RESEARCH

What I am on for the next 12 Weeks

Crud.

What am I going to research? I still need to thoroughly work out exactly what I am going to research. One of my goals going into this is to really refine exactly what I am going to. A couple of times this year I have perhaps spent a little bit too much time researching things which in the end I didn’t need too. I am still going to research really thoroughly and exactly everything I need too. However making sure I don’t repeat myself is key.

Contents I will be researching:

  • Practitioners
  • Technical Skills/Requirements
  • Competition, Audience
  • Actors
  • Film Festivals
  • Primary research
  • Legal & Ethical
  • Concepts & Ideas
  • Representation
  • Test Shots
  • Costs/Budgets/Production Issues
  • Unlimited Budget Fantasy
  • Evaluation

One of the key things I wanted to do this FMP was make sure I refine my work. By this I mean knowing exactly why and what I want to do and making sure I don’t spend too much extra time on it.

For my research I will be going other WHY I am researching it, WHAT I will be researching, and WHAT I have learnt.

Practitioners 

Practitioners, more like Practition-nerds! Hah! I will be researching practitioners as a way to gain close contact and first hand tips and information from someone that has made films before. There are three parts to the practitioners section. Find, research, contact. I will also be looking for three different practtioners. I am thinking one small, medium and large.

In my email I will state that I am grateful for their response, and if their any key tips or common mistakes filmmakers make in short films please let me know. Then some key questions and answers I will be trying to answer will be about how did you go about finding actors for your film? What are some tips for directing on set? Finally what are some general tips for making a short film?

Practitioner One: Small

First up is our small practitioner. ‘Changed’ by Tom Kirkby is the short film and director I will attempt to contact and hopefully get some useful information and tips. Tom is a similar level to me and I think he would have finished his course by now as it looks he has two FMP’s on his channel including this one and a documentary. So unless he is like me and on his third year then he is probably out being an adult and will think who is this neek contacting me. There isn’t an obvious way of contacting him so some intense stalking might have to be done. (By that I mean searching him up on Instagram).

His video ‘Changed’ definitely has some faults but I think it has a good structure, some good writing and you can see he has put a good amount of effort in. Even though it is not perfect I am sure he learnt a lot so it would be great to get some tips off him. I think it is an interesting well-told story which is was ambitious to make.

I tried contacting Tom through his comments section but I am doubtful he will reply as his channel is not active nor does he seem very YouTube savvy (No profile picture etc).

As Tom doesn’t have a way of contacting him we are going to have to try and find him through social media. So what do we know about Tom?

We know his name is Tom Kirkby, full name Thomas.

He is most probably around age 18/19. I am going to guess he has finished College judging by the lack of activity of on his channel. Assuming it is his house we get an idea for his lifestyle. As well assuming this is him being recorded we can try and gather some more information.

He loves weed (legend)

And he is a big liar

With this information, I took to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find him so I will give it a day or two to see if he responds to my comment. If not will just have to find someone else and I’ll probably make sure there is a way of contacting them first.

It has been two days and no response. So time to find someone else.

I found a FMP short film by Michael Morris called ‘Illusion’ from last year. The channel is active still so it looks like he is still in College and still making films.

His film illusion certainly isn’t the best looking student film I have ever seen but I think it still tells an interesting story which is easy to relate too. We see our protagonist as this lazy student who sleeps in class. After class a girl approaches him asking about the test. He answers saying he found it difficult and the girl’s friend mocks him. They walk off and he feels down about how it went.

We then see him enter some sort of god whats it called that thing they have in The Simpsons movie when they’re in the snow and homer has lost everything oh yeah an Epiphany! He has something like that which gives him a new found confidence. After this he approaches the girl with a new found confidence and we can see straight away it goes much better.

Now as much as it is a simple story it is told well. It follows a good structure which allows us to be interested in this guys problems. The story is defiantly relatable for I imagine a lot of people. It’s that process of trying to find confidence in front of the opposite sex. For me it was crack, for this guy it was an epiphany.

Still doubtful they would respond I decided to try someone else. Like my Mom always said, you can never have too much ammo.

This time I made sure there was 100% a contact email. I found someone called ChubbyDave who for some reason actually capitalises it as Chubbydave. Why? Anyway Dave straight away caught my eye who goes around shouting “Sub to Chubbydave” so immidietly knew his about section would look like this:

Hero! Actually has an email address for business inquires.

Before emailing blindly I watched his short film from last year for his FMP ‘The Blackout Auction’. The film is action cop thriller with a tantalising storyline. The plot features multiples plot twists which makes for good viewing.

