Section 5: Film Reviews

5.1 

Please post a short film review of approximately 250 – 500 words in length. You are welcome to upload or make use of the framework provided in Rupert’s class. 

WASP

Wasp is a social realist British film following a family suffering with poverty and several other social and economic issues. The film beautifully incorporates documentary styled hand held camera  movement to give a sense of reality to the narrative. The audience are left to wonder if it is a film based on reality. We are given close intimate shots of the children and their lives which bring us closer to the difficulty of their situation.  This in turn creates a deeply moving narrative and characters you can empathise with. The use of cinematography to create an illusion of reality gives the film darker tones which make you consider the thoughts and feelings of the children in more depth.

The performance of the film is particularly impressive, especially the children. The children’s acting is well edited to capture their wants and feelings at the right time. We are shown their desperation and hunger as well as their maturity and hesitation towards their mother. The oldest child of 8 displays much more maturity than her other siblings and even her mother. She takes into consideration the well being of her siblings and also is already aware of more adult themes such as sex. Here the film makes commentary on the pressure such economic instability on a family can place on the children.

In summary Wasp is a deeply moving film which allows the audience to explore the issues of poverty within Britain on families. Through excellent and creative cinematography, script and performance that brings depth to characters, a sense of realism is conveyed. As a result, the audience are drawn into the lives and conditions of the family and empathise with the effects.

5.2 

Please post a review of a feature film production of your choice (British or World cinema). Make sure to comment on the narrative structure, as well as sound, camera, lighting and editing choices.

A TOUCH OF EVIL

Despite being a US box office failure during its release, A Touch of Evil is now considered the classic B-Movie. It’s plot tackles several heavy themes such as race, drugs, crime, corruption, humanity, and sex with riveting elegancy and subtlety. It stands at the end of the Classic Film Noir period and is a must watch for understanding the essence and features of Film Noir. Compelling and gripping, A Touch of Evil will have you squealing with anticipation and questioning the morals of men. 

Its dark labyrinth plot opens with one of the greatest single shots in cinematic history. For a whole 3 minutes and 20 seconds, we follow a car holding a bomb and the people surrounding it, as tension builds and builds we finally hear an offscreen explosion. We are then introduced to the story of Quinlan, a corrupt American detective with an overwhelming presence and game leg which has the intuition of a wild animal. Accompanying him is the honest Mexican narcotics investigator Mike and his wife Susie. We will see them go to any length to overtake and destroy one another.

In a series of twists and turns, backstabbing and betrayal we are invited to learn more about the characters and their morals – or lack of. Welles excellent cinematography engulfs you into the lives of the characters, and the screen is consumed by a series of beautifully constructed shots. We are fearful of Quinlan’s power and dominance as he fills the room and we root for Mike as we see his struggle to take control. Every angle and every camera movement is there to tell you the characters motives, position and the foreboding tragedy they will soon experience. 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Section 4: Technical Skills

4.1

What are the resources required for your film production (think about equipment, props, actors, location etc) 

We needed two male actors to play the role of  suspect and a detective. Therefore, it was important that the actors were wearing clothes that indicated their role. We had the detective wear stereotypical film noir detective clothes including a hat and white shirt. Furthermore, we wanted the detective to smoke  to fulfil the conventions of film Noir more clearly. Therefore the props we needed were cigarettes and an ashtray.

The location was fairly simple because it was just an interrogation room. The only thing we needed to set  up was a table and two chairs  accompanied by a single light bulb hanging over.

Our film had dialogue so we needed the boom and mic connected to the sound mixer. We also of course had a camera to film, connected to a monitor so we could make sure  the shots were in focus more clearly.  Lastly we used a smoke machine to create a foggy atmosphere in the room.

 

4.2 

What is your key role and what are the skills and equipment required to fulfil it?

My key role was Assistant Director. For this I needed to be very organised and plan each shoot in an order that was the most time efficient. To do this I needed to consider how each shot was set up and  that transitioning between set ups would be as simple as possible. Furthermore, it was important to motivate and push the crew forward through each shoot and make sure they stay on schedule. However, I tried to find a balance between having authority and making sure people were on schedule and also creating a pro-active and enjoyable environment on set.

 

 

What is your supporting role and what are the skills and equipment required to fulfil it?

My supporting role was Focus Puller.  This role required me to be quite co-operative with the Camera Operator and the DOP. This was because I needed to communicate whether I thought the shot was in focus or not to avoid wasting time. In addition to this, I needed to be quite observant and understand where the camera was moving and how that would effect the focus of the shot. Lastly it was important to position myself in a way that did not obstruct the Camera Operator but still allowed me to work efficiently.

 

 

4.3 

How do you feel you performed your roles on set? What were your strengths and what were any challenges you faced? 

