Lighting workshop and Reflection

5/4/19 - Lighting workshop

IMG_4892We learnt about the ND filter and wha is is used for. When the camera is overexposed – the ND filter is used to cut out the amount of light that shows up on the camera.

<  F2.5 > – the aperture is really big and what that means is the depth of filed has the potential of being really small.

Focus shifting

There are two things that can you to focus shift. One being – you have to zoom in as much as you can on your object. One of the thing things can make a different is the focal length and that basically means just how zoomed in it is.

Example – If you move the camera as far back from the object you want to be out of focus. Give as much distance for the object you want to be in focus and the background.

(F. assist to help check the focus)

Simplified – to shift between each subject ensure that there is a distance between them

Reflection

This workshop was extremely helpful because I started to understand things I didn’t before. I now know how to set the camera so there isn’t too much light which resulting it in being overexposed.

Our lecturer taught us how to do a focus shift which he said takes times to learn. I wanted to include a focus shift in my short film – now I know how to go about doing so I will attempt to do so when I start my production process.

Shots Research and Reflection

I was considering having a birds eye view (God’s eye view) shot as the intro to my short film – the protagonist is sitting down about to paint.

God’s eye view, is one of the most well-known filmmaking shots, captures an overhead angle by placing the camera directly above the subject. God’s eye view shots are often used in films to make a dramatic comment on the character or scene. 

When you use God’s eye view, you are allowing the audience to see the movement of a scene all at once in a way that the characters cannot necessarily see themselves, giving viewers a more omniscient perspective. But this vantage point is often disorienting; it can seem unnatural to the audience as objects in the frame may be unrecognisable at first. However, once the audience has adjusted to the new point of view, the God’s eye view can have a crazy significant effect on the narrative and add symbolic meaning to a scene.

Types of shot angles:

Extreme Close Up –  Emphasises a small area or detail of the subject, such as the eyes or mouth. An extreme close up of just the eyes is sometimes called an Italian Shot, getting its name from Sergio Leone’s Italian-Western films that popularised it.

Low Angle  – the subject is photographed from below eye level. This can have the effect of making the subject look powerful, heroic, or dangerous – In the shots where the protagonist pushes her dad down the stairs. I want to use a low angle shot to show how dangerous but also heroic she is for saving her mother from her abusive father. 

22/3/19 - Test shots (looking back and reflecting)

Test shots with casted actress:

This test shot is to see how well the actress work around the camera and also how the lighting is.

Strength – I know exactly how I need shots to look whether it be a close up or tracking shot. Cinematography is well understood for the final product.

Weakness – I have filmed in my home before therefore I know that the lighting is not great because they are very different colours in each rooms. We tried to make it work with a 5 in 1 reflective but it wasn’t coming out how we expected.

My house is a contingency i.e., it will not be the primary location I will be filming at.

I will need to have a dominant light source for the 5in1 reflector when recording.

I really loved this shot because of the dramatic effect gives off. I will be including a slow motion in this very shot of my short film because this is the moment where the climax begin and the main protagonist does something drastic.

Above is the final edit we used to screen in our pitch at Stratford College.

Topic Research

20/3/19 - Researching domestic violence/abuse


What is domestic abuse/violence?
Primary Research:

Screen Shot 2019-03-25 at 01.32.36There is slight different between domestic abuse and domestic violence. Domestic abuse involves injuring someone, such as a spouse, partner, or other family member within the domestic setting. The effects of domestic abuse often result in lifelong issues long after the victim has left the abusive environment.

The injuries caused by domestic violence can be either physical or emotional.

Domestic violence and abuse, includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse in couple relationships or between family members. Domestic violence can happen against women and against men, and anybody can be an abuser.

Official statistics show the number of incidents of domestic abuse recorded by the authorities every year. But the problem is much bigger than shown in official statistics, as many victims and children don’t tell anyone about the abuse, and they are not recorded as crimes. That’s why SafeLives also uses data from our Insights database – the largest national database of domestic abuse cases in the UK, with more than 35,000 records from 2009 to date.

Key statistics about domestic abuse in England and Wales:
  • “Each year nearly 2 million people in the UK suffer some form of domestic abuse – 1.3 million female victims (8.2% of the population) and 600,000 male victims (4%) 
  • Each year more than 100,000 people in the UK are at high and imminent risk of being murdered or seriously injured as a result of domestic abuse.
  • Women are much more likely than men to be the victims of high risk or severe domestic abuse: 95% of those going to Marac or accessing an Idva service are women,
  • In 2013-14 the police recorded 887,000 domestic abuse incidents in England and Wales.
  • Seven women a month are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wale.
  • 130,000 children live in homes where there is high-risk domestic abuse.
  • 62% of children living with domestic abuse are directly harmed by the perpetrator of the abuse, in addition to the harm caused by witnessing the abuse of others.
  • On average victims at high risk of serious harm or murder live with domestic abuse for 2-3 years before getting help.
  • 85% of victims sought help five times on average from professionals in the year before they got effective help to stop the abuse.”
Getting help and support for domestic violence:

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It does not have to extend to a life threatening emergency situation to seek help. If domestic abuse is happening to you or someone around, it is crucial to tell someone and remember you or them are not alone. There are many ways you can see help for domestic violence, such as:

  • women can call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge
  • men can call the Men’s Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or ManKind on 01823 334 244
  • in an emergency, call 999

Men can also email info@mensadviceline.org.uk, which can refer men to local places that can help, such as health services and voluntary organisations..

Galop provides support to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people experiencing domestic violence.

Anyone who needs confidential help with their own abusive behaviour can contact Respect on their free helpline on 0808 802 4040.

Signs of domestic violence and abuse:

 There are different kinds of abuse, but it’s always about having power and control over you. Some of the sings of domestic violence and abuse:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Threats and intimidation
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • A third of domestic violence and abuse against women starts during pregnancy. If the relationship is already abusive, it can get worse.