The film is definitely not the best made film ever but it is clear to see that some effort and thought has gone into it. I think the films greatest strength is the structure and plot. The plot develops into something really interesting. Starting out as something that doesn’t seem to big a deal and snowballing into something bigger and bigger. The way it structured is what allows the plot to unravel the way it does making it an interesting film to watch.

I’m sure Dave learnt a lot making this film so I am hopeful he can give me some useful tips.

I am hopeful for a response!

Dave, the legend, responded!

To be honest I think I knew this already but hearing it again from someone who has actually made a short film reinforces the point and I know 100% know that pre-production needs a lot of thought and effort. As well being open to suggestions sounds really key. I think on any film set it is crucial to be open to criticism. If George Lucas wasn’t as open to suggestions and criticism as he was during the making of Star Wars then god knows what would have happened. Oh actually they probably would look a bit more like the new Disney ones. Woah who said that.

Seriously though shout out Dave for being a student filmmaker who actually puts time and care into his channel so not only is he active on it but there is a contact email on it. As well his advice is genuinely helpful and it is always really great to hear from other student filmmakers about their experience and what they would do next time. Despite me knowing that pre-production is crucial, hearing that it is 100% crucial to a short film is really good to hear and I know for sure now that I will be putting a lot of effort, time and thought into pre-prod.

Practitioner Two: Medium

Second up, the medium fries. For the meduim I was looking for a short film that was a comedy/drama, around 10 minutes long with around 10k views and well received.

The Million Youth Media is home to loads of short films of really high quality. I am assuming they are London based because I haven’t yet seen one not based in London. I picked out morning after as it was a comedy short film from last year and it was only 10 minutes long. So it felt like it would be something similar to what I wanted to make.

Morning after is a really smartly put together short film about two uni students who have hooked up and now we start the film with the morning after. The story and concept of the film is very simple but it is really well made to make for an interesting and believable watch.

I watched the whole way through to the credits where we see the director and writer for the film.

Unfortunately there is no clear contact for either of them in the description of the video, but I took to Instagram where I found them both very easily.

I will probably just meesage Thibaut but perhaps it is worth messaging Charlie.

As well my profile picture is looking a little unprofessional so decided to switch it quick.

Before:

After:

It is also half nine in the evening so I am going to wait till tomorrow to message.

My message will look something like this

Hello

I am a Media and Film student at Exeter College and I am onto my final project where I am making a short film. I really admire your short films and I was wondering if you could give me some general tips and tricks about making a short film and working with actors on set.

Any tips big or small are really appreciated and I am hopeful for your response.

Thanks

Ellis

The next day now and I have dropped him a follow and a message. Changed the message ever so slightly to. Feeling hopeful I could get a response!

The legend that is Thibaut actually responded!

Honestly so nice and friendly as well he gave some really helpful tips. Remembering that your actors aren’t puppets and that you should give them space to put their art into it is really important. I believe I always knew this but perhaps with more amateur actors I wouldn’t of had the belief in them to let them do their thing. As well the ways he suggested to critique them I will definitely keep in mind. Pulling them to the side and suggesting my ideas then rather in front of the group. Finally the last point he gave that stuck with me; keeping that fed and hydrated is very important to keeping them at their top performance.

Practitioner Three: Large

For my large practitioner I am going for the Daniel brothers. I don’t think they are brothers but the name roles nicely. Anyway the Daniels are well known for their creative but very weird films. They started their careers in the short film genre making cleverly made but insanely strange stories.

The first one bought to my attention is ‘Interesting Ball’ which is about a ball that seems to make people do very odd things and in a way it brings people together. It is really strange and like nothing you will ever see. Which is what makes it so good. It’s the thing you show your friend like “hey look how weird this is”. It”s unique but well put together story is what makes these so good.

The second video from them is equally as strange but perhaps a little more clever than strange. It’s about these two guys getting into an altercation and one of them knows about the Pockets. Pockets meaning you can punch each other through your pockets. Again it is really well made with clever unique ideas.

From all this they have managed to grow themselves into the industry and in 2016 they directed ‘Swss Army Man’ which again is a very strange film and like nothing you will have ever seen. However this shows how they found something that works for them in short film, and how they took this to jump start their film career. As much as the films are a little strange for me, I can absolutely admire how they created short films they enjoyed that were unique to them, and they kept that same style until they made it into the film industry.

So how do I get in contact? Well first I went to find their full names, turns out they’re not brothers.

First up, Kwan

I think my best shot at contacting Kwan is through twitter. He has a twitter which he is active on however his messages are closed. So the only way he will see me is if I tweet at him. Now I wasn’t about to use my personal twitter because not only is that embarrassing for my followers to see, but it is also a mess like it will probably deter them away.

So I made a new twitter.