 

I really enjoyed the role of 1st AD. I think I managed to motivate the crew really effectively, and this meant we finished ahead of schedule and had time to experiment more with shots. I also managed to come up with quick solutions to problems to utilise time efficiently. Furthermore, I tried to make sure I was communicating will all crew members before filming to ensure that everyone was happy with what they were doing. I think there was a really nice pro-active atmosphere on set which was really great because everyone was working together to achieve the same goal.

I sadly didn’t enjoy the role of focus puller as much. Although I managed to do some pull focuses which were a little more difficult, I struggled to see whether the shot was in clear focus or not. This was mainly because I didn’t communicate clearly enough to the DOP that I needed to be able to  see the monitor, because of this many times I relied on the small camera screen which made it harder to tell whether the shot was in focus. In addition to this, there was one shot that I did know was out of focus and I didn’t manage to tell the director clearly enough for them to reshoot it.

 

 

How do you think your skills and knowledge developed in this role? Give examples 

I think the role of focus puller helped me improve on my key role of a first AD. After seeing what I struggled with on set in my first role I was able to improve on important skills. I learnt that communication was highly important and so when I went on to my role of first AD I was much more confident and outgoing because I knew how effective it would be.

 

4.5 

Following completion of the Film Academy, please give examples of film production skills that you would like to develop. Did you have any particular strengths or weaknesses on the course? 

 

Section 3: Working Relationships

3.1 

Why is teamwork important when working on a film production?

Teamwork is vitally important to film production because it is a largely collaborative based project. Everyone has a different and set job however, all these jobs are focused on the same goal – completing the film. Therefore, it is important to communicate between all crew members to ensure that everyone is able to work to their best of their ability so that all aspects of the film are the best they can be.

 

How did you develop good working relationships with your crew members? Give examples

I tried to be as communicative and supportive as possible. When I was working as an Assistant Director I tried to make sure everyone was comfortable and promote a pro-active attitude. It was really important to motivate everyone on set so we all felt enthusiasm for the work we were doing. In addition to this, I think its also important to have humour, this a great way to  make everyone comfortable and more outgoing. When everyone feels communicative rather than reserved it is easier to collaborate in a friendly environment.

 

 

Were there any problems you needed to overcome? Give examples

One of them was being confident enough to provide constructive criticism. Especially when my role was a focus puller. I didn’t manage to tell the director or the DOP that the shot was out and focus and so one of the takes is quite blurred. I made sure in my next role as AD I wasn’t too worried about pointing out anything I thought wasn’t quite right. Whilst still ensuring that the production was moving along efficiently and no-one felt demotivated.

3.2 

What qualities are needed to work well with others on a film production?

I think communication is one of the most important. As well as an outgoing attitude and ability to approach others. I think a lot of the relies on confidence but not so much you become obnoxious. It is important to make sure you consider everyone else’s ideas and personalities around you.

Section 2: Professional Development

2.1 

Please upload or summarise the crew test you did with Rupert

 

 

The crew test went through the main roles within film production. I will summarise a few.

Producer; Finds the finance for the film, Finds the Script, Hires the director, Deals with marketing,

Director; Oversees Film Production, Controls artistic elements of film making.

Location Manager; Finds and negotiate the locations for film shoots

Cast Director; Find actors through speaking with agents

Production Manager; Controls the budget of the film and how the money is spent

Assistant Director; Controls the set, and health and safety

Runner; Helps all members of the crew by doing smaller jobs

DOP; Controls compositions of the shots

DIT; Controls image quality control

Camera Op; Operates the camera

Gaffer; Sets up the lights

Grip; Supports the camera

Focus Puller; Keeps the shot in focus

Clapper loader; Logs the shots with the clapper

Sound Mixer; Controls the level of sounds picked up by the boom

Boom Op; Operates the boom mic

Editor; Puts the shots together

Script Supervisor; Controls the continuity through the scenes

 

2.2

Describe the structure and interrelationships of the production department. You can use a diagram or similar if you wish

organisational-charts-of-film-production-organisational-chart-one-1-728

One of the closest relationships on set is that between the Director and the DOP. The two work very closely together to find out what is the best way to compose the shots in order to achieve the directors desired effect.  However, the DOP must also work closely with the Camera Operator, in many cases the DOP is also the camera operator but not always. It is important for the DOP and Camera OP to communicate well so the correct shot is achieved.

The Director also speaks to the first AD. This allows easy communication between the rest of the crew and the Director as the first AD is the link between the Director and Crew.

The Sound Mixer and the Boom Op must also have a very close and efficient relationship to achieve good quality sound. To achieve sound that is at a good level it is important that the Boom Op maintains a similar distance between the sound and the mic at all times so that the mixer can level the sound accordingly and easily. However, the Boom Op also usually needs a good relationship with the DOP to avoid getting any Boom shadows in the shot.

