Professional Experience – Reflection and Summary.

My plan for my professional experience was to undertake 30 days of work, the majority of which being placements at media company’s such as BBC and Channel 4. This plan quickly changed as I realised I didn’t want to do a placement as I didn’t think it would help my professional experience at all. In the end I got 27 days of freelance work which I found to be a lot more worth while.

I have developed worth while skills from all of my projects, ranging from efficiency from my “Frozen Vengeance” short film, perseverance from my Berlin short film, directing style and ethics from my music video project and so much more. I think this has given me a whole range of professional skills that I can transfer over on to my other projects in my life.

I feel I have developed so many skills that will be transfered into my professional film making career. I will continue to get lots of experience throughout the summer and make sure that I am the best I can possibly be for when I return to 3rd year and am starting on my FMP.

Here is a short reel of some of the work I have completed throughout the module:

Professional Experience – “Tonight” Music Video (Day #23 – #27)

Meeting – 25/03/2013

What I did

I have arranged to make a music video for a local artist. Today I had the first meeting with the artist “Icey Stanley”, we discussed in lengthy detail about what we wanted from the video and how it would be relevant and fit into modern culture.

The meeting was a fairly standard and nothing special happened, but this is something I have never done before so to be honest I was completely out of my comfort zone. Stanley is an old friend so we started to meeting by just talking about things and we weren’t getting any work done, so there came a point where I decided to put our friendship aside and talk as professionals and get some work done.

After this meeting I had a really good understanding of what he wanted from the music video and we were able to discuss some good ideas for me to be able to go away and plan the following day.

What I learned from the Process

Since this was my first ever business meeting, there was a lot for me to learn. I learned how to properly talk to a client and take notes about good ideas we had as well as being confident enough to share my ideas and say where I don’t think something would work very well in order to give them a clear understanding of what it is I would be producing for them.

I learned that you can not leave a meeting until both parties have a great understanding of what the work that will be produced is going to be like. For example it would have been easy for me to take some notes and leave, but I had to go through everything with him twice in order to make sure we were on the same level, making the rest of the production process flow a lot easier.

Planning – 26/03/2013

What I did

The day after the meeting I got working on a plan, I mocked up some story boards of how the video is going to play out and made a shot list and shooting schedule. I discussed with Stanley when the possible dates we could film were in relation to his schedule, I then found a suitable date within the dates he had given me in which we could use the two locations. We were going to shoot the scenes in the first location, the house, on the 18th of April, and we were going to shoot the remaining scenes, in the studio, on the 10th of May. I also had to recruit a small crew to hep me on the shoots. I acquired Dan Biddle, James McCaughley and Joe Jepps to help me with the shoots.

I also had a list of things to research for the video. The first thing I had to research was Stanley’s musical and visual influences, and see if I could find a way to implement their styles into the video. Luckily a lot of the videos already had the same kind of style that we had planned to use. The next thing I had to research was how to shoot a music video, as I had not done it before. It seemed like something that I could do once I had found a few tips and tricks to ease the process.

A screen shot from the video. This was the result of planning and figuring out what we wanted this to look like.

A screen shot from the video. This was the result of planning and figuring out what we wanted this to look like.

What I learned from the Process

This was probably the most producing that I have ever done, and even though I can do the work really well and it doesn’t bother me doing it, I wouldn’t say this is where my future lies. Producing just seems like a boring job that has to be done before you can get to the fun parts for me. A lot of people genuinely really enjoy the producing side of film making, and that’s just fine, but I really don’t think it is for me. I am at my best and happiest when I am writing and directing, it just comes naturally to me and I love it. Although I have learned that producing isn’t really for me, I have also learned that I can do a pretty damn good job of it, and if needs be in the future I will be able to do it. 

Shooting – 18/04/2013

What I did

The first shoot was in a house and was the first time I was working with my crew, before we started we had a quick meeting with everyone about what we’re going to shoot in what order and what I wanted from the shoot and how it should look, as well as running through some technicalities with some of the more complicated shots that we wanted to film. After this we were able to get straight to work.

