260MC: Essay 2

In this essay I will be writing a critical analysis and reflection of the process of production and my own personal development along with analysis and reflection upon the finished film.

Before deciding our film and how we were going to film it, all of us were given allocated roles which we wanted and I was given the role of the Art Director. This meant that I had to design costumes and props and communicate with our director about the style in which he wanted it for our film.

During pre-production was when I was most busy as we were deciding characters and how their personalities would be, at this stage I was drawing up drafts and samples of how they would look and communicating with both of the producers as well as the director with what I had done. This included showing them the designs and also researching the types of clothes online and sending screenshots of what ideas had sprung to mind.

Whilst pre-production was going on, and everybody was confirming characters and the narrative, I kept designing more drafts of the same possible characters and showing them to the crew. The director wasn’t in the country at one point, so I communicated with the producers and kept them in the loop regarding costume choices and what props would be needed. When the director came back we worked really closely and spoke about which costume would suit which character best, as everyone finally decided what the best narrative would be and which characters are necessary to our film, The Can Man.

The producers then asked us all to make a budget for our own individual needs, however because we hadn’t casted yet I couldn’t take measurements from our actors and find out the size I needed for the clothes they had to wear. This really affected us because the time to go to Prague was getting closer and we needed time for the costumes to be delivered and checked to see if they were ok. When we finally had our protagonist I asked the producers for his measurements straight away so I could order the clothes, however as he was quite small and slim some of the clothes we’d decided his character would wear, didn’t have his size. This then lead to hours of searching for other clothes that would not only fit him, but suit the personality we gave his character. A week before we had to go to Prague we found everything that the protagonist, Nicolas, would have to wear and use as props, for example his briefcase, name tag, and of course the Can.

However because I was so focused on getting the costumes and props, I had completely forgotten about makeup and small things like blue tack for props such as the “No shoes, no shirt, no service” sign which really started to take its toll during production, in an unknown city where not many people spoke English. Thankfully one producer had brought her makeup with her and allowed me to use it on our actors, this then made me think as an art director to triple-check things again, because if it were to happen again, there may not be a producer to give me a bag full of makeup. During production I wasn’t needed so much for the exterior shots, so I would go back to the hotel and finish off the props for the next shooting, mainly the sign for the cafe. In this scene, we had no blue tack to stick the sign onto the outside wall, so we improvised and used tape, unfortunately the sign kept falling off and little bits started to break off so we took it off and only put it back on when it was needed in shot.

Also when I had free time, I created a poster for the musician that was going to be used during the Jazz club scene so we could advertise it throughout the film. This was almost a problem though because we only decided having it, the day before needing it, so in a day I created it, but because the print shop was closed it meant I had to go in the morning, when everyone else had to be on set. It then lead to another problem because I didn’t know where the rest of the crew were so I was wondering around trying to find the street that they were on, luckily I found them just before they needed the posters.

The Jazz club was the scene where I was able to be in control of the setting, the director spoke to me about how he wanted it to look so I asked some of the crew members, and a couple of extras who volunteered to help, to manoeuvre tables and chairs into looking a certain way so that it would appeal when being filmed. I positioned everybody telling them where to sit accordingly, whilst the director, DoP and camera operator were discussing the shots. As it was the last night of filming and we were the last group to finish filming everybody had a sense of electricity around them to finish and celebrate, so everyone was very accommodating.

When our first AD finally said “that’s a wrap”, we moved onto the post production stage. The footage was given to our editor and our actor went home, however although I had finished designing costumes and props, and had finished dressing up our characters, I decided to create a guerilla poster for our film and print it off on our last day in Prague. I spoke to the director and a producer, and they encouraged me to do it and stick them in the locations in which we filmed. After I showed them the design, they gave me their blessing and I went to promote our film across Prague.

Overall I would say that our film has gone smoothly, before, during and after production and although it was a lot of work for us all, it was worth it in terms of experience and the results. As the art director I couldn’t be happier since I managed to get the characters dressed in the style I had hoped and everybody got on really well.

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264MC: Essay 1

In this essay I will be writing about how short films are produced, it will involve the different circumstances in which they are funded, distributed and created. I will be using the independent short film Today’s The Day as my case study in order to explain how short films are produced.

Today’s The Day is a short musical directed by Daniel Cloud Campos and produced by the companies Blue Tongue, Doomsday, Blue Light Entertainment, Amoved Company and Quad. It used crowd funding and raised over £50,000 with its Kickstarter campaign, as Daniel Cloud Campos is a well-known Youtube sensation and most of his videos online are popular and liked. Funding is a key factor to making a short film, it allows the crew to use this money for film purposes only without having take money out of their own pocket. For every person who would want to create a short film, they would be better off crowd funding and getting sponsors as they would also have the support of the public and those who are sponsoring them. Filmmakers would have to decide the budget they would need before crowd funding, and then create a funding plan which would be able to help them as a foundation when pitching their idea to potential funders. SpannerFilms suggest to filmmakers to “not be over optimistic when thinking about costs, to always allow ten percent extra as everybody goes over budget, and to try and keep the budget small” (http://www.spannerfilms.net/how_to_crowd_fund_your_film). This is so that more of the public and the potential funders will be more drawn in to support filmmakers when they’re making their film as it would be a small cost and the extra ten percent may or may not be needed, so its more likely that they’ll reach the goal they need than the goal they want.

