About TaliaI have always been interested in media with growing up in a generation of TV, Radio and Magazines. I enjoy making my own video montages on various themes and love watching films, I also enjoy analysing films and looking for connotations. I am also studying Psychology and Performing Arts. I would like to possibly study film at university and have a career in the film industry.
We constructed a questionnaire for people to fill in after watching our film. We received positive feedback overall, which we were thrilled about. The parts of the film that we wanted people to connect with were successful, such as how we wanted the car crash to shock people and entice them into further viewing, and the church scene, which we wanted to provoke emotion within each audience member. The majority said that they didn’t expect the ending which was a major bonus for us as it shows our narrative was strong and not a cliche predictable one where you can tell everything will be okay in the end.
Our research into target audience proved right as we grasped the attention of our aimed target audience effectively, with them agreeing that it was a short film suited to their age group.
We were praised for our use of sound and audio with many saying it fits smoothly with the character and the mood of music matched each scene very well. Also our use of sound effects were fitting for each moment used, such as footsteps were consistent with visuals.
Overall the feedback was very positive with only constructive comments for the acting quality at the beginning of the film, which if we were to film again would be overcome, as each actor became more comfortable in their role as the project progressed so for us to re film these scenes would mean they would be more confident.
Aside from acting overall all technical qualities were praised, with editing and sound standing out the most. Good comments were made about camera angles used such as the variance of the types of shots. So to summarise we had very good feedback that me and Rachael are both pleased with as it shows we have been successful in our aims that we had from the very beginning of the project.
EVALUATION — How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and evaluation stages?
Throughout the process of the production of our short film, we have had access to a wide vary of technologies and taken every opportunity to use them. For the research into our film we had access to the internet to research common conventions within a short film such as the different narratives that are effective within a short such as Todorov’s theory of equilibrium or the narrative that we used which was Allen Cameron’s forking path narrative, as you see what life would be like if Olive was dead, along with Roland Barthes’s semantic codes. The internet gave us access to most common video sharing website in history – YouTube. This helped us research as we could watch other short films for inspiration. We watched a vary of short films and really liked the style of Dystopian film. We could also watch tutorials on editing and film structure, this educated us more on filming technique. We also could use the internet for data collection, with pie chart creators helping us look at our data for audience research in a simplistic way.
For the planning of our film, I was able to create a storyboard template that was professional looking thanks to the computer programme Microsoft Word. Making the story boards clean cut and easy to look at and follow.
Technology made construction of our film dramatically better, as we were lucky enough to have access to high quality cameras with attached microphones to get clear sound, lighting equipment and equipment that gave us a vary of camera shots, such as tripods, the slider, track and dolly and the jib. We were able to build up a small scale set with the variance of equipment we had. The fact we had more than one camera made the process of filming quicker, it meant we could get shots of the same scene from different angles at the same time, speeding up the process.
Further construction of the film was editing which we did on the programme Edius7. This software is highly advanced meaning we could transform our content so it was continuous showing narrative making the audience be able to understand and follow. We were able to change the mood through audio which we discovered with the internet, and colour balance which was a tool within Edius7.
VisTitle2 was an extra form of technology we could use to create a film title with aesthetic effects giving the product a further professional feel. We used technology in the post production and evaluation stage of our film by using the programme Photoshop for the film poster and having an audience review the film and the film posters and using data collection through video logs that we could watch back and take feedback from.
Overall we took advantage of every type of technology we could access in hope to make our production look professional as possible.
The ancillary tasks we produced were a film poster and a film review in the form of an online article. The aim of the type of ancillary tasks we used is to promote the main product. In the real world, posters are put up and articles are published by respective bloggers/newspapers to advertise and promote the upcoming film. This is a way of gaining more viewers of the film. Feedback we have acquired suggests the ancillary tasks do just what they are meant to. A key element to our ancillary tasks and film was colour, they coincide with their darkness and negativity. The posters has to give the audience an idea of what the films is like; what genre, what target audience etc, or they won’t have interest to view it. That way it is not false advertisement. The information on the article had to be legitimate, giving true information about the synopsis, if it lied the article would be rendered pointless. But just because the article has to state truth doesn’t mean it has to give the whole story away, writing with some mystery will draw potential audience members in. The vocabulary used in the article paired to the visuals used, which were shots from the film, a convention most film articles include. The way they matched gave the article consistency. The ancillary tasks were made target audience friendly. Particularly the article which was made in online form, showing Medias advances today where things are highly accessible on the internet. Teenagers are known for being highly active on social media, so buttons connecting to Facebook and Twitter were included to draw people in to get connected with the article and its media outlets, thus making them go watch the film. Similarly with the other ancillary task which was the poster, we used the final poster image as the one the target audience most preferred which was the one with Olive’s face three times as the feedback showed it was interpreted as her different personalities as a teenager. Taking the feedback into consideration alterations were made to the poster so the product linked smoothly with what would happen in the film suggesting we made the ancillary tasks effective.