I was working the main camera and directing Stanley and our other actress, where as James, Dan and Joe shared responsibilities with lighting, sound and the second camera.

What I learned from the Process

To be honest this wasn’t anything new to me, running through a meeting with the team and getting to work comes naturally now, I feel from past experience’s I know exactly what I am doing.

One thing I did learn from this experience was how to shoot a music video properly, as I had never done one before. It was in general terms a lot easier than shooting a short film because the style of video we were making included not a great deal of continuity. I have learned how to make things a lot easier when shooting music videos for future projects, such as having something to play the music to the artist when we are recording, so he is aware of time scales and what part of the song it is that we are recording made everything a lot easier, and would also make it a lot easier to sync up with the track when it comes to editing the video. 

Shooting 10/05/2013

What I did

The second shoot was in a studio. This was a lot easier to plan in terms of what I wanted from it, as I knew where we were going and exactly what it looked like and what I needed to do to get the effects I was looking for. The set up was the same as last time to avoid confusion and to make the shoot go a lot easier, everyone was in the same roles they were doing before.

This part of the shoot felt even more organised than the last, and because of this we were able to get everything done a lot quicker, which gave us way more time after we had finished shooting everything we had planned to shoot on that day. Because of this we were given some freedom in additional shots, so I took a step back and gave only suggestions and directed Stanley on what to do, and let the others take a bit more control so they also had worthwhile input into the project, and a lot of the stuff they shot was great! It will all be used in the final edit.

A photo of the crew after the final day of shooting.

A photo of the crew after the final day of shooting.

What I learned from the Process

From this process I have learned that planning really is key, we absolutely flew through all of this work and didn’t run into a single problem, this was down to great planning and great communication as well as a connection between the group, we all knew exactly what we were doing and didn’t need to mess around, we had everything under control.

I also learned the value of a competent crew. I feel as if sometimes there is a certain amount of angst within crews, as a lot of the time they also have aspirations to go further and become recognised directors or director of photography’s etc, so giving them the chance to put a bit more into the work made me feel as if it boosted the team’s happiness. It would have been easy to let them just do all the jobs that I didn’t want to do, but using their skills as well as mine to make the project better and give them a big contribution is always a good thing.

Editing – 11/05/2013

What I did

After the shoot, I put all the footage into my editing programme and made a rough cut, purely for the benefit of giving Stanley something to look at and make sure he was happy with the direction I was taking the video. After showing him the cut I had thrown together and the rushes, he was over all happy about the project, but we managed to work some things out that he wanted from the video and I am going to implement them into the final edit, which is still on going.

What I learned from the Process

What I learned from this is, that a client can never be too happy. I could have easily just sat down on my own and made a product that I am happy with and submitted it as finished, only to find that the client didn’t like it, forcing me to go back and re-edit the whole thing. Just a small and simple task allowed me to understand more of what he wanted from the video and I was able to adjust my work to this before I had done too much.

Peer Assessment

James McCaughley [Assistant Director, Camera Operator]:

“Thomas was (as usual) a pleasure to work with. He was well organized, hard working and had a clear vision towards how the final product would look. He led this project well and kept the rest of the crew motivated and working at there best.” 

Professional Experience – New York (Day #18 – #22)

Planning Documentary – 22/04/2013

What I did

Katie Hume approached me about helping her film a documentary about Women’s football, and of course I accepted, it sounded like something interesting, but I really didn’t know much about it. I set off to learn something about it, so dedicated a day to doing research into what the documentary was about and who we would be interviewing. I also discussed with Katie what my role would be on the project, and told her my strength’s as a camera operator, allowing me to secure the role as a camera operator on the project.

What I learned from the Process

From this process I learned the importance of knowing what you’re getting into. It really benefitted me to put in some research into what exactly it is that I would be doing. This is good for a few reasons, for one it would have been embarrassing if I showed up on set not knowing absolutely anything about what was going on and make a fool of myself, but it is also important to make sure that I am fine with the ethics of the documentary. This project wasn’t exactly very controversial  but a lot of documentary’s tend to be bias, so getting on board before finding out if the project supports a cause you believe in is essential.

