INITIAL BRIEF RESPONSE
After the introductory lecture on the 3rd (of February) I decided to try out for the Shakespeare project in Unit 7 as it seems like an amazing opportunity.
In response to the proposal I first read through the entire text, writing notes on themes and elements I found interesting in order to investigate them in depth after reading. This approach allowed me to begin approaching my proposal with broad understanding of the text which I then strengthened through looking specifically at the parts I found most interesting e.g. the chapter titles using antonyms, Will's views on globalisation and its effects on his relationship with Anne, the themes of destiny/domino effect, etc. and creating mind-maps to expand these themes.
INITIAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
To obtain broad research through different mediums (and simply out of interest) I visited a gallery on the conscious mind (States of Mind, The Wellcome Collection); it was quite gripping particularly as there were topics touched upon that I had studied in Psychology class for the past two years. The information was consolidating and grasped my attention because I had previously heard of some of these conditions and research pieces. (See 'Inspiration from Outside' section for more information).
I conducted further research into the themes I had picked from the text through film, factual videos, web resources and books (references include Jean-Luc Godard, George Orwell, political activist artists such as Banksy, books on globalisation, videos on Americanisation) helped me gather ideas for my project proposal - it felt a little rushed and difficult to come up with ideas under pressure however. After reading the complete text and watching 'Le Mépris' by jean-Luc Godard (a major reference in the text) I thought a lot of William's views on globalisation and consumerism and wanted to look further into this.
I would like to make a film as my outcome for this project because I have applied to film courses for next year but have never made one before. I therefore thought I could make a short, using a French narration discussing Americanisation and globalisation to a biased extent, showing shots around London's city centre versus the suburbs or natural parks.
After discussing this proposal in a group with Gary (08.02.16), I took down some feedback notes:
- Focus more on William’s character (in relation to story)
- Too broad themes (focus in on a certain aspect of the play, relationship with job versus outlook on society) – hypocrisy
- How do different aspects affect his decisions
- Working at gap and going to an anti-gap campaign
I think that the project idea I have might stray a little too far from the original text, and would be viewed more as a piece that could go alongside it if one were doing research upon the themes evoked, but not quite as a response to it.
I am also wondering whether instead I should simply move on right away to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as I really like this text and the themes of mental health involved as I studied Psychology for the past two years, and thus have a great interest in it. I think that due to the opportunity presented with the Shakespeare text it would be advantageous to try, and if not I will still work on a text I do enjoy.
For now I think that I will go back to the text by Paul Pourveur and look for more themes evoked, working from those to create a piece that corresponds more-so to the storyline itself. I think that if I focus on research for now I will be able to continue developing a range of ideas and solutions to choose from for my final outcome, as I already have multiple ideas.
For the next few days I've been continuing my research and project proposal development, expanding on ideas and discussing these with peers and tutors to help them develop.
On the 11th everybody (present) from the Shakespeare Is Dead group got together with Gary to discuss our ideas and provide each other with feedback and ideas. This was quite helpful and I found it particularly interesting to hear other people's ideas and discuss it with them. We mentioned exhibitions and artists to go see in order to help progress which I plan on going to see even if not directly relevant to my specific idea, as I feel that it can only help.
I was given feedback on some specific ideas and things to research/watch such as newsreels, propaganda videos, and various documentaries.
11 February 2016
Why is shakespeare so successful?
- National symbol
The Hero with a thousand faces - Joseph Campbell
Sommerset house: By Me William Shakespeare - A life in writing
Key moments in Shakespeare's life
The Guardian; Independent
Different styles of documentaries -
Seduced and Abandoned - Documentary, By James tobac, Alec Baldwin
Documentary film on William's views of Consumerism (touching up upon Americanism)
Parallelisms between scenes in the play and shots shown
- Showing how American globalized brands/corporations mentioned in the play affect us nowadays
Banksy Dismal Land
Desire paths Versus the road untrodden
Existentialism - human nature, constant thought process
Woody Allen - Husbands and Wives
Jean Paul Sartre, Renée Descartres
Coffee and Cigarettes
- Short documentary on Consumerism, looking at brands and effects of the market and large corporations on people's lives (using information given by William's character as a basis for the knowledge shown, creating parallels with the text) and using aesthetic influences by Jean-Luc Godard to create further parallelisms with the text
Style of documentation?
Exposé docs made where people tried to live on minimum wage (supersize me), Michael Murr, Chanel 4 documentaries, shorts...
In the Wild, forgoes life and consumerism lives of the earth as opposed to
Bob - box of broadcasts
BFI - archived films (news reel), public service announcements
Shots from top of Tate modern (membership lounge)
BEGINNING A COLLABORATION
Throughout the day and further discussion with my peers, we realised that a lot of us would like to do film shorts. We hence discussed the possibility of a large collaboration for a while, finding connections between our ideas and themes. We thought of the idea of creating a series of shorts, or perhaps a trilogy, as well as how even if one of us is directing a particular piece we would still collaborate in the sense of all helping create and make the final outcome. Shaira and I had very similar themes of globalisation and consumerism, and thus after discussing for an afternoon we settled on doing a two-part collaboration as not everybody's pieces fit into one large series very well.
The five film ideas we were originally discussing together were linked to 1) humanitarianism and Shakespeare, 2) a documentary on the modern-day relevance of Shakespeare, 3) a documentary on globalism, 4) a dystopian/totalitarianist world in which consumerism/globalism/Shakespeare is abolished and 5) the theme of suicide within the piece.
