Originally outlined in my first proposal, I intended to create a short film about a group of teenagers and the lifestyles they live. The TV series ‘Skins’ inspired this line of thinking, however it soon became apparent to me that the key reason people love Skins, is down to the unique and diversified character profiling. Many of the characters in shows such as Skins have very different personality traits and individual problems, which the audience can often relate to. Relating to characters or becoming emotionally invested in their fictional lives often makes the audience a lot more interested in the film or show. Due to the low budget that I have, I am unable to afford professional actors or crew, therefore changing the idea was necessary to allow me to create the film that didn’t need the involvement of as many people.
After this hurdle, I finally decided on the idea of a man cycling to his twin brother’s grave and on the way, he experiences a flashback from the night of his brother death. I’ve had to make many decisions based upon budget and the availability of other people willing to help out. For example, the decision of choosing for the only two characters in the film to be twins, means that it is possible to only need one actor for the narrative.
Upon changing my idea completely, I rewrote my proposal:
Despite settling for a final idea, throughout the course of shooting the film, I have had to make many changes in order to realistically get the film finished in time to a good standard. To illustrate how my idea has changed and how much work goes into a film.I have created a short showreel that contains an array of shots that never managed to make to the final edit.
Despite, the numerous amounts of problems that have occurred during the process of filming, there are many aspects of the production which I am very pleased with. The first being the initial scene, which was filmed from the back of a moving van. These shots took a lot of time to get right, due to complications of passing cars and other factors such as making sure the framing of the subject was centred. Irregardless to these difficulties, I loved how the shots perfectly fitted together and the colours in particular of the first few shots were very vibrant which perfectly suited the nostalgic tone of the film. Often nostalgia is considered a very peaceful and happy sense of reflection, this can be represented through vibrant colours.
In many ‘blog the week’ and production posts, I have reflected on the problems I have encountered during filming. In one post in particular, I reflected on my executive decision to remove an entire scene from the film. I was not entirely happy with the inconsistency of lighting in the scene and it dawned on me that the film would still make sense with the absence of that scene. I believe it was the right decision to remove the scene, as the film as a whole flowed together much better without it. Unfortunately, this did make my short film a lot shorter but I would rather it be shorter and flow together better.
Research was critical in how my short film progressed. I did practical research into a specific editing technique, which involves masking three clips in order to transition one shot to another. I did not end up using this technique because I did not find anywhere within my short film that it would be appropriate. However, I did learn and experience more practice in masking clips, so I do not believe the research was wasted.
On the other hand, the theory based research posts I created helped to shape the key foundations of my film. One research post was about music and its importance in films. This greatly helped with my project, as I wanted to have next to no dialogue in my film but instead, to tell a story primarily through sounds and visuals. Another research post was about analysing why pedestrian/vehicle crashes are so popular in films and what they often mean in indie based films. Not only this, but I researched how to create a vehicle/pedestrian collision on camera without making it look low budget and tacky. From research into a film called ‘Me Before You’ I realised that the character doesn’t necessarily need to be shown getting hit for it to be an emotional scene.
I believe I did enough research, however I do believe I could’ve somewhat demonstrated it more in the practical aspects of my project. Despite this, I believe the journey, rather than the end result is much more important to me as a creator. Unfortunately, I am not completely proud of my short film but I do believe I’ve learned a lot and exponentially grown as a filmmaker throughout the course of making the film.
One aspect of this project that I’ve found very challenging has been capturing sound and keeping the sound consistent in every shot. Last year, I struggled with keeping sound interesting and I used no sound effects at all. This year I wanted to change that and I set myself the goal of telling a story without minimal dialogue. I own a low grade plug-in DSLR shotgun microphone that enabled me to improve the overall sound quality of my film. In addition to this, I learned a lot about sound in post production. I used the ‘constant power’ audio transition between certain sound clips to ensure there were less jarring moments where the audio suddenly changed pitch and tempo. Furthermore, I attempted to edit a voiceover to make it sound like you were hearing it from the other end of a phone. In order to do this, I researched various audio effects such as the parametric equaliser through the means of youtube tutorials, such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_63dDzmi34
If I were to go back and re-film everything, there is a lot that I would change. First of all, I would definitely plan more extensively, as I always underestimate the amount of planning and pre-production work that is necessary to ensure filming yields the results you are looking for. I’ve learned that you need to check the weather forecast and plan shoots in advance so that you’re not disappointed by the weather when it comes to filming. This happened many times due to the erratic British weather. On many occasions I was faced by inconsistency of lighting which made each of my shots look very different. I think it would have been a good idea for me to research cinematography, especially during outdoor filming, as I believe it would’ve improved the overall quality and consistency of my film.
Secondly, I think that I would’ve spent a lot longer perfecting the script and narrative of my short film. I consistently had to change things during production to realistically finish the film whilst keeping a fluent continuity. The film was also very short and I don’t think the narrative was clearly expressed in the short amount of time the film lasted for. I believe the film needed to be longer in order for the narrative to be succinct and clearly conveyed.
To exhibit and display my work, I have uploaded my short film to Vimeo as I believe it is a more suitable platform to promote my film on. In addition to this, it is being exhibited on loop at my college’s summer arts show. This will help promote it to the public and allow me to receive constructive criticism and possibly receive work experience or commissions. I believe I will reach my target audience as I clearly know who my target audience are and have cultured a film that I believe they will be interested in. Furthermore, I have ensured that my short film will reach this target audience by promoting it in the right way. In detail I explained my target audience and how I have attempted to reach them in this post about presentation: https://euanscholes.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/presentation/
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this project and believe I’ve learned a great deal through trial and error. I think I could’ve produced a better film if only I had prepared more, however there are a lot of aspects of the film that I am incredibly proud of. Not only have I grown as a filmmaker and experimented with different filmmaking techniques, I have grown more confident in my ability to manage tasks and complete projects once I set my mind to it.