Women’s Football Documentary – 23/04/2013

What I did

On the day of the shoot I knew exactly what I was doing as we had arranged all of it before hand, it was very well organised and we were able to get to work straight away. It had been a while since I was just crewing for a project and wasn’t in charge myself. This felt like a nice relaxing break, I had one job and I was able to focus on it and put all of my effort into it, instead of being a project leader and trying to manage lots of things at once.

Once we had filmed some shots of the trainers playing football, we moved on to the interviews. We were going to film some interviews with several of the trainers and the coach and managers from the team. This went well in theory, but we encountered a couple of problems, the audio equipment wasn’t working properly, so I had to put in a bit of time to making it work properly.

After all issues were resolved and we were ready to go, we started the interviews, but all the trainers started to leave. This was a massive problem, each one of them only gave us a small segment lasting around 2-3 minutes, which is not what any of us expected. I think it will be a hard job editing the project, but hopefully we got enough footage prior to make something worthwhile. Regardless, I did my job to the best of my ability and I am able to say that I am proud of what I shot.

Filming the interviews with the Footballers

Filming the interviews with the Footballers

What I learned from the Process

From this task I learned the importance of having a set role and the importance of focus. As I wasn’t worrying about everything at once, I managed to get a lot of stuff done and did some great work. As well as this, I also learned the importance of when to speak up and step out of your role when it calls for it, such as even though I was just a camera man, when I saw that the sound operators might have a problem that I could fix I stepped in and fixed it, if we had continued shoot with a broken microphone, everything would have been for nothing.

Peer Assessment

Katie Hume [Director]:

“Working with Tom was honestly a pleasure, he listened to my direction and also came away with some brilliant shots. Very glad to have him as part of my crew”

Planning Stock Footage – 24/04/2013

What I did

My second project in New York was a bit of a smaller one, that I would be able to do while still enjoying myself as a tourist in the city. Myself and Dan Hooper decided to go around the city and compile a library of stock footage and put it on the internet for public use. I thought this was an interesting project as it is something that people get payed for, simply because a lot of people forget to get the things like establishing shots when making a video project. We started the first day by mapping out where we were going to go and then we went to those places without a camera in order to spy out good locations and potential angles, we would make a note of these places and pick the best ones which we would return to on one of our other two days of work and get various angles and shots while out there.

Myself and Dan ending a long day of location scouting with a fun moment in Times Square.

Myself and Dan ending a long day of location scouting with a fun moment in Times Square.

What I learned from the Process

On this trip I learned the importance of putting down the camera once in a while and looking at things not through a view finder. Everything is different when you’re looking at it not trying to find the perfect photograph to show your family. It is a genuinely refreshing experience to just absorb sometimes, and I would recommend it to anyone who seriously wants to be a photographer or film maker, it forces you to look at the world in a different way.

Shooting Stock Footage – 25/04/2013

What I did

On the first day of shooting stock footage we went to the Brooklyn bridge and passed over into Brooklyn. This was a great location and we got a lot of shots that would be useable by a lot of people when trying to set up establishing shots in media projects set in Brooklyn.

Unfortunately the Brooklyn bridge was an extremely busy location, and trying to set up cameras wasn’t exactly the easiest of tasks and limited the amount of work we could do.

What I learned from the Process

Something I learned from this task was simple things such as telling people what to do when you are trying to make a project. There is no point being timid and letting people get in your way. If someone would approach the camera a simple “Excuse me” would suffice to make them realise I am recording and they would stay out of my way.

Something that would have been even better is if we had signs saying we are filming, but I feel that may have been just a little bit too excessive.

Shooting Stock Footage – 25/04/2013

What I did

On the second day we traveled to Times Square and Grand Central station, two more popular places for films to be made, confirming our potential audience. This was probably the most unsuccessful days of the whole trip. Unfortunately our tripod equipment broke and there wasn’t much we could film as the work needed to be completely steady.

We still managed to get some footage, but it was no where near as good as we could have made it.

