Timetable for workshops with Joanna:
Recording Sound /Using mixers
Shooting dialogue / Lighting on location
Recording Sound /Using mixers
Lighting on location
Workshop 1 with Mary :
- Think about what you need out of the practical sessions – take it to the session with Joanna. Think about the things you don’t need.
- I’d personally like more practical sessions working with equipment. I found the most helpful sessions last term were the ones where we experimented using different equipment.
- What is the current title of your piece? The Edge
- One sentence description of your film. The Edge is about an unexpected conversation between two strangers who are contemplating suicide.
- What’s the biggest anxiety for your group? Making it look like we’re filming at the edge of the cliff, when we can’t for safety reasons. Sound – distorted by wind
- What are you looking forward to? Working with professional and semi professional actors/actresses. All aspects of post production and shooting at an impressive location like Beachy Head.
- Mary advised us to do a risk assessment for Beachy Head location.
- There’s a variety of exercises that can be used on set to create the impression of good chemistry between the actors.
Workshop 1 with Joanna:
Joanna proposed doing casting as a group. Holding a in-call casting call.
- Casting = throwing a net
- Getting the call RIGHT!
- Posting it
- Dates, locations, props
- Casting Procedure
- Casting exercise
Casting call tips:
- Do you want them to prepare something? (advised)
- Set slots for multiple casting sessions
- Give dates estimates
- Clarify fees and expenses
- Don’t give too much info about the story/script/character
- Be open and flexible to what comes
Ask the actors to prepare a short extract for the casting e.g from a relevant play or film. Do not give them your script. Send this extract to them with instructions once they have contacted you.
Casting call template:
ACTORS WANTED FOR SHORT FILMS
Final year Media Practice students at the University of Sussex are producing a series of films over the coming months. Our films range in genre and length but include a love story, thriller etc???
We are looking to fill roles for all kinds of characters; villains, lovers, gangsters, bored office workers, elderly parents, etc etc
We are looking for actors that are interested in developing characters with the Director through a short rehearsal period. Ideally you will be experienced in improvisation, working with text, character development, be flexible and highly committed. We welcome actors with various training, backgrounds, and experiences and are open to all ages, genders and backgrounds. We are holding an open casting call for all these roles (further details below).
Production dates (casting, rehearsals, shoots etc.) & location
Each film is shooting at a different time however the period of shooting is between March-April 2016
You must be available for a minimum of 4 days of rehearsal and shooting. (Exact dates to be negotiated per production)
For rehearsal and shooting days travel expenses and subsistence will be covered
You will be provided a copy of the film for your show reels
Casting will take place on ??? in Brighton from 11.30am – 3.30pm
Please indicate your preferred slot: 11.30, 12.00, 12.30, 13.00, 13.30, 14.00 etc
You will be asked to prepare a short text that will be sent to you upon enquiry along with an improvisation exercise given to you on the day
Please send an email with a CV and any links to previous work to the address below and we will provide the exact location of the casting and a time slot.
As a group we decided that an open casting call wouldn’t really be beneficial for us, as we need to specifically target older women. However, if our initial auditions don’t go to plan we will certainly think about partaking in an open casting.
Workshop 2 with Mary –
We looked at the 2011 and 2015 Media Practice and Theory degree show booklets, and had to decide which projects we felt were the best and the worst projects. This was to help inspire us to come up with effective advertisement for our short films. We discovered that some of the posters appeared to be very amateur, with a poor use of imagery. For our own page in the booklet I want to focus on strong visual imagery, without giving too much away about the film. Our film has the intention of including lots of visual imagery, as it’s only going to be a 5 minute film with limited dialogue and action, we plan on focusing on the striking scenery of the location we are shooting at, Beachy Head. Therefore, I want our page of the degree show booklet to capture the audiences attention through visual imagery. Rather than just using a screen shot from our film, I would like to take the time to take some original photographs to use for our booklet. The projects that merely used screenshots from their films weren’t very impressive, which made it seem as if it had been a rushed process.
Mary advised us to take our time on the page, and to make sure everything is spelt correctly etc.
