Archive for the 264MC Short Film Production Category

Distribution

Posted in 264MC Short Film Production on March 22, 2011 by Mick Le Mare


I have begun to look into ways of distributing our short film. I think it would be a shame not to enter it into all the festivals we can incase we manage to secure a screening at one. I definitely think with a little bit more polishing it could be capable of gaining a place.

Last year I visited Encounters film festival in Bristol and this is the perfect place for a film such as ours to be shown. We qualify for the Best of the South West category because the director (myself) is from the West Country and we have locations around the West country in our film. Submissions are fairly soon. I absolutely intend for us to enter our film here.

http://www.encounters-festival.org.uk/

Rapid Eye Movement

Rapid Eye Movement is a short film screening that happens quarterly at Warwick Arts Centre and is for films based in the Midlands which of course we qualify for as well. Overall the standard at rapid Eye movement is, with respect, nowhere near as high as it is at Encounters and we really do stand a chance. I am keeping my eye on the next submission date and we shall swing into action once this crops up. Here is a link to a very short article I wrote having attended Rapid Eye Movement a month or two ago.

https://mlm200.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/rapid-eye-movement-2011-warwick-arts-centre/

BBC Film Network is obviously a great way of distributing film and I am fairly confident we could get ours put up there once all permissions were cleared to our music rights. We obviously will not be putting up the film on there untill we have tried a number of festivals because most festivals will want exclusivity on short films such as ours. This will be a way of getting our film shown if a few doors are closed to us whilst we distribute.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/filmnetwork/

The flatpack festival in Birmingham is also a possibility but as it is starting next week it would be the 2012 festival we would submit to. I intend to go to the festival next week anyway for research purposes so I will be able to check out how appropriate it is for our film.

http://www.flatpackfestival.org/home/

Graphics for titles and post

Posted in 264MC Short Film Production on March 20, 2011 by Mick Le Mare

Here in the two embedded videos you can see the title graphics that were done for the opening sequence of our film.

These were done by Jess Philips who studies Graphic design at Nottingham Trent University.

The sketches and text were drawn by hand before being scanned and eventually animated in after effects. We felt it was important not to neglect this part of the film because opening the film with FCP’s default text is very common in student films and we wanted to distance ourselves from this as much as possible.

Our DVD cover also stemmed from these graphics:

Location

Posted in 264MC Short Film Production on March 19, 2011 by Mick Le Mare


Our wrap shot at Glastonbury Tor. My favourite location and place of my favourite shot in the film.

Location is of course an extremely important part of any film but the variant of locations our film requires is rather wide ranging for a short. Because, as you will know from reading previous posts on here, our idea is based around two of our characters travelling to meet up with their friends we want to pull out all the stops to achieve this. Our initial idea was to have all three of the men travelling from different areas around the country – one trudging past Stone Henge, one Glastonbury Tor and one past the Angel of the North. You can see this by referring to a post on sampletext.wordpress.com which is our group blog.

Due to time and financial constraints it will be impossible for us to film at the Angel of the North so we have decided to scrap that and concentrate properly on our shoot in the South. We have a location to shoot our interior scene and where we can stay over the weekend which is near London. This has meant we are able to shoot in London very easily on the Saturday, shoot our interior scene in Hemel Hempstead on the Saturday night and then get up early on the sunday to drive to Stone Henge and Glastonbury Tor for the final two shoots.

We know that we do not need permission to shoot in the countryside around our two West Country locations and we will also not have our actors (see ‘The Shoot’ post on this blog) which gives us time to carefully plan our shots and take our time to get it right without pressure. This leaves Saturday as our most complicated day!

We do not need permission to shoot on Location in near Liverpool Street Station nor in Regents Park. All our other central London locations are going to be on the South Bank and for this if you can prove you are students, working on a non commercial not for profit project, permission will be granted to you be the riverside staff. This means our permissions are very straightforward, we must just remember our student cards and identification!

Our shooting script is very clear and we know the shots we want so our location preparation and planning will pay off during what could be a particularly pressurised day. We hope the chosen locations will pay off and our film will look as it does in our heads!

Here are a few shots taken during the shoot that I thought I would add to this post.

Shooting Stone Henge in the BRIGHT sunlight


The hugga mugga atmosphere of our interior scene. Great fun


Our alleyway. The location for the 'meeting' scene


Pub near Liverpool Street station where the telephone scene is shot


Testing near Regents Park

Script

Posted in 264MC Short Film Production on March 18, 2011 by Mick Le Mare

Here is a copy of the script I wrote for this film.

Script Final Draft

Once we had had all our initial ideas and eventually settled on this one I volunteered to go away and write it. Having not written a script for a short film before it was a fairly daunting undertaking.