What I learned from the Process

This is a very basic lesson but an extremely important one: Check your equipment isn’t faulty. A simple 10 minute check on all of the equipment would have proved to be extremely beneficial and is something standard that I should have done, it is rather embarrassing that I didn’t do this.

Peer Assessment

Dan Hooper [Co-Producer]:

“I worked alongside Tom Longstaff on a project collecting stock archive footage in New York. During this field trip, he demonstrated his amicable but well focused and professional attitude to the work at hand, as well as his high level of proficiency when using a variety of DSLR cameras, lens and audio recording equipment”

Professional Experience – Berlin (Day #12-#17)

Planning – 05/02/2013

What I did

The cours leaders planned a trip to Berlin for Media Production students to go and either attend a film festival or to have the chance at making a short film in a foreign country, as an aspiring film maker, there was really only one option for me, I decided that I wanted to make a short film. I quickly found myself a reliable and talented crew who also wanted to make a short film production. Once we had our team together, we all started writing potential scripts to make when we go to Berlin.

After a short selection process, a script I had written, “The Runner” was chosen to be made. From this point on it was time to start production. As I was appointed the role of Writer and Director, my job was essentially done at this stage, all I could do was revise the script and make it better for when we go out into the field. The majority of the work at this stage was appointed to our brilliant Producer Emily who managed to secure an actor and permission to film in a block of flats as well as find lots of potential locations for when we get around to filming. The rest of us overseen this procedure and would sometimes offer advice and suggestions, but for the most part she didn’t need it as she worked fantastically.

What I learned from the Process

From this process I mostly learned to take a back seat once my job is done and let others get on with their own thing. If I had kept interfering and trying to “Improve” the producing process, I would had just gotten in Emily’s way and made the tasks not as bearable  and they wouldn’t have been done as effectively.

Letting someone else get on with their own job and not trying to do everything at once allows you to concentrate and make better work, as well as letting others concentrate on their job. While Emily was producing I had some time to think about my script in detail and think of a lot of different ways to write it and ways to turn the story, which proved to be beneficial.

Location Scouting – 07/02/2013

What I did

When we arrived in Berlin, after a day of settling in and learning about the areas surrounding our hostel, we dedicated a day to setting out and going around the city and checking out all of our potential locations and finding new potential locations.

This was a very long and draining day, unfortunately the day we decided to do this was one of the snowiest days of the year and we had to travel around the capital of Germany. When we found some of our locations we spent a considerable part of our time looking at whether they would work visually and what they would add to the story, and if there was anywhere else that we could use that would be a better location.

We found that a lot of the locations we were set on using before we came to the country turned out to be not as good as we expected, and we discovered some absolute gems hidden within the city, so this turned out to be an extremely beneficial exercise.

Brett and Emily after a long day of scouting.

Brett and Emily after a long day of scouting.

What I learned from the Process

On very simple terms this day has taught me about the importance of location scouting, it added so much to the film and made us a lot more prepared. But on a more advanced level, it really helped me develop my skills in thinking about somewhere as a visual spectacle rather than just a location on a map. I was evaluating what the locations would add to our film and how they would look on camera. Thinking visually is probably one of my down points which I need to focus on a lot more in order to become a more professional film maker.

Pre Production – 08/02/2013

What I did

With the new knowledge of what our locations were and what we wanted the film to look like we were able to mock-up some accurate story boards and shooting scripts, as well as maps, time sheets and schedules which we would use to travel around and efficiently shoot the film.

Our producer also mocked up a contract for our actor regarding any profits that the film would make and to make sure he gets a fair share of the money. Unfortunately disaster struck as just before we were about to go to bed to prepare for a long day of shooting, our actor messaged us and told us he was not able to do it anymore, as something else has come up. As you could imagine, we were all absolutely furious, but something had to be done, we still had to make a film.

Utter despair had struck the group and morale was at an all time low, I tried to inspire hope within the group but it proved to be a herculean task. I tried my absolute best to make sure that we could still make a film and desperately searched for another actor on short notice, which amounted to nothing. In the end, we were blessed with Dan Hooper, he took a bullet for the team and stepped down from his job as sound and lighting operator and decided to be in the film. With this information I quickly mocked up new plans for the shoot before we hurried to get some rest to take on the hideously intense day of film making that was ahead of us.

