The Screening

It was amazing to see the variety of work produced – every film had merits and I enjoyed seeing them all on the big-screen.

The Job Interview – funny, people actually did laugh Michael – cutting was great, and it all came together really nicely

BEAR – variety of shots, admire use of 2 locations – used well

Isaac – coloured grading grading worked out so well, the sound came up great too well shot

CRUMPETS – suspenseful, well written, great audio and good performances

About A Dog – the guy who wasn’t Jeremy was great, emotive lighting, great camera work and excellent sound choices

Bat & Chain – nice location and strong costuming, cute storyline with clever characters

Knock, Knock – built up pace well and definitely achieved suspense, strong use of sound and keeping the object a mystery made for a really strong overall effect

TIME TO WATCH – loved the use of the security camera perspective and the use of sound (and no sound), good set design

Hilarious Transplant – really funny and entertaining, totally different direction to other films which was great to see!

Skelomancy – great set design, loved the actress (we auditioned her and she was super sweet!) and clever ending

Rent Day – clever, simple, effective; the crash zoom on the ring and the fantasy were epic, loved the setting in time and the three parts and great, believable actors

What’s For Tea, Trev? – great actors, and the moustache on the sound guy was hilarious, he was great, loved the characters

Never Wake A Sleepwalker  – effective horror, that was scary! great editing and lighting, intense ending.

My Sweetheart You – abrupt ending, deep story, good framing on opening shots

Jack And The Box – clever use of location, really engaging story and clever edits, good use of SFX

Stu’s Date – this was funny, clever use of characters, good acting, good props

Confessions – loved the opening, great location, great costumes, good acting, well-written and clever

The Other Half – awesome editing and strong use of sound created a really engaging and strong piece of work. Loved the use of close-ups and good acting.

Third Law of Motion – really liked the colours, colour grade and lighting, actors worked really well together, obviously a great deal of rehearsal

The Creek –  seeing this come together has been great; Zac’s performance was excellent, great shots under the bridge

Where’s Pierre – funny and clever, loved the split screen shot, especially with the different lighting and colour themes in each room

Loot – simple and clever, great script, humorous and excellent set/prop design

*sidenote* this post was written over coffee with Caley =)

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first-ing

Working as a first AD has been a great way to learn more about the ways in which groups work to successfully create a film. ImageI have no doubt that both the productions I have been involved in as an AD will turn out great and that both groups have some seriously committed team-members and really great actors. This is not critical of either group, but observational on my behalf, and I am all the better for it. But it was amazing to see the difference in the way the crews worked, the way they interacted, and what they wanted and were willing to accept from me as First AD. 

I logged the shoots in both cases, helped with the lighting, and kept things moving along. 
With one crew the experience was tense and stressful. They had thought things out, to a degree, but got bogged down in making decisions when it would be easier just to keep pushing through it and get double the footage. The director was hands on with the camera here, and pushed hard to get what they wanted – which in the end is hopefully better for the film. 
The other team, while seemingly less extnsively thought out on paper, were relaxed  confident, and easygoing. They were able to move through obstacles easily and did not find it difficult to make quick decisions about the type of shots needed, and how to light them. Interestingly enough, for me, they were able to get through just as much in about the same time frame (if not quicker) and worked well with their actor to get the best performance out of them.

Both of these shoots featured young male actors. It was really great to see how professional (and patient) these actors were with the crew. They were able to take direction, and were always willing to go for one more take. Due to any number of reasons (and I’m thinking, primarily because they had actors close to their age, and it wasn’t my shoot), their shoots also seemed to operate in more of a fun and relaxed way. 

I think that because we chose to work with older actors, we (or at least I) felt immediately pressured to act in a professional and more serious manner. These adults deserved our respect (and we needed to give it to them if we wanted to get great work from them). This is not good, not bad, just interesting. Conversation on-set (as a first-AD) was light, and I was definitely more personable despite my sometimes strict orders; to keep things on-track. The young actors were extremely patient with the crew, and it was great to see that they had built up a great rapport with the crew members in both cases. They seemed equally as interested in what the crew were doing (not in an annoying way), and were definitely understanding and sympathetic to how we’ve “really been thrown in the deep end”, and what a big task it is for us – the majority of us having never made such a big film before. 

Despite a great deal of waiting around, they still seemed  to enjoy it as well which was heartwarming, and they were really passionate about what they were doing, and really in-tune with their roles. Working with them was great and I really value the chances I got to work with actors of different ages and abilities (in my own work, and with other crews).

I have truely loved the experience or firstAD-ing – I get so into it, and it might just be my preferred role on set because, let’s face it, you get to be a bit bossy, and you’re kind of in charge, but not fully. You can just jump into it and work with a team. You have to make the best of the moment, and bring out the best in the people at that point in time, you think on your feet, and you get things happening … pronto

Filming in cars

Something I started working on a while back, but didn’t quite ever finish.

All this commotion about shooting in a stationary car has really switched me onto noticing all the examples of (what I feel could be) do-able shots and angles of people in cars.
It happens more often then I thought it would and I’m glad because it suggests to me that it’s not  impossible for a low/no budget student film.

