264MC Evaluation

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For this module we were expected to get into groups of 7 or 8 and produce a short film. Within this extract I will be looking into the process as a whole, from the Pre production plan, to my specific role and how the film turned out. The role that I applied for was the role that I was given. That role was Director of photography. I wanted to be this role because in previous tasks and projects I have worked on I have enjoyed working with and behind the camera.

When it came to the meetings majority of people were very good. We turned up on time and we were very enthusiastic about the project that we were given. We had two solid ideas for the story we wanted to use for our short film. Because they were both strong stories that everybody liked it was hard for us as a group to decide as a group which one to go for. Because of this it slowed down the group in the progress that we wanted to make. We turned up to pitches with two idea’s to show rather than one, which as a group we can all agree on if we could go back in time we would change this. We should have decided on what we wanted and gone with it for the sake of the group.

The one thing that I did really enjoy working with this group was the fact everything was planned very well and apart from choosing the story we were always ahead of time. We didn’t want things to pile of top of us, we set clear deadlines as a group, and individually. For example as D.O.P one task that I gave myself was to look into different director’s of photography and look into what the job role entailed. We set out group meetings with different departments at least once a week which both worked very well, but at times caused rifts in the group. In the sense that every department knew what they had to do and what they were going to do for that week it worked extremely well. But I feel that not knowing at different points were other departments were was sometimes confusing. I feel we should have had more whole group meetings to make sure everyone knew where they stood, and if one department was working ahead of schedule and one wasn’t, help could have been given.

When it came to filming out in Birmingham and in Prague I feel that was where I learnt the most. Personally I wanted to go into the shoots knowing exactly what I had to do as a director of Photography. Having weekly meetings with the cameraman and director really helped this. We was able to work well with each other, and know what we had to do on set. I think the only problem we had on set was the fact we wasn’t able to use both camera and lighting in the location that we were at before, so the lighting plan that was made for the shoot had to be altered on the day. There was only so much you could plan for the lighting because you wouldn’t know how it would look on camera until the day, thankfully we had given ourselves enough time to try out a few different things on the day, which ended up working very well for us.

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Looking at our final edit I was pleased to see how our film had turned out. On screen it looks the exact way we wanted it to look. As a D.O.P to have a vision and see it turn out as excepted its great. I think the strongest thing about the edit is the acting from Francesca and Damian, they two characters played their roles very well. I also think the shoot that we shot in Birmingham, which was the dinner scene looked very nice, both because of the lighting and the location its self and how the scene was set. The only thing that I would change if we could go back would be the amount of takes we took. There were a few were I feel they wasn’t as good as they could have been for the actors and to spend a little more time on them could of made a huge difference, but as most films are we ran out of time to reshoot because we were very limited for time.

I myself have learnt a lot about the process of making a short film, and feel this has been the most beneficial module to myself in the two years I have spent here. From everything such as meeting with the actors for a table read, right to making sure our actors were treated in the best possible way, it really did feel like a professional film set. Learning the role from other people through the Internet, to meeting a director and working D.O.P. We all put a lot of work into the film both on and off the set, I can proudly say i was apart of this team. We worked well together and got what we wanted. The one thing as D.O.P I struggled on the most and was very nervous about was the lighting, after sitting down and talking about it I was able to set out a solid plan that worked very well with our film. I was very pleased with the cinematography of our film. I worked very closely with the director and cameraman and the bond that we had made it easier for us to get the shots that we wanted. At the start of the process I wouldn’t of known how to light a huge manor hall or an intense scene in a cramped hallway, or creating different lighting to show what time of day it is, but this process has taught me a lot about how to do this, and how having control over all aspects of lighting is a huge benefit to D.O.P. It’s this small things I have learnt over this process that makes me feel much more prepared and pleased with myself going into the future.

Short Film contextualisation

What is Short Film? According to the Academy of Motion pictures a Short film is a film that is under forty minutes including credits. When film started back in 1894 all films were classed as Short films. A popular example of this would be ‘Kinetoscope’. But as the industry grew along with technology it gave directors the chance to edit longer film. As time progressed feature films were created and become the normality within Film, because it was what audiences expected. Although many Short films were still produced by the likes of Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison feature films took the front seat in the film industry.

The reason for many Short films being created is the fact the people creating it does not have the funding to create a feature length film. A film that I looked closely into was a Short film created by Antonio Oreña-Barlin called ‘Drawcard. This film was made back in 2015 by Adam Dunn, Thomas Mittchell and Oreña-Barlin. The short film is a live action comedy about an office worker that has been pranked, and wants to find a way to get his own back, but it badly backfires. There are many moments in the film were the plot twists and thickens, it makes for a very easy watch, with many laughs throughout. This film had and extremely low budget, but it didn’t matter because it didn’t lessen the film in any way. Many Short films that are produced have extremely low budgets. Because of the fact many Short films are created because of low budgets, it opens doors for many young people such as students, and it acts as a great introduction into film production.’Short films really helped me develop as a story teller, animator, and as a director.’ (John Lasseter)

There are many ways that Short films are funded. One that is used very often at the moment is crowd funding. An option that is very popular at the moment is creating a page on sites such as ‘gofundme’ and ‘indigogo’. The way they get people to give money is by giving them access other people don’t have to the Short film. Such as behind the scenes content and personally messages and autographs from the actors and directors that feature in the film. Through this people can donate a certain amount they want to reach the funding goal created by the people creating the Short Film. Social Network is a very good way to promote these pages and that’s what many creators do to fund the film that they are making. Taking away equipment used such as cameras, lighting and sound equipment majority of Short films do not spend much money on set compared to Hollywood feature films that have over three million pound budgets.

