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.
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.
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.
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?