To make our ancillary tasks link better with the main products, and even to made the ancillary tasks link together themselves we could have included an image of the poster on the article, and a quote from the article on the poster, that way they would show consistent advertising of the film and thus making the tasks more closely connected.
Concluding this, our short film main product combined with our ancillary tasks works well and is effective. Looking back, I can see how the ancillaries could have been improved to be more interlinked but overall, they do work well, receiving positive feedback from our target audience members that were asked about them.
EVALUATION — In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
Media products influence the way we interpret and think about a vary of things. They can give examples of ideas that can help people develop their own ideas, as well as convert and distort a person’s thoughts very easily. A common element is self-esteem. At the time where young teens are aging, the media influences by showing stereotypical views of how women should be portrayed such as physical attributes like ‘being skinny’ young girls can get so hung up on how they look and what they weigh, they get distracted about what really matters in life such as being happy and surrounding yourself with people that matter such as family and friends. We wanted to tackle a view that the media has on girls by portraying the moral that there is more to life. Focus on the bigger picture and be thankful for what you have. Once we had our aim for the film we began the process of creating our short film. We worked closely alongside real media products to see what was and what wasn’t successful, to benefit us and our short film.
We researched common forms and conventions of short films in great detail before and during the production process. We took the common conventions into consideration when drafting our script. It became apparent to us that a successful short film included a small amount of main characters and a duration of no more than 20 minutes. The result in the audience not getting too confused or bored. We found short films usually have a narrative that instates a problem or twist converting to disequilibrium meaning the protagonist needs to reinstate normality/equilibrium. This is the easiest narrative to have in a short film as the journey of the character going through a problem trying to revert it back to normal is easily to get across in a limited duration thus keeping the audience entertained. We used this common narrative convention in our film along with other narrative theories to make it fit our genre and be extra interesting for the audience as we wanted to challenge the generic media conventions, making a short film that stood out from the rest. However at the same time we didn’t over complex things as this would result in the audience being lost and confused. Like real short films, we had a low budget so refrained from using any CGI technologies, which aren’t commonly used in short films because including mass amounts of special effects can distract from the narrative when the film is short in duration, concluding why we didn’t want to use any special effects that Edius7 could not provide.
From viewing a vary of short films, an element we were interested in was Dystopian film. A genre not greatly explored. Dystopia is the opposite of Utopia, where the surrounding world is negative and bland, where issues are very problematic. Example of films that show this are The Hunger Games and Never Let Me Go. The way these films are presented has essences of what we wanted our film to look like. The uses of colour in shots showing the bleak world the characters are a part of were a prime example to us when editing in Edius.
(Examples of how we altered shots in colour correction are discussed within detail further down the blog)
We made sure our short film was clean cut, meaning the editing was flowing in continuity and didn’t involve unnecessary jump cuts. This was done by paying close attention to continuity. For example, when we used shots of Olive walking down the street, we used snippets of a vary of shots to infer she was travelling, when in reality, it was filmed on 2 different streets in different directions and angles.
Challenging real media products was one of our aims as we wanted to create a short film that was similar but different in many ways to other short films about teenagers because there are many. The way we tackled this was very different from anything we have seen ourselves. Within the media industry, it is known that female protagonists are nowhere near as seen as male protagonists. Films that usually do contain female leads, are majority of the time given a stereotypical role that is sexualised for the enjoyment of the male viewer. This is very unrepresentative of reality. We felt it very important to challenge this showing a true representation of a young girl as the struggles she faces because in reality, nobody has the Hollywood glow 24/7. We at no point sexualised the character of Olive, and looking at our post production research this did not have an effect of the audience’s opinion of the film, with the majority wanting to watch it again.
As previously discussed, we wanted to create a narrative that was simplistic yet different. We challenged this and ourselves as filmmakers by using many different locations to film in, with most of them being public. This made it more interesting for the audience rather than the whole 10 minutes being in one room like some short films can do. A location that particularly comes to mind is the Church, this took lots of planning and organising to pull off, as I had to call in a group of actors, go early to aid in setting up the church and equipment as well as creating props. Going to this length to make our film more interesting definitely was worth every moment of it as many people commented on the church scene being a favourite of theirs.
Going back to narrative, the storyline we chose wasn’t complex yet wasn’t straight forward. We had to get across to the audience the fact that olive wasn’t physically present, yet she was visually there for the audience, but the characters couldn’t see her. This was challenging as we had to make sure she was visible in some shots yet not in others, such as the classroom scene; Olive is sat at the back but when the shot is filmed from the teacher’s point of view she is no longer there. Something that inspired me for a storyline like this was the famous story of scrooge, who witnesses life in the world if he had never existed.
We developed real media products to help us with our film in a vary of ways. Taking inspiration from short films we have seen to inspire our scenes. An example is the bathroom scene we did came from inspiration from a scene in short film ‘How I Live Now’. We did not copy the scene, we made it our own as we found it worked in a way which was more simplistic, using our skills with sound editing to create distorted narration to infer the voices in Olive’s head. We also developed music and changed a popular piece so it would be legally possible to use in our short film so no copyright laws were broken. With thanks to our music editor this was possible; creating sounds that had a similar feel but including other and different instruments. Giving our film a customization as the songs were created purely for it.