Discussing trailers that we have enjoyed but been disappointed by the actual film. I don’t like how the majority of feature length trailers give too much away. We made sure that our pilot didn’t give too much of the actual storyline away, we chose to include only our lead male character in our pilot, to give the audience an element of surprise when it comes to watching the actual film, when our second character is introduced.
Youtube video ‘Dammit it Feels Good To Be A Chap’ – by Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer
Think about strategically promoting your film bit by bit. Releasing little bits of information.
A customer at my pub was asking me about my script idea, and she said it made her think of an old film where a young boy, who is obsessed with death, befriends an old woman. Harold and Maude 1971. Which sounds like a similar storyline to ‘The Edge’, in terms of the progression of the unlikely alliance of a young man and an older woman, including the theme of death.
- Make a PR timeline from now until when your film is released.
- What are new ways of thinking about marketing your project?
Workshop 2 with Joanna – acting:
In this workshop we discussed acting, and techniques to use in auditions, this was a very important session for the directors of the groups (me), as Joanna gave us some excellent methods of getting the most out of our actors during auditions. As a class we played out a number of improvisation exercises, as well as group activities. The group activities would work especially well as part of the open casting calls, to get the actors familiar with one another, and comfortable acting as a group etc. While I didn’t enjoy the elements of these sessions where I was put on the spot and asked to act, I feel they were very helpful in getting us to think of different methods of getting the best emotional responses out of our actors, to see what they’re capable of.
Workshop 3 with Mary – this week was for tutorials:
Tutorial with Mary
Explained our issue with not being able to get permission to film on Beachy Head. She said it would not be wise guerrilla filmmaking and could be detrimental for our future and possibly our grade for this project. She asked is there any reason why we should film there? Tarryne suggested the history of Beachy Head and it being a suicide hot spot. Also, the narrative came to Elly’s mind whilst walking on Beachy Head. Nevertheless, Mary suggested this is an opportunity to find an easier and more convenient location which has similar chalky cliff faces that looks and feels like the edge of the world. There are places closer to Brighton and Hove such as Rottingdean or Peacehaven. We can still call it ‘Beachy Head’. In these areas we may not have the same sound issues. We should do a location recce on Thursday and sound test at each location.
For casting, Mary advised we need to push more but it is good we have a plan B.
We outlined our issue with having a similar name, theme and location to ‘Edge (2010)’ by Carol Morely and need to do more brainstorming on titles. Mary suggested to look at Scandinavian dramas which has similar topics such as ‘The Bridge’ and to look at the individual episode titles for inspiration.
To do: Bring publicity material for our film such as images or PR material. For instance showing our designs for our Kickstarter reward T-shirts.
Workshop 4 with Mary – This weeks workshop was cancelled.
Workshop 4 with Joanna:
This session was about lighting on location – we were unable to attend this session as we had scheduled to shoot.
Workshop 5 with Mary:
This week we mainly discussed the Degree Show. Mary gave us all the information we needed for completing the degree show brochure. This is a rough draft of what we have come up with so far:
Elly Moohan-Kabala, Fenella Tookey and Tarryne Rolle
This short film explores an unexpected conversation between two strangers. A young man, Eli, who is stood on the edge of a cliff is contemplating his existence. An elderly woman, Imelda, turns up seeking the same escape. Set near the Seven Sisters, along the Sussex coastline which is a notorious hot spot for suicide, the film highlights that suicide is prevalent in our local area and the emotion that could be behind these shocking statistics. Throughout this film, the viewer is privy to someone’s thought processes minutes before they want to take the leap and how they can be distracted from their purpose of being there.
Ideas can come from simple research practices such as immersing oneself with the world. The film’s location came from walking along Beachy Head cliff tops as well as investigative findings of local’s anecdotes about suicide case studies. Additionally, this project was inspired by the works of Carol Morley, specifically her film Edge (2010) which looks at how suicide affects people of all ages and genders. Additionally, how despite representing such a serious topic matter, moments of comic relief are needed. Looking at literature, Nick Hornby’s ‘A Long Way Down’ helped shaped our characters and their unlikely situation when facing a stranger at such a pinnacle moment.
