On Sunday the 26th November 2017 we met Libby for the first time since she agreed to be our protagonist within our film. We felt that this would be a good idea, as it meant that she knew who we are before we start filming to help make her feel more comfortable around us. We made sure that it was in an environment that she is comfortable in which was her home. Within the time we were with her we ran through the narrative of the film, what her character Kat was like, what kind of costume we would like for her to wear and asked if she had any questions about anything to do with the film.
She was a really lovely girl who was very intuitive and very interested within the project. I am really looking forward to working with her because she came across to have a genuine passion about acting and seemed to be really excited to work with us.
The Times is a British newspaper that started running in 1785 and is based in London, England. When it was first published on January 1st 1785it was under the name ‘The Daily Universal Register’ until the year 1788, when on January 1st 1788 it adopted it current name The Times.
The Times is the seventh most circulated newspaper within the United Kingdom, with 446,164 copies in circulation as of December 2016. This newspaper is one that isn’t just a biased political call; it is a centre – right newspaper, which means that its arguments can be, based more on Conservative and Christian Democrat opinions.
It has a sister newspaper called The Sunday Times which started in 1821. Which is edited by John Withermore. Both of the newspapers are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981, which is a subsidiary of News UK, which is wholly owned by News Corp. Even though they are both published by the same company, each newspaper has its own editorial teams due to being founded independently. They have had common ownership though since 1967
Rupert Murdoch owns The Times as well as other UK newspapers such as The Sun. He also owns a 21st Century Fox and Fox News in America. It was reported earlier on this year that the parent companies of his newspapers have suffered losses within 2016, which meant that they have had a fall in advertising revenues and have had large restructuring costs. It is was also reported that Times Newspapers Limited reported a pre-tax loss of £5 Million down from £8.8 million pre-tax profit in 2015.
The most important aspect of character creation in film is making the audience care about them, something that is exponentially harder in a short film simply due to the fact that you have substantially less time to develop the character to its fullest extent as one can in a full length production.
Making the Audience Care
To start with, making the audience care follows a handful of general rules. One aspect is the viewer’s imagination, many films have had romantic scenes for example in which there is no dialogue, only music and we, the audience, fill in the blanks ourselves. This freedom of interpretation with characters, the ability to impose one’s own ideas on a character or scene, helps with relating to a character.
Another integral point is the characters ‘itch’, their drive to perform certain actions. A mother characters ‘itch’ in a drama for example may be to work two jobs in order to provide for her two children. This is naturally a very stereotypical example but it holds weight nonetheless as a prime example of a character with a goal, a motivation. To see a character working towards something humanises them and allows the audience to relate to them, another important factor in making a character likeable.
The aforementioned importance of relating to a character is perhaps the most important of them all as some degree of emotional resonance is required to understand a character, any character be it hero or villain. If the audience has no avenue through which to invest themselves in a character then they won’t be able to bring themselves to care what happens to them.
In Relation to a Short Film
In the context of a short film as compared to a full length feature film or TV series everything has to be condensed; characters still have motivations, back stories and blanks which the audience fill in themselves but for one you can only develop a small handful of characters at most due to time constraints and secondly you have to exercise efficiency with your shots in order to both develop a character and not spend so long making us care for the character that there’s no time for them to actually do anything.
This is a questionnaire we have put together for our audience to answer to help us with our ongoing audience research. Please feel free if you have a couple of minutes to answer our questions and help with out audience research.
There are four different main sections that an audience can be broken down into when looking at who is best to aim your film at. The four main categories are age, gender, class and ethnicity.
Age is a major factor that supposedly affects a person’s choice as to what they prefer when it comes to a genre of film, for example it is thought that people of older ages will prefer slower paced films and television shows such as detective or period dramas. Whereas younger audiences are expected more to like the faster paced films such as action and horrors/thrillers. The assumptions aren’t very accurate anymore they may once have been, but going based on those stereotypes we are going to be aiming to create our short film for a younger audience as it is science fiction.
Gender is another key element, as again there are general stereotypes for gender film preference. Stereo typically females typically prefer romantic comedies and romance films, whereas males typically prefer more dramatic and action filled films such as hero or science fiction films. Based on these stereotypes we are more likely to aim at the male audience as there will be a bigger audience percentage that will be attracted to our science fiction film.
Class is definitely one of the biggest features that affect film choice as class typically outlines a person’s lifestyles. Because of this it can influence what appeals to different individuals sometimes class has such a big effect that this is the only thing that can guide an individual to choose what film they are watching. By having different classes, it makes it easier for film makers and producers to aim their films as a specific audience because they can research into the different classes and their preferences to make sure that their film is best suited to the target audience.