Ooo sneak peak for the branding I’m thinking about 🙈🙈🙈

Turns out Kwan is only active because of the virus, almost like it has timed perfectly for me to shoot my shot!

With this I got to work, fixing up my account to look as good as it needed too, and I tweeted hopefully at the Daniel brothers.

I wouldn’t normally use words like fab but I ran out of character on the character limit.

As for now I am happy with the ‘branding’. I will definitely look to sharpen it up in the future but as of now hopefully the Daniels see me as a young innocent filmmaker who is just looking for some tips.

Two days and I haven’t heard back so it is time to try someone else. Who is someone else you say? Well since I made that twitter account I followed a a whole ten people and one of them was Edgar Wright. Edgar is pretty darn active on twitter. So why not give it a try.

Why Edgar? As I have mentioned a few times so far Edgar Wright is 100% one of my favorite directors. I am a huge fan of his unique style, comedy, writing, attention to detail and use of music (Just to name a few things). As well he is from Somerset so he is obviously a real one.

See as much as the world is in crisis and virtually in lockdown at least I can tweet all these celebrities and there is a chance they might reply. Usually they would be doing stuff but now they’re trapped in their household. Remember there is an opportunity in everything!

I wrote a draft.

Checked what my sister thought of it.

Changed it ever so slightly, and sent!

Unfortunately Edgar didn’t reply so time to try someone else? I realise this has gone from finding a practitioner to semi harassing celebrities and seeing if they will respond but hey hey kids it’s your old pal Krusty!

I’ve decided to lower the stakes and stop going for the biggest of big. I was very helpful Edgar might respond but it seems not to be. I also don’t want a profile of me asking multiple directors for advice. Will just seem very unauthentic.

To combat the sadness of Edgar not replying, I contacted his team and told Edgar to come to Bournemouth Arts University to do a Q&A, so they can film it and upload it to YouTube for me.

Notes

  • Comedy is much more fun to write with someone/Writing with people is good fun, and other viewpoints can be a great way to go about it.
  • Appreciate being from a small rural area. In the city you are 1 of 100000 while there you have a lot more room to do your thing.
  • It is about trying to break out of that pond of fish
  • Be tenacious, don’t give up, and bet on yourself
  • Being extra curricular, working on as much as you could! Always being creative, finding opportunity where it might not seem there is.
  • Even on sunny days he was inside editing. Basically while the slackers enjoyed the sun, he was grinding. He made the sacrifices the industry demands!
  • Enjoy it
  • He storyboards everything!

Would just like to say a big thank you to Edgar coming down to stinky Uni that is Bournemouth Arts. Thanks for doing the Q&A Edgar, and thanks to Bournemouth for uploading it! Some very insightful and useful tips that may not necessarily help me on this project, but certainly in the long haul!

Technical skills/Requirements

Here I will be researching my greatest flaw. Okay probably not my greatest flaw but perhaps my greatest flaw in terms of film making. Technically I am not the best film maker. I have never shied from admitting this and it was definitely one of the things I have been hoping to improve over this year. As part of my research I will be going over my own work which displays both my worst and best technical skills. After that I will be researching some of the core technical areas of film that I definitely need improvement for.

As technical skills is very broad I feel it is important to mention exactly what technical skills I will be researching.

Firstly, cinematography. Cinematography is definitely not my strong point. This is due to my lack of research on the subject as well as me not knowing exactly how to get the best out of a camera. Last FMP I learnt a lot about the technical side of cameras purely through just experimenting and playing trial and error with it. I think now I should probably refresh my knowledge of that as well as start looking at ways to make my cinematography interesting. I want to use a range of cinematography that not only looks good but is interesting.

Secondly audio. Audio is something I’ve never tried something too much with however way too often I have audio that isn’t clear enough or has a hissing sound. Which isn’t good enough and I will be looking to fix this. I will also be looking into Foley as this is something I most likely will be needing in my film.

Thirdly lighting. Lighting comes with making a shot or scene look the best it can. I want to research lighting so I can have a better understanding going into pre-production and therefore use it in my own project.

Fourthly colour. Colour is something that I feel would help make my film feel much more professional and less student like. I also really enjoy when colours represent things in film. Just sort of one of them things that I enjoy. I want to include colours when lighting a scene, in costume and colour correction during post. So researching how to all of this not only sounds like good fun but will also be really helpful for my project. I think this is something I’ve never actually properly had a go at before is well. The closest to me doing this was in my FRijj advert when I had the criminals in black and the victim in white and blue.

Test Shots (Week One)

Well would you look at the time. It’s Harry Meadow’s oldest trick in the book. “Oh I’m just going to do test shots James” shush. My man never came back. Slacker, skiver, probably a diver too. He has given test shots a bad reputation.