In the end Shaira and I connected our ideas together with the common theme of globalism/consumerism. My biased documentary would be the introduction to a particular frame of mind and very anti-globalist views, and Part II (Shaira's initial idea) would link on to show an escalation of this mindset in a world where there is a regime against consumerism and globalisation that completely abolishes the latter.
After coming to this conclusion I am working on furthering my research in preparation for the presentation of our idea on Tuesday. I am preparing to have:
- My complete portfolio and sketchbooks with development pages
- My written proposal of 250 words plus research images and links
- An action plan for the project (Gantt Chart)
- The presentation including: the concept and inspiration from the text, mood boards, stills/visuals and concept art, research references, a storyboard and our wanted effect/reason for the idea.
When developing my ideas, I used a few mind-maps to help me have a wide range of options and an open thought process which often helps. I also took notes while reading the text to help reference textual inspiration for later on. Using inspiration from research I also sketched out and painted various visual ideas that came to mind, be it simply for the purpose of creating a mood-board type image or a shot I would imagine using in my final documentary. Discussing with others is in particular very helpful because it aids in taking a different approach or perspective to the same project in order for it to be more wholesome.
When talking through my ideas for the first time I was given the feedback of perhaps being more precise with my overall idea as the themes I was concentrating on are very broad. I therefore went back to the text and decided to use it as the starting point of my ideas and focus them on William's specific views which would also allow me to create parallelisms with the text, creating a new and interesting level to the project.
Taking this further I also decided that I want to make the documentary in a particular style influenced by Jean-Luc Godard because he is a major textual reference. I therefore decided to do the audio in French (which equally draws more contrast into the discussion of Americanisation than there would be speaking in English) and in a style that would seem from the same time period as his films.
Today I've been developing these ideas through preparing for the presentation on Tuesday and further research. I have finished writing my new 250 word proposal, creating a moodboard and writing up an action plan in the form of a Gantt Chart.
Insert photos of mindmaps and concept art here
Above: edit of Eiffel tower surrounded by New York skyline - showing complete takeover of the French culture among others by the US
When conducting research into Globalization I found that there are in fact American stores and branches almost everywhere - that is in industrialized countries, especially in big cities such as London. I was therefore curious as to how much Americanisation has affected myself and my peers and hence wrote a survey which would evaluate how present American brands are in our lives.
Throughout the time coming up to the proposal I prepared a variety of things:
- My portfolio
- The proposal sheet (with research)
- The presentation
My portfolio was already mostly done but I tried to include more performance based pieces in order to show how I worked with choreography, costume, set and performance all put together.
SHAKESPEARE PROPOSAL PRESENTATION
Overall to create this final proposal I have taken a lot of peer and tutor feedback as well as research through films, books and online in order to have a fully informed proposal to the best extent possible. I found it very useful discussing my ideas with peers within the early stages as they help question my ideas in ways I had not thought of and hence push my ideas further into a development that I may not have envisioned previously, and this encourages me to self-reflect and analyse my work further.
Final Proposal with Shaira for 16/02/16
Final presentation: https://prezi.com/dz3wrykebas_/shakespeare-is-dead-get-over-it/
The main concept of our joint idea after developing it with research and discussion was to create a two-part film which would explore globalisation both in the real world nowadays and in a fictional almost dystopian future world.
In the end of the day all applicants for the Shakespeare Text were accepted. Shaira and I thus went back to furthering our research and discussing both together and with peers/tutors to develop the proposal to a higher standard.
PPP Form Draft 1
Writing the script:
I decided that considering the amount of research I have already conducted, I would now write a first draft of the script that I could refine after receiving feedback on it and writing a first draft (I have not yet written the English translation):
L'Amérique. Le pays le plus grand, le plus beau, le plus libre du monde. Pourquoi serait-ce le cas? Pourquoi L'Amérique s'est-elle nommée le meilleure?
Aujourd'hui, nous ne pouvons l'échappée. Elle est partout, comme un virus qui a envahi la terre entière. Un McDonald's par si, un Starbucks par là - L'Américanisation est réelle et nous devons la combattre.
Début - 1972, nous découvrons le premier McDonalds en France. Aujourd'hui nous en comptons plus de 1300 dans la France entière. C'est une épidémique; le virus s'est propagé et nous envahi comme un cancer. Nous perdons notre intégrité, notre culture, avec chaque nouveau magasin Américain qui ouvre ses portes. Nous sommes un pays avec une culture gastronomique géante, mais nous choisissons de donné à nos citoyens de la nourriture 'rapide' malsaine afin d'obtenir plus d'argent. Où sont allés nos petits bistros du coin? Ou nos petits restaurants locaux que nous connaissons grâce au bouche à oreille? Tout disparait: le mammouth, où-es-t-il? Par contre, il est facile de trouvé Costco de nos jours, ou alors My Little USA, des magasins en ligne qui nous permettent d'acheté des produits Américains pour plus cher que nos produits qui fonctionnent mieux en France, de France. Malheureux! le Abercrombie et Fitch qui a envahie un bâtiment majestueux orné d'historie Française au Champs Elysées .
Le pays de la mode, de la gastronomie, du film, de culture - pourquoi voudrions nous laisser tout ce qui rend la France formidable se faire abandonner pour ces choses venantes d'un pays avec la moitié de culture que nous avons, et aucune réputation qui suggérerai un pays mieux que nous en mode, nourriture, ou film. Bien sûr, Hollywood envahi entièrement les écrans du monde. Toutes nos séries télévisées sont Américaines. Tous nos films sont Américains. Tous ce que nous regardons à la télé n'est qu'une version de quelque chose Américain qui existe déjà.