Before the writing process began I read a couple of feature length scripts and a couple of scripts from sitcoms to begin to familiarise myself with how they should sound in one’s head. I read An Education and Chinatown as well as reading a couple of episodes of Extras. I also watched a certain amount of short films such as Goodbye to the Normals on BBC FilmNetwork which I saw for the first time in a lecture given by the tutors but have since watched a number of times because it is a fantastic example of dialogue in short film. Another film I watched was 8, a short film by Stephen Daldry, who eventually went on to direct Billy Elliot. 8 wasn’t a good example of the sort of character dialogue that will happen in our film but visually it had given me plenty of ideas to incorporate in the script, especially during our montage section.

When I sat down to begin writing the script for the film I basically just let the story come straight out without worrying too much about the tightness of the dialogue – I think this shows from one of the first drafts which can be seen here

First Draft

Here is some of the feedback I received from tutors regarding what I had written and you will notice the difference between the final draft and the initial one posted above that was affected by the feedback.

Hi Guys



Generally quite good but:

- starts out well but peters out at the end

– end is too quick (last page is the problem)

– read out dialogue: moves from being middle class to ‘upper class’: “It’s treachourous out there”

- It has lost some of it’s spark in the writing.

- Final shot = problem (we will see immediately that they are in lounge UNLESS we see band on the TV or something).


I like the ending “It’s late now: time for bed” and the hand coming out the tent.


Hope this helps.


Steve Dawkins.

Hi


have had a chance to read this now and I feel that while the story is still good and will work well you are taking too long to actually set it up.
The humor comes from their situation but we do not get there until page 3 of a 4 page script. You should set it up in half a page max then get to the scenario that is funny and the final pay-off with the reveal.

Also the dialogue is very stilted and succinct, would the guys really talk this way? I suggest you read the script out loud to hear it spoken…the read it again out loud twice as fast.

These are guys on a mission to get pissed get laid and get wasted…..except by the end we see they arent at all but again this will make the ending better. The dialogue as it is is not nearly naturalistic enough,



MAN A:
If we dont go this year we never will


MAN B:
You don’t think we’re like…
over the hill now?

MAN A
:Bollocks, no way, we’re younger than most of the bands!

MAN B:
What about
MAN C?

MAN A 
He’s in. Anything for a weekend away -
even if it is loud music, drug
abuse and cold baked beans.

MAN B
 (Laughs)
All the way from Newcastle?!

MAN A
 Trust me, he’s in.
etc…..



Work it through the set montage would be great as would another as they get boozy and probably a couple more incidents, why no reference to girls? Guilty pleasures is what they are after even if at the end it is all in their dreams.


Such a good idea!



Clifton

Now whilst plenty of this was encouraging there was obviously a lot to work on and you can see from the final script that’s at the top of this post that we did plenty of work to tighten it up.
Linda M. James says in ‘How to write Great Screenplays’ (2009) that what all comedies have in common is “a plot designed to amuse and provoke laughter by exaggerating the situation’ and this was key to my writing. I really wanted to exaggerate the friendship these three have, as if they are so totally absorbed in their friendship and their weekend together that it hardly matters they are actually inside and not really at a festival at all! This I think makes it funnier and why I think I was so lucky to have our actors in mind as I wrote.

Script when shooting:

During the actually shoot we allowed plenty of ad-libbing because we wanted as naturalistic a performance as possible from the three friends. Eventually our script is followed fairly loosely in terms of dialogue which in some ways I am disappointed in but in others very happy. This is because having a relaxed attitude as a director to how they manipulated the script like I did when on set actually made for a better film and this is eventually what we are heading for.

Story Boards

Posted in 264MC Short Film Production on March 17, 2011 by Mick Le Mare

Here you can see the story boards that were drawn up during the pre production phase. Adam drew these up from the script and they are a thing of beauty in themselves. They really helped us to visualise when drawing up the shooting schedule and shooting script.

Page 1


Page 2

Roles

Posted in 264MC Short Film Production on March 17, 2011 by Mick Le Mare

One of the most important jobs we had to do before the shoot was decide our roles. With five of us working on this piece we had to make absolutely sure we were clear on our roles so that during the shoot especially there was little confusion and no lack of professionalism.

We decided the five roles to be taken were Director, Camera Op, 1st AD, D.O.P and Sound technician.

Here are the roles as we decided them:

Director – Mick Le Mare
1st AD – Adam Davies
DOP – Alex Hacking
Cam Op – Jake Humbles
Sound – Rich Neal
Editors – Rich Neal and Alex Hacking
Post Production – Jake Humbles, Mick Le Mare and Adam Davies

I am particularly interested in directing and was therefore pleased to be chosen for this role, whilst it carries much responsibility it also gives plenty of scope for artistic creation and I enjoy taking a front seat on occasions such as this. I am really happy with each of the roles that we have allocated and feel that everyone is in a position of responsibility and one that they can handle really well.