Competition

Other student short films, who watches short films. Characters, plots, structure, writing. Past FMP‘s

For competition I will be looking at a wide range of short films. I will be mostly be looking at films done by other students at the same level of me. But I will also be looking at award winning short films. This should all help me see what works, what doesn’t, what I like and what I don’t etc.

‘Blood Bokeh’ – by Seb FitzHenry

First up is something from my class room. Seb FitzHenry with ‘Blood Bokeh’. He created this for his FMP last year and I remember at the time being a little dissapointed with it purely because Seb is really talented and I thought there was a couple of flaws with the film. Which now I know is so so harsh. Short film is insanely difficult and I think when you consider this is Seb’s first year FMP it is a really good film.

An odd thing to maybe pick out about it is the soundtrack. I really like the soundtrack of this film. From the opening we hear this unique set of sounds which sets the tone of the film nicely. As well it carries on nicely through until we get our first bit of dialogue.

A couple of the scenes are a bit too dark but it feels a bit harsh ripping into the technical sides of a student film (even though pretty sure last year that’s all I did).

Then reminiscent of Pulp Fiction the scene opens up in a cafe with no sort of establishing shot. The dialogue is nice it gets the audience wondering what they’re on about as he uses subtext. I do maybe think a little too much as pretty much every line is subtext. I don’t know if that is a problem. Anyway the dialogue is good much better than most student short films I imagine. As well the acting is decent like it is believable.

It is all shot really nicely is well not to mention. It sticks to things like the 180 rule with J and L cuts which you could say is the standard way to shoot a scene. The final shot of the scene is the best though. We see our protagonist leave with this really smooth moving shot. Also some other things to mention is the colours are all really nice. This scene is nicely lit and we can see our protagonist in green to stand out against the other characters black and white.

After this we see the protagonist go home where he murders his Dad. I do think the later part of this film lacks something compare to the first 3/4 minutes. I think it just lacks a bit of detail and this one scene is quite long. I know this is really harsh but I guess if a bit more, or something else happened during this scene it would have helped make it more interesting. Perhaps the other actor comes in as he is murdering his Dad?

One thing I do admire here is the limited amount of actors. I think he went about this really smartly, creating a story that doesn’t need tones of actors but also making the most with what he has. Seb did this really well.

Overall I think this is a really solid short film all things considered. To be honest I still don’t 100% get the plot. Like did he murder his Dad or is that just in his head? Is that even his Dad? Anyway the structure of it all is really nice, the dialogue is really well written and it is all really well shot. I feel the main thing is some shots are just a bit too dark and maybe the latter part of the film could have a couple of other twists or plot points. But all things considered it’s really good like I can’t believe me last year thought he could have done a bit more with it. I can admire it even more now that I am making my own film.

‘LOCKDOWN’ – by Will Collins

Next up is LOCKDOWN which is a short film I’ve never seen in my life but it has FMP in the title so you know it is my level. It’s from 2018 and by Will Collins.

Now straight away the way it is shot is very student. Harsh and really hard to avoid but I would say it is something that is noticeable. Now they went with a bit of a trope where it opens up with our character who gets a phone call that people are after him. We don’t get told why or who it is but I think this is actually what makes it interesting and what intrigues the audience.

Now they have clearly gone for an action film which I can only commend as doing action sequences on low budget with an amateur cast and crew is impressive. The sequences aren’t great but again feels like a very harsh thing to go after. Although I do feel if they did a bit more research into filming this kind of thing then maybe it would look a bit better. I think what you wanna go for in fight sequences is really snappy quick cut editing. That’s what I would do anyway.

On the other hand the story is really interesting. I feel genuinely interested to what happened next. The dialogue is well written and the actors do a good job like they’re convincing. Also it doesn’t feel too corny.

The way it is shot is very student and I think the shot types they chose feel quite jarring, like they don’t run smoothly off each other. Some of the lighting is off is well but overall I back this film. Good writing, interesting story, ambitious, and all things considered it’s pretty good.

Now compare this with Seb’s I think this story does a slightly better job at being ‘interesting’ granted it is an action film so it feels a bit unfair on Seb. Then technically Seb’s blows this one out of the water in terms of colours, cinematography and just technical ability. However I think I am clearly on the side Will Collins is on. In terms of my strengths are definitely not technical ability but I shouldn’t allow that to deter me away from making something good. With that said I am going to try and name some ways that this film does good at making the story interesting.

