Lessons this Week

Lesson 1 & 2
Complete horror sequence!

The first thing you need to get is some feedback on your most recent draft…

…and then set yourself some targets for the final draft.

You should show your draft horror sequence (either on YouTube or Premiere) to at least two other groups in the class.

They will answering the following questions?

  1. Does your sequence make sense in terms of continuity?
    1. Does it make sense in time, space and action?
    2. Does it make sense in terms of relationships and interactions?
  2. What is the overall tone or mood in the sequence?
    1. How is this achieved in the edit and sound mix?
  3. Does the sound help create a sense of environment?
    1. Does Foley sound draw your attention to object / actions?
    2. Is there a sense of pace and energy in the edit and music?
  4. Is there a sense of narrative?
    1. A protagonist and antagonist identified?
    2. Is there a sense of motive?
    3. How is the narrative likely to continue?

You should record this feedback (use the voicememo on your phones) and include it in your reflective journal. This would look great in the reflection section of your pages. As well as being a piece of analysis in terms of how the meaning / impact is enhanced in post production (sound and editing)… This helps you define the film production role your are submitting in the reel and pages.

Once you’ve done the feedback for two other groups you should continue with your own edit.  In the light of what you have seen in other people’s work and the feedback you received on your edit, what changes in this final edit / mix will have the most impact on the sequence?

These are your targets (no more than 3-5 specific and achievable. Complete these targets in time for…

Deadline – Friday 15th @ 17.00

Developing Your Portfolio

This term offers you the opportunity to follow your own film making passions and develop your Film Reel and Portfolio Pages ready for submission at the end of this term.

After having submitted the first draft of the reel and pages you may well find gaps and want to use lessons this term to fill those gaps with your own self initiated projects.

The Learning Process

Just to remind you of the process we have been using and which is central to The IB Leaner Profile. Each project / task should be made up of three stages:

  1. Inquiry
  2. Action
  3. Reflection

So, this means you can’t just grab an idea out of the air, you should…

  1. Research and explore a particular technique, film element, film maker, film movement…(this should be recorded and referenced as you go)
  2. Practical tasks in film making (writing, directing, sound, editing & cinematography) which comes from your research.
    1. The practical task should have a clearly defined creative intention that is linked to your research in stage 1.
  3. Reflection on the degree to which you fulfilled your creative intention and developed your film making techniques
Some Ideas for Your Personal Projects:
Sound / Music
  • Explore the work Gary Rydstrom  or other sound designers
  • Create Soundscapes / Music for genre of your choice
  • Create a conversation with no words – WallE
  • Conduct an interview and record sounds with Lavaliere Mics
Cinematography
  • Explore and attempt to imitate the cinematography of Roger Deakins, Akira Kurosawa or Wes Anderson
  • Use different lens types to explore impact on cinematography
  • Create a chiaroscuro lighting set and explore effect on representation
Screenwriting
  • Explore the screenwriting of The Cohen Brothers and introduce a central protagonist / antagonist for a new screenplay.
  • Write a screenplay for a short film/sequence from a given genre.
  • Write and record a monologue or duologue from a set of given circumstances.
Directing
Editing
In School Commissions…

There are a few opportunities to work within the school and across departments to develop your portfolio:

  • Magical Days in the Park
  • Films for CAS / PEP Service
  • DofE promotional Video
  • Drama students for performance pieces
  • Sixth Form Centre promotional video
  • Sciences for documentaries / recording experiments
  • The Future Generations Conference (editing)

Using Adobe Audition

Important note on using copyrighted sound or video.

Simply taking a sound from our library or downloading music or sound and adding it directly to your footage is not enough! Below is a a hierarchy of different levels of creativity can be shown, which directly corresponds to your assessment. We are aiming for  levels 4 & 5!

  1. simple addition of existing non-copyright audio-visual material
  2. basic manipulation of existing non-copyright audio-visual material
  3. substantial manipulation of existing non-copyright audio-visual material
  4. innovative interpretation of non-copyright existing audio-visual material or creation of basic original audio/visual material
  5. creation of sophisticated original audio/visual material.
  • 4)  will be evident in your multi-track mix of loops and effects, which you will get from our library and mix in Audition.
  • 5) will be evident in your recorded foley sounds, application of effects in Audition and in how you mix these with your multi-track of loops and effects in the final edit.
Sound Designers will use Adobe Audition to…
  • Use loops of sound effects / music in order to create:
    • Ambient sound
    • Sound hits, stabs, crescendos
  • Apply effects to own recorded foley sounds or music

You will need to refresh your memory on the basics of Adobe Audition:

Creating Loops in a Multi-track Session:

This enables you to take a sound and repeat it seamlessly, whilst building up other layers of music or sound.

