. It also spurred me on to go forward and make a better proposal and product to go back and present my idea again and do better.
The 2nd time I presented my project proposal it went far better than the first time. I felt that I was much more confident in the pitch and there was almost no problems with my proposal at all. It went a bit better than I expected, as I assumed that after how badly it went last time that there would be some problems again this time. As this project was the more realistic production it meant that I could answer all of the questions this time instead of just saying that I hadn’t figured out how I was going to do it yet.
I think the way I could improve next time would be to talk to my lecturers a bit more to find out exactly what content needed to be on the project proposal so that I could have done a better project proposal with the right information on it.
Presenting my film in class – Feedback:
The main feedback that I received was that the visuals were the strongest part of my film. Clearly there were some audio problems which was the main voice of criticism from the audience. Especially when the main character is walking into the house there is some really loud wind noise that I couldn’t remove.
Another point that was made was the problems with the narrative storytelling. It was unclear to some people what the meaning of the phone call was, however to me it was quite clear. I think because I made it, it was clear to me, but if I were to redo it I could add another line of dialogue so it’s clear that it’s a teacher on the phone.
barthesian (2009) The long take: Goodfellas. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJEEVtqXdK8 (Accessed: 21 June 2016).
FoxSearchlight (2014) BIRDMAN: ‘Does she talk’. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGQ-U8QxHBo (Accessed: 21 June 2016).
KitfoxGames (2013) Art Style experiments 1. Available at: http://www.kitfoxgames.com/art-style-experiments-1/ (Accessed: 17 June 2016).
Starter for 10 (2006) Directed by Tom Vaughan [DVD]. USA: .