Firstly the strong opener. It is a trope for sure but it is interesting. Straight away this gets the audience interested and the way it is written so we don’t know what is going on keeps us interested. Then we’re given a short break from dialogue our we watch our guy make his way to the gym while being followed. What makes this interesting is we know what is at stake and we see the tension rise as the pursuit begins. Then the tensions peak as we get an intense battle. Once the battle ends we get some more dialogue and an explanation of what is going on. As well this setups up what is going to happen for the rest of the story before we end on a nice cliffhanger. Overall this method of setup action is used very effectively in this. I think this is certainly the films strong point and in terms of what would I take away and use in my film from this? It is the way the narrative is structured to make the story interesting as well as how it is written is very clever.

‘Dead Right’ – By Edgar Wright

Now as mentioned at some part of my proposal Edgar Wright is one of my favorite directors. I love his style of film making as well his clear attention to detail. Now recently I discovered a short film by him when he would have been around my age. It’s called ‘Dead Wright’ and it is forty minutes long. I am baffled like how? How did he get all these actors is what I wanna know? Who is this committed? It should be easy for me to find these kind of people is well with social media etc. He did it without it? How popular was Edgar Wright my my.

Now it is forty minutes long so I probably won’t be able to give a furrow run through even though I can hear Verity and Robin saying “I bet you could you WordPress nerd”.

The film follows a good structure. We open up with a chase and murder right away, setting up the theme and tone of the film. As we get into the film not only do we see Edgar Wright’s classic style of humour and film making, but what stands out is how smart and clever the writing is. It’s honestly amazing like what the hell how he so clever.

It’s clever because the opening scene sets up the story, we then meet our protagonist and the job they’re in. We see his boss isn’t happy with him so he is given a new partner to work with. After this we cut to them into their car where the dialogue is written to give us an idea to what our protagonist is like. I know it’s very simple but I think he makes it look simple, much more simple than it is.

What I’ll take from this film is how it’s really cleverly written but it also doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is really well written and I think it shows that even then how clever the guy is.

The rest of the film is really funny as well the story is genuinely intriguing. I watched all of it and thoroughly enjoyed it. What is interesting is how they don’t take themselves seriously. There is a lot of satire and ‘monty python’ like humour, as well they also break the 4th wall a lot. I think this is a really clever way of going about a short film. The 4th wall leaves a lot of room for you to self deprecate your film and not take yourself too seriously. This allows an extra dynamic of humour into your film. So I think this is a very smart way of going about it.

‘AMILY’ By Fin Gaunt

I decided to head back and look at some other student’s FMP short films. I decided to watch this one as it was very evidently someone’s FMP. I think the film is called Amily.

The film opens out with some sort of ritual which is pretty strange and they kill someone who we later found out is Tom. Our protagonist wakes up from what turns out to be a dream. She then goes to school, phones Tom to check he is okay and coming into school which he is.

Then it cuts to them in school talking about the dream. Tom explains that it was just a dream before they part ways for different classes. Suddenly she sees the girls from the dream. She then heads to the library where she starts going through books about witchcraft and she takes notes. As she is finishing up her notes she sees the girl from the dream staring at her. She panics and runs out looking for Tom.

Tom doesn’t answer his phone and she heads to his house. The door is open and she realises what could be up. She enters looking for Tom before discovering what we can assume is his dead body on the floor.

The story of the film is actually pretty good. It is interesting and it even feels fairly believable which I think shows how well the story is told and how well the actors do.

Technically the film does good is well. Some shots feel a little jarring or hand held but for the most part it does well and follows the rules of film making i.e 180 degree rule etc. The use of colours is something good is well. The dream at the start is all blue to show that it is a dream. Then at the ending the colour/lighting is very dark and I feel it also has a blue tint to it to show how the dream came real.

What I will take away from this is how they get the most out of what they have, and how they keep it simple. The story is clever and well put together but they also don’t try and do too much.

Audience research

Who my audience is, what they enjoy, who watches short films etc. Finding my audience and promotional research.

Actors/Casting

Trying to find actors and directing actors on set.

CASTING

Phase 1: FIND

Phase 1 is trying to find someone who has at least an interest in drama or acting and would be willing to be committed to the craft or making a film. 

Using a website known as ‘Drama groups’ I will be attempting my search for actors committed to helping me and my project. I am looking through for people local to Devon and more specifically Totnes and South Devon as this is where I live. This will help narrow down my search as well as the less travel the better. I’m sure actors working for free won’t want to have to spend lots of time and money on travel. It just means there is a much smaller chance of failure. 

https://www.dramagroups.com/groups/england/devonx.htm

This actually feels like one of the most crucial points of my project. Actors is definitely my biggest concern. I am confident in my ability and work ethic to pull through on things like research, pre-production, story, but actors is somewhat out of my control. My worry is not being able to find people who not only fit the part, but are 100% committed to helping out and being passionate about the project. 