What I learned from the Process

Having a project slip through your fingers at such a late stage in production is the most heart breaking feeling of all time. I think that out of everything this has taught me the absolute most valuable lesson from any of my projects, Never give up. The odds were absolutely stacked against us, but we still persevered and got out and made a film.

In terms of preparation, from this point on if there is something as vital as making sure that an unreliable actor shows up on set, I will make sure that they have signed a prior contract that makes sure they absolutely have to be there. Unreliable people are the hardest part about no budget film making, because people aren’t being payed they see it as not a big deal if they drop out, causing massive complications for the film makers such as myself.

Shooting – 09/02/2013

What I did

On day 1 of shooting, we were shooting the majority portion of the film in one location, an abandoned airport, which we had to find out what times we could get into it a couple of nights prior. I was directing the shoot and I feel I did a fairly good job of it, my policy is to get everything you need and get some more. Storyboards are great for the majority of the film, but I felt like asking my Director of Photography Brett to get some shots he felt added to the film gave the production a sense of freedom and kept morale up and kept the day fun, which could have been otherwise quite a miserable experience if we were sticking to a strict schedule on a cold and horrible day.

With my prior knowledge learned from shooting “Frozen Vengeance” I knew the necessities for shooting long hours outdoors, and especially in the snow, so I made sure that there was enough time for us to go and stock up on food and drinks to keep us energised throughout the day to make production continue at a steady pace.

Brett setting up a shot on day 1 of the shoot.

Brett setting up a shot on day 1 of the shoot.

What I learned from the Process

This day just didn’t teach me much that I didn’t know, but it more improved my directing skills. I feel as if that I am settling into a directing style where I can talk with authority and confidence to my team but also feel as if I am not dictating to them, and give them a sense of freedom within their work.

It also reinforced the importance of the little things to do with preparation  not preparation to do with the film but practical things such as wrapping up real warm and stocking up on food for the crew so production can continue without any trouble.

Shooting – 10/02/2013

What I did

The second day of shooting we were in our second location, the flats which our producer had organised for us. This situation was a little different from shooting outside, we had to be respectful as it was someones house and moving everything around wasn’t really an option, it called for some resourceful thinking when setting up shots and telling Dan how to act and move around the scene, to make sure he is framed properly to make sure we don’t accidentally get something in the background that would ruin the shot, such as the tenants flat decorations.

Later on we were filming in more locations outside and around the city, the remainder of what we needed to complete to finish the film. When on certain shoots I felt that the team was taking too long, so I tried to hurry them along, we didn’t manage to get as much shot as we would have liked, but I think there was just enough to make the film.

Joe trying to stay cheerful after a tiring 2nd day shooting.

Joe trying to stay cheerful after a tiring 2nd day shooting.

What I learned from the Process

From this process I learned how to be respectful of people who are helping you, such as when we were in Simon’s flat filming for the first half of the day, we had to respect his wishes and only do as he wished. These limitations did hinder the film a little at first, but it forced us to be resourceful and work around problems.

I feel as if I have learned a lot about directing a team as well, we would have missed out on a lot of shooting opportunities if I had not made the team be more hasty with the shooting.

Post – 11/02/2013

What I did

After we had finished all the shooting, we compiled together a rough cut of the rushes. Unfortunately because of the many problems we ran into, the film didn’t feel complete, and there was nothing we could do about it as we were going to go home the following day. Because of this the film is still in the editing process as I am re-imagining it and trying to use the footage we shot in a completely different way. This process is fairly upsetting, but I think that even though things didn’t go according to plan, we are able to make something of value out of the project, and I am excited for what I am going to make of it in the future.

What I learned from the Process

This process has taught me to have faith in my writing. This is because after suffering tragedies within the production process and the morale dropped, the faith in the script followed with it, and my team were starting to question the legitimacy of completing the film. This forced me to come up with a compromise and try to find a way to change the ending and finish the film when we returned home. This was the killing blow in the project and I wish that I had never had made this decision, if I did not and I had forced the group to work a lot more and complete the film, although it would have been extremely difficult, the film may have been of a better quality.