Le pire, ce n'est pas seulement la France qui est attaqué. C'est le monde entier. Le monde entier devient Américain. A Londres, nous trouvons un Starbucks à chaque pas. A Shanghai, des KFC avec des logos traduis. A Berlin, des Dunkin Donuts impose leurs couleurs rose et orange artificiel. Mais oui, évidement, pourquoi acheter un Berliner artisanal classique quand nous voyons des donuts aux colorants artificiel bourrés de sucres partout? Qui pourrai résisté ces smileys joyeux glacé sur le haut d'encore plus de glaçage d'un jaune perçant, laqué sur une pâte rempli de sucre et produits chimiques. Au revoir les pâtisseries artisanales qui avaient réussi jusqu'ici à tenir bon de génération en génération. Une petite grand-mère qui avait réussi à garder sa pâtisserie après la mort de son mari, seulement pour la perdre un ans plus tard parce que un loup corporatif a pris le terrain pour y construire un Burger King.
Mais avec tous ces changements, toute cette influence western, où va notre culture et héritage, et surtout, notre individualité? Voulez-vous vraiment porter les mêmes vêtements que tout le monde? Manger les mêmes choses? Avoir les mêmes expériences, les mêmes cerveaux. Avec la globalisation de marques comme Gap, Nike, Starbucks, Warner Bros, nous sommes tous contrôlés par les trois mêmes compagnies, et nous devenons tous pareils. Quel est notre futur, si nous devons tous des robots identiques de consumérisme?
RECORDING AND EDITING
Initial Audio Experiment
Yesterday I recorded the script I had written as a first draft in order to try accomplishing a good sound and experiment with the audio in Adobe Audition.
After my progress tutorial which was fairly positive (with just a few points to add to the action plan and reflection, see feedback above) I decided to take the recording into Audition and play around with the effects - I have used the program once before for the King Lear live performance however I have still never learned how to use the program properly. I find it quite difficult to wrap my head around because of all of the terminology and specific jargon, however I managed to create a sound that both Shaira and I found quite good in under an hour (as I am pressed for time). I think that already experimenting with this script helps me identify the points I would like to change or the parts that do not sound as coherent in regards to the rest of what I wrote. Henceforth I can make edits to the script and add parts more specific to the text and research that I have and am continuing to conduct.
Progress Tutorial Feedback
Throughout the following week I have been continuing my research and started thinking about the shots I would be taking and the sequence in which I would be filming things. Over the weekend I went down to Falmouth for an interview for the film BA (for which I now have an offer) and was able to shoot by the beach and in the train through the suburbs of London.
Moving forward from this, Shaira and I also went around King's Cross yesterday (10/03/16) to try filming some shots there particularly due to the Burger King, McDonalds and Starbucks dotted around. This helped me realise that I will need a better quality camera for the final film as I was using a digital camera; when I went into Premier to edit them they looked bad and it was difficult to see what I was filming. I hence rented a better camera from the loan store and will try more shots in the following weeks.
However trying some already helped me establish which elements of the script I would like to alter and add to as well as giving me more concrete ideas for the sequence and storyboard of the film. Filming certain elements around me helped me realise that I could make the script more specific. This weekend I hope to have a second draft of the script alongside a storyboard of ideas and some more shots.
Edited PPP - Final
During this week we did some character workshops including life drawing and film explorations of character. As my part of the film does not include any characters I focused on Anne and Will from the original Shakespeare text which are also the characters that Shaira and I are portraying in the Part 2 fictional film. I drew them in the context of our story (fictional world in which the totalitarian government has banned consumerism and globalised topics).
The life drawing was very interesting as we focused on light and body positioning which I think can strongly help portray a character and their beliefs and attitudes. I hence drew Anne and Will in accordance to our film with strong stances representing their characters. I drew Anne as she reveals her Shakespeare tattoo in a prisoner's jumpsuit (as she is a consumerist rebel and thus a criminal) and Will in fairly plain monotonous clothes rallying in support of the government's anti-globalist approach.
The film character exploration (link below) we did was of Anne. We did it with Liam and Holly (Liam on camera crew and Holly acting out the role of Anne). Shaira and I really liked Holly's aesthetic for this character and are hence also thinking of asking her to play Anne's role in the film. I was also thinking about Phoebe for this role as I also think she suits the strong-willed character.
Anne Character Exploration
Today we had a storyboarding workshop with Kerry that was extremely useful. I used to resent storyboarding because I would always want it to look very good and was thus unable to do storyboarding using my time effectively to quickly convey a story, series of shots and/or motion. We drew an opening scene of Wallace and Gromit, looking at examples of film writers' storyboards and different method options. I found that the storyboards do not need to look like final pieces, but really simply and clearly convey the action and shot in order to understand and work from it.
I learned how to use arrows and how to correctly draw/label/ratio my storyboards and found it much easier than before. I can definitely already see an improvement in my storyboarding and know I will use this skill a lot in the future.
Today I processed the survey results from my primary research (see research page); I was not particularly surprised by the results which were fairly UK focused (considering we all currently live in the UK) however there were predominant signs of Americanisation, particularly in the questions regarding technology and film/television.
I can use this data to my advantage as even though I am creating a very biased, one-sided propaganda video which will not use statistical data provided by, for example, surveys, I can rest upon the questions that show signs of Americanisation and discuss these topics. For example I feel that because it is very clear that everybody watches at least one if not a majority of American television, I can include discussion about this in the film.