So with all this fear I think the best plan of action is to find actors as soon as I can. With Vol One of my Production Schedule done I know the Production stage will be somewhere between 20th of April and 10th of May.

I have created the base of the email I want to send out. I will try and personalise it for each drama group I email as this will help make the email sound a bit more real and friendly rather than “hey come act for me”.

Hello

My name is Ellis Cate and I am a Level 3 Media & Film student at Exeter College. I am onto my final project where I will be making a short film within the genre of comedy and drama.

I am looking to cast actors who would be committed to helping out and working on a short film. I am looking for people of any age with as much or as little experience and talent as you want. As long as you have an interest in drama or acting then you’re exactly what I am after!

The project would be a fantastic way to meet new people, gain experience and work alongside others to create something special.

Filming would take place sometime between the 20th of April and the 8th of May. Locations would be around Totnes, Torbay, and maybe Exeter. As time goes on I will be able to let you know of exact times, dates, locations, etc.

For now, I am just looking for people with a passion for acting/drama and a want to create! I will work closely alongside you to make sure it works for you. If this sounds like something you would be interested in getting involved with or you have any questions then please get in contact with me!

Hope to hear back!

Thanks,

Ellis

With my email prepared it is now time to find drama groups or anyone who would be interested.

After clicking looking through various Devon drama groups only seeing stupid towns like Axminster, Cullompton and Tavistock. Finally on the final page, almost like they’re hiding them, I found Totnes and Torbay drama groups.

Dartington Playgoers

https://www.playgoers.co.uk/

First group I found is Dartington Playgoers. Dartington is right next to Totnes so in theory, this would be a fantastic match.

They sell themselves pretty well. There isn’t really anyway other way other than emailing them to find out whether they are a good match and or if they would be interested.

They also have one show coming up which to be honest would be quite smart to go and see. I mean if they end up working with me then sure why not.

The dates also don’t interrupt mine. They seem heavily theatre-based rather than on screen but they have a huge range of members and age. They have over 70 members. Youngest is 15 and the eldest over 80. So it is certainly worth trying and seeing if any of them would be interested.

They’re also got some videos online to help give an idea of what they’re like.

TOADS Theartre Company (Torquay)

https://www.toadslittletheatre.co.uk/

These guys have a very confusing hard to read 2010 website and to be honest it is not making me want to email them. However, they’re fairly local to me and there’s a chance that they would be interested in working with me.

They sound friendly and I mean what have I got to lose by trying.

THE GILBERT AND SULLIVAN SOCIETY TORBAY

http://www.gilbertandsullivantorbay.co.uk/

Again a terrible website but they’re experienced, interested in drama, and local enough to me. Why does their website only take up half the screen though?

Like every group on this website, they seem very theatre-based which all I can say to is at least they’re not musical based. Because at least theatre is similar to acting on screen. So I am going to email them in hopes that they will consult their group with the opportunity of working with a great (me).

TAODS (Totnes)

taods.com

Then suddenly out of nowhere appears TAODS. Some sort of rival to Toads. And they’re based in Totnes! (Where I live) There is actually very little information about them on their website. It also looks like you have to pay to be apart of the performance? Sorry I just don’t understand that business model? Anyway with that in mind getting a response from them seems quite unlikely. Although still worth a try.

Acting Up

Acting up.

I have no clue where this link came from. It isn’t on the drama groups site but it was just left as a link on my blog from the other day? Strange but it’s a link to an article about a woman who has spent their life acting.

Also what?

I thought this would be something helpful, like some crazy useful link that appeared from the heavens. Instead it has somehow attached my blog to the comments. Not sure if it’s just me who can see it but if not free views?

That said it would see that is all the drama groups that would be helpful to contact. I am going to contact them and see if I get any responses but I imagine the search will have to continue.

Other options include contacting the drama department. In theory this would be a great idea however, James mentioned that having adults in your film makes the film feel a lot more real. Which I have to say I agree with so I am going to try and find actors who look the part. Then if these never work out it’s gonna have to be me, my family, me in a wig, and a lot of clever split-screen edits. (I beg it doesn’t come to this)

Phase 2: CONTACT

Now actors and casting was at the top of my list. The faster I find actors the easier and less stressful the whole project becomes. My biggest worry is not having actors or trying to find people last minute. So like the sensible man I am I knew this was a priority. And then all of a sudden countries start shutting their boarders, toilet roll is sold out everywhere, and the chances of anyone wanting to jump on a voluntary acting role and meeting strangers has definitely lowered. So what do I do?

