Firstly, at the start of the week I did the contexts and critical perspective of the film. I explained the purpose of the film and why I think it should be made. I also said about the festivals and how I’m going to be distributing the film. I proposed that I submit it into an LGBT festival and also a student film festival, I think these would be good festivals because the target audience would either be able to relate or be informed and educated by the film; both are my purpose. I explained that my film is about a new topic that not many people fully understand, this is why I’m trying to inform and educate the audience so that they understand most transgender people challenge the stereotypical views. For example, when trans female’s where a lot of makeup, dresses, heels, etc. I also explained how theres a gap in the market for my film, giving an even bigger incentive to make this film the best I possibly can to fit my proposed purpose. By thinking about the purpose of my film, I have started briefly thinking about the mise en scene in my film; this doesn’t need to be thought about in detail just yet, however I have a slight idea about the costumes my characters will be wearing.
I then went on to the main proposal. I started with the rationale where I explained that my film, once again going to challenge stereotypical views, and that theres a gap in the market for this film. I then went onto explain how I’ve improved the last two years and gained time management and cinematography skills that will help me with this last FMP. I went onto giving and example about how I pursued these skills. These skills will help my project because it means I’ll be able to plan the film effectively before I start shooting, which means on production days it will go to plan rather than playing it all bye ear. Following on, I started to say about how this project will challenge my ability to produce a feel that create emotion for the audience. In this section, I could’ve improved by explaining how I was going to develop this skill. I also went on to say how in my proof of concept I didn’t bring any lighting, meaning when I come to produce this film I will need to be a lot more prepared so I am able to shoot the best looking film I can. I then followed with the concept. In my concept section I explained the storyline and the idea of my film. I then went on to explain a small bit of research I have already done, and what research I’m going to be doing be doing to help the mise en scene. To improve, I could explain some more research I’m going to do rather than just picking one bit of secondary research. Following from this, I explained how the feel of the film is going to look as natural as possible, but not noisy and grainy. This includes using natural as possible lighting, real locations and non-professional actors. I rounded it off by saying how I’ll be using my class time effectively and productively by doing as much work as possible. Thirdly, I did my evaluation section. I explained how I’ll be doing weekly reflective journals on my progress and evaluating what i’ve done each week in order to improve. I also explained how I’ll be using focus groups throughout the 12 weeks to make sure that I’m keeping on track with the purpose and the audience. Finally, I explained how I was going to do a final evaluation after the screening and critique of my film. Conclusively, I explained what research I was going to do in my bibliography section. I explained how I was going to, once again, do focus groups for primary research. I then went onto explain how I was going to do lighting tests and test shoots to make sure that I know exactly how well my film is going to flow. I’ll also be doing secondary research into many aspects, such as the costumes, locations and finally how to make my film create an emotion with sound an visuals.
I then did made an action plan. In which I have explained in detail what I’ll be doing in the first few weeks until Easter. I’ll be working my way through the pre-production and research in order of relevance. First off I’m going to start by coming up with a brief storyline which I will then put into a full blown script in the first two weeks (including review week). In this time, I’m also going to put an advert on a casting website solely aimed at student films so that throughout my pre-production process I have the ability to find actors, rather than leaving it until just before shooting. I then go on to do the shot list, shooting order and scene breakdown. I’ve put these into two whole days, which looking back now probably isn’t a good idea because they’re all long tasks that might take a while. However, I made that Thursday all day is free so that I can finish off everything so far so that I am up to date and ready for research into the production work. For example, lighting and shooting tests. Also secondary research into the location and techniques I can use to create emotion. After this week of research and making an equipment list, I then had the last week until the production for call sheet writing and script read throughs with my actors. The last day and weekend before the holidays is for me to make sure everything is up to scratch before the production. By doing an action plan, it has helped me realise that getting all of this done in such a short time is possible. It has cleared my mind up and made me more motivated to stick to the allocated time schedules.
Overall, my week has been productive so that I am able to start pre-production next week. Next week is review week, however I’m going to be doing some small it of pre-production such as setting up a storyline for my film so that the script goes smoothly.