Even after all of this, another thing I have learned, or rather a reinforcement of what I have previously learned on this project is Never give up, in every aspect. Even though the film isn’t especially complete, what we shot was absolutely fantastic and it can still be used, so I am inspired to make something great of this project.

Peer Assessment

Joe Jepps [Sound and Lighting Technician]:

“I’m not usually one who works well taking direction however, from Tom I felt comfortable that the production was head in the right direction”

Imagine the Future – Analysis and Reflection

The fourth task in second term of 260MC was to make an ‘imagined future’ by taking a contemporary issue and creating a ‘what if….’ scenario. Then we have to take this to its logical conclusion – thinking about what the future consequences of this issue might be on society in general. Based on this story-world we create, you should then design a 3-5 minute pitch for a narrative feature film or make a short film. With the following obstructions:

  • There isn’t any!

My Video

Explanation

We attempted to go for the more ambitious goal and make a short film, one that comments on the deforestation and ever-growing pollution of the planet. A nameless character wakes up to a world that has been starved of oxygen, everyone is going to die and there is nothing that can be done but sit and watch our own demise. I think we effectively addressed this weeks task, the logical conclusion of deforestation and pollution IS a world where we can’t live, I think we have managed to successfully capture this idea in a powerful and cinematic looking short.

What Would I Do Next Time

Everything
Unfortunately, we were given only a week and were only expected to create a pitch for a film. Actually making the film put a lot of added pressure on us, and the timescale forced us to cut corners as much as possible in order to make sure we actually produced something. The original idea was to have the film outside, where the character would walk around in an abandoned city and eventually find the last dying tree, before collapsing himself. This had to be simplified completely in order to fit everything in. I am happy with the outcome and I think we did a fantastic job, but I can ever help but think how much better it could have been if we had a little more time.

Dialogue
This week we worked in a small group in order create this piece. We all had separate jobs, and I was not able to be there when the audio of the computer character was recorded. If we were to do this again, I would make sure that I was there and oversaw what was happening in that department, as I am not completely satisfied with the results. There were a couple of things dropped from the script which I think when added would have added more to the film.

Other Work

One piece of work I enjoyed this week was Dale, Loz, Charley and Joe’s work. They created their premise for a short film in an interesting way. A short advert which details a product in the future ‘Idealvision’. Although it is not a pitch as such, it is a great way to set the scene and makes someone ask many questions. Why is the future so bad that people need special glasses in order to make things look good. There is a whole range of different places that this video can be taken, and that’s why I think it is so good.

You can watch their project here:

Professional Experience – “Frozen Vengeance” Short Film (Day #08 – #11)

Planning the Film – 18/01/2013

What I did

Making short films is my passion, and making them on a strict time schedule is a regular occurrence. Film Festivals pop up all over the place that want a film made in 72 hours or to be submitted within a week (And a whole range of other restraining limits or challenges) and offer some very prestigious awards. Being able to completely make a short film in a very small amount of time is a skill that will be probably one of the most beneficial things that I can learn in the trade I want to go into, it is a simple way of making an impression on the world and winning awards and prizes, and eventually gaining recognition and the renown to be able to move on to bigger projects, and more importantly, getting a job that pays the bills.

During the week, it snowed, it snowed a lot, and I instantly saw this as a way to get make an interesting film, but snow melts, so this was also a fantastic opportunity to test myself and to see if I had what it takes to work under pressure and make a film on an incredibly short time scale. I wrote a small premise for a film and showed it to some of my peers, asking if anyone was interested in making a film the very next day.

When interest was shown, I quickly finished the script and made a comprehensible story which all the crew enjoyed, I then had the task of appointing all the crew roles to what I feel they would work best at.