Unfortunately, we can’t put the camera on the dash board so I’ve been looking for alternate shots and interesting angles. I was surprised to see how often there were shots from outside cars. You could  some reflection in the mirror, but nothing too distracting.

It’s in Breaking Bad:

Image

Filming from this far away does give a greater sense of distance to the actors, but I don;t think that’s a bad thing – at least for the beginning of the scene. Once Bill & Linda’s argument heats up, the camera can move in closer.
This shot is good because it provides context. 
Image

In this shot you can even see some reflection on the car window, but it doesn’t look tacky or cheap . I feel we coud re-create this easily enough

It’s in Mr & Mrs Murder (now, we know it can be done easily if it’s in that show – no disrespect).

the eyeline

 

It’s important to highlight some of the most important things I am learning in post production –  reaction shots, complimentary angles, having someone who could montior continuity, and eyelines. 
It makes a huge difference in the edit – even if some of the shots aren’t framed perfectly (in the shot-reverse-shot kind of way), a matching eyeline creates a flow between cuts. And, as has been pointed out, a cut is a very disjointed and shocking action. It breaks. 

ImageAs much as matching angles are important, I feel that matching the eyelines are moreso. They work with the complimentary angles – but still, you could match up the eyelines in a jumpcut.

 

Playing with the frame

I’m really keen to explore how creative we actually can be in post with re-using shots and finding new ways of telling the story – to make it stronger.Image

The scenes can be broken and intermingled, shots re-aligned and the timeline altered to strengthen the narrative.

Something that bogged me down in writing the script was creating runs of dialogue.
I did this mainly for the audition, but I liked it so much that I kept the long string of dialogue in the centre. I didn’t want the actors to have nothing to do. Now I feel like that has gotten in my way. I want to re-arrange the dialogue scene and break it up into smaller sequences.

thinking outside the square in post…

Looking over our footage yesterday, Paul suggested we just move some shots out of order – at first I was like wahhh but now I’m wondering why not?
Everything we’ve done seems almost overly logical, and in real time – it probably doesn’t need to be. Some ellipsis could be used effectively to enhance what is going on.

The narrative at this point in time functions in three very separate blocks (or acts if you want to use that term).

  1. The end of one of Bill and Linda’s shows – establishes them as magicians, and that the disappearing act is their final act.
  2. In the Van, in the carpark, Bill and Linda argue about their lifestyle.
  3. Bill gets his revenge on Linda.

Maybe it could be re-ordered – obviously it doesn’t have to be, but I think keeping an open mind about sequences that we can create and the order we can put them in is worthwhile.
I kept reminding Caley on set that we need to film what we planned, how we planned. Now, in post, watching the footage, thinking about how we really needed an establishing shot here, of this, it opens up a whole new way of doing things…

So many opportunities are available and I really want to experiment with changing the order. The story, as I’ve written it is so much in real-time – and I didn’t think about this when I was writing. I felt limited with dialogue and number of scenes possible with a five-page script. I felt that a short film needed to occur over a short period of time.
But, why not have several arguements in the car – each one can get more and more intense, and each one can build up to the final moments? I need to go and watch more films to better understand how we can use time to strengthen the characters.

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the moment of SERENDIPITY (at least I hope it is)

Frazzled and worried about the imagery and practicality of our disappearing act, on Saturday I put out a call to AIM – the Australian Institute of Magicians… STUDENT FILM SEEKING ASSISTANCE!!!

We had a chest, but, let’s be honest, it did not look magical at all. Image

We could put it on a stand, but it still wouldn’t be as good as a real magicians prop.941848_10201097098651245_878199114_nimages-2
Some people would say in the context of the film it didn’t matter, and some people would say that it mattered most of all…either way, if I was going to stress about it, it was probably worth at least trying to source alternate options, right?
So, I battled on. Despite a disappointing phone call to the President of AIM – letting us know that disappearing boxes cost $2,000+ and we would probably have a hard time getting access to one, but if I emailed her she would forward it out – I still sent the email and to my joy first thing Monday morning (last Monday) and got an email from Dan – former screenwriting student at RMIT and current magician – saying he would be happy to help out on the shoot and had a variety of ideas as to how we could create a convincible vanish without a box!

He went through a few possibilites that we could use from black magic to just using silks skilfully  but he has a prop chair that he uses in shows and I want to work with that.

The chair is a prop that he has developed to use in his own shows – with details that I can’t include here…

CONTINUED POST SHOOT….

Dan was fabulous on set.
He had really useful suggestions and even brought his dove Casper along to be included in the shots. He taught Bill the magician simple and effective tricks that were really useful to include at the beginning and end of shots.

The prop chair worked really well and the actors were happy and to use it and try different ways of disappearing. It has allowed the creation of a really interesting and engaging trick.

on set

I am so happy and grateful right now that I want to publically plug Dazzling Dan the Magic Man  – go ahead and like him on Facebook =)