We organised a time at sixth form for groups of students from within the age range of our target audience to come and watch the premiere of our film. We gave them a small questionnaire to fill out after watching so we could gain feedback and constructive criticism, as well as finding out if the narrative came across and people understood what was going on at all times.
The data collected on our questionnaires was then converted into qualitative data:
Overall it can be concluded that the film was a success with this audience, the majority would want to watch the short film again, found it unpredictable and found the protagonist relatable – these were our main aims from the beginning of the film process. They also rated it a high quality drama. Results come back more positive than negative which is a huge bonus.
The fact the target audience think the certificate should be a 12 has come to my attention. I originally put certificate PG on the poster but I will be changing this in my final revision of the poster to coincide with what our target audience think.
The unanimous data seems to be for the questions:
WHAT GENRE IS THIS SHORT FILM? – everyone said DRAMA
This is exactly what genre we wanted our film to be. This unanimous result shows clearly that we executed a film that is clearly portrayed as a drama by the audience.
WOULD YOU WATCH IN BLOOM AGAIN? – everyone said YES
This proves we have made a film that our entire target audience enjoy watching, which is a brilliant success.
WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE FOR THIS FILM? – everyone said TEENAGER
Which is our exact target audience.
This unanimous data shows that we were 100% effective in making a short film people would want to watch again, that it is for teenagers, and that is of the drama genre.
Other data that was more divided in opinion was the questions like:
DID YOU FIND THE PROTAGONIST RELATABLE? – Most of the people we asked said they found her QUITE relatable, then followed by NOT REALLY. Then a small percentage of people said EXTREMELY, and NOT AT ALL. When you look closely at the qualitative data is is apparent that the ones who said they found Olive NOT AT ALL relatable were male, one male said that they found Olive QUITE relatable though, and that was a shock. We mainly based this film at targeting teenage girls, yet it showed that not only girls tend to feel like this, but boys can too. I feel like we achieved this by not playing along with gender stereotypes, and we had a protagonist that could be related to both genders, with her black aesthetic and non-specific gender bands.
We also asked our audience:
DID YOU THINK THE ENDING WAS PREDICTABLE? – Most of them said NO. and a few said YES. I would say that this is a fair assessment, because we do drop hints and inferences throughout the film, as foreshadowing is an incredibly important element to include in any narrative, even if it isn’t visual, within stories as a whole. We did expect that more advanced audiences (for example those who do the media subject or are film fanatics, would pick up on this, and that was our aim, however this worked to our advantage because if they didn’t think it was predictable, after they watched it, the audience can look back and realise what certain things meant with our hints along the way)
Overall, this feedback process has helped us excessively because it has given us critical and positive feedback, that we can apply to our next projects, and it also tells us if we were successful in our aims. From looking at this research, I would say we have been very successful in making our short film. Watching movies is a way to relax and is classed as leisure, and if we have made a film that unanimously people want to see again, then that means we have achieved the goal of any filmmaker. To make a film that is appreciated and enjoyed by audiences.
After researching what should be included on a professional film poster I started work on the creation of our poster. I began with some basic drawings to gain a basic layout for our images, title and tagline:
After achieving two basic plans, I moved to the software Photoshop to create our poster. Using my skills from AS I was able to test out certain tools and achieve certain looks for the poster. For example, enhancing images with the adjustments tool making them look brighter and have different levels of contrast (similar to colour balancing on Edius7)
I was introduced to Photoshop filters and was quite interested in the look the lens flare gave to the poster.
Once I was happy with the basic foundations of layout for the poster I played around with different ideas with the images. The images show Olive looking serious and slightly morbid, giving a hint to the audience that what happens within the film is not comedic and is more dramatic.
These are my first attempts at film posters:
It was made apparent to me through research and discussing my first attempts with people that a vary of text fonts is a good thing; if you used just one font for the whole poster it wouldn’t look as interesting and pleasing to the eye as a poster with more variance to the fonts. The fact we use our unique title on the poster makes the fonts even more complex and different.
I made a feedback sheet to see what the target audience thought of the two posters by asking which poster they preferred and why. Doing such feedback tasks during production will give me an end product that fully engages with the target audience as it will include elements of what they suggested.
Things to think about when making the poster for our short film:
The student film IN BLOOM has become a prominent film in the short film industry, its relatable and realistic portrayals of teenage angst has informed adolescent teens of one simple factor. You are not alone. The film directed by Rachael Sampson and Talia Smith takes a refreshing angle on the depiction of life in school/college. The unique side to this short film is that they have broken down cinematic boundaries which were put up by the media; the representation of women and their anxious and conscious feelings during their teenage years allows audiences to feel like they are being represented in a true fashion, unlike films where females are portrayed in unrealistic ways, creating a false image in the media.