Workshop 6 with Mary – This weeks workshop was cancelled.
Workshop 6 with Joanna:
During this weeks workshop we discussed editing, Joanna said that it’s important for the director to be present for much of the editing process.
Walter Murch on editing:
Pudovkin’s 5 editing techniques:
1.Log, make notes & watch ALL rushes
2.Highlight and group into themes/ moods/ narrative blocks or character
3.Distill these with post-it notes & play with arrangement
4.Create new edit based on above
Joanna’s example of director rushes:
Workshop 7 with Mary – Adrian covered this lesson as Mary was away
In this workshop we discussed our critical introduction.
Critical introduction: 2500 words
Critical Overview: analyze your own work but be critical of it
- Information about your project and how it is situated critically (with specific focus on your role as appropriate)
- Reflection on the relationship between your project and the contemporary field of practice within which it is situated
- A critical reflection on representation of your subject matter/within your project
- How is your film like and dis-similar to other films
- What other films have influenced you
- How is it different from other short films
- Think about your role specifically
Marking criteria for the production critique:
- Evidence of critical reading and viewing – draw on critical work for short film
- Evidence of ability to reflect critically on own work
- Ability to draw on relevant reading
What is a critical reflection?
- An analysis of the elements of the process and the outcome
- A synthesis of the elements of the process and outcome
- Analysis = examination, investigation, study, scrutiny, taking apart
- Synthesis =
- A critical reflection relates theory to practice and practice to theory
- We can define practice as the film making process and the filmmaking outcome
- We can define theory as a set of ideas concerning a subject matter supported through research
Things to cover:
- Methods – interviews, archive material, location footage, drama sequence, graphics, animation – As director I made these choices because…
- Outcomes – think about the process critically. Reflect on the process you’ve done already. What went well, what didn’t etc
- Requires time and commitment
- You have to read!
- You have to reference correctly
- Don’t use theory to ‘prove’ things – use it to inform your arguments and thoughts
Questions to consider:
- What worked/what didn’t work?
- How far achieved original aims or achieved something else because project had to change direction
Preparing for the critical introduction:
- Choose 3 relevant guest lectures to include in your critical introduction
- Include 5 points about your production with your viewings and academic references
Tips from Adrian specific to our film:
- Look at intergenerational relationships represented in different films
- Analysis on representation of suicide in film
- What does the use of static shots achieve?
- Think of it from a critical point of view – even if you didn’t use certain techniques to achieve something, how can it be interpreted by critics. For example, we didn’t initially choose to use static shots, however on location we decided it would make more sense and be more aesthetically pleasing to use static shots, but think about what the static shots achieve – Does it show the landscape? Does it emphasise the characters sense of entrapment?
Workshop 7 with Joanna:
In this weeks workshop we discussed grading footage. We were given some footage to play around with on Premiere Pro CC. This was a very important workshop for our group in particular, because the lighting in our footage greatly differs. The first day we filmed the lighting was very bright and sunny, the next few shooting days the lighting was much less bright as the weather was fairly overcast. Although Nelly is the editor, we all attended the workshop as we felt it would be best for us to all gain some knowledge regarding grading. After the workshop I decided to find a video tutorial on YouTube, so I could have something to refer back to.
I think this video tutorial explains colour correction very simply, it’ll be useful when it comes to editing our footage, to have tutorials to refer to if we get stuck with grading etc.
We discussed the concept of colour theory: The idea that you can tell the audience a story through using different colour correction. For example, to create a feeling of melancholy you can add tones of blue. This is something that will be good to consider for our short film as the mood changes from the beginning to the end. In the beginning it could be effective to use blue tones to emphasise Eli’s deep feeling of depression, and at the end when he decides against jumping it could add emphasis on his change of mood and decision to live, by using golden colour tones, to add a sense of brightness to the ending shot.
Being able to use colour to create harmony, or tension within a scene, or to bring attention to a key visual theme can be used to spectacular effect. In this article we look at 5 common film colour schemes that can help you understand how cinematic colour design works:
This industry of ours is great. I truly love it, the people, the gear, the creativity and energy. At the same time, as your experience grows and your expanding network of connections allows you to move up the ranks, you also find the expected, assumed level of knowledge increases. This is logical, but I have found the assumed knowledge is often rarely discussed, because, well, it’s assumed that you already have it.