Finally ethnicity is probably the least effective of all of these factors because nowadays due to all of the ethnic and culture crossovers. There is a much smaller stereotype about races because within most films now there is someone for everyone to relate with due to diversity within films.
Our audience – Caucasian, middle class, male within thirties. We have chosen Caucasian because it is known that Caucasians tend to watch more films and television than others. We selected middle class as our primary audience as they are a large section of consumers of television and films. We chose males as our target gender because even though science fiction is mainly gender neutral it does apply to males more, which is something that we won’t be focusing on when creating our production. We chose the age of thirties because it is most common that at this age people don’t really have a film genre preference. So they aren’t attracted to a film just because of one thing such as special effects. Finally we have come to the conclusion that our secondary audience will be aimed at teens aged between thirteen to eighteen, and that our tertiary audience will be people of the age sixty-five plus. We think that it will appeal to these audiences because within our film we have both audiences included within the cast so it should appeal to both of the audiences.
We now have our first prop competed! This news paper is something that Alfie and James have been working on for the past week or two as it is one of the first props we will need that we have had to make for filming. You may be asking why we have made it instead of just buying one the day of filming? But we can answer this because we need to make sure that it is including articles that we want on there as well as how much detail we want for the ‘Nudist on the moors’ article. I think that personally when we have the physical version of this it will look really effective within the film.
To make sure we are been as professional as we can be, we have created a permission slip that we gave to the parents/ carers of Libby and Evan who are playing our two young characters Kat and Toby. By creating these we now have evidence that we have informed their families and that we have their permission and agreement to commit to our project. By having this it means that within the worst case scenario we have evidence that everybody agreed to working with us and that we have provided them with all of the information we need for them to be happy to agree to working on our short film with us. Below you will see the individual permission sheets we created:
We are ecstatic that both children have agreed to work with us as we feel that they are really suited to the characters and we are really looking forward to working with them. We are now working out shooting dates, so that within the near future we will be able to start filming. We have received dates from the parents of both children about when they are available to film, we have put them on our calendar and are just waiting to hear back from a couple of people about dates before we can finally confirm our filming dates.
We have been looking into what will be the most effecive and precise way to work so that we can allow ourselves as much time to film and edit as possible. We have found that it’s important to storyboard at the same time as the script is being written as this allows up to keep track and an eye on everything that is happening during the creation process. By doing this it allows us also to see and visualise how the film comes together fromt he beginning istead of once all of the differnt sections have been completed. James has a personal love story-boarding – it encourages excitement for the actual ‘look’ of the film- due to this he has been really into setting out all of the story boards. I personally am not a big fan of story boarding due to not been a very good drawer. I casn understand though why James loves it so much as it feels as if the film is coming together nicely. Another good factor of doing the two together is that it also encourages us to think more logistically about how we will execute a shoot.
This image shows us in a meeting regarding our thoughts on whether the shots are appropriate and work well with the script.
At this stage, we have constructed 56 frames which equates to about 2.5 pages of script, or 2 minutes of footage. Each frame is unfortunately not as well-coloured or polished as my GCSE work.
A gorgeous, but unnecessary amount of detail was used in the GCSE trailer. Perhaps if we had focused more on shot framing and focusing and movement, the trailer might have been better, and less time would have been wasted. As long as you can understand where the subject is in the frame, what time of shot it is, the equipment; lenses and camera information i.e f-stop, and most importantly camera movement – you’ll be good.
Here is our preferred, more efficient layout. Less space is wasted in text boxes.
Despite the aversion to detail – it is important to add some details in to strengthen the mise-en-scene. For example, here – I have a clear image in my head of what I want Kat’s bedside table to feature. In a couple months time on a stressful shoot, will I?
Within the past couple of weeks we have finished off the first draft of the script. It was really nice to start to see the whole narrative of the film come together and come to life. Once it was complete we all had a read through and made notes as to how we liked bits, if there are any areas that we are questioning or are there any areas we have suggestions for or want to change completely. This allows us to make sure that we have all had chance to make sure that we have input as well as, making sure that we are all aware of what is clearly happening within the film. The following pictures are some of the additions I made or questioned within the first draft.
Over the past couple of days I have taken up the job of coming up with the initial ideas we would like for the characters costumes within our short film. I had bits of information such as that we would like the tones of the costumes to go from cool to warm and back to cool again. These will help to show the development of the relationships between our two main characters as well as reflect how the emotions change and grow between the characters as the film develops. I really enjoyed thinking about this as it allows me to help shape the characters and how they appear to the audience. There is a common theme within the film of a relaxed and chilled out manner as non of the characters are working or are in school for very long within the film. The only character that will be very smart and professional will be the Uncle when he is dressed within his Police Officer uniform. Kat will also have a small section within the school scene where she will need to be smarter but it isn’t as important as within schools there are small amounts of leeway that allow her to not look completely smart.