The short film is about a young girl called Olive who feels like she does not fit into society, she dislikes her school life, feels insecure about her body and is isolated by her peers. Twists and turns occur which cause Olive to become invisible, and is living in a world where everyone thinks she is dead. The movie focuses on the way the world reacts to her demise, an unexpected reaction from her peers. Including a lot of metaphors and foreshadowing, this film cleverly discloses a mourning world, revealing how important individuals are in society, including a strong moral, reaching out to teenagers and telling them they are a significant piece in many people’s lives, even if they do not see it, one day they will.
The film includes narration from the protagonist, giving an interesting angle to a film which necessarily lacks this feature due to the length of screening time. Faye Clark (who plays the role of Olive) does an excellent job in portraying this troubled teen, making audiences instantly relate to her through everything from her expressions to aesthetics.
The film was nominated for Best Short Film at Cannes Film Festival but unfortunately the movie missed out on the award for the short film Hous, directed by Zara Bhatti and Jemma Shaw. Other critics have said “utterly breath taking” – The Guardian and “finally a film that we can all relate to!” – The Sun and “9/10”- RottenTomatoes.com
This is the agreement with MobyGratis.com to use The Day (Yeasayer Remix) in our production of IN BLOOM.
MobyGratis.com is a resource for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short. Moby has made a selection of over 150 tracks from his huge catalog of music available to licence for free, via a simple online application system.
This piece of music fits perfectly for one of our scenes where Olive is walking to school after the accident and her epiphany, where she finally appreciates the life she has. The music has a variety of components that when incorporated together create a solid piece. For example the use of the video game sounding riff with the deep vocals cause a confused mash-up conveying happiness.
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As we created quite a complex narrative, we tried to keep things such as props to a minimum, where they were continuous throughout scenes, things such as Olive’s rucksack and headphones were always on her when she was wearing her coat. This link made things easier when thinking about continuity. Other props that were used such as classroom equipment and phones were all provided by the actors upon request making the process run smoother, as we were using students we knew they would all occupy a pen or pencil, meaning there was no point us going to buy pencils for the classroom scene, making things easier when building up a scene.
The biggest prop was obviously the car. We had access to our Media Teacher who volunteered to be our driver since myself and Rachael were unavailable for this.
Therefore all props were local to ourselves and the actors making filming easier.
To make a believable film, you need it to look and sound believable, which is why we thought hard about sets and scenery. Such as securing the church previously mentioned. We thought hard about other scenes and where they took place such as Olive’s bedroom. Any teenager will tell you that their bedroom, is there space that they can be creative to decorate it how they want. We wanted to reflect this in Olive by making sure she had a bedroom that showed off her interests appropriately.
These are images of the final creation of Olive’s bedroom:
We had access to a high amount of technology when making our film, along with a high quality editor. Once our films were completley edited, we were introduced to vistitle, a titling software that meant we could create a title with 3D effects that looked highly professional when combined with a short jingle. If you look at other professional film companies, they always have an opening title that establishes what company they are. The most iconic one is the 20th Century Fox Opening credit:
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The storyboards were a basic foundation of the vision of the film. We stuck the the basic plan the storyboards gave as best we could, but as the storyboards were just a vision, there were slight alterations made when filming and editing due to a vary of factors such as the angles wanted could not be achieved or we had other more advanced ideas whilst on set of what we could do to improve our film.
However, we kept to the same story line using all the scenes planned out, we just added small extra shots and angles into the film where we saw fit.
The use of audio in a short film makes it more professional and aids in making the audience feel certain emotions the director wants them to feel. We used a local music composer to us who helped us out by creating some original audio for our use in the film. We explained to him what feel we wanted for each piece and he created music to fit the criteria. We also got rights to music discussed further down the blog.
The choice of music for the film has quite a rock edge to it, this reflects the character of Olive in her personality and interests.
Sound effects were used where appropriate to emphasize things such as footsteps, breathing and tension. Making the whole project clean cut and professional.
We wanted to include a funeral as part of the storyline, but obviously, with low to no budget we could not get a coffin as a prop. This meant we had to think of a way to make the funeral look believable to the audience. We luckily had access to a beautiful church which aided the believability. I came up with the idea of making a display declaring ‘Olive’s’ death. I bought a large piece of card and organised with Faye to bring in some old baby photos I could photocopy and use. I also took a photo of Faye showing Olive just before her death. I put the images together with text declaring who she was along with her birth and death date. I decorated the display too with images of flowers making it look heartfelt and made with love by her family, displayed for the congregation to see her at her happiest moments. On set I placed this on a table with candles and flowers making it look like a real funeral display. It proved very effective and made the fact we didn’t have a coffin unnecessary – for all the audience know, the coffin could have been placed behind the display and it was quite large in size.
Another thing we couldn’t access was a vicar to stage a service, but we overcame this in scripting by making the funeral scene be when the congregation are all arriving just before the funeral begins.
Here is some early research I conducted prior to beginning any filming:
The car crash is without a doubt the most poignant part of our short film, its the catalyst for the outcome, so we had to think carefully about how we would do it justice. We are very pleased with the final effect. The process was long and complex and we came across errors, but we overcame them resulting in a clean finished final shot.