I want to share a few of my “ah ha!” moments that I assume some (most) of you already know, because of course it’s “assumed” knowledge, but the truth is maybe it will help more than a few of you to connect some dots of your own.
If you’ve never really come to grips with why certain colours or combinations of colour evoke or induce a emotional response, or simply just look pleasing, this explanation of basic practical colour theory may suddenly cause the puzzle pieces to fall together or spark some interest in researching it further.
Planning the look
In post of course, a colorist can only work with what he (or she) is given, and so it can be argued that the overall look and feel of the image is the responsibility of the production designer. This is carefully planned by art department as a whole in consultation with the director and cinematographer long before cameras roll. While this is true, how many of us regularly work with a professional production designer?
Sometimes perhaps, but certainly not for every project. Many times I’ve brought on someone in a junior role, or simply used a stylist to quickly set dress a location with found existing objects, or to bring some selected items in with them if needed. The basic knowledge I am about to share helped immensely in those situations.
The Effect of Colour
Colour can affect us psychologically and physically, often without us being aware, and can be used as a strong device within a story. Knowledge gives you control, and control means you can manipulate and use color to give your work a powerful and beautiful edge.
Being able to use color to create harmony, or tension within a scene, or to bring attention to a key visual theme can be used to spectacular effect.
In the sense of the work of the world’s greatest cinematographers we admire so much nothing is accidental. A strong red colour has been shown to raise blood pressure, while a blue colour has a calming effect. Some colours are distinctly associated with a particular location or place, while others give a sense of time or period.
The Colour Wheel
First of all we’ll look at some fundamentals that will apply equally to both design, and post.
It all starts with the colour wheel. This should look familiar to anyone with experience of a 3 way colour corrector.
The colour wheel is the common tool you will see when it comes to colour control, and it is standard in colour theory in defining a number of combinations that are considered especially pleasing.
In a simplified form the colour wheel comprises 12 colours based on the RYB (or subtractive) colour model.
In the RYB colour model, the primary colours are red, yellow and blue. The three secondary colors are green, orange and purple, and can be made by mixing two primary colors. A further six tertiary colors can be made by mixing the primary and secondary colors.
Let’s make some sense of this. Firstly you’ll notice warmer colours on the right side, and cooler colours on the left. Warm colors are bright and energetic. Cool colours give a soothing and calm impression.
We will quickly define the common colour harmonies or colour chords, each consists of two or more colours within a specific pattern or relationship on the colour wheel.
All of the frame grabs used to illustrate the 5 most common schemes were created by graphic designer Roxy Radulescu from her site www.moviesincolor.com. It’s worth taking some time to look through all the work she has done.
5 Common Film Colour Schemes
1. Complementary Colour Scheme
Two colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel make a complimentary pair. This is by far the most commonly used pairing. A common example is orange and blue, or teal. This pairs a warm colour with a cool colour and produces a high contrast and vibrant result. Saturation must be managed but a complimentary pair are often quite naturally pleasing to the eye.
Orange and blue colours can often be associated with conflict in action, internally or externally. Often a internal conflict within a character can be reflected in the colour choice in his or her external environment.
The colour palette of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie” is a great example of a complementary pairing of red and green.
Orange and Teal are readily apparent in this scene from “Fight Club.” Teal is often pushed into the shadows, and oranges into highlights.
A similar look in this scene from “Drive.”
A complementary pairing isn’t always so obvious and the contrast between the two colours used is often relative. Another shot from “Fight Club” which at first appears just to have a strong overall teal tint to the entire image, but a closer look reveals there is still a orange touch to the skin tones relative to the deep blue green.
2. Analogous Color Scheme
Analogous colours sit next to each other on the colour wheel. They match well and can create a overall harmony in colour palette. It’s either warmer colours, or cooler colours so doesn’t have the contrast and tension of the complementary colours.