I write a lot of short films, but I am not too used to producing films on my own, I usually have a team to work with, so giving out the orders on my own to shoot my film was a new experience to me, and to be quite honest, I loved it. I feel I have a sense of what it is like to be in charge of a production and I love how rewarding it is, it is definitely something I want to do again and again in the future.

6/7 Members of the cast and crew.

6/7 Members of the cast and crew.

What I learned from the Process

As I said before, this was the first time I had ever properly produced something. Getting the crew together and making sure everyone knew what they were doing as well as doubling up as the writer and making sure everyone had a copy of the script.

It was hard work to get everything done on such a tiny timescale, but it was possible if I had put my mind to it and I got the results I wanted in the end. I have learned what a producer needs to do in more detail now, I had experience with getting the crew together, finding and confirming a location, making sure everyone knew where we were shooting and who was doing what and making sure more importantly that everyone was happy. I found that a happy crew makes for a lot easier of a time when it comes to shooting.

Shooting the Film – 19/01/2013

What I did

The day before I was the Producer and Writer, but now I was the director of the shoot. We had organised to meet bright and early for a pre-shoot brief, before then going to the location and beginning the shoot. I feel that I lead the pre-shoot brief really well, I had everyone’s attention and I was able to articulate easily what I wanted the crew to know and how I wanted them to perform in the day, I feel I really successfully played my role as a Director. On a larger production a Director would only be dealing with the actors performance’s and would concern themselves with the crew as little as they possibly could, but I felt it was vital to do this as we were working with a smaller crew.

After trudging through the snow we finally reached our location, and it was absolutely hideously bitter cold, I knew as soon as we were there that we were in for a tough day. I had made sure that all the cast and crew wrapped up warm and I had also packed a flask of tea, but there is only so much you can do when you want people to stand outside in arctic temperatures for several hours.

I tried to make everyone work as fast as possible and keep everyone active so morale stayed high, and this worked for the most part, we got some fantastic footage and everyone was having a brilliant time laughing at the jokes in the script, but as time went on nature got the better of us, it began to get colder and darker and people weren’t as enthusiastic as they once were. We had to wrap up the shoot a little earlier than I would have liked and rushed a couple of the shots. We still got everything we needed, but a little more work would have been wonderful.

Our Director of Photography Brett setting up a shot.

Our Director of Photography Brett setting up a shot.

What I learned from the Process

I learned so much in terms of directing and keeping a cast and crew happy on today’s shoot. Things like bringing a flask of tea and taking 5 minutes off now and then to warm up and have a joke can go so much further than you might think. It raised team morale throughout the day and made everyone excited to work instead of getting miserable that they were out in the cold for so long.

We also had multiple camera operators working at separate times throughout the day, and it was far too many for me to control by myself, so I learned the value of having a first AD at hand. My Assistant Director made it so much easier for the work to flow perfectly and we managed to get a lot more done than if it was just me trying to control the whole crowd. I also learned the value of bringing multiple cameras to a shoot when time is an issue, it allowed us to set up several cameras around one action and straight away we had all the different angles and movements that we needed.

Editing the Film – 20/01/2013

What I did

It was time to edit, and to continue the learning process, I made sure I tackled a few things that I had not tackled before. The basic edit was fairly simple, cutting the videos together came naturally and I made a genuinely funny and entertaining short that I was proud of. The challenges came when I introduced aspects I was not so sure about. This was the first time I attempted advanced visual techniques and used foley within my work. The short required me to composite some gun shots and blood hits into the video tracks, as well as replace almost all the audio with new tracks as what we had obtained on a particularly windy day was almost unusable.

Myself directing one of the actors Tom on what to do in the scene.

Myself directing one of the actors Tom on what to do in the scene.

What I learned from the Process

From this process I learned a few new things to increase my video editing skills knowledge. I had to sit down and read about how to effectively put an effect in, such as a gunshot, and find out what was the best way to go about it. I feel I have learned a lot as before I would watch something on the internet where someone fires a gun and not really understand how they have done it, but now I have learned and can do it myself with ease, so this is definite progression within my editing skills. I also learned the importance of audio and foley. Adding simple effects and background noises improved how good the film was by an incredible amount, the professionalism and quality quite literally skyrocketed after I had used these new-found audio editing techniques within my work.