After researching into how others have filmed car crashes, we went on to filming and gained shots using a vary of methods. We decided this so then we had multiple shots to decide from in editing. We began with filming the car and actor Faye separately, so then we could combine clips in editing.
Then we filmed the shot using both of them in the same shot, but with the car going slow so then we could speed it up in editing.
Finally we filmed with both of them in the same shot but did it in reverse, with the car starting with faye very close to it, then the car reversing away and faye reacting, this way in editing we could reverse the clip so it’s actually the right way round and we could speed it up so it looks like she really gets hit as she begins so close to the car.
We looked through our clips and decided to combine the two separate clips. Edius lets you do this with the tool called the layouter.
You can alter the dimensions of the clips you are using, cropping them so it combines the two clips together. We came across a big issue when doing this – between the shot of Faye and the shot of the car, the camera had been moved slightly, so the clips didn’t align and you could tell they were separate shots. This took a lot of delicate accuracy to move the clips so they were in line. Once we had over come that issue, we found that the lighting alters between the two clips! As we were working with natural lighting there was nothing we could do about this. The only way to overcome the issue was colour balance. I had to colour balance one clip to match the other which proved extremely difficult. Once I had got it as accurate as possible, i finalized the clip and colour balanced the whole thing so it had the correct ambiance for the scene.
To make the car crash be as effective and shocking as possible, I combined the main shot with extreme close ups of ‘Olive’. The jump cuts back and forward from these shots made the event look chaotic. I also ended the visuals on a blackout. This cliffhanger leaves the audience in suspense making them want to know what happens next.
Once the visuals of the car crash were completed the scene was nowhere near complete. To make sure it was extremely effective audio was essential. I looked online for appropriate sound effects to use. These were along the lines of Crashes, Horn beeping, Tire screeches and Engine noises. These all combined together create a high tension piece of film.
Mise en scene is something film makers must think carefully about if they want to have a film that portrays a decent degree of realism, so the audience will understand the narrative with no issues. We thought about this in our film. The large amount of shots were filmed in school and these scenes were set in a school so there were no problems there as the surroundings portrayed what they were meant to.
However, when we filmed the shots of Olive’s house, we used my home. Obviously the house couldn’t really be Olive’s, as she is a fictional character, and we could not afford to build a set, so we used what we had access to. I had to transform my house prior to filming; moving furniture around and hiding paperwork etc. I also took down a lot of pictures from the walls as they were of myself and my family. However there were some portraits that could not be removed from the wall as they were nailed down un-removable. This was a problem because the pictures were in a prominent place where we were shooting. We tried to alter our camera angles but this was not working, so we put our heads together and figured out a way to make the pictures look less noticeable – we covered the frames with paper, meaning they blended into the wall more and the audience will not be distracted by random pictures.
When we were editing together the classroom scene on Edius, we realised a lighting stand was in shot, this was very frustrating as the shot was vital and very good quality acting so we needed to use it, it also didn’t help we got the shot in one take so had no other versions. So we had to use layouter to crop and cover the stand to our best ability. This was difficult but we managed it in the end. We had to do this because if we left the lighting stand in shot, the classroom would not resemble a classroom to the audience, it would just be a set of a classroom and we want our film to look professional so had to think carefully about mise en scene throughout the editing process.
Mise en scene was thought about in every scene, from using Rachael’s room as Olive’s because of its style and accessories, to the church with the display I made and the small details like candles, to the streets, which we selected that connected the story together, such as using the one outside my house, as you see Olive exit the house, it would make sense for her to walk down that road. It also worked that there were no other people around.
The colouring of the film varies with the mood of the film, this is mise en scene. When Olive is feeling negative about herself the colours are quite cold with lower saturation, in contrast to after her epiphany where colouring of shots is brighter, crisper with high saturation and contrast, to indicate to the audience that she is more positive about herself, like the calm after the storm, she has overcome her issues and has come out the other end stronger and more positive. Overall you can see how we thought about mise en scene in detail.
A Jib is a boom device where you attach a camera to one end, and then there is a counterweight on the other end with the controls. The machine operates like a see-saw giving a smooth motion to camera shots giving shots that a vertical, horizontal or both.
We used the jib for the final shot of our film. The shot was an establishing shot ascending into the sky as a way to bring the film to an end. Using the jib made this shot easier as we could get a smooth flowing shot.
Its difficult for everything to run 100% smoothly while making a short film. Especially if you are filming in public settings such as on the street. There are many things we had to be prepared for and aware about.
One of the biggest errors we had to think carefully about was continuity. Continuity is where you need to make sure everything within a scene stays the same throughout the process of filming. For example, if filming is taking a long time, but the scene is filmed over the process of an hour, you would have to alter the clocks in the scene. Continuity is all the small things within a film that need to be kept the same, such as prop positioning, hair and makeup, clothing position etc. Throughout filming the Dad scene in the living room we decided to move the cushions off the seats for a better minimalistic effect. It then came to my realisation that we would have to re film the shots we had previously done as the cushions were in shot. If we hadn’t done this the cushions would have kept appearing and disappearing which would have been apparent to the audience. We went back and re-filmed thus overcoming the continuity issue.