Analogous colours are easy to take advantage of in landscapes and exteriors as they are often found in nature. Often one colour can be chosen to dominate, a second to support, and a third along with blacks, whites and grey tones to accent.
Reds, Oranges, Browns and Yellows in this scene from “American Hustle” fall next to each other on the colour wheel forming a warm overall feel with very little tension in the image.
3. Triadic Color Scheme
Triadic is one of the least common colour schemes in film and although difficult, can be quite striking.
Jean-Luc Goddard’s 1964 “Pierrot Le Fou” makes use of a triadic colour scheme of red, blue and green.
4. Split-Complementary Colour Scheme
A split-complimentary colour scheme is really very similar to complimentary colours but instead of using the direct opposite colour of the base colour, it uses the two colours next to the opposite. It has the same high contrast but less tension than a complimentary pair.
A split complimentary colour scheme in this scene of the Coen Brother’s “Burn After Reading” of red, green and teal.
5. Tetradic Color Scheme
Tetradic colours consist of four colours arranged into two complementary pairs. The result is a full palette with many possible variations. As with most of these colour harmonies, one colour is usually dominant.
“Mama Mia’s” colourful party scene falls into the example of a tetradic choice of colours creating a well balanced and harmonious palette in a scene that could otherwise have looked like a bad disco.
Some common general looks that can be created in post pretty much regardless of what colours are in the image are the orange/teal look where orange is pushed into the highlights and upper-mids of the skin tones and teal (or blue green) is pushed into the shadows.
A scene from “Magnolia” showing another example of Hollywood’s love affair with orange and teal. Blue/green has been pushed into the shadows, and orange in the midtones and highlights specifically in skin tones.
Below are screenshots from the video we edited during class:
We applied some colour corrections to certain parts of the video,where the sunlight from outside had washed out the furniture and other coloured objects.
Workshop 8 with Mary:
In this workshop we got into groups to discuss what we found difficult during the filming process. I was in a group with Vin and Kate who are producing a short film together, a drama/thriller about a woman who is stalking a man who she’s obsessed with.
- Location was the thing they struggled with the most as they couldn’t find somewhere that had all the necessary rooms – they needed an office space and couldn’t find a house with one
- It was difficult filming a scene where the woman attacks the man by hitting him over the head, as they had to shoot it in a corridor and there wasn’t much space to choreograph
- For this particular scene, which was an important scene in the film, the actors were rehearsing it and wanted to do it straight away so that messed up the shooting schedule
- Sound – in some of the shots you could hear the neighbours next door
- They said they kept to schedule on the majority of the days, they spent a whole day blocking lighting on set, which helped them keep to their time schedule
- They booked an air B&B which their main actor stayed at for the duration of the shoot, this helped them build a friendship with their actor as they were spending so much time with him, they said this also helped with their actor sticking to his character as he wasn’t leaving the house – he was in role the entire time, which added to his acting
Week 8 – workshop with Joanna:
Screening and distribution
- Ask yourself what you want to achieve n terms on getting your work seen?
- Is it ti reach as many people as possible?
- Is it to reach a target audience such as potential employer, talent scouts etc?
- Is it to add to your CV?
Online: Distributions Advice for Filmmakers video:
- Film competitions
- Virgin media shorts
A Slice Of Life by Alex James
- Your Film Festival
About: Your Film Festival, which is presented by YouTube and Emirates Airline, is the only film festival in the world in which the films are created, watched, and judged by you. We invited you to submit your short films for the chance to win $500,000 to create original content on YouTube with the help of Sir Ridley Scott, Michael Fassbender, and the world class team at Scott Free Productions. We were blown away by the quality and quantity of entries we received – over 15,000. Industry professionals at Scott Free selected the top 50 films, which were put up to the public vote. The 10 finalists, chosen by the YouTube community, were flown to Venice by Emirates Airline, where they attended a special Your Film Festival screening at the world’s oldest film festival. After the screening we announced the winner, chosen by the Your Film Festival jury, who will now work with Sir Ridley Scott and team to create their dream content on YouTube. Make sure you subscribe to the channel to get updates on the winner’s progress. Their journey has only just begun.