I have also included in the above role call the post shoot roles. Rich and Alex will edit our film whilst the rest of us collate all the necessary documents, permissions etc ready for the final submission.

I have been doing some reading up on the role of the director in a couple of books. One excellent book is ‘Making Short Films’ by Clifford Thurlow (2008) and in it he uses a simple phrase that was first said by Cedric Behrel, a director himself – “On a short film a Director needs to be persistent but flexible, ambitious but realistic”. During the shoot I really tried to stick to this. When I thought something was right and it should be done in that way I tried to make sure it went exactly like that and everybody knew how to acheive it but when suggestions were made or time constraints had to be met I was willing to listen and and adjust accordingly. An example from the day of the shoot would be when the pub we initially wanted to shoot Pete’s telephone scene in was made unavailable and another plan had to be made. I sent off the actors and the rest of the crew to grab some lunch whilst I quickly made other plans, I found that just around the corner there was an excellent place for an exterior shot looking at a pub that fit the bill just right. This flexibility is something I will try and continue when working on other projects whether it be as a director or in another role.

Here we can see the two actors in this scene, Charlie and Pete practising their lines outside the exterior inner city location that had to be found on the go.

I also feel that as a whole group we were very ambitious and therefore as the director I had to carry that ambition whilst remaining realistic. The balance that we struck was particularly good in terms of this – to shoot a short like ours in one weekend was quite an undertaking but not an undertaking that we thought was impossible, everything was so well planned that we feel that we remained grounded and realistic throughout our very ambitious project.

Another quote, this time taken from ‘Video Production’ by Dawkins and Wynd (2010), with regards to the role of the director further emphasises the reasons why we wanted to be so clear “Many student groups fail to work well together because some members of the crew find it difficult being told what to do by another student. They feel that the production should be a democratic process and that, when filming under a director, this democracy is being challenged” Never once during the shoot did we have to address this problem and I am proud of all of us for this.

I am so glad that we all fulfilled the roles we were given so well because the weekend could never have run as smoothly as it did.

Initial Ideas for Short Film

Posted in 264MC Short Film Production on March 17, 2011 by Mick Le Mare

Here are some of the ideas we put forward during one of our early critiques. Some have potential, others we scrapped fairly quickly.
Please Note: Unless it is stated that I wrote the idea, I did not write it.

Idea 1

Over The Hill:
Over The Hill is a comedy short film about three old friends who decide the time has come to experience a festival together despite age not being totally on their side. Each of the men throw themselves into travelling and preparing for their big weekend but all is eventually revealed when we see they have instead set the festival up in their living rooms.

Mick Le Mare

Idea 2

We see an old plastic digital watch light up from under a newspaper showing the time is 8am, this preludes the subsequent alarm we then hear. We see a rugged looking hand searching for it among a bed of news papers and a worn, muddy blanket we then cut to a man who gives the impression that his best years are behind him.
He gets up and stretches for a few moments, allowing the audience to take in his appearance and make an instant judgement on what kind of man this is, in the background we see a desolate landscape lit only by a murky sun rise with plenty of clouds in the sky.
The man briskly collects his belongings, which include a cracked photoframe (the photo is currently covered in dust and dirt), his watch, an old unusually thin belt (that he doesn’t put on) and his blanket. He heads towards the woods with haste, looking over his shoulder occasionally as if he was on the look out for something or someone.
Once in the woods he takes time for a breather and begins to search the ground, the audience assumes for fungi and other vegitation, but this is to no avail. He begins to get frustrated and kicks a tree in anger, letting out a yelp of pain. This cues a dog barking faintly in the background, the man stops and listens for a moment, looking almost scared, before running. The camera follows a succession of fast cut close ups of his feet crushing the wildlife among other, hopefully, beautifully framed and lit shots of the woodland. We don’t, however, see any dogs.
The man continues to run until he reaches a small hut, he kicks the door down and looks inside but finds nothing. His face breaks into tears and he sits down, he gets out the dusty photoframe and as his tears fall on it and he wipes them away, we see a picture of him and his dog.
Pros
An easy and simple idea that doesn’t require any outstanding acting talent.
Locations are easy to find.
Pay off is pretty simple and should be easy to understand in the 3 minute limit.
No script (Subject to change).
Will use powerful scores to create tension and meaning.
Only 1 actor needed
Cons
The ability to cry convincingly is a requisite
The lack of script may cause a loss of meaning if we don’t execute it perfectly.
Might be hard to find someone who can create a decent score.