At the start of this week I started planning and writing my script. This was a struggle because I had a lack of idea’s for the script and couldn’t get inspiration. To overcome this problem, I looked at the question and answers that I asked to my three transgender friends and came up with some scene idea’s. It took me a while to get inspired, and then we ended up going on a college trip. On this college trip we had to plan, shoot and edit a horror film in a team. By doing this, I gained more team building skills since we all had to quickly and rapidly work together. It also helped me realise how vital detailed and good pre-production is to a production, since we barely did anything for the film and it didn’t turn out very good. We should’ve planned a script, got some lights, etc. Another thing that came from the trip was that I found who would be good to recruit for my film as the sound operator and cinematographer. Also, I found how important good actors are to a production because our actors were not very good- making the film downgrade. Conclusively, in my film I’m going to be doing auditions and getting real actors for it to make it as good as I can.
This week I looked into getting actors for my film. At first, I gained many applications for the role of Sarah. Two of which I got in contact with and they said they’re able to come for an audition. I did have someone apply for Leo, however when I got in contact with him he said that he is unavailable on weekdays, which is unfortunate because it’s the only times I’m able to film in the locations I’ve looked at. After a while, someone else had applied for the role however he’s not in the UK for the preferred audition time so I explained to him that we can do one after he gets back. I have told one, 33 year old woman, that she has the role of Mum. This is because she has had many parts before acting as a mum in different student films and good recommendations, therefore I thought I would accept her for the role. Unfortunately, there is no one thats applied for the role of Tommy. To overcome this, i’ll ask around as much as possible to try and get someone for that role. For the actors and the crew, I also did an availability sheet for them so that I can gain when everyones free to work around the actors and crew when production. These sheets will be given out on the auditions.
I gained some feedback from my tutor. The first thing he said was that the scene headings weren’t done properly considering I didn’t put ‘INT’ and ‘EXT’ for internal and external scenes. I also needed to add in the location and the time of the day into the script. Since this was just a simple formatting issue, I was able to overcome this quickly and easily. In my original script one of the girl friends is called ‘girl 2’ because I thought since she wasn’t going to be that relevant to the story, there was no point giving her a name. However, I saw where my tutor was coming from and quickly gave her a simple name of ‘Kat’. I then gained some good feedback from him saying “I think the opening scene is really strong though”. He also then says that the story progresses really well and that there is some really good scenes.
He carries on to say how some of the dialogue is “too explanatory”, for example with the scene in the canteen and saying about The Danish Girl. Originally, I had Ava explain how she loves it because it’s about transgenderism and Tommy say that he would support his friends/family if they were transgender. This scene is at the start of the script, and my tutor thought that it would be too explanatory too quickly. Therefore, I still had the conversation about Eddie Redmayne and The Danish Girl, however I didn’t made it too obvious. By this I mean, a small amount of smiles exchanged rather than a full on conversation about transgenderism. Another criticism that my tutor gave me was that the conversation with Ava’s mum was too explanatory, therefore he suggested to change it to a montage with movement as the story teller rather than dialogue.
Overall, my tutor said that he liked the flow and the storytelling of the script apart from a few different tweaks. Therefore, in a script sense it goes really well and it’s not too explanatory and doesn’t give the game away too early. Next, I’m going to be sending this newly edited script to my transgender friends to get a feel or how realistic and relatable the context is as a whole. This will be really good research as it will help my script fit the purpose of the film.
I also rearranged my action plan. I realised this week that the script, and the research for it, will take longer than I expected. Therefore, I rearranged my action plan since I noticed I didn’t need three full weeks to shoot. I delete a week of shooting after the Easter holidays for more pre-production and research time, to give myself more time to plan and research the production thoroughly. Overall, my problem was that I was running out of script writing time on my action plan, and I overcame this by rearranging it and gaining more time.
I looked back at the question and answer sheet I gained from my three transgender friends a while back, read over it and highlighted any information thats relevant/a lot like what I had in my script. I then wrote all of this information down for research because it explains where I got my contexts and ideas from. For example, when Ava comes out to everyone on Facebook, thats an idea from my interviewee’s because thats how all three of them officially came out and introduced themselves on social media to all of their Facebook friends. Another example is that their friends are expecting straight away, but family take a while to come round.
Conclusively, I have done some research into the actors, script and contexts of the film. I think I’m on track to making a great script, after a lot of hard work getting into it. Also, I’m on track to getting good actors for my film and making it relatable and realistic, just like I wanted. Everything I have done this week has helped me make the most realistic and relatable script I could, which fits my proposal.