Because we were filming outside quite a lot, we had to deal with different weather. There was a day we planned to film where it snowed, resulting in us cancelling the day of filming and rescheduling it for the near future. When we were filming, wind was an issue with the microphones creating background noise. To overcome this we recorded our audio separately so it was audibly clear for the audience to understand the narrative.
While filming on the street for our short film, we couldn’t close off the road as it was a public place, so we had to deal with cars passing throughout the shots. We decided instead of avoiding the cars, incorporating them into the shots, which worked since Olive does get hit by a car, so we used shots of cars as a form of foreshadowing.
We thought carefully about our surroundings and used them to our best abilities during the filming process.
Time management is key in making a short film. It’s a heavy handed task which resulted in us deciding the most effective way to handle the workload was to divide the jobs between the two of us working on the project. I took the reigns with Location Scouting, Storyboarding, Lighting and Editing. I also did a lot of filming of our main shots, planning.
Once job roles had been assigned, to keep organised I made a table which would keep us up to date with what was needed and when, once locations had been secured for filming.
Olivia ‘Olive’ Dermott
Olive is the protagonist of the short film. She is a young girl around the age of 17 who is stuck in the same old boring routine of going to school and sitting at home by herself. The repetition has gotten to her in a way that has made her depressed and value her life a lot less. She doesn’t make effort with anybody around her thus has no friends; her fellow classmates think she is ‘weird and quiet’, but if she opened up more she could definitely get along with them. She is reserved and relies on her passion for music as a gateway from her life. What she cannot see is that she has a Father who adores her, and there is a boy at school that has a huge crush on her, shes head over heels for him too, but neither of them can see it in each other because they are scared of what others will think. Throughout the film Olive realizes how much she needs to appreciate what she has, not everyone in this world has a roof over their head, an education and food on their table.
Olive’s Dad makes an appearance in the film when she is going through her dream state. He is a typical Dad that goes to work and comes home; a representation of Olive’s life. He adores his daughter, something Olive cannot see, until she see’s his reaction when it’s too late.
Olive’s mum does not make an appearance in the film.
Aaron is the ‘boy next door’ who has a huge crush on Olive that he is too scared to admit to his friends because of the reputation Olive has for being so moody and quiet. Olive see’s how much she meant to Aaron during her dream state.
The driver is the catalyst for Olive’s epiphany as she thinks she has been hit by him but really he comes to an emergency stop before touching her. The trauma of the event brings on Olive’s flash-forwards, as before the event she is just talking about how nobody would even care if she was dead. Thanks to the almost accident, she overcomes her gloom and begins to look at life with a brighter side. The driver is a typical man on his way to work, concerned for her well-being.
In the final few stages of editing our short film we begin to finesse the visuals by colour correcting and balancing clips, this is done to make the shots look for crisp and clear with no unwanted light tinges such as yellows over shots where it should be bright white lighting. This makes the film look more professional. Colour balance can also be used to create certain moods by altering the white balance and grey balance so they are of high or low contrast and saturation.
The images below show some colour balancing I have done on our beginning shots. The split down the screen shows you the colouring of the shot before and after being colour balanced; the difference is clear and shows how the image is how bright and crisp and all the colours rightly stand out.
I organised with my local church to film there as a prominent location in our film. The youth worker there helped me organise a time and helped on the day of filming, aiding in setting up the church in a way that would look best for us. I drafted out a plan of the location and where we would film from with each camera position:
We were looking for a maths classroom to film the classroom scene in. We wanted to use a maths classroom as maths is a typical subject everyone does in school and it is one that is highly recognised for a school subject.
We couldn’t find access to a free classroom in maths when we wanted and needed to film so we decided to go with plan B and use our media classroom. We transformed the classroom into a maths classroom. Space was already limited, but we ended up only being able to use half of the room because the computer area was fixed to the floor and could not be adjusted. So we had to make a small scale classroom. We managed well with the spacing by using less desks. We decreased the framing of the film to just fit the tables we were using in, so effectively it looked like a full classroom.
I have learnt many skills throughout the editing process of the short film. Editing is a process that can aid in creating the film to its best possible quality, joining up all the clips together into a consistent order. You can string clips together so that meaning is apparent to the viewer, making them feel certain emotions and have certain opinions of the characters, things like this are influenced by sound, lighting and colour correction. I learnt how to have appropriate use of shot transitions captions and other effects within the film, increasing the professionalism of this film to a high standard. I used the dissolve effect a lot to blend clips together so it was a smooth transition instead of a harsh jump cut.
The blur effect was used in the church scene to link to Olive coming out of her dream state, it gave the effect she was waking up and going back into reality.
Also, I used an effect called time speed which altered the speed of your clips and could even reverse them. This was useful in the montage part of the film as the clips needed to be short and quick.
I re-altered the clips as they were too long and too fast making them look very amateur. So I cut them down and slowed them down a fraction so they were quick and consistent all going at the same rate.