Rich Neal

Idea 3

A man walking through the woods minding his own business, touching the bark of the trees, running his hands through the bushes with a smile on his face. This person is likeable, there is nothing strange or out of place about him.
He see’s a child sitting happily on there own scratching into the moss with a stick. The child smiles at him and the man nearly smiles back while the child runs out of shot. We know this is not real, almost dream-like as lighting is bright with a soft focus. With this he begins to describe his childhood… loving happily married parents and never too much trouble in school. Details would be picked out to bring the audience into a more personal level.
He finds an interesting location within the woods and decides that this is a good place to lie down. All is peaceful, shots give of the idea of calmness yet close-ups of his expressions suggest otherwise. There is something noticeably bothering him.
“What was she thinking?” – he thinks to himself, “she didn’t know where she was, and certainly had no one to look after her”.. Flashbacks/visuals of two drinks on the bar, one a beer, the other a cocktail. “Why else would she be like that?”
While laying down and staring upwards the man turns his head to the side, only to see another dream-like figure. A middle-aged woman is watching him, smiling. This time the man sits up and looks ashamed of himself. The woman’s expression quickly changes to a resentful one and turns away from him, walks and disappears.
The man then looks back up into the sky as a tear rolls down the side of his face. “Maybe I could have just got her number…” (vision of a hand sliding over a number on a napkin)…
“Please..(a woman’s voice)” – a soft but powerful word that he replays in his mind hits him like a sudden headache. The audience begin to work out maybe what the problem is. Voices in his head get stronger and more painful to contain, he is now tense and presses his hands against his head until he begins to run. Rushing through the forest he has no idea where he is heading, he just wants to escape his thoughts somehow. He continues to run and appears out from the woods and up onto a bridge. Standing in the middle looking down towards the road below he contemplates. Its all calm again as he pears ahead preparing to jump. He looks down again and there is a woman standing in the road, where there was nothing before. Shaking with tears pouring down his face, he whispers “what was I thinking…”
Pro’s –
Chances to experiment with flashbacks, visions etc.
Fairly simple to find locations
Could be a powerful narrative
Con’s –
1 main actor, 3 other small roles
Finding a suitable bridge
Needs developement
Always a bit risky doing something on suicide, rape etc. however the audience interpret it

Rich Neal

Idea 4
Three guys, planning to rob a bank, in serious need of money and an escape route from the life they live. Gathering blueprints, weapons, tools, essential equipment and a get away car, the group have an idea how to rob a bank they just need to finalize the notion filling there pockets with millions, a life changing decision.
Getting ready for the day, not noticing the time (16:40) continue to prepare, loading the weapons finalizing the route and the getaway driver. As they leave they pick up their masks, one mask is on the clock on the side table, once picked up revealing the time now to be 17:05, still unnoticed they leave the house and enter the car.
Pull up aside the bank in an alleyway; all take a look at each other and give a motivational nod. They’re ready, stepping out down the side street watching carefully for security, CCTV and police. Lock and load their guns, burst round the corner in a quick dash, stop to kick the door down. One kick is given… The bank is shut, 17:00 closing on a Wednesday. “Maybe tomorrow boys?”

Jake Humbles

Idea 5

The Artist

A renowned artist, old, respected character portraying a rustic feel, gravely voice and old tweed jackets. It has come to the public that he now will be retiring; this will be his last product, the last artifact to his collection. This will be worth millions states the media, ‘his best piece yet’. The public knows that it will sell for millions, everyone will want to see it and it will be the best piece of art to this date. A high expectation to be fulfilled here, with a public expecting so much he finds himself under so much pressure.
He visits many locations, scanning landscapes inhaling the world’s beauty in its entirety. Scouting countryside, mountains, streets, rivers and streams. You see him sketch ideas and notes about the scenery, people and the surrounding areas. All theses ideas logged in an old bound book that contains his life work within.
The last two scenes consist of, the artist working on an easel, in an art studio, working away, taking inspiration, drinking tea, struggling through this art, sleepless nights. Finally he brakes through, working so hard, filling the days with colour and inspirational work shown through facial expressions, yet you still do not see the artifact he is creating. He has it all finished, titles it unknown, releases it to the media and places it in a gallery of his choice. The public shocked, uncertain on what to think…
We cut back to the studio as the camera tracks round a semicircle around the to on over the shoulder shot, looking at the blank canvas! We look down as he places at the bottom, By Henry maiden to finish off the sequence.
Little do they know that the last shot is of the security guard walking down the long corridor locking up for the night. The lights all flicker off as he locks the door and flicks the mains switch.
The last set of lights above his work flicker off and the emergency lights turn on, one is replaced with an ultra violet light. Reveled on the not so blank canvas is a beautiful outstanding piece of invisible ink art never to be seen by the public until the secret is discovered.

Jake Humbles

All the ideas have potential. Also check out my post on our fishing trip idea that unfortunately fell flat on its face. We were very keen on that until disaster stuck.