As I have the role of director and script writer, I created a checklist of all the responsibilities of the director in order to make sure I managed all my directorial duties correctly.
I found this video of how to become a film director really helpful.
- Being critical of your own work – asking whether what you’ve produced is good enough. Being able to cut a scene you love because it’s
- Having a good filter – being able to recognise and listen to other peoples suggestions; everyone will have a different vision for a film. Without losing sight for your own vision
- Having good communication skills – have a good idea of what your crew members do and how they do it
- Being a good collaborator – film making is a team sport, you have to be a team player, trust your crew be open to suggestions
- Have to be driven – if you want to be an independent filmmaker you need to establish yourself and do a lot for a little. Have a clear understanding of all the different elements that go into a film . Have to be open to learning all the different skills involved in filmmaking.
The directors role:
- Dramatic interpretation (text)
- Visual interpretation
- The moving camera
- Editing style
- Crew roles
- Time and resources management
As the director you need to have a vision; think about framing and camera movement. When writing my script I automatically visualised the location, and the shots I wanted to use, this worked well as I wasn’t even sure I would be taking the directorial role during the project at this point. I’ve thought about a lot of different shots, but was made aware that some of the shots wouldn’t be practical due to the fact the location limited what shots we could use. I made some notes during the recce visits regarding the shots we would be able to use.
Notes on shots from initial recce:
- 360 degree shots of Beachy Head, from the POV of the main character would work well
- POV walking shots of the main character walking towards the edge of the cliff; shots of his shoes
- Cinematic panning shots of the scenery; hills, cliff edge etc
- POV shot looking down off the cliff edge onto the sea below; to create the sense that the main character is considering jumping
- Shots of the sky
- Shots of the lighthouse; nice colour contract between the sea, sky and red lighthouse – creates an interesting sense of perspective, size, the lighthouse looks small which emphasises how high the cliff is
- Reaction shots; close up of the main character
- Over the shoulder shots, over the cliff edge
Below I’ve included a few examples of shots similar to those that I want to achieve in our film.
The screenwriters role:
- Creating engaging, inspiring, exciting stories
- Creating original characters who we can empathise with
- Create plots and events that move us and the action
- Understands the rules of SW – format, presentation, structure
Being both the screenwriter and director works really well as a combination of roles, as I’ve got the clearest vision of how I want the final project to look because I’ve written it, therefore I don’t need to explain how I want it to look.
Plan for pilot shooting:
This time I wanted a clear set of shots to take with me to the shoot, so we can try and achieve all the possible shots we are planning on having in our pilot. I checked the rain/wind in advance to see whether it would be possible to shoot on the desired day, luckily everything looks good! We can take our actors costume into consideration with knowing how cold it’s going to be during filming, as last time we were at Beacy Head it was incredibly cold and windy.
PILOT for ‘Over The Edge’
All POV shots achieved with Manfrotto Fig Rig
- Over the shoulder shots of Gabe looking out onto the sea – over the edge of the cliff
- POV shot of Gabes feet as he walks to the edge of the cliff
- Slider far shots of Gabe full body walking towards end of the cliff
- Slider shots up and down the cliff edge (right to left)
- Shot of lighthouse using fig rig
- 360 degree POV shots of the scenery – like Gabe is spinning around
- Far shot of Gabe spinning around
- Try and get a shot from behind of Gabe sitting on the edge of the cliff (safe part), using tripod maybe slider; focus in on white cliff edge, have Gabe out of focus then slowly goes into focus
- Shots of waves, zoom in and out of focus
- Opening: zoomed in shot of sea waves out of focus – slowly comes into focus – zooms further out and white cliff edge is made visible – title appears ‘Over The Edge’
Ludovico Einaudi – Corale?
Inspiration from Luther
After we had shot our trailer for The Edge, a trailer for the new series of TV series Luther came out, with footage at Beachy Head.
As soon as I saw the shot of Luther standing at the edge of a cliff it instantly made me think of our short film, and some of the shots we should use to ensure it’s as visually pleasing as the shots in Luther. From the image below it is clear that this cliff is a bit further down from Beachy Head, as the lighthouse at Beachy Head can be made out in the distance. Not only does this shot give me inspiration for potential shooting and framing in our final project, but this might be an even more appropriate location to shoot some of our scenes at.
The above shot must have been obtained by using a drone, which is what we are planning on using for some of our shots in our final project. We want a variety of interesting shots like this, which create a strong sense of perspective.
Practising as a director:
During reading week me and Nelly decided to get some practice footage of a natural conversation. This gave me an opportunity to direct for the first time. Although it wasn’t a proper shoot, I found it really helpful to see the sort of things I would have to take into consideration when directing for our pilot shoot.
Shooting schedule for pilot/trailer:
We used this shooting schedule when shooting for our trailer. It was really useful sticking to a tight schedule as it meant we were able to obtain the footage in just two days, and spend the rest of the time in post-production.
Shooting schedule for March:
Shot list for pilot/trailer:
We chose to dedicate 2 days to shooting our trailer, on the first day we got shots of just the scenery and on the second day we were shooting with our actor Gabriel. We felt splitting it into two separate days would make the most sense as we didn’t want to have our actor waiting around as we tried to get shots of the scenery that he didn’t need to be present for.
Shoot day 1 – 30th November:
- Panning shot of scenery using slider
- Panning shots of the sea from a distance
- Shots over the cliff edge
- Establishing shot of sea to introduce location (Beachy Head)
- Macro shot of the Grass, with sea in the background
- Different shots of the cliff edge in and out of focus
- Close-up of crashing waves
Shoot day 2 – 11th December:
- Close up of Eli (Gabriel)
- Mid shot of Eli walking towards the cliff edge
- Long shot of Eli walking towards cliff edge
- Over the shoulder shot at the edge of the cliff
- Tracking shot as Eli walks towards the edge of the cliff
- Macro shot of the grass, with Eli at the edge of the cliff
Below is a selection of some of the best shots we used for our trailer:
I particularly liked this low angle shot, as I felt it created an unusual sense of perspective, as if the audience is looking up at Eli as he stands on the edge of the cliff. We chose to end the pilot with this shot as we felt is created anticipation and tension for the audience.