Finalising the Film – 21/01/2013

What I did

The film was edited and now needed to be finalised  I hired one of my peers as a graphic designer, and he made an extremely eye-catching and attractive poster for the film, which was used as the thumbnail and cover of the video when it was uploaded to Vimeo. I also spent the day sending the film to several short film festivals and generally trying to get some publicity for the film. It managed to get quite a good reception and was well received. I am extremely happy with the work myself and my crew have managed to pull together over such a short amount of time, and I look forward to what the film brings for me.

What I learned from the Process

I have learned that something as simple as making an attractive thumbnail for a film can do wonders, bringing in many audience members that would have otherwise over looked the film, which is extremely beneficial for publicity. I have also learned the process of submitting a film to a film festival. A lot of festivals are free but not as prestigious and a lot have no entry conditions, I have found that it is worthwhile searching for a festival that is catered to your specific genre of film, so that you have already found a place and do not need to be fighting against other films of a completely different breed.

Peer Assessment

Dan Biddle [1st Camera Operator]:

“Tom is always a pleasure to work with, he’s very considerate and always willing to try new ideas. An attentive director that listens to his crew and yet still has the grit to move forwards with a project and make the final decisions that a director must in order to make a project great.”

Short Film Ideas

These are a few ideas and plans for short films to be produced.
I have included a completion percentage of each of the films.
I have also included any documents I have produced.

Grim Investigation

Genre: Thriller/Horror
Running Time: 13 minutes

A suspicious man is interrogated about a murder, but turns out to be more sinister than first believed.

This story is a thriller in the modern-day about a young policewoman interrogating a suspect of murder. A woman has been murdered and a man has been confirmed of being at the scene, the protagonist tries to interrogate him for information but he reveals himself to be a very powerful force, and he was only at the scene of the crime to guide the soul to the after life, he is Death and the policewoman is dead. The story of her death, which was previously shown in small segments of misleading information, is now put together in its entirety revealing the murder of the policewoman. Katie escapes Death’s waiting room and comes back to life.

Completion: 80%
-Pitch
-World of the Story
-Characters
-Plot
-Themes
-Treatment
-Script
-Sizzle Reel

To be completed:
-Shot List
-Storyboard

Plan: Grim Investigation Plan
Script: Grim Investigation Script
Sizzle Reel:

OCD

Genre: Dark Comedy
Running Time: 3 minutes

An OCD sufferer struggles to leave his house.

This story is Dark Comedy in modern-day about a man suffering from OCD. The man tries his hardest to leave his house but his condition stops him from doing so every time, he returns home multiple times in order to leave his house correctly. The film generates comedy from him leaving the house and getting so frustrated with stupid things that don’t seem out of the ordinary to the audience. We assume he is leaving trying to go to somewhere normal, but when he finally gets to where he is going, it is a dead woman who he is burying; he claims she was ‘untidy’.

Completion: 50%
-Pitch
-World of the Story
-Characters
-Plot
-Themes

To be completed:
-Treatment
-Script
-Sizzle Reel
-Shot List
-Storyboard

Plan: OCD Plan

Crave Danger

Genre: Neo Noir
Running Time: 5 minutes

A husband has to satisfy his pregnant wife’s cravings, even if they are for human flesh.

This story is a Neo-Noir in modern-day about a young man and wife. The man must tend to his bed bound pregnant wife’s needs, but she is craving human flesh. The plot centers around the protagonist attempting to coarse a victim into a secluded area where he can murder him and bring him to his wife, the man has been killing other people for a while to tend to his wife’s needs. After the wife has eaten her latest victim, she goes into labor, after the baby has been born the man thinks that his trouble are over and he can finally stop killing, when his new-born child takes a bite out of the midwife.

Completion: 50%
-Pitch
-World of the Story
-Characters (Except Names)
-Plot
-Themes

To be completed:
-Treatment
-Script
-Sizzle Reel
-Shot List
-Storyboard

Plan: Crave Danger Plan
Sizzle Reel: