Shoot day 2- Report on progress of own filming plan

Day 10


When we arrived, we were split into 2 groups- one working on location at the community garden and one team working off site at location 2 in the town house. I was in the group that was to go and work in the house with the role as director.

We had to decorate the house using the skills we had learned about production design in one of the previous sessions. I worked closely to Matt to look at the best camera angles for the scenes, especially because we were working in an incredibly small space.

For each scene it took a lot of preparation, due to the small space, lighting and inability to move around with the camera’s very easily. For the first scene- James arguing with his father- we needed to make the mood really dark and so we creating shadows and low lighting to create tension within the scene. The scene where James leaves the house after grabbing the alcohol from the mantelpiece, I needed to think carefully about the positioning of the camera because the room was small and I needed to fit into the shot: the door from the stairs, the sofa, the mantelpiece and the door to leave the house.

We also shot the flashback scene where James is walking down the street swigging from the bottle of alcohol he had previously grabbed from the mantelpiece. This was one of the most interesting scenes to shoot of the day, because it involved a lot of movement- both by the actor and the cinematographers. This took longer than expected as we needed to get the speed and timing right in relation to the positioning of the camera and the actor.

After we had finished filming at the house, we went back to the garden location to get the last scenes: James waking up at the garden after drinking, and finding the greenhouse in the night. The lighting was really hard to work with as it was almost pitch black and we were filming outside. If the light was too harsh, it would look fake and unrealistic. I feel like the events in these scenes were the turning point for the James’ character as it was when he first saw the greenhouse- a beacon of light and hope in otherwise darkness. I feel like the scenes were really poetic and metaphorical and so it was essential that they were shot perfectly as to really draw out the significance of the turning point in James’ life.

shoot day 2 #1     shoot day 2 #2

shoot day 2 #3      shoot day 2

Shoot interviewing


Day 9- Shoot day #1


When I arrived on set, everyone looked so excited to get stuck in, even more so when we got the call sheet for the day letting us know what we were going to through the day.

Today I was on the Art Department team both on-set and behind the scenes. I started with behind the scenes footage with Jade where we conducted several interviews with members of the team. We interviewed May Davies about her experience in Production design and Emilio&Leah on what they expect on their day of directing. I learned about the element of thirds when doing an interview and what kind of questions to ask in order to entertain the audience whilst trying to get relevant and informative information. This was my favorite part of the day as I really enjoyed asking people the questions, something that fueled my other interest in journalism.

Later, I got the opportunity to work on-set as an member of the Art Dept. I found this a lot more challenging that I thought it would be; for example, using a continuity camera to make sure there were no costume or prop changes from take to take. I was also surprised by the amount of time it takes to prepare for a scene in terms of production design, make-up and the attention to detail needed in order to create a convincing set and therefore a believable performance and story.

I really enjoyed today as it gave me good insight into the art side of the film industry and what it’s like to be on set!


Day 8

In today’s session, it was our chance as a group to finalize getting ready for the shoot. My fellow directors and the cinematographers discussed the final draft of the script with Matt, talking about any issues we had. One issue I raised was that someone like our character wouldn’t be able to afford an electric guitar and so he would need an acoustic one. I feel this decision was key to the film, symbolizing the brokenness of the protagonist- his guitar always needs to be patched up, something you can’t do with something so expensive as an electric guitar.

We also talked briefly about the size of the tree- something else key to the theme of our film. If the tree was too small, then the audience wouldn’t symathize with the character as a small tree would be too insignificant to make a film about. However, if the tree was too big, it would take a lot to destroy- even if you were drunk…

In the session, I got the chance to help the production team with their preparations for the shoot days. I found this really interesting, though difficult, especially producing a risk assessment.


Day 7

Today, we were given our roles for the shoot based on our top 10 choices. I was on unit 2 and given the roles of Director and Art Department. I was really happy that I had been assigned these roles as I  wanted to have a significant input into the creative side to making the film, something which being a director and in the art dept allowed me to do.

After this, we got to watch some short films that would be of similar length to ours (4-6 mins). This gave the group a chance to see what kind of things we had to fit into such a small period of time. This was really eye opening, as a director, to see how you needed to be able to tell the story in such a short space of time without drawing away from the theme and the overall feel of the film.

My favorite film was ‘Juvenile’ by Glenn Doherty, as I really enjoyed the narrative and the well written script. The film had a grey and dull theme to it: the color of the kitchen, her uniform, and the decor of the house. This was maybe used to make the audience feel uneasy about the relationship- it’s not a conventional one, not filled with ‘color’. I also really like how the film tries to portray a disfunctional family; just a school girl with her unemployed single father.

I like this particular camera angle in the film as it shows just Leo on his own and then Sarah climbs into shot, all the while the skyscraper in the back ground- the main setting of the film.

Juvenile 2Juvenile 3 Juvenile 1

Later on, we Skype called Matt to discuss the script with him and to talk about any issues and amendments we had to make.  We discussed the name of the tree and about the personality of the teenage boy- do we want the audience to sympathize throughout or just at the end? And, does his personality and possessions meet the creative v destructive theme we wanted the story to be about?

After, we were put into teams according to what our roles would be on the film set. I was working with the other directors and with the camera team to gather a first draft of a shot list, using the script.

Character Development

Day 6

Today we continued with Zosia and Matt to develop a script for our film. We started off by looking at the notes we made from the previous session about our characters and looked at trends and patterns that occurred to use when creating our character for the film.

Session 5

We agreed that we wanted to maybe use a greenhouse as a location for our film and began to picture a character there. We all thought it would be peculiar if someone was there in pajamas, especially someone like an old man. This would therefore make an interesting story to find out why he would be in a greenhouse in his pajamas.

After deciding on the greenhouse as a location, we looked at local greenhouses available to use in the area. This helped us to visualize the film and the kind of theme it would have- happy, sad, comical etc.

Then, we split into two groups to work on two characters- an old man and a teenager.  We chose these particular characters as they are completely opposite and would therefore make an interesting and engaging story about how they come to meet.

Session 5 groups

We thought about the basics of our plot and how we wanted to order it e.g. include flashbacks. We thought about imagery and scenes and played about with the order they would appear in the film.

plot order


Day 4

Today, we continued with Roy, into looking at techniques in film and TV. The emphasis today was on the different types of Documentary and how they were made.

We learned that the term ‘documentary’ came to use after the definition ‘the creative treatment of actuality’- something that we discussed along with the decline, and rise of documentaries.

We began by watching the short Documentary “Listen to Britain” (1942), directed by Humphrey Jennings. This is an example of ‘Poetic documentary’, a genre used to create it’s meaning through imagery, without commentary. We debated, as a group, what the logic was behind the specific selection of sounds and images, coming to a conclusion that they were to try and show the high spirits during the war e.g. the dancing scene.

‘Social documentaries’ use witness statements e.g. Interviews, to help form the narrative. We learned that this approach is related to research known as the ‘participant observation.This involves the filmmakers being an accepted part of the community rather than simply being outsiders.  We watched and example of this type of Documentary in the film ‘Palestine’ (2004) where the focus is on the lives of 4 families who live in a refugee camp near Bethlehem.

We then looked at an example of a ‘Performative documentary’, where the maker of the documentary is also the star and thus becomes the focus of the film’s narrative. We watched Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” (2004), which investigated the link between the practice of increasing portion sizes in fast food outlets to the amount of obesity in the US.

Throughout the session, I really learned a lot about the different types of Documentary e.g. Poetic, Social, Performative, and Essay; whereas before, I thought all documentaries were pretty much the same and I didn’t know how to identify the different types. I particularly found that watching the different styles of documentary was informative as I actually got to see successful examples that perhaps I wouldn’t have considered watching before the session.