LOCATION SCOUTING AND FILMING PART 1
Over the weekend Shaira and I spent the entire time going around selected locations in London to do location scouting for the film. We mostly focused on Part 2 as it requires fairly specific locations whereas I tried filming bits and bobs for Part 1 as we went along; this mostly included getting shots of shops every time we crossed something American (notably Starbucks and McDonalds).
Our locations included:
1. Leake Street, Graffitti lane
2. Tower Bridge
3. Greenwich Foot Tunnel
4. Cutty Sark
6. Leaden-hall Merket
7. Southwark Cathedral
8. St. Dunstan Church
9. South Bank
10. Convent Garden
11. Piccadilly Circus
12. Regents Canal
13. Bond Street
We particularly liked the Greenwich foot tunnel for filming a scene of protestors marching (as it is fairly bland yet ominous and can easily be shown in a way that does not look like life nowadays. We also really liked Leake Street's aesthetic regarding graffiti and how this is a part of the original text and our idea, looking at tagging and vandalism to show rebel views without being caught. We hence would like a scene here either with Anne or William alone to help profound their character.
Tower Bridge was a very beautiful location which we thought could be useful for when looking back into Anne's memories of Will. just before her death.
For Part 1 I took a series of short shots of the river in various locations, as well as McDonald's, Starbucks and Subways around the city in a variety of different spots, planning to combine these in accordance to the script I write.
After taking some test location shots I rewrote the script (see below) in order to be able to make a storyboard and thus start filming and putting together a first video.
I recorded it similarly to my test audio and edited it on Adobe Audition, making the voice sound slightly like a radio presenter or crackling slightly like an old vinyl to provide the older effect like seen, for example, in narrations in films by Jean-Luc Godard. Having a more finalised script helped me decide which shots to get and the type of storyboard I could work on. The combination of this and our test/location shots really helped me progress forward.
I thus went around London and focused on finding American stores, fast food chains, etc. Thinking in a biased manner in order to create a propaganda styled video, I payed no attention to how many local and non-globalized shops there were but rather focused on filming the parts of London to support the film's argument.
In class when discussing our project with Kerry, Shaira and I received quite helpful feedback about filming.
- the closer the camera gets the more intimate it is
- wide shot is exposition
- mid shots is about the relationships between people (two people shots)
- use what you filmed for the box
- printing out images from your film to put in the box, stills and recreate it
- play and experiment with stills and print outs
- fill it with rubbish; bricks, playing with the concepts without spending too long
- creating something inspiring and simple yet intriguing
- look through the door (think about how the audience will see, from above and the viewpoint)
- experiment with how to create whats in your box you need to create a simple box to experiment
- check size and viewfinder and imagine how your audience will see it
- you need to guide people to the viewfinder
- tracing paper on top to diffuse light into the room
- orange gel
- designing for two viewpoints
- simple sculptural forms
- what do you want to achieve
- viewfinder on the top
Through peer/tutor discussion we equally came to the conclusion that it would be much better to find a way to combine part one and two more seamlessly so that they would feel like they do actually belong together. We thought of various possibilities such as having our characters in cameo roles across part 1, having Anne and Will watch part one in the beginning of part 2 to create a transition and discussing the exact same brands in each part.
In the end we went with the notion that part 1 would be the government's propaganda video from part 2 that our characters would be watching in the beginning of the fictional story. I thus added a propaganda statement at the end of Part 1 to create this transition.
Scratch night Proposal 21st March 2016
Title: Unitas Mortis
Description [100 words - inc. audience capacity, duration ]
Short two-part film, 10-20 minutes long taking from the themes of globalisation and consumerism present in the text Shakespeare is Dead, Get Over It. The first part is in the style of a biased documentary showing an anti-globalist view using shots around London, Paris, Basel and the American stores there which do not originate in those countries. The second part is a fictional dystopian take on a future world in which globalist consumerism is banned, and those supporting large (American) firms like McDonalds or figures like Shakespeare are rebels and outlaws.
We will be able to show a first draft of part one or the draft audio and test shots as well as test shots/potential final shots of part 2.
Audience capacity: NA (any size is suitable).
Technical Requirements State whether you will provide these or whether they need to be booked in advance. Also include any operating assistance you may need.
Projector (cannot provide)
Screen (cannot provide)
Laptop (can provide)
Scratch Night - 21.03.16
For scratch night, I prepared a first version of Part 1 as it was easier to get a version of than the entire film combined with Part 2. (For Part 2 Shaira and I are still searching for ways to film the protest and we had difficulty gathering anybody to act as part of it; in addition to this the people we wanted to use for our main characters were unable to film before the Easter Break).
I had to resort to using a fair amount of stock footage to give an effect of what the final film would be like however hope to gather this footage of my own during the break to avoid problems with copyright.
I have only ever used Premier Pro once before so the edit was challenging however through video tutorials and experimentation I feel as though I managed to edit the film fairly well.
Below is the version of the film which we showed at the evening:
After the showing we received some feedback on sticky notes (there were about 4 which I later found were all from the same person).
Feedback received paraphrased:
- "As I disagree with the french national identity and their right wing government, using french narration has made me really uncomfortable"
- "I wonder what you will vote in the referendum"
- You are giving me no reason to agree with a nationalist point of view over globalisation
- I disagree completely with the views presented
At first I was fairly shocked by this feedback as I found it very 'anti-French' and thought that perhaps the person providing feedback had not understood that the video was meant to be a biased propaganda video as opposed to my personal opinions. I was therefore somewhat insulted as I felt the comments were bordering on racism. The person who had written the feedback later explained these to me and clarified that she did not mean for them to be racist or a personal attack on me in any way, but felt that the French government was radical and therefore disagreed with the video/French narration as a whole.