This week I have gained some responses from my transgender friends on the script so that I’m able to see how realistic my script is and if there was any faults in the script that made it unrealistic. From one of my transgender, male to female friends, she explained how “The characters dialogue seems natural” which is exactly what I wanted from the script and feedback to make it as relatable as possible. She also said how I had nailed the “friends aspect” of the script, which is another thing that I’m glad I nailed. She said that “Ava having people who’d support her is realistic and adds humanity”. However, she then said that there should be a friend “Who can’t handle the news”, therefore I’ve changed my script to add a character that doesn’t agree with transgenderism, to add the harsh reality to the script. To overcome this problem without ruining the flow of the storyline and adding an upsetting scene, I suggested to her that I change on scene. In this scene, the group of four discuss Eddie Redmayne, proceeding to hint to The Danish Girl. To add the aspect of rejection from a friend, I could incorporate Kat commenting on the fact that she finds The Danish Girl gross or inhumane. She gave me some feedback about how she didn’t really agree with the mums reaction since it was ‘too accepting’, however that’s one aspect that I wanted to add an accepting mother so that it relates to the question and answers I gained at the start of the production. She then proceeded to say that “everything regarding clothing/hiding internet results and feminine objects” is very realistic which is great considering the purpose of my film is to be realistic. Overall, I asked for the feedback because I wanted to know whether my script was actually realistic to peoples transitions, and from asking my friends I gained the knowledge that in fact it is realistic, apart from a few small things which I changed.
I then went on to do some research about Starnow.com and actors. I found that Starnow is a very good website to use for casting calls for student films considering there’s a lot of young actors on the website, since it’s free. I also found that it’s easier and smoother to navigate over other sites like castingcallpro.com. Therefore, I found that starnow was definitely the best route for me to go down. Also, I have found a potential actor for Tommy, who I have emailed with a script and explained how the auditions will be after the Easter holidays.
I then went on to research about lighting. I did a mood board with different indoor and outdoor shots from social realistic films so that I could get an idea of what type of lighting I’d incorporate in my film. I explained how the lighting is very natural and you can locate a source, for example light coming through a window or from a lamp. This is what type of lighting I’m wanting to use in my film because it’s the most realistic lighting you can use. I also went on to explain how you can easily tell the time of day due to the lighting, because it’s not made to look artificial and always brightened. Following from this, I did some research into how to achieve this lighting. I found that you can gain a natural look by bouncing colours off light coloured walls to achieve a balanced look around the room. I also found that during midday the lighting “has a cooler or neutral color”, which is the best colour for my film. If you’re filming outside you should use as many reflectors as possible, whilst using the sunlight as the backdrop.
I then carried this research on to do my first set of lighting tests; in college. I placed my subjects in the part of college that’ll I’ll be filming in and worked my way around the sunlight and lack of. I started with a table and seats in the canteen with a whole wall full of windows, gaining a lot of sunlight. At first I had a problem of the white balance on the camera was off, but once we had finished that the lighting tests in this room went well. I learnt that using a big LED as a filler light is very useful. I then went on to do some lighting tests in the hallway, which has a lot less sunlight coming through and only the use of ceiling lights. These lights didn’t brighten up my subjects very well, therefore I used a key light to brighten up their faces. I first had the camera on a high setting, but then came to the conclusion that it looked too artificial, therefore I turned it down to make it more natural.
Overall, this week I have done a lot of research into my script, actors and lighting. I have learnt a lot of information from this week about how realistic I’ve made my script, how to achieve the lighting I want to and then how easy that would be to do. To improve, I could do some more research into how to light a room as if it’s night time, like a party. This is because I have a scene at the start of my script there Leo and Tommy are in a dark bedroom. Next week, I will do some lighting tests in the other location I’m using, so that I know how to light a small room with minimal day light coming through.
