The final crit of the trimester was an interesting experience. It was great getting to see everyone’s films and I tried to give constructive feedback as much as I could. I’ve learned, however, that I need to be braver about speaking about people’s work as I often found myself having something to say and not saying it. In regards to my group’s film being shown, I’m fairly certain that any answers I gave to questions didn’t fully answer them due to me being so nervous and my brain clouding up. Overall, it was great experiencing was a crit is like and I really enjoyed it, but I need to break out of being so nervous about speaking in front of a group of people.
My group’s chosen idea involved a character being late with their loan repayment to a loan shark, and the ensuing consequences. My role was Producer and I was responsible for booking equipment, sorting out filming dates, and completing the risk assessments.
Production went fairly smoothly in that we made frequent edits to the script and our director had a clear idea of what she wanted to achieve. We communicated effectively and were able to complete our planning documents, book equipment, and decide on dates to film in plenty of time. A problem arose with finding actors due to lack of interest and it being a busy time of year for acting students. Thankfully we were able to find one actor for the character owing money, and my boss stepped in to help with the Loan Shark role. This ended up being a good casting choice as he was able to look the part and play intimidating very well.
Filming itself went very well. We dedicated our test shoot to figuring out our actors’ marks, timing and blocking the scene, and setting up the set/frame. The test shoot was excellent in that it meant we all knew what was going on and what we were doing, ultimately making the main shoot easier. On the main shoot we shot 17 takes in order to have an adequate selection to choose from, and we were very happy with what we came away with. We also received help from Leon, who came to our set and helped us out with lighting.
In regards to editing, the only problem that occurred was sound design. Due to some of our dialogue happening over the phone, it took us a while to figure out how to make it sound realistically like it was a voice over the phone. We were happy with the end result but it highlights an area that we need to learn more about.
Overall I really enjoyed this project and learned a lot from it. While being responsible for a bulk of the pre-filming planning was stressful at times, I can be less anxious in future projects because our group worked well together and got things done as a team.
Getting our first film of the year made was definitely a learning curve, at least for me. We got the bulk of planning details out of the way rather quickly (e.g. risk assessment, equipment booking form, floor plan), which ultimately made our lives much easier. One problem we encountered from the get go is that we left Screen Academy without checking we had all of our equipment. We arrived to our set sans circuit breaker and white board pen for the clapper board. We weren’t pressed for time and so it was easily fixed by briefly returning to the technicians cupboard for the circuit breaker (we used post-it notes for the clapper board). However, had this been a more time precious project this may have severely disadvantaged us, so it’s certainly something to remember for next time.
In regards to how we worked together as a group, everyone got involved and had helpful things to say and do throughout the process. In my case I think I’ve learned that there is no need to feel overly anxious about contributing ideas and saying anything that I think will help. I need to stop thinking the worst will happen, especially when it comes to smaller projects such as this.
In terms of my role as cinematographer, I felt relieved as I was worried my lack of technical experience would show. Using the camera was fairly straightforward and, while it was a challenge, I felt satisfied with my ability to set up a decent shot and frame.
When we finished filming we returned to Screen Academy to return our equipment and to retrieve the video files from the camera to later edit. It occurred to us that we didn’t actually know how to get the files off the camera, however thankfully one of the technicians helped us. For future, it will be highly beneficial to us if we make sure we have a clear idea of everything we have to.
Overall, today was a positive experience. We worked well together as a group and produced what we thought was a good film at the end of it.