2.3 

Describe at least 2 potentional progression routes into the film industry (e.g. university, apprenticeships, entry level work, film festivals etc)

The film industry is highly competitive, however, there are several ways you can being to enter the industry. Many of these routes will rely on good communication skills as well as an enthusiasm for film!

One way is to go to a film school. Here you can work quite practically and build yourself a portfolio whilst also networking with professionals who work in the industry and gain work experience.  It is very easy to access work after film school as you should have already met many professionals who are already in work. In addition to this, you would have access to a lot of professional equipment and know how to work on a set, film schools are a great way to get experience.

 

Another way to enter the industry is to apply for entry level work such as a runner. As you gain more experience working on set you can move up the ladder. A runner may work to become a gaffer or spark and then a focus puller to camera operator to DOP. This is very useful if you want to move on to create your own films because you build a knowledge of nearly all the roles on set. Therefore, you will have a better understanding of the people who are working with you and what they need to do.

 

 

 

What do you plan to do when the academy is finished?

I want to go to film school. I would like to apply for BA filmmaking at the London Film Academy, and then move on to get a MA in Directing at the NFTS. Currently I am still trying to gain as much experience and portfolio work as possible so I can have the best possible chance of getting in when applying to these schools. This is why I am currently applying to the BFI NFTS Craft Residential.

 

 

Briefly describe the job of one of your tutors, and what they have done in their career

One of my tutors was a DOP. He is currently working on some short films to be submitted into festivals. He started off as a film loader and eventually worked his way up to DOP.

 

 

2.4 

What is the wider creative media sector? (think about music, costume, advertising, animation, theatre, games etc)

 

 

Explain how film production connects to the wider creative media sector

 

***you might find the following link helpful for completing this section:

http://creativeskillset.org/creative_industries 

Section 1: Film Industry

This is the post excerpt.

1.1

What is it like working in the film industry?

Working in the film industry is incredibly competitive, demanding but ( hopefully ) very enjoyable. It relies very heavily on teamwork perseverance and communication. In order to work effectively and productively on a film you must have the patience to work well with others in a stressful and busy enviroment. Everyone relies on one another to create both the picture and sound desired. This is due to the way a film set is structured, each person is given a task both very general and very precise ranging from Set Designer to Director. However, each job is equally important as one another because they are all vital to the creation of a film. Without a Gaffer the lights would not be set up and without a DOP the Gaffer wouldn’t know where to set them up in the first place. Therefore, every job is reliant on one another, and as a result if you do your job well it makes everyone else’s job much easier, and vice versa.

There are a variety of roles when it comes to working on a film set.

  1. Director – The Director is the head of the entire film production, they have the final say on all matters.

2. Director of Photography DOP – They are in charge of cinematography. Therefore,                 they work closely with the director to create images and lighting that produce the               desired effect.

3. Gaffer – The Gaffer is in charge of setting up the lights for the DOP, a good Gaffer              will   be efficient and also mindful of what effect the DOP is trying to create.

4. Focus Puller – They must work together with the Camera operator to keep the shot          in focus and produce sharp images, this can be particularly challenging when there          is  a lot of Camera or Subject  movement

5.  Camera Operator – There job is to move and position the Camera accordingly to the       DOP’s and Director’s instruction. A good Camera operator will be able to quickly offer       up a shot that is desirable.

6. 1st AD – The first AD runs the set. This means that they have to manage all teams            working on the shoot to make sure they meet Director expectations and are all                   working to schedule. A good AD will motivate their team and communicate well with       the director to make the atmosphere on set productive and enthusiastic. It is important     to find a balance between authority and creating a calm enviroment.

7. Clapper Loader – The clapper loader logs all the shots. It shows the editors what shot      is what slate and what take, this makes the organisation of shots in post production            more organised and manageable. A good clapper loader will always have the clapper        board ready for the next take, and will make sure the clapper is always in frame. This         is to ensure that the sound is easily synced with the shot.

8. Production Manager – A production manager will control the films budget. They will     organise the films finance and how the budget is spent.

9. Still Photographer – The still photographer will take behind the scenes photos of the       crew. This is useful for DVD releases and the crews portfolio work. A good stills                   photographer will be able to take engaging shots without obstructing the films                     production.

10. Sound Mixer – A sound mixer controls the levels of sound picked up by the boom          mic. This is important for maintaining the level of sounds throughout the shoot so that      the sound is balanced and appealing to the ear. A good sound mixer will know when the levels of sound increase on set so they can adjust them accordingly.

1.2 

Why is time management important in the film industry? 