More about domestic violence in pregnancy.

If a person decided to leave the abusive environment they can contact organisation such as:

Women’s Aid has useful information about making a safety plan that applies to both women and men, including advice if you decide to leave.

Helping a friend if they're being abused: 

If you’re worried a friend is being abused, alert them on the fact that you have noticed something isn’t quite right. Some might be reluctant to talk, however, you can try to find quiet times where they can talk if they choose to. If that friend is willingly confiding in you here are some things you can do to let them know that you are thee for them: 

  • listen, and take care not to blame them
  • Acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiencing abuse
  • Give them time to talk DON’T force it
  • Be understanding
  • Support them as a friend – encourage them to express their feelings, and allow them to make their own decisions.
  • Don’t tell them to leave the relationship, it is up to them to do that
  • Help them report the assault to the police if they choose to
Sexual assault:

Women and men who have been sexually assaulted can get confidential help, treatment and support at a sexual assault referral centre.

Read more about getting help after a sexual assault.

Find your nearest sexual assault referral centre

Secondary Research:

Women’s Aid defines domestic abuse as an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence, in the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner, but also by a family member or carer. It is very common. In the vast majority of cases it is experienced by women and is perpetrated by men.

Domestic abuse can include the following:

  • Coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Online or digital abuse

Domestic abuse is a gendered crime which is deeply rooted in the societal inequality between women and men. It is a form of gender-based violence, violence “directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately” (CEDAW, 1992).

Women are more likely than men to experience multiple incidents of abuse, different types of domestic abuse (intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking) and in particular sexual violence. Any woman can experience domestic abuse regardless of race, ethnic or religious group, sexuality, class, or disability, but some women who experience other forms of oppression and discrimination may face further barriers to disclosing abuse and finding help.

Domestic abuse exists as part of violence against women and girls; which also includes different forms of family violence such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation and so called “honour crimes” that are perpetrated primarily by family members, often with multiple perpetrators.

How common is domestic abuse?

We know from our work, and the work of the Women’s Aid federation of services, that domestic abuse is very common, however this is often difficult to accurately quantify. Domestic abuse is a largely hidden crime, occurring primarily at home. Women often don’t report or disclose domestic abuse to the police (HMIC, 2014) and may underreport domestic abuse in surveys, particularly during face-to-face interviews (ONS, 2015). In addition, prevalence estimates do not take into account important context and impact information, for example whether the violence caused fear, who experienced multiple incidents and who experienced coercive controlling behaviour. When these factors are taken into account the gendered nature of domestic abuse becomes clearer.

Key statistics:
  • There are no reliable prevalence data on domestic abuse but the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) offers the best data available. According to these data, an estimated 1.2 million women experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2017 (ONS, 2017), and an estimated 4.3 million women aged 16-59 have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16 (ONS, 2018). When these figures are presented along the current prevalence estimates for male victims, however, the gendered nature of domestic abuse is obscured. This is because these data do not take into account important context and impact information, such as whether the violence caused fear, who the repeat victims were and who experienced violence in a context of power and control. When these factors are taken into account the gendered nature of domestic abuse becomes much more apparent. See Domestic abuse is a gendered crime’.
  • On average two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner every week in England and Wales.*  (ONS, 2018)
  • On average the police in England and Wales receive over 100 calls relating to domestic abuse every hour. (HMIC, 2015)
  • The domestic abuse had been reported to the police for just over one quarter of the women using community-based services in the Week to Count 2017 and just over two fifths of women resident in refuge services on the Day to Count 2017. One eighth of the community-based service users and one sixth of the women resident in refuge services saw criminal sanctions or a criminal case against the perpetrator(s) of the abuse. (Women’s Aid, 2018)

* Between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2017, a total of 241 women were killed by their partner/ex-partner In England and Wales (ONS, 2018). This gives us an average of 1.54 women per week (241/[52 weeks*3]) – rounded up to two women per week.

Influences and Inspirations

Naming my short film

Screen Shot 2019-05-09 at 15.17.12I first heard the word ‘suppressed’ from a TV show I liked that aired several years ago called ‘The Tomorrow People’. It was created by:  Greg BerlantiJulie PlecPhil KlemmerRoger Price

It is about evolved humans with special abilities: telepathy, telekinesis, and teleportation, whom are being hunted down by agents.

I love any TV show or film that has ‘superhumans’, ‘metahumans’ or just extraordinary people. I’m a fanatic when it comes to such things hence why when I do end up directing films the genre I will fixate mostly on is ‘scifi/fantasy’.

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Throughout the series, I noticed they would put these cuffs onto people who use their powers for evil or people who do not want to accept the fact they have these powers. They called they ‘suppression cuffs’ – meaning their powers are dormant and they cannot use them whilst these cuffs are on.

At this point, I had already had the idea of what the plot of my short film is, I just did not know what I was going to title it, until now. 

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Suppress means to forcibly put an end to.  Subdue. Vanquish. Repress. There are many synonyms for it. 

I did some more research because I know that people can completely forget a memory due to how traumatic it was. I just did not have a name for it yet.

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Sigmund Freud

Who is Sigmund Freud?

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a movement that popularised the theory that unconscious motives control much behaviour.

What are repressed memories? 

Repressed memories are memories that have been subdued due to the memory being associated with an immense level of stress trauma. 

Freud introduced the concept that child abuse is a major source of mental disorders such as hysteria, also known as conversion disorder. People who suffer from these disorders could relinquish control of bodily functions, such as: mobility, following a stressful occurrence.

The concept of repressing traumatic memories was part of this model. Repression, as Freud saw it, a form of defence mechanism process where the mind forgets or places events.

