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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blog entry 7 – exercise 2 post-production

The key concept for exercise 2 is continuity, ensuring that the takes and editing process have put together a coherent sequence of images.  Post-production works for exercise 2 had both been a steep learning curve and was also very enjoyable.  This is my very own first film with more than 1 shot that I learnt to edit through the Avid editing software.  I enjoyed the process of sequencing the takes and developing the soundtrack for the short film.  I had intended this film to be somewhat sensory and vivid as well as thought provoking.

The biggest challenges for me were to select the best take for each shot and ensuring that the colour grading was continuous and harmoniously flow from one shot to the next.  As this story is only constructed with one scene, I achieved this by individually colour graded each of the take and watched the sequence a few time to ensure that the colours and the light were harmonious.  The next challenge for me was the sound, in this film, the soundtrack involves a sounds cape and a short piano track.  As this was the first time that I worked with sound, I did not know what was the normal audio range for the soundtrack, I therefore spent a bit of time monitoring the sound level and made a appropriate adjustments so that the basic requirement is met.

Through the post-production process, I believe I have grasped some basic concepts in editing and developing soundtracks for film.

Blog entry 6 – script for ex 3

Our final film for the first year is a 4-5 minutes narrative film, with no dialogues or narration.  In the first semester, we have been working on 3 drafts for the script.

With the concepts and ideas that I want to express through films, I have been finding it incredibly difficult to achieve them without dialogues and narration.   Perhaps it is the limit of my imagination and creativity, or that some poetry and ideas are simply inexpressible by pictures.  I admire many of the films that have theatrical elements in them such as ‘dogville’ by Lars Von Triers, ‘Wiggensteine’ by Derek Jarman, and ‘Prospero’ by Peter Greenaway.  I therefore decided that I would make an attempt to include theatrical elements in this film.  I want to take advantage of using the stage as a vessel for the story and characters to shine.  The stage, the black space allows reality, yet more importantly possibilities and surrealism to take place.  I therefore do not feel the need to fully justify the logics of the settings and the characters’ actions.  My idea for the major production investigates a death on an artist, the universal reason for which we allow death to come upon us.

Through the number of drafts that I completed, I believe that the story becomes more succinct and clear.  My script writing ability also progress in a more coherent manner.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Directing exercise 2

I have a bad habit of having my story and plot changed on the shooting day.  This may seem risky, but I tend to ride on the emotion of the moment.  For example, on the shooting day for exercise 2, the Friend’s Courtyard had an unusual vibe of life and light.  It may very well be perhaps that I have never been there at eight o’clock in the morning.  I took advantage of this unknown life and light from the Friend’s Courtyard and had half of the shoot focusing on how the actress interact within this environment, hoping to bring out the natural grace of a woman lost in her own world, gliding across the world of verdant carpet and the orange bricks.

I felt more confident with my directing skill in exercise 2, I worked closely with my 1st AD and DOP to ensure that my vision come to life and that things were rolling on time.  The challenge in this exercise for me was to maintain a creative and instinctual mind while being conscious of practical issues and relaying information to cast and crews.  While shooting this film, the concept of continuity was in my head the whole time, I could see how the frames were rolling out in my mind and I was very conscious of shooting the necessary shots to ensure the actress’s chain of actions would not be broken.  I hope my effort on the shooting day will allow the flow of frames in the editing process.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Directing workshop

We spent roughly two weeks with Tony on a directing workshop.  The workshop required the students to work on skills such as improvised acting and plotting, engaging and connecting with the character’s emotion, directing actors and casting.

I have not had much acting experience and was quite weary of the challenge due to my quiet personality, someone who always prefers to be the creator rather than being part of the creation.  Through the workshop with Tony, I’ve now enjoyed acting a little more, understanding the process of engaging with the character’s emotion and somehow make it my own.  Furthermore, I really enjoyed the directing part of the workshop and the process of layering the emotions and creating the emotional dynamic for the characters.  The given material, in my opinion, did not allow much room for interpretation, one can perhaps place the scenario in a different situation, but the interpretation and the character’s transition was quite concretely laid down in the script.  The challenge for the directors in these cases was to bring out the performances from the actors rather than having to engage in profound communication in order to give birth to an entire new child.  I also really enjoyed the casting experience, the key to this process is to understand whether or not the actor is able to be shaped by the director, whether the actor has the emotional range required for the role.  Completing this workshop has made me more confident as a director when working with actors.  This was one of the skills that have lured me into the arts of filmmaking.

Friday, April 19, 2013

film 1 postproduction and film 2

We have had a one-day editing lecture using Avid to familiarise ourselves with the software before undertaking the postproduction and editing work for the one minute film.  This made it simpler and easier to work with the film.  Given the film being a one take, the editing process was quite simple.  The challenge for me was to select the right take out of the 10 takes that we managed to complete during shooting.  Editing helps the film looking more polished and completed.  I was happier with the film at the end of the editing process. 

Film 2
The brief: 2 minutes screen time, maximum of 10 cuts, no dialogues or narration, no hand-held and post-production sound can be used for a maximum of 50% of total screen time.

I previously worked with symbolism and conceptual ideas in film 1 and given the aforementioned criteria, I decided that for exercise two, I will dedicate more space and creativity interest for plot development and characters’ movements.  The purpose of film 2 is to assist us in understanding the important of ‘continuity’ in films.  I will therefore attempt to create a plot that demonstrates this requirement.  The title I have in mind for film 2 is ‘the feminist’, it is about a young woman who has a strong view on what ‘feminism’ should be.  Script is still in the development process.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

1st shoot reflection

Shooting for exercise 1 completed, what I had in the script was not exactly what was filmed.  1 minute is such a short time to include plot development as well as character development in the film.  I ended up cutting out half of the plot and saved more time for character development…Right or wrong? I’m not sure, my gut says it’s right though.  Ability to improvise on the shooting day is definitely one of the important skills for an amateur director like myself.  Shooting time was scheduled for two hours (time to set up camera, rehearsal, getting costume ready and packing up) which I found was really short.  If time had allowed, I would have liked to try out a few other camera movements and angles for the film.

I have never worked with a proper film crew before, I didn’t know what to expect.  Shooting my film and being a crewmember for other colleagues’ films were both really fun and informative.  It was good to get to know the appointed tasks for each of the role (1st AD, camera/light assistant, DOP, actor and director) and getting to know the proper terminologies and purposes for the ‘calls’.  Being a director is fun and definitely the most stressful role of all the roles, having the crewmembers around was a big help.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

idea for 1st film

In a film where no dialogue, narration or any form of communication in words is permitted, unless of course it is “diegetic”, one immediately thinks of the use of symbolism.  Well…no, not necessarily so, you may say, and that too has truth in it.  My aim, for all the films that I will be making, is not only to entertain but also to resurrect certain thoughts, emotions and questions from the audience.  The title I have in mind for the film is “The Choice”.  The film involves a woman, a strange and peculiar looking one, inspired by Alexander McQueen’s futuristic gothic design.  She is offered a heart, which she gracefully declines, then a bag of money (a cotton bag with a large “$” sign) which she also declines, then a wooden cross, which she also declines.  At last, she is offered a mirror, she finds her reflection amusing and accepts this offer.  After lengthy consideration on the limitations of this project such as, one take, no handheld, no camera movements (aside from pans, tilts and zooms), I decide that these limitations would diminish certain narrative and dramatic aspects of the film, hence this idea is no longer a choice, though the title remains the same.