 Time management on set is vital. This is due to the fact that essentially time is money. The longer you take to shoot your film the longer hours you have to pay for your workers and your location. The longer your lights are on and the more batteries you have to charge the more expensive your electricity bill. Time is still vital even when money is not an issue, for example, if you are using natural lighting then you must keep your shoot within a specific time frame to avoid the lighting changing drastically in your scene. In addition to this, it is likely your time on location is limited so most shoots will likely have a time limit.  

One example of good time management is not shooting in chronological order. This is because a good way of saving time is to avoid changing camera set ups as much as possible. Re-arranging the set takes up valuable time, therefore it is good to shoot your shots in an order that is ecological. For example, if you have a mid shot and an extreme close up of an actor in the same position, it is better to film these using the same set up rather than moving on to the next shot on the story board and having to rearrange the whole set multiple times. 

Another good example of time management is making sure the staff are as organised as possible before shooting. On one of the shoots I was 1st AD and to ensure we were able to wrap up quickly I made a strict but also flexible schedule. Having a schedule allowed everyone on set to know what the goal number of shots were in a certain amount of time, and made transitions between camera set ups smooth as everyone knew exactly what shot we were doing when. 

Furthermore, a third example of good time management is to make sure everyone is clear about their roll on set. Everyone should be prepared as quickly as possible to do the next take. Therefore, it is important to have effective and co-operative communication between crew. If crew members are aware of the rest of their team it is easier to solve issues methodically and efficiently. 

Schedule

BFI Academy CALLSHEET Worst Kind Oct 28

BFI Academy CALLSHEET The End 26 Oct 

1.3 

Describe the key aspects of health and safety when working on film productions 

One key health and safety aspect is to ensure everyone is aware of all fire exits and has easy access to them at all time. It is also important to ensure all crew members now how to proceed safely out of the building in the event of a fire. In addition to this, it is important that there are no fire hazards on set. For example, having liquids near electrical wires and equipment, having flammable material near set lights, and having equipment incorrectly wired. Another key health and safety aspect is to make sure all cables are out of the way as much as possible to avoid crew members falling over them.

A main risk in our film ‘ The Worst Kind of People’ was the use of the smoke machine. Since we smoked the room to create a moody atmosphere a lot of the time it could be difficult to see past the fog. It was important to ensure that there were no cables or trip hazards while using the fog machine to avoid anyone falling over equipment. Furthermore, it was important to note down if anyone on set had asthma and to be sure that it wasn’t a hazard for them to breathe in the fog. Another risk was at times the area near the monitor was quite crowded as there were many people gathered in a small area. Therefore, it was important to ensure that the crew were reminded to spread out more and make sure only people who needed to see the monitor were standing by it. This was to avoid people falling over each-other or other accident. A third risk was the light. We had one single light bulb above our actors hanging from the ceiling. However, the light had to be attached to an extension cable on the ground and lead up to the ceiling. It was important that everyone was aware of the light to avoid the boom swinging into the bulb and breaking it and also to make sure no one accidentally tugged on the wire causing the bulb to fall.

BFI Academy Risk Assessment WORST KIND 28 Oct

1.4 & 1.5 

Why does copyright law exist?

Copyright protects an author’s work from plagerism and theft. It gives the author the sole right to copy and distribute their work. This makes copyright vitally important for publishing author’s livelihood. Copyright is even in the American constitution said to be created to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited time to author’s and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”

 

What kind of work is covered by copyright?

 Copyright protects original works of author’s. Including musical, literature, film, computer software and architecture. However, it does not cover facts, ideas, systems or methods.

What might happen if you were to use copyrighted material in your film?

 Copyright infringement has a series of consequences. It is even possible to go to jail. However, it is more likely that the owner of the copyrighted material will sue you and take you to court. If you lost the case you would have to pay the amount of damages and any profits made to the copyright holder. In addition to this you would pay all the attorney fees and court costs. Lastly the court would issue an injunction and stop you from your infringement. 

How can you make sure not to infringe copyright law in your film?

 Make sure that you have all the rights and appropriate permissions to everything in your film. This is particularly important  when your film includes brands and music. It is possible to use Royalty free music and create your own brands for your films. Another infringement to look out for is paintings, make sure there are no copyrighted pieces of art in the background of your films.

How has copyright law affected your film production?

The film I edited ” Spaghetti” includes the soundtrack from a song called ” I don’t want to set the world on fire” which is a copyrighted piece of music. Therefore I could not use the original. I had to use an instrumental cover version of the song with all musical elements created by a separate person who had given permission for their version of the song to be use freely. Furthermore it is important to leave the London Film Academy copyright statement at the end of the film to ensure that the film is covered by LFAs copyright law.