Choose 6-10 sounds or loops of music from our sound effects library and using a multi-track session create a layer of ambient sound, one for each of your different locations (outside / inside).

Horror Sequence Post Production

The deadline for the final draft of your video is: Friday 25th May

The post production will be organised as follows:

One of your group will now take on the role of editor, the other member(s) will take on the role of sound designer.

The Editors Role

Work towards your group’s collective vision and creative intentions for the sequence.

  • Will be responsible for organising the footage so that the edit is well structured and the edit flows well.
    • This means sorting the footage using folders and renaming files appropriately.
  • Creating a rough cut of the footage which tells the basic story.
    • No effects, colour correction or transitions should be used at this stage.
    • The focus is on making sense of the events in your story in a continuity edit.
      • You will work with your partner to assess the sense in your story and get notes for draft 2
  • Using the rough edit you will work with the sound designer to create a foley sound spotting list.
  • You will also work with the sound designer as this point to lay down a simple track of music and ambient sound.
    • They will be making this whilst you do the rough edit.
  • Following this, you will re-cut and polish the edit in draft 2, cutting to make clearer sense of the footage and also applying colour correction, transitions and visual effects.
Sound Designer’s Role

Work towards your group’s collective vision and creative intentions for the sequence.

  • You will work alongside and in collaboration to plan and evaluate the sounds / music you are going to use.
  • You will create a layer of ambient sound / effects which create a sense of atmosphere.
  • Using sound loops (or musicians), you will create some music for the sequence.
  • You will work with the editor in order to sync these sound in the rough cut.
  • Using the rough edit you will work with the sound designer to create a foley sound spotting list and record 3-5 important foley sounds, which you will edit, applying effects in Adobe Audition.
  • You will polish the sound track and foley sounds alongside the editor ready for the final draft.

Reflection on The Shoot

Take a moment to reflect on the shoot and evaluate the footage.

What did you learn about:

  • The pace of the shoot.
  • Setting up the camera & lighting.
  • The good quality footage you have filmed.
  • The unusable footage.
  • The shots you should have filmed, but didn’t.
  • Working with actors and, as an actor, being directed.

Remember this is where you really learn about the different production roles and most importantly learn from your mistakes!

TASK

Write a short commentary and evaluation (200-300 words (max) or bullet points) of your role in the shoot on Friday 4th.

Include evidence of stills from your footage and photos taken on shoot to illustrate.

Even if you weren’t there you should still evaluate the footage filmed by your partner.

Risk Assessing Your Shoot

All pre-production must include a risk assessment, this would normally be the task of the producer. You are going work on this together.

Reflect on the briefing in the LT on Thursday @ 10.30 (in retrospect if you like):

Consider all the possible risks of working in an abandoned bunker, underground, with concrete edges (at head height), with little and big steps, some of which are wet! It’s also going to be dark! You will be filming panic and frantic action, what is that action…? Running…

…ARE YOU NUTS!!!

You must really think about this and foresee any possible risks and how your are going to make sure that risk doesn’t turn into injury, accident or spoiling other peoples shoots!

  1. Please read and familiarise yourself with this document.
  2. Work through this risk assessment with your partner…
  3. …print it…
  4. …sign it…
  5. …give the signed copy to your teacher.

You could upload the document in your reflective journal under directing and / or cinematography.

Your Creative Intention!

Remember it is essential that you test your success so far against your creative intentions. See this previous post if you have ‘forgotten’ what your creative intentions are.

So far we have done the following tasks within three production roles:

Screenwriting
  • You developed an understanding of German Expressionism and it’s impact on the horror genre. Especially in relation to the monster.
  • We developed an idea from a given circumstance, ‘What if.’ As well as using other stimulus materials, like moodboards and music / sound.
  • We used the screenplay format to write the opening sequence of a horror film.
  • You’ve worked with a fellow screenwriter to collaborate on one script and have redrafted it (you can only make this claim if you actuality did redraft the script as a partnership and made significant amendments)

Directing

  • Worked with the cinematographer on story-boarding the sequence this should have taken into consideration framing and narrative importance.
  • You have worked with your actors to explain, explore and develop the characters.
  • You have worked with the cinematographer on blocking.
  • You (will) have overseen the cinematography and worked with your actors to film the sequence.
Cinematography
  • You have worked with the director to develop ideas on lighting, framing and composition in the storyboard.
  • You created a shot list of 30-50 shots, which prioritise the shoot and ensured you are filming to edit.
  • You have setup lighting and camera for each take in collaboration with actors & the director.
The Reflective Journal

All of this work is excellent evidence for your reflective journal.