Freud also suggested that if these memories were not recalled, it could result in physical or mental symptoms. He argued symptoms of a mental disorder can be a return of the repressed memories, or a symbolic way of communicating a traumatic event.

This idea of hidden traumas and their ability to influence psychological functioning despite not being recalled or available to consciousness has shaped much of our current thinking about symptoms and the need to understand what lies behind them.

Those who accept the repression interpretation argue children may repress memories of early abuse for many years and that these can be recalled when it’s safe to do so. This is variously referred to as traumatic amnesia or dissociative amnesia. Proponents accept repressed traumatic memories can be accurate and used in therapy to recover memories and build up an account of early experiences.

Short film analysis

This short film is directed by Taylor Engel.

The city at night, a couple alone. A scream from the woman, the smoke of the gun. A murder mystery. This short film is so simple yet so effective.

Each time the narrator says, “wait, go back” the moment is repeated a new revelation has come to light. There is a persistent narration of “the pavement, the night, those eyes, the glass, the red, the smoke, those lips, that touch, the breeze, the pavement” and each time we go back the meaning of each of them changes because of the new revelation. 

“The pavement; the pavement; the night; those eyes; the glass; the red; the smoke; those lips; her touch; the breeze; the pavement. Wait. Go back.”

This line of dialogue introduces the film and is delivered with faded in/out clips of the night. At the “go back” we divert back to the very beginning of the dialogue and to the starting point for this short scene to which we are witness. Each successive time we do this, the dialogue and the scene changes a little bit – almost like it is coming more into focus for whomever it is that is narrating it for us. This simple idea is quite effective because, although the noir-delivery and the specifics of the scene are not too different, the constant resetting of the scene is delivered with a very good pace – with the clips and the narration speeding up as the viewer starts to pay more attention, and contributes towards drawing the viewer in. The film also knows when to slow down and when to linger, so that the significance of the line or clip can be allowed to sink in – not just on the viewer but mainly on the narrator himself.

The black and white images cover up the fact that some of the effects are not the absolute best, but generally it looks crisp and clean; personally I would have liked if the glass breaking and blood wasn’t CGI because it made it look very animated and unrealistic, however, i feel it still works because of how well paced the rhythm of delivery is – both in terms of the images, the dialogue, but also the knowledge/understanding of both narrator and viewer. It is only 4 minutes long but it uses this time very well, leaving me feeling satisfied as a viewer thanks to the effectiveness of the story-telling.

The way it has been edited is to essentially tell the whole story of that night.

This short film is directed by David Shin. 

This film shows the relationship of an abusive man and the woman who suffers at the hand of her abuser. It introduces the relationship as any other heathy relationship, however during the first 30 seconds of the film, we, as viewers notice the man is controlling the woman and commands her to follow his orders and if she tries to speak back she gets abused. The film reflects how from the outside world the relationship might seem healthy but as we start to progress with the film we see that it is a toxic relationship. There is a lot of symbolism with in the film. For instance, when he puts the heart necklace around her neck at the start of the film, but we see her taking it off in the end. In a way she has removed his toxic love and perhaps she is starting to realise that he is bad for her and this is not love. Another symbolic shot is when she is holding the knife towards the man and anticipating if she should harm him to escape. Similarly, it shows how there are opportunities to escape from abuse and get help, however, we then see the man knocking the knife out her hand. This connotes that he is limiting her to reach out and get help almost as if he is throwing her freedom away.  The film starts with a tracking shot in the kitchen and we see the camera tracking into the woman, almost as if we’re tracking into her life, which we are. The lighting is cool yet warm toned, reflecting the fact that she is in her home but yet she is still feeling uncomfortable. The close up shot of her face when the man comes and hugs her shows that she is not entirely happy to see him. The film then shows a series of shots that reflect their relationship, the positives sides of it. The kitchen is shown again but this time it is a still shot and the man enters as the woman is cutting the carrots. There is a cut away shot from the current scene of the woman looking at her bruises; the audience are now aware that the man is abusing her. We then cut back to the same scene in the kitchen but, this time the camera angle is lower and superior to the man and this is where the conversation goes from normal to toxic. He starts asking her aggressively. In my production I want to set a similar equilibrium – when the mother and daughter are sat on the couch before the dad arrives and disrupts their comfort. Mainly from this short film I will be resembling the mother the same way the woman is represented. sacred, suppressed and submissive. The characteristics will be similar.         

Films and TV shows

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When I first had the idea about my short film I automatically thought of an episode in Black Mirror called ‘White Bear’ –  it is the second episode of the second series of the British science fiction. The episode follows a woman who has no recollection of who she is and wakes up in a place where almost everybody is controlled by a television signal. The climax is at the end – as it is with most film and tv show. The plot twist and revelation is that it was all staged. She did something horrible and her memory was purposefully erased because she was sentenced to undergo daily psychological punishment. There are moments in the film when she sees something that triggers a memory – almost like a flashback but it is for split second. It also has this static like sound whenever she has these flashbacks which I thought worked incredibly well. I would like to include elements of that in my short film. This has been an influence of style.

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Jeff Davis is the executive producer of one of my favourite TV show ‘Teen Wolf’. I chose this as one of my influences because there is a particular shot in season 3, episode 13 where actress, Crystal Reed,  accidentally dropped the paintbrush into the red paint and it splashed unto the canvas and sends her into the flashback of her aunt dying. This influence isn’t so much an influence of how I came to my idea but how I want a scene to look in my short film. 

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One of my peers suggested that I looked into ‘Bates Motel’ as an influence because the very first season basically mirrors my idea. The boy killed his father to protect his mother. She covers it up and the boy has no recollection of it whatsoever till the very end of the season. This has been more of an influence of narrative for me. 