The story boarding process gives us a basic plan for how our film is going to look. I drew out shots we needed to get to achieve the film we wanted, I made sure to include a vary of shots that were doable with the equipment we had access to. As well as drawing out the visuals I made notes on what was going on in the scene so we had something to reference to when filming. I also made notes on the type of sounds involved and any other notes we needed when it got to the editing process.
Today we filmed the classroom scene of our short film, we organised for an external student, who will be playing the role of ‘Arran’ Olive’s love interest, to come in to film in our school. We used our media classroom but transformed it to look for like a traditional classroom so the audience fully understand the location. Following this, we decided to make the classroom a maths room as this is a subject everyone in our target audience will have studied at some point so it will be relatable. The picture shows the teachers desk and the board, the camera positioned showed one of the planned angles we organised via our camera planning map that I drew out to simplify the days filming.Below is the piece of equipment we used called the slider. We used this for the opening shot of this scene as an establishing shot, so the audience know and understand we are now in a school as this is a totally new location to the short’s narrative so far. The slider creates a slow gliding motion that pans from one side to another, eliminating any shakes or bumps this shot would have if filmed free hand. Therefore it will make the shot look clean and more professional. Below is the classroom we created by parting the tables so there was an isle down the middle. This was needed for Olive to walk down, so it matches the storyboards we planned when we envisioned the project. We placed Olive in the back corner as a connotation of her lack of importance and the fact she is dead also links in with how she blends into the background at this time in the narrative.
Black Francis, the lead singer of the band Pixies, and the one who wrote the song Where Is My Mind? and Blue Eyed Hexe has given me permission to use these songs in my A2 Media Project after I cleared it with Mr. Hermitage. Therefore with the permission to use the music we will be adhering to copyright rules, and this is photographic evidence of the permission.
This is the editing software we will be using for editing our short film. I have no experience with this software so I took it upon myself to watch some tutorials to find out how to perform basic tasks such as cutting shots, to then learn more intricate things like adding transitions and merging clips together. The tutorials helped with this as they explain things clearly.
When making a short film, different angles and movements are used with the camera to create cinema which is interesting to watch and creates dramatic effect and emotion. To begin the process of filming you must storyboard and decide which angles and movements will be right for the feel of the film. It starts with filming your subject of matter then you decide how you want it to be represented.
This image also explains how to keep your angles within the 180′ rule, this where you film within a 180′ space to keep clarity, if you break the rule it can be hard for the audience to follow the story because they’re trying to keep up with the filming.
These images explain the types of shots you can achieve in a film, they can all create certain meanings to help the plot and context of the story, for example angles establish the authority of characters like below: (1996)
The different shots you can use also make the film make sense when it comes to editing, whenever there is a cut in film, you must change angle, otherwise you will have a jump cut; this would look messy and unprofessional, however there are some circumstances where a jump cut would be useful, such as in an abstract piece.
This is Faye, our chosen actress to play the role of ‘Olive’ we auditioned many different girls for the part and feel Faye fits the part the best. We feel Faye has the right look for the part and has the talent to portray the part successfully.
We experimented with hair and makeup on Faye for the morning scenes. We tried to make her purposely look tired and not glamourized like some actors look when they wake up in a morning on a film. We want the film to have clarity and be relatable to it’s target audience.
This video shows the clips of auditions for the part of Olive, we got all auditionee’s to read the same part, a part that requires emotion for it to be believable so we felt it would be good for them to read as we could see their potential to fulfill the part to a good standard which will compliment the professionalism we hope to achieve with our short film.
Auditionee 1 – Emily W – Shows strong understanding of the text she is reading from. Her clarity was lacking, we need Olive to come across as devastated, this candidate did not fully portray this.
Auditionee 2 – Felicity B – The candidate did not put any feeling into her performance and just read the text, this didn’t show the candidates full potential to fulfil the part so decided not to cast her.
Auditionee 3 – Beth G – Very strong performance, she didn’t just read the text, she put emotion into her voice but lacked understanding of the plot, she portrayed the character with the wrong emotion for the scene, seeming more angry and confused than upset and beside herself.
Auditionee 4 – Kathryn M – This candidates performance was interested to watch, she thought about pace within her dialogue and used facial expressions to fit the character perfectly, the actor had the look we are aiming for for ‘Olive’ with striking features and hair which was at the desired length and easy to style. The only aesthetic problem is her weight doesn’t fit our desired criteria.
Auditionee 5 – Faye C – This candidate has the exact look for ‘Olive’ that we had in mind. You could tell she had read the whole script prior to performing so she had a full knowledge on the character she was portraying. She kept up the pace with her performance showing how the character was desperate and emotional so was all round a very good candidate to consider for the role.
We have thought long and hard since the beginning of this film making process about what we could call our short film, we have gone through various titles and none of them seem to have the right ring to them, at first we were just going to name it after the protagonist, Olive, but concluded this was too vague and wouldn’t entice people to watch the short. In the end we have devised a name which was inspired by olive, olive is a fruit that blossoms, throughout the narrative of the short, the character does indeed blossom to realise her values in life, this then led to thinking about the band Nirvana, the genre of music incorporated within our film, Nirvana have a song called ‘in bloom’ the song has a deeper meaning than what is on the surface, a meaning that suggests people are blinded by their own lives and what is happening around them to focus on the bigger picture, they’re polluted by their own negative thoughts. This has the same essence as our short film aims to have.