That’s what makes short film so interesting is that anyone can make one. In the 88th academy awards a joke was made about the nominees of ‘Best Short Film’ about the fact this is the ‘biggest moment of their lives’ and ‘it wont get better than this for you’ by Luis CK. Even at the most prestigious film event in the World the budgets for these films are extremely low. Once the Short film is made and completed edited, they are then sent out to film festivals. Some film festivals are dedicated just for Short film such as ‘Kinofilm’ and one that I an very interested in ‘London Short Film festival’ Majority of Film Festivals have a entrance fee, so to have a chance of being nominated you have to pay a fee. The film I spoke about ‘Drawcard’ was entered into Australia’s largest Short film festival called ‘Tropfest’. The people that created this Comedy Short film had to pay $45. This film was nominated for an award in this festival and received very good reviews. Because of this the Short film was been viewed over 15,000 times including views from Youtube, Vimeo, and the Tropfest Site. In some film festivals, bigger film companies often buy films that are nominated and films that win awards for a fee. They do this because then that film company owns all rights to that film. Another route that Short films that can place is that the creators can be approached by larger film companies and given the opportunity to create a feature length film based on the Short. There are many examples of this that have succeeded such as ‘Napoleon Dynamite 2004’, Mad Love 2015’. The very famous film franchise ‘Saw’ was based on a short film to begin with.

When creating a Short film I saw a quote that was used a lot. ‘Show, don’t tell’. This I feel is very important when thinking about short film. The whole point in creating a Short film is because you want to get across your point within a short period of time. There is no room for pointless scenes or ‘filler’ scenes because if you wanted that then you would just create a feature. Short films are quick paced, but thought is not forgotten. They tend to use visuals rather than dialog to tell the story, as it’s quicker for the audience to read subconsciously. Most Short films are also of a single moment rather than it spread out over a period of time. This runs very true for the film that I looked into ‘Drawcard’. It was quick paced and it happened over a period of less than a day just like many short films are. Majority of Live action Short films are either based on a true event or based on a memory from the creator of the Short film. This makes it very easy to construct as a short film, because a live action piece would normally take place within 25 seconds to 40 minutes, so it’s easy for the creator to turn memory into a Short film. There were relatable characters and a plot that keeps you gripped all the way until the end. It haves everything a Short film should have.

Bibliography
BrainyQuote, 2016 (2001) John Lasseter quotes at BrainyQuote.com. Available at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlasset597736.html?src=t_short_films (Accessed: 10 March 2016).
Clevver News (2016) 7 best presenter moments from the Oscars 2016: Jacob Tremblay, the minions, Woody & buzz. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZM0Tp7D-1do (Accessed: 10 March 2016).
EarlyCinema.com (no date) Available at: http://www.earlycinema.com/technology/kinetoscope.html (Accessed: 10 March 2016).
Kander, I. (no date) Drawcard by Antonio Oreña-Barlin | short film. Available at: https://www.shortoftheweek.com/2016/02/24/drawcard/ (Accessed: 10 March 2016).
Rana, T. (2016) Drawcard: Short film review -. Available at: https://in.bookmyshow.com/entertainment/drawcard-short-film-review/68959 (Accessed: 10 March 2016).
Citations, Quotes & Annotations
BrainyQuote, 2016 (2001) John Lasseter quotes at BrainyQuote.com. Available at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnlasset597736.html?src=t_short_films (Accessed: 10 March 2016).
(BrainyQuote, 2001)
Clevver News (2016) 7 best presenter moments from the Oscars 2016: Jacob Tremblay, the minions, Woody & buzz. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZM0Tp7D-1do (Accessed: 10 March 2016).
(Clevver News, 2016)
EarlyCinema.com (no date) Available at: http://www.earlycinema.com/technology/kinetoscope.html (Accessed: 10 March 2016).
(EarlyCinema.com, no date)
Kander, I. (no date) Drawcard by Antonio Oreña-Barlin | short film. Available at: https://www.shortoftheweek.com/2016/02/24/drawcard/ (Accessed: 10 March 2016).
(Kander, no date)
Rana, T. (2016) Drawcard: Short film review -. Available at: https://in.bookmyshow.com/entertainment/drawcard-short-film-review/68959 (Accessed: 10 March 2016).
(Rana, 2016)