 

 

 

Direct Influences

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Teen Wolf – S3E13

The initial idea was for the paintbrush to drop in the paint and splash on the canvas and mimic exactly how I saw it on Teen Wolf, however, we scrapped the entire of that because it seems almost impossible to achieve. The alternative was to have the protagonist paint instead of dropping the paintbrush unto the paint, then proceed to having a match cut of the red paint and blood.

 

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TV Show: Quantico

I could not find the actual scene where she kills her father to protect her mother, however, from what I can vaguely remember, this is how she was standing before she took up the gun and shot him. The entirety of my short film is based on that exact scene – difference being, she knew she killed her dad and I have made my character repress the memory.

Proposal process and Reflection

11/3/19 - Proposal process

Review:

I’m an aspiring director and that is the role I’ve taken on for each of my projects. This is what I love to do, this has been a skill I had before beginning any of projects because I was able to let my peers (if doing group work) know exactly how something should be done for it to be effective in the end. I became more confident in how to do so overtime.  At the beginning of the year I think it is safe to say that I was not confident about how efficient I could do the given assignments because there had to be an immense amount of research and thought put into them, however, working through them all I gained skills and became more confident.

Skills such as: Observational – this is a competency I gained over the course of doing my other assignments; paying attention to the small details and noting down things on a day to day basis is really helpful because it results in the success of the final product.

Time Management – I have been able to improve on how to prioritise well therefore resulting in pre-production, production and post production running smoothly.

Creative – I am automatically filled with ideas of about my given work once I know what the format should be. This can be shown throughout my projects. 

RSC – Macbeth trailer:

Influences:

The NUN – Corin Hardy; the director of ‘The NUN’ was one of my influences simply because there were moments in the film where he really captured the horror. A particular scene which I like was when the NUN was standing behind the girl. 

As shown below, I mimicked this idea in my trailer because I liked how scared the actors are knowing that there is something behind them and they do not know what it is.

The movie ‘The Forest’ (2016) was also another influence of mine because there was a major jump scare at the end that really frightened me when I first watched it. 

1:26:52 – Michi looks into the forest and sees Sara’s spirit which rushes at him.

I used this idea in my trailer, however, I did not have the actor rush out at someone. She just popped up almost out of nowhere.

  • A POV shot – the candle is being held by the protagonist.
  • The witch jumps out of nowhere and blows out the candle. At this point I included the jump scare and it worked really well because it was unexpected. 
  • The candle is blown out. 

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The mood board and relevant influences reflected the theme and the genre and the shots in my trailer were recreated to show the depths, colours and composition of the pictures in the mood board.

e.g., the image of the queen being superior to the king was shown in my trailer.

The use of the candles as the only source of lighting is what made the trailer good.  Though some of the shots were darker than other it still worked because I was trying to convey the codes and conventions of a horror.

The idea was being afraid to turn off the lights and going upstairs. I think it was well thought-out however the weak points were the lighting and camera work.

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Storyboarding for my short film was important because I needed to fit all my shots into 90 seconds, when I first pitched my idea to my peers, there was a lot of content that needed to fit into 90 seconds and it seemed impossible. During the storyboarding process it was then that I realised I needed to cut a few things because I was not going to fit it all in 90 seconds, in doing so, it did not disrupt the outline of my idea – it showed me that the minor things that I thought needed to be in there did not need to be. Minor details being having a tracking shot throughout, it did not fit with the film and it took up a lot of time.

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My influences were a majority of films and short films about the dark. It was fitting because that is what my short film is about. Though there aren’t any scary figures in my short film, it was more about the fear of what’s in the dark and the ‘scary figures’ are often what people think lurk in the shadows.

Director David Sandberg’s ‘Light’s Out’ was a major influence of mine during this production, though, I have never watched the movie because I do not like to watch horror films. I used it as an influence because it was ver similar to my idea – growing up I have always been afraid of the dark because of what I think lurk in the shadows and lights out plays on the same idea however the difference between them both is my short film is made to seem that it in all in your head and what you think isn’t actually there but with Light’s Out, you can actually see the scary thing in the dark.

(S) specific – My main role is being director for this production. I want to be able to ensure that every detail is looked into because in the film there will be flashbacks to the night of the incident and the audience will notice the mistake of not having a particular thing in shot when the character flashes back.

(M) measurable – Having the end result how my peer and I desires it to be is another target I need to improve upon. The solution for this is making sure that a lot of work goes into pre-production and researching.

(A) achievable – The point of a target i challenge and motivate yourself to complete set projects , tasks etc., setting a target too high is bound to cause unnecessary stress and lowering the chances of the target being met. The solution is ensure that the idea is achievable and not impossible to reach.

(R) realistic – As the director it is my job to make sure that the projects runs smoothly so having an idea that is way too ambitious and cannot be done would be setting myself up for failure. The solution for this is to make sure my idea and targets for the idea is achievable.

(T) Time-bound – I like sticking to deadlines because it motivates me to do my work and sticking to deadlines ensures that your work flows smoothly and without the stress of rushing. The solution is always to do the work now rather than procrastinating.

Project Concept:

Narration – voice over by protagonist.

One stormy night the dad walks in drunk. The mother sends her daughter to her room and immediately makes her way upstairs to avoid any confrontation. The dad makes his way upstairs, dramatically stumbling across the hallway, wreaking havoc on anything in his path. He starts to yell at the mother from outside the bedroom door, frightened, the mother gets up and tries to leave the room. The increased tension between the couple is broken by the footsteps of their daughter. “Mom, are you ok?”, she asked.  “Go to your room Althea!” she says as tears rolls down her bruised cheek. Slamming her head against the wall, the dad starts to choke the mother, wrapping his hands around her neck as sharp as glass. Horrified the little girl pushes the dad, causing him to fall down the stairs. The mom gasped and grabs her daughter and says “listen to me, DO NOT TELL ANYBODY WHAT HAPPENED HERE, DO YOU HEAR ME?! I need you to go to your room and lock the door, ok?” whimpering as she followed the commands. Leaving the mother isolated with the dead body, the decay of the household, the rotting of the marriage.