I was still somewhat confused by this, however through speaking to a tutor and a couple more people, I realised that such a strong response to the film was actually very interesting. Because it has a fairly political basis, strong views are to be expected. The fact that even this short fictional draft was able to make someone react so strongly and have such opinion against it goes to show the power that our entire final product might have. The aim of our film is satirical and almost a warning against a type of government that would not benefit anyone. It reminds me of 1984 by George Orwell whose novel opened many people's eyes on the control a government can and is likely to have. In a similar way, our film is slightly less likely to happen as it takes an extreme standpoint on seemingly unsubstantial things like eating at McDonald's or buying generic branded clothes, however also makes one weary of totalitarianism.
PART 2 DEVELOPMENT
Getting closer to the completion of Part 1 and with the Easter holiday approaching, I decided to also dedicate my time more to Part 2 as it was not progressing as quickly due to its complexity - Shaira and I began mostly concentrating on our own 'Parts' in thought of combining them later on. Despite this initial train of thought after deciding to combine them more into one film rather than clearly separated segments I realised that I would be done Part 1 fairly quickly and could thus dedicate time to research and development for the fictional side of the film which would help it progress much further.
DEVELOPMENT PART 2 - CHARACTERS
Ongoing Plan, Research, Style for Part 2
After having studied many couples from films (see research) who all have something that disturbs their relationship, Shaira and I concentrated on casting and developing our characters as we imagined. We did not have much choice in general, only two for each character; as previously discussed Phoebe or Holly for Anne, and Liam or Jose for Will:
In the end we went for the couple of Jose and Phoebe simply because Jose plans to specialise in acting whereas Liam is more comfortable behind the camera, and Holly did not come back to Shaira and I in time and seemed too busy.
Cast for Anne and Will: (Jose and Phoebe)
Achieved so far:
- Primary and secondary research
- Proposal forms
- Location Scouting
- Major actors recruited (José for William, Phoebe for Anne)
- First version of Part 1 (without transition into fictional part)
- Test shots
- Initial storyboarding
- Final script (Part 1)
- Draft of script (Part 2) along with detailed actions (stage directions)
- Detailed storyboard of entire film (both parts joint)
- Final filming of entire film
- Post production
- Design of model to present at exhibition
- Creation of exhibition model
After the scratch night and receiving certain feedback, I have decided to revisit the script for part 1. There is no sense in speaking so much of the French culture as I would like to talk about globalisation on a global scale; it is hence confusing to focus on how France has been affected more than other countries. I will however be keeping narration in French because I find that the effect is much greater when creating a gap from Anglo-saxon culture and dismissing Americanisation. While the feedback received on the propaganda video was fairly negative I think that this strong reaction is actually a positive sign - the video was not meant to represent a just and balanced view on Americanisation but rather a view meant to influence the viewers watching, and it certainly had an impact.
I also find that the fictional aspect to our project has stronger potential and that rather than treating it as two separate parts, we should focus on the film as a whole and shorten the propaganda video, focusing more on its effect on our fictional characters and the world in which they live. Therefore it is more like a short clip, a sort of exposition and introduction to the world we are about to embark the audience on for the next few minutes.
I am therefore going back to the script to shorten it and make it more generalisable to various countries rather than just France. I wish to revisit research as well in order to analyse it with more depth and possibly gain more influence from it in order to approach our project with more depth.
EDITING THE SCRIPT
Going through the list of things to do, I decided to rewrite the script as a whole for the entire film. I shortened the first part which is now more clearly a propaganda video and does not discuss France specifically but rather globalisation as a whole, affecting various nations. Doing this also allows me to use much less stock footage and actually film most of it myself throughout London, Paris and Basel. I think that viewing the film as a whole now is much more effective and will create a stronger effect.
Moving forward from this new final script, I plan to complete the propaganda video mostly before returning to London and then focus on the filming with the actors and protesters when in London. I can record the new script for the audio, compile new shots and previous ones and thus complete 'Part 1'. Speaking with tutors as well about the possible issues with filming brands and restaurants, we concluded that if I kept to wide shots it would be alright; due to this I may have to re-shoot.
The new script can be seen below:
- Complete part 1 film
- (Record and edit audio and piece together footage)
- Film Part 2
- Select and apply soundtrack
- Buy fishtank
- Take photos for sides and apply them
- Setup exhibition box
- Reflection and Evaluation
EDITING PROCESS - PART 1
11.04.16 Back in London
After arriving back into the country I needed to entirely finish the film and post production for Part 1 which I had not managed to complete over the break due to illness.
For some reason it was much more challenging to do this time around. I was not fully understanding the format in which I had originally edited it and how to use that same format again because my new project seemed much larger than all of the original footage which kept showing up as very small on my screen. Despite researching solutions I only finally managed to solve my issue through trial and error.
The task was also more difficult because this time I had to be specifically more weary of copyright and stock footage use. I had begun solving the issue by filming more of my own footage but I still did not have enough. Through discussion with Shaira we also agreed to focus more on Part 2 as it would provide a more interesting response to the original text without being at risk of copyright due to showing images of branding and using stock footage. I still however finished Part 1 to at least have it even though I then concentrated fully on Part 2.