I started this week off following off from last week by doing some lighting tests in the other location. I started off in the room that will be used as Leo’s, I used the key light acting as the sun light, a rim light acting as the ceiling light and a filler light for the background and the shadows in her face. I started by doing scenes of my subject stood up in the daylight, so that I’m able to understand how to light the daylight scenes. I found that by using the research I did previously, I gained a more natural look to the shots. I then shut the curtains and had my subject sit on the bed with the laptop open, so that I understood how to light one scene in my script. I used my phone light in front of the laptop screen to act as the screen light, and then I used a rim light on her face and a dimmed filler light to smoothen her face out. I had a few problems doing this bit because I didn’t understand how to light a scene properly using the laptop screen as the key light. I also caught the light in the picture behind my subject, and a cross shadow behind her head, giving away to the audience that the lighting is fake. Therefore, I will need proceed to do some research on how to light this type of scene effectively.
I then went onto another room that will be used as Sarah’s room in my film considering the colouring and decoration is very feminine. We first lit the room with the curtains open to understand what the lighting would be like with both day light and artificial light. Both of them worked well, however I feel like it looked too bright and artificial. Therefore, we then proceeded by shutting the curtains to see what it would be like lighting the room with minimal daylight. This worked well because the difference between day lit and not day lit wasn’t a massive difference, apart from a few more shadows on the face. This is exactly the effect I wanted on my film because it adds texture to their faces. I had to experiment with different percentages of lighting to get the softest look on my subjects face, otherwise it would’ve looked too artificial.
I then did some lighting tests in a room which I’ll be using as the party room at the start, therefore I needed to have low lighting and only brighten up their face in a natural way. At first it was hard to light because we either had a too dark lighting or too bright, but finally we found the right in-between with only using a key light on 55% and a rim light to lighten up their faces slightly. And finally, we needed to lighten up the bathroom in a natural way too. This was pretty easy to light, however anything we did it gained an artificial feel to it. Therefore, after a lot of experimentation I got the right lighting.
To start on some planning, I also then did the scene breakdowns. There took quite a long time to do because I had to plan out every prop and extra I needed in each 8 scenes of the film. Even though it took a while to breakdown every aspect, it was worth while because I can then plan the props and equipment that I need out effectively and easily.
Overall, this week I have done a lot of lighting research and gained knowledge of how I will be lighting one location effectively. Next week I will be doing some research a bit more into lighting and then also starting one some other research or planning.
This week I did all of my filming for my film. I filmed over a course of three days, where they get progressively better throughout the days.
Day one started a bit rocky. I woke up to find out that one of the actors was poorly, therefore I had to swap the two days in this location around, having all of her scenes the day after rather than on day one. This wasn’t a problem since we hadn’t set up anything just yet, therefore the day still went well. Another problem was that two of the rooms I wanted to use for two of the scenes (Sarah’s bedroom and the party scene at the start), were unusable. This is because the owner of the house was decorating one of the rooms and left everything in the other room. To overcome this problem, I planned to shoot at one of the actors houses on the second day, however once we got there we realised they were drilling all day downstairs (since they were having work done too). After setting up and realising this problem, we had to use the camera and sound operator’s houses as the sets on the third day. This part was rather stressful at first, but by the end of day three it worked very well. Overall, the locations used in day one were definitely very good and looks great in the scenes shot.
With the equipment, we had a lot of technical difficulties considering I only had one battery for my camera. To overcome this, we kept having to take small breaks to charge the batteries up. These breaks gave a good time for us to evaluate what we have already done and what we need to do next. Me and my camera operator weren’t fully trained with my camera, the Canon 750D, since we needed to get used to it a small bit before filming. My camera is mostly similar to the 550D we normally use, however there were small differences we needed to adjust to. To overcome this, we took some small bits of footage of random things to get used to the technology. We also had a problem of the marantz kit running out of battery, therefore we had to go to the shop and buy some batteries for the kit so that we were able to keep going as soon as possible. This also gave us another chance to charge up the camera and look over what we have done.
My actors came in suitable clothing for the shoots, after me explaining to them what clothes I’d like them to wear. They also brought other outfits with them so that they’re able to do different scenes throughout the day, which was very proactive of them. One costume error that we came across was that we needed a bra for some of the films that Leo could wear, to overcome this whilst we were out buying batteries for the marantz kit we bought a bra that would fit the actor and look realistic. I had all of the props ready, which wasn’t a lot other than some food, mugs, nail polish and some clothes for the floor. There was no problems on this part of the production, other than the bra situation which we swiftly overcame.