In terms of distribution, short films are mainly known for being entered into film festivals, however you can also upload your film online onto popular websites such as Short of the Week and FilmShortage. Today’s The Day was uploaded on Short of the Week and nominated for the Breakthrough performance award, the Domani Vision award and the Special award from the New York VisionFest and was also nominated for the best narrative short award from the Tribeca Film Festival. IndieWire shows an article written by Josh Tanner, a writer and director for the short film The Landing, who explains that he distributed his film by entering it to several film festivals but found the best way to distribute it was online as it received “20 times more than the numbers of viewers at the 50+ film festivals we screened at over its year long festival run.” he also uploaded it onto Short of the Week, and used a launch pad to “elevate the film to their readers, which included Vimeo staff members” resulting in it becoming a Vimeo Staff Pick. He also says that “the best way to treat an online release is as if it’s your own, self-distributed cinema release.” however Tanner mainly focuses on the importance of not letting the internet audience do all the work, you should reach out to people and self-promote your film and way you possibly can (http://www.indiewire.com/article/attention-filmmakers-5-tips-for-making-and-distributing-your-short-film-20141219).

Another element of a short film would be how long the duration of the movie should be. In the article Attention, Filmmakers: 5 Tips for Making and Distributing Your Short Film, Josh Tanner states that some films may not fit festivals due to the running time, as some festivals such as Cannes don’t accept films that are over 15 minutes. This could be a problem for some short films, for example The Landing since that’s 18 minutes long. He also mentions how “a long short will find even more difficulty online than on the festival circuit, as the 15-minute wall lowers into a 10-minute one.”Today’s The Day has the duration of 13 minutes so it’s under that 15 minutes barrier for festivals but is over the 10 minute barrier. In the article 7 rules for writing short films, Stephanie Joalland mentions that the shorter your film, the better it is as there are less costs in terms of producing and feeding cast and crew, but don’t rush the production if you want the film to be good quality. Also if you’re going to enter it into a festival then it should be under 10 minutes so it doesn’t eat up time (http://www.raindance.org/7-rules-for-writing-short-films/).

When it comes to promoting a shirt film, methods have changed within the past few decades. Before, short films would be shown on television in between feature films, and even today they still are on channels like Sky Movies, but its mainly animation, and most of the time its not independent, its usually a conglomerate like Disney. Most days people have to look to find a short film, unlike other feature films which are easier to find on your television. Short films don’t have trailers as such, occasionally a teaser trailer but most of the time its the big Hollywood feature films that use that  method. Filmmakers promote their short films by using social networking, for example Facebook and Twitter so that they keep their audience in the loop, and to encourage their followers to spread word about their new short film. It creates an online discussion between the public and crew, making the audience feel more involved. For example if you were to create a Guerilla style poster you could ask the audience what colour they’d prefer, or you could hold contests for them to participate in. Nowadays short films also have a website to show the audience behind the scenes footage and to show cast and crew interviews, this gives them a reason to support the film even more because it gives them insight, which feature films don’t do.

In conclusion, to successfully create a short film, you must have a budget and funding plan for potential funders when pitching, crowd funding is the best and easiest way as it involves the public and you gain support. You shouldn’t make the budget too big as it will only repel those who might give you money. When creating your film, aim to be under 10 minutes so that you can enter it into film festivals and online short film websites. If you are going keep it under 10 minutes it will save you money and time, but make sure that you don’t rush the production as you want a good quality film. When promoting, use social networking so that you gain followers and that your film can be spread by word of mouth and online.

264MC: Short Film Task 1

Individually, produce two blog posts (1000 words each): one at the beginning of the module and one at the end of the module. Blog post 1 should contextualise short film production: what are the different circumstances in which they are produced, how are they funded, how are they distributed etc. Use one short film as a case study but refer to others as necessary. Blog post 2 should provide a critical analysis and reflection of the process of production and your own professional development along with analysis and reflection upon the finished film.

Signs- A short film

264: Short Film Synopsis

264MC: Ideas

 

Based on the idea “I let myself believe for a mere second that I could escape for good”

 

A girl who has moved to Prague has finally forgotten her past of being abused by her stepbrother. She has a good job and a good life and supportive friends around her. One day she bumps into her stepsister who is there on holiday with the rest of the family. When the stepsister asks the protagonist to join them for dinner, the girl remembers the all the years of torment she had to go through, and suddenly starts facing mental health problems, hallucinating that her stepbrother is coming after her. Soon it starts affecting her life, her relationships and everything that is important to her.