I need to find actors and I want to as quickly as possible, yet if I email now it’s quite likely they’ll say no no matter what. I mean we’re pretty much being advised to only go out if you have to. So I feel I should tactically wait to email but what if it gets worse? Then it would be even less of a chance of someone wanting to help out. Should I mention it in the email? Like what do I actually do this is a never seen before problem.

Smart thing to do is not panic. I still have well over a month till I am filming. So maybe I should try and wait and see if it dies down then if it gets worse I guess I will have to film with people close to me? I do also have to be weary of my health.

I decided to email my tutor and GOAT of education, James Matthew Stroud.

James soon got back to me with a very smart and clever response, once again backing why he is the GOAT.

So with this I decided to re-write my original prepared email and include the corona factor.

Hello

My name is Ellis Cate and I am a Level 3 Media & Film student at Exeter College. I am onto my final project where I will be making a short film within the genre of comedy and drama.

I am looking to cast actors who would be committed to helping out and working on a short film. I am looking for people of any age with as much or as little experience and talent as you want. So long as you have an interest in drama or acting, then you’re exactly what I am after!

Filming would take place sometime between the 20th of April and the 8th of May. Locations would be around Totnes, Torbay, and maybe Exeter. As time goes on I will be able to let you know of exact times, dates, locations, etc.

I am aware it is an odd time to try and be starting up a project due to COVID-19 but I am hopeful things will get under control and I am looking to be ready as soon as it is safe to do so.

For now, I am just looking for people with a passion for acting/drama and a want to create! Throughout the project I will work closely alongside you to make sure everything runs smoothly. The project would be a fantastic way to meet new people, gain experience and work alongside others to create something special. If this sounds like something you or someone you know would be interested in getting involved with, or if you have any questions then please get in contact with me!

I am happy to answer any questions via email or telephone. Hope to hear back soon!

Thanks,

Ellis

I tweaked a couple of other things as well and now I feel confident this is a well balanced friendly email ready to send out to everyone.

So…

First up Dartington Playgoers. I slightly adjusted the email to mention how I would appreciate it if this could be forwarded to the group.

Secondly Toads. I again kept the “I would appreciate if you could forward this to your group”

It takes a lot to put yourself out there and you know its times like these where it feels like I’m pouring my heart out with nothing guaranteed back, where I can appreciate a lot more what people do.

Thirdly The Gilbert. I went to the contact page and straight away I feel like they don’t want any chance of any actors being stolen by stupid students making short films.

I tried to email but then all of a sudden??

The email doesn’t work! I will try and phone them tomorrow and see if there is a contact email.

Finally the taods of Totnes. Again this one feels a little unlikely to respond but we move.

It became even less likely when I realised there was a 50 word limit. No wait, characters. 50 characters.

So I had to settle with this. I don’t think they’re responding.

Phase Three: RESPONSES

It’s been like five days and I have had zero responses. ZERO. For goodness sake. Now I can put blame on the fact that the world is on lockdown and schools, pubs, and work in general is all due to shutdown. However I still thought someone would be interested. Like not even Dartington Playgoers. This does feel like an L for sure but all we can do is pick ourselves up and go again.

I emailed my tutor James for some advice and as always it was extremely helpful

So for now I will see what the plan for the our grades is with Covid-19 being a key feature.

Working with actors on set

Now already from my practitioners I have learnt a thing or two about working with actors on set. Chubbydave talked about how you should be open to their suggestions and ideas. As well he spoke about how key communication is between actors and your camera man.

Thibaut said something similar perhaps just going a little more in depth. He made a really good point which is actors aren’t your puppets. Meaning acting is an art and you should allow the artist space to work their art. Allowing them space tp put their own spin on it as well to do it the way they want is going to guarantee you a lot more success. It makes perfect sense and you can’t expect actors to just be puppets and do exactly what you want. He also mentioned how you should keep them constantly fed and hydrated which is a very good idea to keeping them at their top level of performance. I think above all this he mentioned how you need to be confident and clear to your actors. Be confident in your vision and clear with what you want. As much you want actors to do their thing they need to know what you want as well be confident in your ideas. If the director isn’t confident in their ideas, then who else will be?

Thibaut also mentioned how you never criticise the actor’s performance in front of the whole group, and how you shouldn’t shout instructions across the entire set.

I’m still waiting on the large practitioner response but I am sure I will find one soon. For now I will be watching some YouTube videos about working with actors on set.

To start off nice and light there is this video by Gus Johnson. The video is complete satire and very funny. But it also pretty much shows you exactly NOT what to do on set.

Here is a list showing what to do going off the opposite of this video.

  • Setup before actors arrive
  • Bring snacks and refreshments
  • Learn how to use camera/test shots
  • Lighting
  • Use a Mic
  • Send script out not night before
  • Charge batteries

So going with the same style, I found a video that was ‘What NOT To Say To An Actor’ I’m assuming on set not just in general.