Overall, the day went well, however it was a slow day because of technical difficulties we faced during the day. However, this meant that we would learn from it the days after and make sure that everything was charged and constantly going on charge whenever we have even a small break. Also, that we bring the bra and make sure all of the equipment and locations are sorted before shooting.
Day two started with the crew turning up on time, but my main actor getting there late due to having to go to college before hand. However, he wasn’t massively late and it meant that we could start as soon as he arrived. The rooms we were able to use were great for the scenes, and this is the day where we went to my actors house but they were drilling. So, we overcame this by rescheduling to the day after in my crew’s houses, since their rooms really fit the look I’m wanting to create. The day went pretty smoothly, starting off with Owen (Leo) and Hannah (Sarah) acting some scenes, doing alone scenes with Owen and then following to the last scene including Rachel (Mum). We took a while doing the first scene that includes Joe (Tommy), since the other actors weren’t used to him doing a ‘camp’ voice, sand after a long day of work, the giggles came through. We overcame this by reshooting the same scene, finally getting it right. Just like every other day, the camera battery ran out. So we overcame this by charging it up on small breaks. Overall, the second day went a lot more smooth and quickly, until we went to Owen’s house to do some scenes, and they started grilling. We overcame every problem effectively and efficiently.
On the last day, everyone was on time, however we didn’t have a sound operator this day and one actress wasn’t able to come. To overcome these, I asked some drama production students to do the sound, since they know how to sort out levels on sound technology. Then, one of the crew volunteered to be an actress to say a few a lines in the college scene. Both of these solutions worked well, considering the sound sounds good and the acting worked well, too. The locations worked really well on day three. The scenes in the college canteen went well, with a good amount of background noise and the sound of the actors talking. However, one of the places I wanted to film some shots in I was unable to use due to safe guarding, therefore to overcome this I had to do the shots in a quieter place. Winter gardens went well for the scene in a Cafe, the lighting was brilliant. However, the place were there was a free table was small and crowded, but we got over this by packing everything as tightly as possible and filming quickly. Georgia’s (camera operator) house worked brilliantly for the party scene, because it was a nice dark room with black out blinds, and there is a lava lamp beside her bed that lit up the characters in a nice dark red light. Finally, Maddy’s (sound op) house also worked really well for Sarahs room because it was feminine, but not overpoweringly. Also, the wardrobe was right next to the bed, in a perfect place to shoot the scene. And finally, she has photos of Hannah (Sarah) on the walls, since Maddy and Hannah are close friends. Overall for location and actors, everything went really well and effectively on day three, despite any set backs.
The equipment worked well in college and winter gardens, however at Maddy’s house the memory card ran out. We tried to put everything on a laptop, but they wouldn’t transfer across. After persevering for a long time, it finally worked and we could carry on filming these scenes. Despite this working now, the battery then was starting to run out, therefore we had to quickly film the last few shots and charge the camera and Georgia’s house, in time for filming the last scenes. Overall, the timings and locations went extremely well on the third day, with barely any technical difficulties and a nice smoothly, satisfying last day.
These two weeks I spent editing my film thoroughly. It started as a struggle because I didn’t do a log sheet whilst filming, therefore I had to manually search through all of my footage to find which ones were usable, and which ones linked with the audio. This took me around three hours to look through all of my 100+ video’s and audio files to see which ones were usable. Whilst going through these, to save myself hassle in the editing process I wrote captions to the audio and film that links to the scenes in my script. This helped me because I could easily sync the footage up without searching through them all to see which linked up. It then made it easier to place my footage into the timeline, in order of the script. After having the problem of no log sheet to make the edit easier, I decided to become more organised when I was looking through the footage. This saved me time and effort when building a base for the edit.
Once building a base for the edit, I started tweaking little things with it. At first I started tweaking little bits by cutting everything to detail and to fit in with each other. The first thing I came across was the audio for the canteen scenes. The audio has a lot of background music over the top, which is the same frequency as the actors voices. I tried many things like YouTubing how to downgrade background noise, changing the EQ, many things. None of them worked, they didn’t change the background noise it just made that actors sound robotic. After trying and trying, once I showed my tutor and he realised that I still had the storyline audio on, as well as the marantz. After taking the storyline audio off, the marantz audio is pretty clear and crisp.