Blurred to the current state of matter, Althea is seen sat in front of a large, empty, white canvas as blank as her mind, picking up the paintbrush, she draws from the sorrows of her mind – talking to the painting as it talks back. She decides to go for a walk, she enjoys walking, and it calms her mind and puts her in a state of total serenity. She’s walking in a field and grazes the plants with her hand, suddenly, she falls back into yet another trance like state which opens the door to another revelation. Walking alone on the cold, wet pavement, her glassy eyes burdened with the stress of a typical teenager. Just as a car passes by she closes her eyes and feels her mind detach from reality and swung into her inner hidden emotions and secrets. Her dizziness carries her through these past memories like a cloud being swept by a storm. The wind in her ears slowly transforms into whispers. Whispers turn to voices. She’s there re living the dreadful night that she had buried. Sinking out from the tunnel of dark memories, voices faded by the loud noise of a screeching horn.  

Artwork that relates to my idea:

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The Scream, 1893 by Edvard Munch.

I think it’s a good thing when life imitate arts because it has powerful symbolisms, deeper meanings and forges a connection between the artist and the viewer. It is an unspoken bond.

Whenever I look at Munch’s art of ‘The Scream’ I see escapism. Everything around seems confined. Despite the fact that there are two people walking it still has the underlying of isolation and that is a common feeling for those who have or is experience domestic abuse/violence.

 

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Bruised Face Broken Heart by Sarah Moore.

This painting is strictly about domestic abuse. The positioning of the woman shows her defeat and acceptance of what has now become her reality. She is sitting with her arms wrapped around her legs like a child who has just been punished. The dark, gloomy colours used could suggest how she sees the world. The bruise on her face and arms are  more potent because they stand out. The deep, dark red shows that she has been exposed to an aggressive physical act of violence.

 

Music video that also relates to my idea:

Her Morning Elegance / Oren Lavie

When I first watched this music video I would have never thought it was about domestic violence which goes to show that domestic violence comes in many forms and it is not just about the physical abuse.

It is when I was told to read the lyrics and then watch the video it all started to make sense and I would start to piece things together. There was one particular shot that made me come to a realisation of the negative connotations in the video.

The shot where she seems to be floating away and he grabs her by her feet and pull her back down to him suggests the power he has over her to make her stay. The image example is below.

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Evaluation Methods:

I intend to have a progression diary where I will make a note of all the things I did that day and comment on the strengths and weakness and how I could possibly improve for the next tasks ahead. I will be constant documenting each stage from pre-production to post production. 

An example: Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 10.36.07

This is our final major project and we will have to work to the best of our abilities to have success within the final product. I will have critical analysis of myself and my team member because we need to be able to work efficiently and effectively on this to have a sustainable production. 

 

Research proposal:

Content:

Case studies – I intend to have several case studies about the topic which is about domestic abuse/violence. My lecturer along with my peer; who I’m working on this project with have both agreed to be apart of my case study. I will have an open discussion with them both as they have experience this first hand. I think this a good approach to the topic because it is a very sensitive issue and  if I was to do this wrong it would cause massive offence to a lot of people. Hearing the stories from people have been through domestic abuse/violence will give me insights on what I should include in my short film and result in the authenticity of it all.  

Interviews – I also wanted to have proper interview with someone outside of college because everyone’s story is different and it will give me more of an advantage on how to approach this properly, though, this might be risky because it can be triggering for that person to be asked to bring such uncomfortable and traumatic memories. If I am successful in getting an interview I will offer helplines and the proper support (I have researched the support) to that person and as I said, my peer has been through the same thing so he can empathise with that person as well. 

Approaching a topic of such will require an immense amount of research. My idea also has elements of mental health. I will need to research more into mental health, the effect it has and how they cope. Mental health is not a something a lot of people openly speak about which they should because it is just as serious as a having a terminal illness.

 

Technical:

I will  have to consider the proper lighting for my short film because it is imperative when filming anything. The lighting must be in your favour. The solution for this is to location scout and when the location is secured I can do many test shots to see just how I want the actors to be positioned to have the best lighting.

A particular thing I would like to do test shots of is focus shifting.

Here is an example I found on Youtube:

 

 

I have never done a focus shift because so doing it on something that is moving would be difficult for a beginner. I would have the actors or an object to be still to focus the background then the foreground then back on the background. 

an example:

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 11.11.31

I will do statical research into domestic abuse/violence and mental health and see just how man people are affected by it as it is  a very serious matter. I will include graphs, charts and numbers with descriptions under each. 

I will also do both primary and secondary research about domestic abuse/violence.

 

Practical:

Cast and Crew – I have already started to look for potential cast who would be best suited for the role. So far I have gotten 2 out of the 4 people I need. I think this really good considering production starts on 1.4.19. The crew is already sorted because it is just my peer and I and we have discussed each we are undertaking since the very beginning of this project. I will be the director and assistant cinematographer and she will be the the non-executive director, producer and cinematographer. We both have firm roles, however, we will still help each other out if necessary.  

Location – We have four potential locations which is really good at this point in the project because location scouting can be very tedious. My peer and I will have a look at each location and come to an agreement of which one we think is best then do a risk assessment for it. 

Release forms – These are very vital in a production because there needs to be viable proof that the actors consented to being filmed or else they could potential sue. The actors need to have all the information such as:  where the video or images are going to be displayed. 

Test shots – These are important because they show you mistakes that you made that you can fix for the actual filming. I am planning to do a few test shots over the next week before I begin to film.

13/3/19 - Gibb's Reflective Cycle

Description - What happened?