Please unsure that you keep your journal up to date with all your pre-production documents and reflections.

Also ensure that you do REFLECT! Which means:

  • ‘What have I learnt?’
  • ‘How did I learn it?’
  • ‘What did I learn from my successes and failures?’

Also please remember to reflect on the shoot and if possible take photo evidence of you in action during the shoot (you could give this role to a (minor) role).

TASKS

Please see updated blog league for specific posts and evidence to be uploaded.

Planning The Shoot

Here is the list of planning documents that you will use over the next few days in order to prepare for your shoot next week.

Extended Step Outline – use this to fine tune your scene and establish the important narrative information

Storyboard – Use this document to visualise each shot. How are you going to frame each shot and how do you see your edit developing (match on action, eye line match, shot reverse shot, 180 degree rule, reaction shots, close ups on key objects…) Here is a document which explains the function and design of a storyboard.

An alternative to the very formal storyboard, which can be inflexible. Is to create a postit note storyboard. Each postit note is a shot, which contains your shoot planning ideas. You should mount these in order on a large (A2) piece of paper. This method allows you to make changes to your storyboard. Here is an example for a music video.

Shot List – Use this to plan out your filming. Use it later to organise your shoot so that you film your film in a practical order.

Production Meeting Agenda – Use this document as a discussion and organisational document. Who is going to bring which props and costumes. Also, who will film what and when.

Please complete this document with requests for mise-en-scene that you are not able to provide as a group. Adding requests to this does not guarantee that you will get the item of costume or prop, so you must also enter a discussion with Mr Gregson or Miss Hales about whether it can be found.

Sharing & Visualising the Scene

The Concept or Moodboard

As we know the screenplay is a visual script and the really successful ones are those that allow an image to be painted for the reader – so that they can SEE what the screenwriter is intending.

This week we are going to spend time developing the idea and redrafting the script. By the end of the week you should have agreed a final draft to use on shoot.

EXAMPLE HORROR SCRIPT (ALIEN)

Here is the script to the opening sequence of Alien (1978) Scott.

Notice how economical it is. Almost a bullet point list of what we can hear and what we can see.

In production teams read through the scripts your group has written and discuss the merits and ideas for development for each.

You must then choose one script which will become the groups idea.

The first task will be to allow some input from your partner(s) and complete a new version of screenplay in the form of a…

…EXTENDED STEP OUTLINE

Considering what will happen step by step and what the audience will SEE and how the scene will unfold.

Complete an extended step outline for each of your scenes.

THE MOODBOARD

This is a shared visual document which is used to help the production team work up an agreed vision for their film. The moodboard should contain:

  • characters
  • framing and lighting ideas
  • settings (this will be available from the Mirus Battery at Le Hougette later this week
  • props
  • costumes

Here is an example from a previous student. You should be aiming for at least 20/25 images and you can present these as below or in a one page collage.

 

Redraft the script.

Based on your shared work this week redraft the script.

The Pitch

When you have completed this work you should:

  1. Pitch your ideas to your teacher
  2. Upload your work into the screenwriting section of your reflective journal

Developing a Horror Film Idea

Five Golden Rules of German Expressionism

Review the video essay of at least two peers and refresh your memory about the nature and ‘rules’ of German Expressionism.

Identify 5 Golden Rules of German Expressionism in terms of representation of the monster and visual style

Task

Your task is to develop a visual / cinematic idea for your opening sequence and write the screenplay for it.

We will be working in groups next week and deciding which screenplays will go forward into production, for now this is a solo exercise.

Here is the first page of a good example from a student screenplay.

In your screenplay you should:

  • Use of the screenplay format 
  • Include descriptions of the locations in your screenplay (The Mirus Battery and/or surrounding rural area(s)).
    • Include element of the setting / important props within the scene.
  • Create an atmosphere which belongs in the horror genre.
  • Use descriptive language (simile’s and metaphors).
  • Give a sense of how the camera might move or the edit cut.
  • Give a sense of the diegetic sounds in your sequence.
  • Give a clear description of character (costume / props, body language)

The first step though is developing some ideas for a scene. Here is a slideshow on ideas:

Task Film Inspiration

  • Take a copy of this document and replace the following:
    • A location
    • A sound – Freesound.Org
    • An item of clothing
    • A character
  • In pairs share your documents.
  • Allow you partner time to think about your items
  • Discuss the film / sequence ideas that spring from those items

Independent Study.

Write the first draft of a screenplay based on one the ideas you have been attracted to in this lesson. You should aim for about 2 -3 pages of script. Any longer and it may well be longer that 2 -3  minutes of film time.