They are no longer truly two parts to a film but rather Part 1 has been integrated into Part 2 as something the characters are watching, and thus made a minute shorter than original.
Final Part 1
PART 2 FINAL PREPARATION & FILMING
Moving on from Part 1, Shaira and I focused entirely on Part 2, the fictional short. Using the whole script I had written over Easter we created storyboards and a shot breakdown in order to stay in time with my original action plan (See final PPP form) and film efficiently.
Storyboard first draft:
(Above mood-board put together by Shaira)
Shot Breakdown 13/04/16 (Part 2)
Because our main actor left to Spain a week before the official holiday (for personal reasons) we were unable to film early as we wanted and therefore planned to do so in the first week back. It has been fairly difficult to organise everything and everyone we need (particularly for the rally scene) but after final script retouches, discussions and slightly altering the storyboard, writing shot breakdowns, etc. we managed to find some time.
Today we filmed two of Will's solo scenes where he sees government propaganda posters at the bus stop, decides to take one of the tags to join the party and then see him the next morning pasting up more posters, as he is working for the government now. It went quite well and I think we managed to achieve quite a bit considering we only have a crew of two.
The next morning we filmed Anne's solo scene where she does illegal graffiti in the street, which went very well as we had carefully planned our shots beforehand.
TRYING TO FILM RALLY SCENES
Today there was a socialist protest in London near King's Cross that Shaira and I went to in the attempt of using footage to recreate the rally effect in our final piece. This was very difficult because everyone was carrying very clear posters and banners for that particular protest which we would thus not be able to use for our film, and we were unable to get shots that would make it look like a march.
We also tried to film rush hour at the tube station to create an effect that would seem as though people were marching in rally for something. While we tried different times and different tube lines as well as stations, we did not manage to obtain any promising results. There were too many bags and suitcases that made it obvious that it was a tube station as opposed to a march - on top of this I realised that so many people wear branded shoes whereas the people marching in our scene are against consumerism and branding and thus would not be.
We hence came to the conclusion that we would need to resort to fairly close up shots of a small group of people with our actors to make it seem as though there are more present than actually there. This however is slightly daunting because even though we have asked many people to help by being in the rally scene (and with a few people agreeing here and there) it seems that people are not motivated or willing to give up time which nobody has much of at this point in the project.
Everything is falling apart...! 17/04/16
After the last weekend of filming and trying to finish what needs to be done in time, one of our main actors fell ill and was stranded in Spain. No amount of trying to find another lead male actor was successful and of course, running out of time in general, we decided to rethink our whole script. This was probably one of the most stressful challenges to face so far, but I wanted to face it calmly and head on due to not having any other choices. (This is also when I realised that while we were still in time with my original action plan as I gave myself a lot of time to do everything, I may have left filming too late).
I took the time to think calmly about things and how we could twist our idea to make it work with simply the lead female actress and the story of Anne, as opposed to that of Anne and Will. I immediately thought of how we could make this her story against the government's oppression, or how we could get her to encompass both Will and Anne's character simultaneously. I thus thought what if she actually played out the scenes written for Will and those written for her. This lead me to the notion of her being mentally unstable and seeing herself in another person that she is not actually but would like to be.
The new story idea was therefore that Anne's actual person would follow the steps of Will, whereas her alter-ego-type split personality would encompass Anne's rebellious character. Therefore the Anne's character is actually lost within her own mind, unsure of what is reality and what isn't anymore. She sees herself doing things she doesn't know happened or not, and these visions involve criminal actions which would get her killed, causing her to be overwhelmed with confusion and fear.
(In the end this also helped in regards to the fact that we no longer need a group of people for the last scene)
FINAL FILMING - PART 2
After having changed the script anew we had to record much more with our female character Anne and did not have much time to prepare. We had already planned to film a scene with guards the next day (18th) in which there was also supposed to be a rally supporting Anne's execution and we still used the main idea of the scene in our new script, minus the rally. We therefore still tried to film this scene on Monday afternoon however it went poorly due to lack of detailed storyboard, shot breakdown and overall planning. It was already to be a fairly complicated scene however our new script caused it to be even more challenging and there are to be two Annes on screen at once.
After the shoot on Monday my collaborator and I decided to carefully plan out each scene in preparation for the next day in which we were to finish and complete all filming. I drew a detailed storyboard with shot breakdowns in the descriptions and we carefully planned out what scenes we needed to do and in which order to be most efficient. On top of this we went around the location in which most scenes were to be filmed in order to set them out with images.
Planning also included costuming which needed to be exact in order for her to be wearing the same clothes on the same chronological days in the script even if we did not shoot those days during the same moment. All of this planning definitely paid off whilst filming the rest of the film on Tuesday and we actually managed to complete so much in simply one day. Overall while it was challenging to create a new script and detailed plans as well as film it in entirety in a matter of two days, I think it actually made our story even better than it was previously. I think I prefer the concept of our new piece much more than our previous one because it simply carries more depth and ambiguity for the audience to think about and understand.
To be fully prepared we took shot breakdowns through photo of the more complicated scenes in the apartment:
Knowing we would need to draw a Shakespeare tattoo onto our actress, Phoebe, the next day, Shaira and I tried multiple methods in order to determine which would look most realistic. I had previously researched this outside of the project and recalled someone using pencil eyeliner and black eyeshadow in order to create a black and white graded tattoo. I hence suggested we try that method as well as liquid eyeliner and ballpoint pen. In the end using liquid eyeliner with black eyeshadow worked best:
I have never had to film like this before however I tried to adapt my technique depending on scene. In preparation for filming of course Shaira and I alwas had storyboards and shot breakdowns in order to be prepared, but then during filming I would sometimes either use the tripod or not depending on the mood of the scene. For example, during the scene of Anne plastering posters up on her walls or throwing away her books after hearing the new government laws, I wanted to film them hand-held in order to provide viewers with the hectic feeling that would be felt by the character.