 I had a 10 minute 1 to 1 session with one of my lecturers about the idea I have for my short film and he gave me valuable insights about how I should go about approaching it and what I need to include to make my proposal more effective. I took what he said on board and did more work on  my proposal.

He read my review and agreed that what I listed as my strengths were accurate because he had seen my progress over the months and how I have developed and became more confident in each that I listed. Where I said I gained observational skills over the course of doing my other assignments, he went on to give me an example which was my Macbeth trailer for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He said “ It was very detailed and I really captured the horror”. Also, where I listed that I was creative he agreed because the ideas I have are really good and try my very best to execute them well, with that being said, there is always more room for improvement which is time management. I have gotten better at adhering to the deadlines of the production scheduling, though, it could be even better and by this, I mean, not having pre-production work run over into production.

I did a list for my ‘SMART’ target for improvements and where I said staying within deadlines keeps me motivated because it allows me to get the work done, he agreed that I was very motivated to do work because I know what grades I want to get out of it  once this all finishes.

I included influences into my review from previous assignments and he said that they were very vague because they were just a list of films I had gotten ideas from without any explaining behind them. He told me to be more specific as to why I was influenced by that director and why those films in particular because that way it becomes more purposeful. He then went on to say that I storyboard well, especially for the 90 second short film because I did manage to keep at 90 seconds.

He started to go through the project concept and before he really started to read it, he asked if me or my peer has ever been exposed to domestic violence/abuse. The reason he asked is because this is a very serious, touching and sensitive issue and if it not researched properly it can cause offence and look bad on us. He suggested that we speak to charities and organisation that deal with the matter because that way we can be more educated on the subject and approach it well for our short film. He agreed to be a case study because he has experienced this first hand and I think it is really good because I want to be able to understand what is like for someone to go through that, how they coped and how they are coping now.

Feelings - What were you thinking or feeling ?

When my lecturer was going through my proposal I was thinking how well I will need to be able to do this. I was really happy with what he had to say because he gave me really good insights. He has experienced this so he told me change a few things around to make it a authentic as possible. My job now is to work out how I would capture that into a film and work out how I would capture that dread, horror and panic. I would have to approach this very well with thorough research.

Evaluation - What was good/bad about the situation ?

The good thing was that I learned a lot more about the topic I chose to do. I was given influences to research  and organisations that I could possibly reach out to, to speak on the matter.

Also, that my lecturer has agreed to be a case study and personally speak on his own experience of the matter.

The only bad thing was that I did not fully complete my proposal so I was not given any feedback on my on evaluation methods and research proposal.

Analysis – What sense can you make of the situation ?

I understood what he said I should include in my review however I thought it of more importance to make note of the project concept because that it is the idea and it was a good thing that I did because it was really helpful and insightful what he had to say to me.

Conclusion - What could you have done ?

To conclude if I could have done is to finish the task because I would have gotten more feedback on what to include in my proposal. I wanted to use someone outside of college to do a formal interview with them about their experience with domestic violence/abuse because everyone’s story is different and I would like to have as much information on the matter to be able approach it well. I could have also asked questions about how I could possibly reach to other people without sounding insensitive or trigger them as it is an uncomfortable topic that most people do not want ever open up about.

Action plan – if the situation arose again, what would you do?

  • Complete task by the given deadline – more feedback is given when more is written.
  • Ask necessary questions that could possibly result in the success of the final product.
  • Ask about cinematography – which shot types would be effective when a particular scene came on.

 

 

Pitch Preparation and Reflection

20/3/19 - Pitch Preparation (tips and examples)

In my final lesson of the day my lecturer made us watch a TED Talk by Tim Urban on Procrastination. We were told to write down notes on how he delivered his pitch to an audience, though what he had to say was very insightful, it was also very helpful to me because it gave me tips on how I should deliver my pitch for the final major project on 29//3/19 at Stratford College.

Tim Urban’s pitch duration was 14 minutes long. He used a lot of anecdotes when delivering his pitch – possibly because someone could relate to it too. It contained vague images on a powerpoint which when he explained as he went along made sense to me as an audience. He exerted confidence when he was delivering, this is because he knew exactly what he is speaking about in doing so this cause his pitch to be delivered successfully. 

Our lecturer made it clear that we must use Tim Urban’s pitch to have an insight on how the: content, style, outline, structure etc., should be for our own pitches

Features I took notes on:

The content – He was speaking about procrastination and how everyone does it from time to time however some has more control on just how long they can procrastinate for before doing the work. The final message was to inform people that they should not procrastinate because it elevate stress levels in having to rush to meet the deadline. 

Style – How was the story told? – it was humorous, informal and chatty. He used his stories of procrastination as humour for the audience.

Tips for my pitch:

  • Needs to have something specific and build the pitch from there.
  • WHY are you making this?
  • HOW are you going to be making this?
  • Be confident in what you are speaking about!

 

‘The Elevator Pitch’

Nearing the end of the lesson my lecturer introduced us to something called ‘ the elevator pitch ‘.

Can you deliver a pitch within the time it takes to get out of an elevator?

An elevator pitch is a concise, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your organisation does. You can also use them to appeal in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds.

They should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. They also need to explain what makes you – or your organisation, product, or idea – unique.

It states that these are the steps to go about creating an elevator pitch:

Identify your goal: 

Begin by thinking about the aim of your pitch.

Do you want to tell potential clients about your organisation? How about a product? A project? An Idea?

We’ll use a project as the example throughout the rest of the steps. 

Explain what the project/idea is:

Start by explaining what the project is about. Bearing in mind that your pitch should excite you first; after all, if you don’t get excited about what you’re saying, neither will your audience. They are likely to remember your enthusiasm!

Communicate your unique selling point (USP: 

Your elevator pitch also needs to communicate your unique selling proposition.

Identify what makes your idea unique. You’ll want to communicate your USP after you’ve talked about what you do.