- Shooting People
- Should have your film freely available online
- Future shorts
- Very competitive industry – it’s hard to get your film seen
Forms of screening/exhibition/ distribution
- Festivals – Withoutabox and FilmFreeway (new ways to submit films to festivals)
Advantages: some festivals offer a great platform, good for networking, confidence boost, can look good on your CV
Disadvantages: fees, no guarantee of acceptance, so many of them – which one? Can become meaningless
- Cinema single screening
- Cinema curated screening
- Public galleries
- Commercial Galleries
- Film clubs
- Open screening events
Last workshop with Mary – discussing Process Books:
- Meeting in groups in class according to your specific roles
- Think about extra activities etc. you are doing to get a higher mark ie key readings, including an index, discussing key readings in relation to lectures, production meetings, annotated bibliographies
- Think about your specific role – include specific films and influences that have helped you out as a director – think about specific activities that have helped you
- When you talk about your role discuss challenges and what you have learnt – at no point in your process book should you give yourself or anyone else excuses – be careful when using negative language – what you are judges by is what you have succeeded in doing – discuss weakness, but at the same time what you have learnt from it etc.
- Make sure to drop by for Mary’s tutorials
- It’s important for colleagues to talk to critique each other in this way – can help improve your work immediately
- This term is about reflection – personal reflection
- Save the cat – last book on screen writing
Week 11 – workshop with Mary.
In this weeks workshop we have been looking at each others footage, and giving feedback.
Feedback to Alpays group:
- Professional camera shots and use of lighting
- Good acting
- Shot of woman hitting the man with a clock could be cut down to make the pace faster
- Photo montage – needs to pick up more pace, and be stabilized
- Perhaps use the Sherlock effect with the text conversation – have the text up on the screen from the text on the phone
- Less focus on phones – text conversation
Feedback for Eli:
- After he throws the phone off the cliff it cuts to a shot of the sea – suggest the audience are going to see the phone falling into the sea
- Leave a longer pause between “carrying a bag of shit” line and – “cliff jumping a better alternative”
- Don’t jump to the waves so quickly when Imelda say’s “sea waves are therapeutic”
Feedback from class:
- Cut the slider shot from the beginning as it doesn’t add anything to the film
- Slow down the editing at the start of the film
- Cinema and the sensory – use for process book – explain why you used extreme close-ups
- Keep consistency with dialogue – it starts off with the characters “taking turns” with speaking – then there are overlaps
- Add some more shots of the sea – repeat the shot of the sea waves throughout
Feedback for Corin’s group:
- Good over the shoulder shot through the window, with the man holding a photo frame – his reflection can be seen in it – there’s 3 different points of focus: out the window, the photo in the frame and the mans reflection
- Focus pull through window- really good
- Slider shoot could have been longer
- Maybe get rid of shot where she looks in the mirror and says ‘lets do this’
- Couldn’t hear a knock on the door when the daughter arrives?
- If you need to cut it down could cut out some of the clip of her humming as I don’t think it’s all needed
- Sound design works well; very dramatic
- Cut some of the dialogue with the daughter arguing with her father; some of the dialogue is a bit too on the nose
- Shorten the shot of the phone as you can’t see the text on the screen- therefore it’s a pointless shot
- There’s a panning shot at the beginning where the grass in the background is dark and the girl in the foreground is lit up
- Opens with a dramatic shot of a man screwing up pieces of paper – low angle creates tension
- All the camera work is really professional – nice variety of shots
- Really like the montage shots of him slamming his empty glass down on the table
- His acting is really good – he conveys anger and frustration really well
- Scene of the woman singing could be cut down
- He doesn’t need to repeat that “music is his life” twice, it has impact already it doesn’t need to be repeated
- His professor doesn’t need to keep repeating his name – Morpheus, when he leaves he could just say “great to see you – take care” rather than “Morpheus great to see you…” doesn’t flow naturally, it becomes awkward
- The montage of him writing his new song works really well but could also be cut down – the fact that he’s wearing different outfits in each shot shows that it’s taken place over a period of time – so it doesn’t need to be as long
- Really nice ending shot – drone shot