We also had to carefully prepare props and costumes in order to have a correct and logical chronological continuity to the film. Because we grouped scenes by location and time of day, we could not film chronologically. This meant that we had to carefully determine which days we wanted different scenes to happen on and thus the clothes Anne would be wearing, for example. I find it quite interesting how so many tiny details escape the mind yet are so vital to film in order for the final outcome to make sense. Overall I found filming a very challenging yet rewarding experience, and I am fairly proud of what we have achieved so far.
Behind the scenes photos:
POST PRODUCTION - PART 2
Today my partner and I set out to get as much post production done as possible. As we both wanted to edit the film, we decided to take scenes each and work our way through them. I managed to complete 4 out of 5 scenes which I am very proud of and I think we did quite a fair job in filming because most of the transitions worked extremely well.
What I found most challenging about the post-production process so far was finding music to suit our story and the filming we had done. Because we could not pick and choose from any songs due to copyright issues I decided to look for music through the Youtube 'Creator Studio' which provides free music without copyright issues. It was difficult however to find exactly what we wanted because it felt difficult to find music that would work with the vibe felt through the filming we had done, and on top of this, having a restricted selection made this process even more difficult.
In the end Shaira and I decided to go through this process by firstly selecting one piece that we thought went very well with the film and use this as a main theme and frame of reference for the other songs to use. This problem-solving actually worked very well because I had already found a couple of tracks that I really liked and worked on a number of scenes and we therefore used these to find other songs that were alike.
Film so far: https://youtu.be/GrkYHE0IvHo (Missing Scene 3)
Throughout this process it has been very useful collaborating and knowing that some of my peers are also working on the same text as I have been able to communicate with a variety of parties and thus obtain not only different opinions on my work and thus feedback to improve it but also many different perspectives which can help me evaluate my work to consider how different people may react. For example, during scratch night, receiving fairly shocking feedback helped me tone the project to a more succinct piece whilst also considering how I can simultaneously keep this shock factor but also help the audience understand that this is purely fictional. On top of this, continuous research has been invaluable to help the project progress and grow conceptually and technically.
Because I have never made a short film like this before, I wanted to challenge myself and make it as good as possible and look professional. I hence did a lot of research into colour correction and how to make the ratio widescreen like in feature films, etc. Doing this research now made me realise that I should also have done more research into filming itself before filming the entire film because I am not well-educated in the operation of DSLR cameras particularly regarding filming and thus found it challenging to sort out settings in extreme low light (for certain scenes). This did actually result in fuzziness of certain takes which I would be able to improve next time knowing more about filming in hindsight.
I looked into colour correction and manipulation of RBG curves in post production for which this source helped me most: How To Get The Film Look With A DSLR - DSLR Cinematography Tips.2012. Web. Apr. 2016.
I found that this manipulation really helped bring the film to a much higher quality and look (see screenshot above).
Above: No tint
Below: With tint
While the tint is hardly noticeable when watching the film without comparing it to the previous version, I find that it brings together all of the scenes very well, creating a harmony between them (as some were taken in drastically different light).
We had also discussed the use of a red tint previously due to the government's main colour being red. We were unsure whether or not to actually use this idea and thus were only able to decide once having tried various options, visualising what works best directly.
There was a small detail about the tint that bothered me however; it looked a bit as though someone had put a very thin film or membrane over the image, getting rid of some dimensionality. I remembered one of the Lumetri presets available in Premier that makes the image black and white with high contrast and thus quite a bit of depth. Thinking back to the principals of photoshop which I am more familiar with than Premier, I wandered if I could use the tinted version as some sort of overlay for the black and white version.
I therefore played around with edits and ended up putting the film with the tint over that in black and white, reducing the opacity to let the contrast through. I made it quite subtle so that one may not pick out that something has been done while making the image better.
No underlay in Black and White
With underlay in Black and White
POST PRODUCTION REFLECTION
While I was already somewhat aware that I liked to edit video content, I had never tried making a fictional film before (or anything classified as 'film'). Therefore editing was difficult and challenging, but despite the moments of complete misunderstanding of technology I definitely enjoyed editing a lot if not the most out of the entire project. I am thus glad I chose to do a film project for Unit 7 as it has given me great insight into which sections of the film industry I am most interested in.
Shaira and I began thinking about how to exhibit our work a little while ago however did not rush to finish it in order to have time to develop our ideas. I was slightly intimidated by this side of the project because I feel that model-making and set design-type activities are truly not my forte.
Despite this I sketched out a few ideas for our model box:
Shaira and I really liked the idea of having a model box with clear sides (aside from pasted images) full of water. I think that out of the other ideas we had this is the most conceptually significant and true to our film as well as generally interesting to the eye and thus attention-catching. I remember discussing the exhibition box with Kerry who was saying that it did not need to be complex as long as it attracts audience members to be interested in what you have create and hence want to see more. Our audience will most likely be other students around our age as well as parents and tutors, so it is fairly broad. I think therefore that avoiding from restricting our audience appeal is best and simply creating something attention-grabbing yet true to the film will be the best approach for this audience.