Engage with a  question: 

After you communicate your USP, you need to engage your audience. To do this, prepare open-ended questions. Never ask close question!. You want to involve them in the conversation. Make sure that you’re able to answer any questions that he or she may have.

Put it all together:

When you’ve completed each section of your pitch, put it all together.

Then, read it aloud and use a stopwatch to time how long it takes. It should be no longer than 20-30 seconds. 

Then, try to cut out anything doesn’t absolutely need to be there. Remember, your pitch needs to be as short and succinct as possible.

My Elevator Pitch

My idea is about domestic violence/abuse and the impact it has on mental health. An abusive father who constantly scars his family both physically and emotionally. It inadvertently ends in the father’s death which has been suppressed by the daughter. Essentially it leads to her trying to figure out what has happened. It is a psychological thriller with a coming-of-age piece and the characters are based on a nuclear family.

 

Short reflective piece on today's session.

Today’s session was extremely because I gained tips on how to successfully deliver a pitch.

Also, I learned how to deliver a pitch within 20-30 seconds – it helped me to highlight what my idea is actually about. Technically I did know what my idea is about, however, I couldn’t explained it without going into the backstory of the whole thing which was mouthful. The elevator pitch helped me to narrow it down as briefly as possible and I found that really helpful. All in all, I would say today’s session was a success.

22/3/19 - Viewing pitches at Stratford College and Reflection

Today was viewing of the pitches the Stratford College student had prepared. They all did extremely well and watching their pitches gave me ideas on how I will deliver my pitch.

I learned about something called ‘FreyTag’s pyramid’. I thought this was a great way to explain the narrative of my short film. 

Screen Shot 2019-03-24 at 22.27.59

Freytag’s Pyramid uses a five part system to describe a story’s plot. This image above matches the way the stories are constructed: the climax is the high point which is surrounded by the rising and falling actions. 

Freytag’s Pyramid is often modified so that it extends slightly before and after the primary rising and falling action. You might think of this part of the chart as similar to the warm-up and cool-down for the story.

Tips from my lecturer: 

Plan and rehearse pitch properly. There is strictly no waffling because it shows that it was unplanned and thought of on the spot.

Include director’s who’s films has influenced you.

27/3/19 - Pitch Practice and Reflection

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Today my partner and I made an attempt to at our pitches for Friday. It did not go as planned because I was too nervous. My partner on the other hand seemed more confident to deliver the pitch.

Weaknesses:

  • The introduction needs to be clear because that gives the audiences are clear understanding of what the project/idea is about.
  • I kept discussing the idea to my partner during the actual pitch.
  • I was sitting down because whilst doing going through the pitch which is very unprofessional.
  • I kept losing my train of thoughts which lead to me delaying each time to figure out what I am suppose to say.
  • The slides were way too long and the pitch lasted about 15 minutes because of waffling. We should have kept it as short and succinct as possible.
  • My partner and I did not go through the entire pitch and figured out what needed to be said. It seemed like we did not do research or knew what we were speaking about. 

Improvements:

  • Keep it short and snappy. Minimise the slides to at least 8!
  • Have a clear understanding of who needs to say what to prevent us overlapping each other when we speak. 
  • Do not have the slides too ‘wordy’.
  • Try to research as much as I can before the actual pitch on Friday.

Feedback from lecturer:

The synopsis needs to be changed to ‘dealing with the after effects of a broken home’ because she is no longer going through the abuse of her father. Essentially we are following the journey of someone who is dealing with it.

We should speak about diving up the responsibilities of who says what.

Lighting – We had fairy lights in our test shots which my lecturer thought was really good. We could use it to illuminate the actors.

Props and costume – My lecturer also said he can get in touch with someone who is very good with special effects makeup who could do the bruises on the mother for our film.

26/3/19 - Pitch prep, Budget List, Props&Costume etc...

I made a start on including all the information I had for the pitch unto a powerpoint slide. My pitch  is to be delivered on the 29/3/19. Today we will be doing practice pitches to get feedback on how we did for the actual pitch on Friday.

I also completed a few pre-production documents: Budget list, props and costume. I added a few final touched to my treatment.

Idea ending changes:

I made changes to the ending of my short film. I included it in my treatment but not on other documents. The ending has changed from her walking into the middle of the road without realising because she in a flashback. The horn honking that sends her out of the flashback and the fast car approaching her and she is now face to face with imminent death, screen cuts to black TO her about to walk into the road but a car honks and she steps back. We see a close up shot of her face and her eyes filled with water, screen cuts to black.

The idea was changed because filming a car approaching is highly dangerous and not well thought out enough to be executed.

29/3/19 - Pitch Day and Reflection

My partner and I delivered our pitch today at Stratford College. It went well, though, there are areas for improvements.

The feedback was recorded and then transcribed.

Feedback from students at Stratford College: 

  • She is not walking around reading a letter because it does not make sense. She should just be in one location reading out the letter and we see the flashbacks.

I can understand why it did not make sense because we forgot to mention that as she is reading the letters she goes from a safe location (her home) to a more dangerous location (the road) this reflects her sanity – it is being put at risk as the memories start to resurface. 

  • The ending was not clear.
  • Maybe it should have a resolution
  • Sirens at the end coming to see the body and it just cuts to black and ends at that point.

They thought she gets hit by a car and dies but she doesn’t. She is seen about to walk into the road but the sound of a car horn stops her and she steps back onto the pavement. She is almost in an accident is what we are trying to portray. Her mind is spiralling at this point because she has figured out what happened that night. She has no awareness of what is happening around her. Then we get an extreme close up of her eyes, filled with water, when she steps back onto the pavement and it cuts to black. The ending is made so that there is not resolution because it is a way to show that people who do go through domestic violence/abuse does not have a resolution. Their suffering does not end.