As you can see the ideas above are the very first ones I have come up with. I am going to show these to the rest of my group and see what they think of them. If there are any major issues with them that my group have I will consider them and come up with a solution as well as edit the ideas to make them more suited to the science fiction genre if needed.
For our short film with it being our own ideas and style we’ll have to come up with our own look. This will involve pre-production research into colour grading and how it will affect the feel of the film. The colour grade of certain scene can even effect the mood of the scene, for example: warmer colours are more associated with happiness and comfort, while colder colours are associated with comfortableness and loneliness. Moreover colour grading can be associated with different time periods and equipment it is filmed on. This can be things like: super 8 and super 16 film.
In our film we are going for a kind of style that takes inspiration from super 16’s filmic look while also making use of the current technology. This can be achieved by having similar colour science, with things such as grain and yellow mid-tones, but while using the same frame rate and sharpness in current camera technology.
In film most people use look up tables (LUT’s). These are presets that are done by professional colourists to give a shot a certain look and feel. By having these settings as LUT’s it allows you to have certain settings applied to multiple shots in a package that allows you to use it on multiple projects. We think in our short film it would be easier, but more time consuming to create a colour grade for each individual scene rather than trying to find a LUT that can cater to the short film as a whole.
We created a few looks that give the type of feel that we are going for:
Super 8 Inspired:
This grade is heavily inspired by day light super 8 grading. Super 8 has a very heavy emphasis on yellow in the mid-tones and heavy grain, with the addition of very soft images only achievable by turning off in-built sharpness in a modern day camera. In addition to the the shadows and highlights are raised to give it that soft non-contrast look.
Super 8 Cool:
This grade is very similar to super 8 daylight but similar to dim lit or night time shot super 8. With the obvious mid-tones being much colder and the image being overall darker as super 8 could not handle dim or low light as well as 30mm or modern day full frame.The blacks in super 8 and as well as super 16 are often not as dark or crunchy as normal film black, in addition to the whites not being true white and being more of a grey tinge. This is a staple part of both super 8 and super 16 film look.
Super 16 Inspired:
With super 16 the light and colour performance was much better than super 8. This allowed for better work in dim light and retaining more richer colours. With super 16 the mid-tones kind of role off of the highlights to create a nice soft look and the shadows are quite bright in some areas. It has less grain that super 8, but in this grade we decided to add a grain overlay to give it a more authentic look. In addition to this the colours are more well balanced, so we decided that we would decided to give it a more colder look that warmer. with magenta and yellows in the highlights and greens in the mid-tones to counteract.
The process of writing the script has been started. This is a key element we wanted to make sure we have completed as early as possible, so that we can get the ball rolling with everything and so that we can start story boarding at the same time and see the film start coming to life.
Above you can see a small snippet of the script so far…
On Monday this week we organised to meet outside of school time and media lessons to have some time to focus on the narrative of our film. We were there for two hours and were very productive. Within our time there we have managed to flesh out the three main characters which are Kat, The Alien and Toby Kat’s best friend. By fleshing those out it allowed us to expand and flesh out the narrative as they were able to start to imaging how the characters would react to situations and how they would react to the different characters. We have managed to split it and put it into the different sections that allowed us to estimate how long we think it will be when the final product is made. We found that we will most likely be making a film that is around fifteen minutes long, as we feel that having it at this length will allow us to show our narrative and communicate the characters enough for the audience and examiner to understand throughout the whole film.
Whilst we were there we also discussed a name for the film, due to the electrical power theme throughout we came up with things like ‘Blackout’ but at the moment have settled on ‘Flicker’ which is something that two of us thought of at the same time. we are hoping to have more meetings like this outside of school; as we found it to be very effective for the planning of our film as there weren’t other people we knew to distract us.
We have just started planning our film production and have come to the conclusion that we would like it to be based within the 80s. Due to this I am currently looking into different areas of the 80s for example fashion and decor etc. I am putting these together so that we can look at these and use them to help influence how we are going to decorate and create mise-en-scene within our film effectively within the modern day surroundings and decor we will have in within the locations we are using of today.
HI! My name is Annabelle and I am an A Level student at Titus Salt School. I have chosen to take Media as an A level as I am hoping that it will allow me to play to my strengths of creativity in different ways to my other A Level options. The other options I have chosen are BTEC Dance and BTEC Music. I am hoping that these options will in the future take me down the route of having an occupation within the Performing Arts field.
I have many interests and hobbies some of which include Make-up, watching Modern Family, Dancing and Singing.
This blog is here to document all of the work I produce, research and produce as a final product within the near future. Do feel free to have a good look and please ENJOY reading!