So overall we concluded to call the film IN BLOOM, suggesting the protagonist is blossoming like a flower, and she blossoms into a new person which appreciates the values of her life leading to a different, more positive outlook:
I created the title on photoshop, to be included at the end of the film and on the poster and magazine article. This is the final product:
The wilted flowers I have included in the image are a juxtaposition of the title and the story, the title explains how Olive is blooming yet the wilting flowers contradict this, showing Olive’s personal mindset at the beginning of the film, so the title explains the story line in a hidden message.
In our short film we want to include a fast paced, quickly cut montage showing Olive’s daily routine, we want to use it to emphasise the repetition in her life and how unhappy she is. When thinking about how to film this effectively, we came across the widely known first film of the ‘cornetto trilogy’ ‘Shaun of the Dead’. In this film it shows Shaun getting ready for work, the shots are no longer than one second long and filmed at extreme close ups. It’s quick and simple which means the audience can understand what they are watching. We will keep the way this has been filmed in mind when we film our montage of quick cuts.
After watching Director of the film Edgar Wright’s tips on close ups I learnt that by taking basic daily doings such as brushing your teeth and filming them in a quick close up it makes it stylised and interesting because of the fast pace. Thus keeping the audience hooked on the media text.
A man once quoted ‘You don’t seem to realise: people don’t like short films’
For the first 20 years of cinema there were hardly anything but short films – one or two reelers. The years of these embraced the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton and Luis Brunuel and led to the multi-billion dollar industry we know today. If it wasn’t for the 10 minute narratives told through black and white moving pictures, we probably wouldn’t have advanced to the technologies and skills we have in the present. So whats the problem today with short films?
The short film business, is in fact not a business. 99% of short films are by definition apprentice pieces. Used to get the step up into the feature spot. Once a director has been given a salary, access to professional talent, the broader canvas that 90 minutes allows and all the equipment he can dream of that go with a feature film, you’re not going to be seeing them making shorts. They will dive into the industry with all their might.
However short films do still get produced, it’s correct to say many are by budding film makers trying to get noticed, but the internet is rife with short films, some made by organisations to give a message to society, some to educate and some just simply to entertain. But these are uploaded to free websites like YouTube and Vimeo, without any income. It also gives the foot in the door to many others making their way into the industry such as actors, who will be desperate to find any job, even unpaid if it means building up a show-reel.
Finally short films can be made by those just for the pure enjoyment of filmmaking, as a hobby or past time. Short films are an art and people have the freedom to portray whatever message they want to the world. So really it can be argued there isn’t an issue with short film, just an issue with making money from short films…
From our research questionnaire we figured out people’s preference for the genre of comedy, so we decided to make the creative decision to keep and include some small comedic references to fit with what the audience requested, this way they will enjoy it more.
The majority of people said they don’t think it’s necessary to have an attractive main character which works in our favour because we want to go against conventions and make a protagonist that people find likeable and relate to without being typically ‘beautiful’.
This video shows the feedback we received after showing some target audience members our script.
We made some final alterations to our script following our audience research. We listened to the feedback and decided the introduction went on for too long so cropped it down. Following cropping this down, we added a fast montage showing Olive’s morning routine to draw in the audience from the start, because it will contrast greatly with the slow introduction, it will add energy and work really well.
We changed some of the language so it was more targeted at the adolescent audience and wasn’t too deep that people would lose interest.
These choices have benefitted us because we now know it will appeal to our target audience even more because these are things they wanted included and changed.
We finally came up with a name for our short film – IN BLOOM. Bloom references to blossoming like a flower, which links to Olive because she blossoms through her experience and the lesson it teaches her. It’s like a form of a new life (like a flower) for her as she realises how important life is. There is also a song called ‘In Bloom’ by Nirvana which coincides with Olive’s music taste and the lyrics have death connotations which link to the beginning of the short.
We asked people in our social circle to fill in a questionnaire about short films to help with our audience research for our own film. The feedback has shown the majority of people don’t think it’s necessary to have a good looking main character. This fits with our short film as we didn’t want to use someone who was ‘stereotypically pretty’ we want our protagonist to be average in looks because for the problems she faces it wouldn’t fit for her to have model like looks. This way she will be relatable to more people as the majority of society of the age range we are aiming this at sadly do not value themselves and hopefully with the outcome of this short film it will make people think and have higher self esteem.
The audience feedback has also shown that a cliff hanger ending is preferred as it leaves the narrative open and up to the viewers imagination which will make them think about it even more once they finish watching the film.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were best known for their black and white comedy silent and sound shorts released in 1921-1951. They made a large amount of feature films but were known for their shorts. They involved slapstick humour that works very well in short films because it grabs the audiences attention and gives an audience a great degree of escapism.