Feedback from lecturer:

    The pitch started with a warning that may have been a bit too exaggerated.  It was a negative start to the presentation and the warning about the content could have been done in a clear but more subtle manner. Bushra started the pitch and demonstrated outstanding communication skills. She could clearly be heard and her confident body language showed her enthusiasm.  Bushra needs to avoid using terms such as ‘and everything’ and ‘and stuff’ in formal pitches.  
    Teanna also presented well, demonstrating a high level of confidence and good communication skills.  She read from her cards a bit too much and should have scanned bullet points rather than reading word for word.  
    Despite these areas for improvement, they both presented to a high standard.  They worked well as a team and did not interrupt each other. They had clearly planned each other’s role in the presentation and are clearly passionate about their work.  
    For their presentation they had produced an original image of a girl hiding behind a teddy bear, which they had edited according to conventions of the horror genre.  This was an excellent way to communicate their visual style and also explain their narrative.      They highlighted the image’s themes of comfort and security and how this related to the film’s character arcs.  
    Their narrative features a character falling down the stairs, but they did not explain how this would be filmed in a safe manner or how the sequence would be edited.  I liked how they built colour into the film as a trigger for the protagonists flashbacks.  I feel that they could do this more subtly, for example, is it enough to just have the colour red being painted onto a canvas?  Is it necessary to have red paint splat like blood?  There was no clear explanation of who their adult actors were, which is very important for delivering the emotive story they have planned.  The film does not seem to have a resolution at the end, which is okay as in real life domestic abuse can continue without resolution, but the strength of the ending needs to be considered.  I like how they are using flashbacks to create a non-linear story. 
    It was good to see that they were inspired by art work, especially the painting depicting the self sacrifice of a mother who was keeping her child warm as her bare feet were exposed to the cold, but I questioned how this would be replicated in the final film.  
   It was nice to see that the film was also based on a poem.  It was a shame that Bushra read the poem from a sheet of paper, rather than learning it and performing it to the audience.  Some supportive slides would have helped with this or an image that supported the poem as it was being read. 
   I questioned whether they had sufficiently completed their location recce’s and really considered the mood of their chosen environment.  Have they simply chosen to film in the park nearest to them or had they actually considered a range of different spaces that may differ in quality, colour and surrounding buildings?  Can a park look run down, scary, intimidating, threatening (if this is required for the narrative)?
   The Power Point presented was excellent and well considered.  There was some good test photography and and a test video, which was good.  I liked how the low hand-held shots created a child’s POV effect.  They had successfully made the world look big and scary.  They needed to include lighting test shots and ensure that flashback scenes are not too dark.     
    They have made an excellent start to the FMP and are working to a very high standard.

Ideas Workshop and Reflection

1/3/19 - Speed Dating

I had to go to Stratford college along with the rest of my class. Both colleges are doing the same final major project so my lecturer’s thought it would be a good idea for us to work together because that way we can gain insights and learn from one another.

The idea my peer and I pitched:

It is about domestic abuse and mental health. One night a little girl witnesses her drunk father coming home and abusing her mother. The little girl, instinctively thinking she is protecting her mother, ends up killing her father by shooting him. The mother took the blame for this as it seen as self defence. The little girl on the other hand has been traumatised by the whole incident and suppressed the memory for years. She thinks her father left and never came back. Her mom was torn up about the whole thing and she finally decided to ask her mom why her dad left and her mom gave her a perplexing look and told her that she killed her father and we go back to the night he died however it is now seen from the mother’s perspective.

At Stratford College we did a group task called ‘Speed Dating’ where we briefly pitched what our idea is for the FMP and gave each other feedback on how we could include to possibly improve our ideas. We had 7 different group rotations and each group had 10 minutes to hear each all the pitches – I found this really helpful because I received some great feedback on how I could improve my idea. At the start my idea seemed a bit farfetched, however, now having these feedbacks it could really help me have a more realistic approach to my idea.

Feedbacks given to me by each group:

  • Group 1 – Their idea is that the dad’s death takes place in the kitchen. We showed look angle shots of the dad’s feet and when the incident occurs we just see a pool of blood getting larger. The non-diegetic sound getting louder as the film gets to the climax.
  • possible influence – Jeffrey Dahmer.
  • Group 2 – At the end, the girl gets sectioned because she goes into a rage after she realises that she is the one that kills her dad.
  • The dad’s death could be that she pushed him down the stairs and he hits his head really hard at the bottom and dies. A little girl with a gun seems too unrealistic.
  • Group 3 – possible influence ‘The Butterfly Effect’ Ashton Kutcher
  • Group 4 – They did not give much feedback but they said that they liked it and I should considered cinematography.
  • Group 5 – They had the idea that the mother convinces the girl that it was her that killed her father when the actuality of it all is that the mother killed him. There would be 2 – 3 different revelations.
  • Group 6 – They did not give much feedback other than it was informative.
  • Group 7 – This group also did not give much feedback other than a possible influence which is: ‘The Others’ – Natalie Portman. Our idea seemed to have mirrored whatever happens in that film.

 

Speed Dating Reflection

They had really good insights on how I could make my short film. I took one idea in particular into great consideration – where the main protagonist does not use a gun too kill her father because it seems too unrealistic for a child to use a gun. I found this really helpful and useful because I have managed to shaped the outcome of the death very differently before the pre production or  production process started. 

This was also helpful because it mirrors as audience feedback. 

15/3/19  Preproduction

Today should be the day that I  initially start doing pre-production however I was still working on the proposal.

On Wednesday, I had a 10 minute 1 to 1 session with one of my lecturers about the idea I have for my short film and he gave me valuable insights about how I should go about approaching it and what I need to include to make my proposal more effective. I took what he said on board and did more work on  my proposal which is why it overlapped into the starting of my pre-production.