Our original idea involved putting important images from the film around the sides and then the Shakespeare is Dead poster (with a red cross through his face) on the bottom. This however was slightly dull and void of anything concretely interesting. Through joking suggestions of having a goldfish named Shakespeare in the tank, we came back to the doe symbol from the text. When we first thought of this, Anne's graffiti scene was supposed to be a few works e.g. 'Are we free?' however when we thought of the notion of the doe and what it symbolises in the original text (most innocent creature: "Nature gave me self-worth, the instinct of self-preservation, the desire to be happy", that simply lives to live, killed in cold blood) we recognized that it was a very suitable representation of Anne.
Due to Anne actually being drowned in the original text, it was actually very suited for the doe to be at the bottom of this body of water, drowned (literally in the original text and figuratively in our film by her own mind).
When developing the box idea we were inspired by June Ahrens' Hiding in Plain Site in regards to the reflective ground and how this affects the surrounding walls. We therefore experimented with reflective paper for the bottom of the tank and really liked the effect, keeping it for our final box. We also looked into Ann Veronica Janssen's Blue Wind and other similar pieces, wondering if we could use the idea of mixing liquids in our tank to create a separation, almost like a glitch (which happens in the film, in Anne's mind). We tried this on a small scale with orange-coloured oil (see above) however thought it may be a bit much on the large scale of the tank and decided not to do it in the end.
Above: Final exhibition box (Images taken and edited by Shaira Kapoor)
Finalising our box came with a lot of experimentation as Shaira and I had quite a few ideas for small changes and possibilities for it. For example we had ideas involving hanging images from the ceiling, or tearing up the posters in the water instead, putting red beads in the water, changing the images around the box to propaganda posters instead, etc. We therefore printed out a variety of images to test around the sides of the tank and also played around with altering them with marker, or changing them on Photoshop directly, etc. We also initially considered spray painting the doe with the copper spray paint that Anne uses in the film, and bought two different does to experiment with (one white porcelain and the other more textured and realistic to a doe). The brown doe was slightly too small and did not stand out particularly well to the rest of the tank which is why we ended up using the white doe without spray painting it, as we did not want to lose this contrast.
The box was actually quite a lot of work involving refining however experimentation really allowed Shaira and I to determine what we thought looked best and I think it turned out very well. Overall I really like the representation we have created of our piece. The glass sides reflect the mirror on the bottom due to the water and refraction of light which creates fragmentation of images representing the ambiguity between reality and mind in our film. This is also why I selected three photos of the scenes within the film that occur in Anne's mind as these are the unclear moments where we are not sure as an audience whether she is having flashbacks of forgotten instances or hallucinations. The distortion of images created by the water, glass and reflected floor emphasise this point. The mosaic floor equally resembles floor during drought and the floating posters as well as images around the outside of the box represent the oppression on Anne (who is represented by the Doe figurine). Anne is therefore drowning in her state of mind and new forced way of being by the government; the ground is void of life (freedom).
Short fictional film in response to the text 'Shakespeare Is Dead, Get Over it by Paul Pourveur, translated to English.
The short film builds upon a main character's views of globalisation and consumerism, bringing these forward into this dystopian setting in which the government has restricted the people's freedom by banning consumerism and global topics/brands.
We see the character Anne encompassing two different views on these issues, one in which she follows and works for the government and the other which she doesn't understand the reality of and whether these thoughts are her own actions she has blacked out or hallucinations.
This plot was inspired by the relationship between main characters Anne and Will in the text whose opposing views disturbs their relationship.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Today we read through the play version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (until the end of Act 1) in order to be able to discuss and analyse it (See notes below).
- A mental hospital
- Whole lives contained in the one room
What is the mood/theme?
What is the geographical location?
What is the time/date/year/period/season?
What is the weather/climate?
What is the political/religious environment?
What is this character's personality? (adjectives)
How/has their personality changed since the previous scene?
What is their familial/social/economic/etc. relationship to the other characters?
What political/religious/ethical/sexual/philosophical/etc. beliefs do they hold?
What are their aspirations/fears/likes/dislikes?
What happened before the play began? (but stick to the text, don't invent it)
What is this character's dramatic function and importance?
Film vs. book - the Chief as being a central character isn't shown as well in the film
Offstage becomes very important in the play (in the book you can go in detail) in theatre it's often left to audience's imagination
We feel contained with the inmates hence the setting for the first act
The institution as a microcosm for society - mechanical imagery, combine, systems moving people around - how the big nurse isn't the enemy it is what she is representing that is (her underlings are just as scared as her patients are)
Stuttering - guy whose change in routine would completely alter behaviour
The chief's dramatic function has purpose - why each character is there
Language, pace, how characters are introduced, what they do, how they interact - everything has a reason
Being Sane in Insane Places - research let by Rosenhan
I really like this text because it discusses issues like mental health, which I am very interested in having studied psychology and concentrated my IB Visual Arts' coursework around the topic of Psychological Disorders. I therefore am rather informed about discussion topics around the area we discussed today (such as how to tell apart normality and abnormality, and whether someone is simply pretending to be psychopathic or not). I brought up the study by Rosenhan in which he and ~11 other researchers pretended to be schizophrenic in order to see how easily they would be admitted into a mental ward. (They were all admitted and diagnosed of schizophrenia, being detained between 7-52 days with an average of 19 days spent in the institution.) This study took place around the same time the book was set, showing the lack of credibility in the psychiatric field during this period and also how large a topic of discussion it was at the time.