Again a list because they’re simple

  • Trust, they need to trust you, you need to trust them
  • Don’t bring up other actors
  • Create a positive environment
  • Open communication
  • Making actors comfortable (More comfortable = better performance)
  • Checking up on actors (Making sure they have what they need)
  • Letting people know how much time till they’re up
  • Everything matters (Answer all questions)
  • Don’t try to make someone copy something
  • Know what you want (Don’t be indecisive)
  • If you make the wrong decision own up to it
  • Don’t disturb the zone (Being brief, clear, & concise)
  • Encouragement, (Encouraging them to build on a performance)
  • Don’t treat actors all as one entity (They are all different)
  • Be decisive, confident and kind

Now there is a part two but I need a break from that video. So I decided to see what one of my favorite directors had to say and no not Edgar, Greta Gerwig. I really admire the community feel about her actors performances in her movies. It feels very wholesome, real and like it is a genuine community.

She says everyone s different so each director has to find their own way and methods of acting. Spend time acting yourself. This way you can understand the struggles and ideas actors face. She also mentions how working in theater is a good idea as you get use to rehearsal. The time to be creative is in rehearsal. When writing a script she will take notes of how she would imagine it on screen. She says there is little threads that help her identify her characters that bring them to life. She prefers this to rather trying to work out the ins and outs of everything about a character.

So to recap it, here are three key points I feel are crucial and I will 100% take into my directing career. Be brief but concise, confident in your vision and what you’re making, and trust/have faith in your actors. . I think the best way to get good at directing is experience. You’ll learn best from your mistakes and I know I learn best this way 100%. This experience should be found both in practising directing films and directing elsewhere. Joining a theatre group and directing that, or joining a maybe joining a youth football team and managing them. I think directing is about getting the best out of your actors and getting them to bring your vision to life. Very similar to football coaching. Every actor or player you work with needs to be managed in different ways as we are all different. So if you tell one actor one thing, the next might need to hear it slightly different.

Film Festivals

Primary research

Survey to the monkey they said. Currently I am in self isolation so things such as vox pops and the other one where you harass the public will not be happening. However Survey Monkey, the place for online surveys, won’t be stopped by anything. Here I can create my own questions and send them out to whom I want.

Primary research is a great way of getting information and asking your own questions for your research. It allows you to get the specifics that secondary research may not give or be to reliable for.

I thought of a few questions I wanted to find out that would help me finalise my idea and help my research. I also looked back and some of the other survey monkeys I have done while on this course. Giving me an idea of what worked, what didn’t, and what questions were good to ask.

Some were really helpful and reminded me of the useful questions.

Then they also showed me exactly what I shouldn’t ask.

Predictions

As of right now I think my film will be aimed at young male adults (original, I know). I think the humour will be fairly dry, suiting that young male who is in the middle of getting their life together or on the way. The themes such as murder, change, comedy and drama all suit this audience. I think these are themes that would suit this audience as things they are interested in and also maybe relate with.

To back this up a survey asking a range of different insightful questions has been created. I think there is a chance that my audience could change slightly to what I already think it is but there is only one way to find out.

My Survey

Going into my survey I wanted to create something that will help me identify my audience, but also help me really knuckle down what I want to do with the actual plot and creation of my film. So I ended up asking some questions to see what my audience would prefer in a film.

First question. What is your age? Self explanatory and I asked this to help me identify who my audience is.

What gender are you? Again self explanatory and I asked to help me identify the gender of my audience.

How often do you watch films? I asked this to compare with my next question.

How often do you watch short films? I feel that the short film genre certainly has a small audience and I can’t imagine many people my age watch them. We know the genre is small but how small? Who watches? This will help me again finding my audience, and more specifically the audience for short films.

Favorite genre? I felt this was an important question to ask as it will allow me to see what ages, genders prefer what genre. Then most importantly, who is watching comedy and dramas?!

Now as I have been researching and trying to work out where I want to take my plot, I thought a really good question to ask was, do you prefer great characters or great story? I feel this will give really interesting answers as it well help me see what my audience prefers. Then depending on the answer I can go with that. Potentially.

Then similar to the last question. Seeing if people would put comedy over serious tones or vise versa. Again I can see what my audience prefer and go from there.

Now, this was an interesting one. Would you pay to watch a short film? I mean would you? Now I’m not thinking of charging for a short film, but I am interested to what people say. I think this will also link in with the people who actually watch short films and those who don’t.

I wanted to know how important and how people valued production value in a film. I guess I am also sort of asking if people wouldn’t mind if the story is good but the film quality isn’t the best. I am aware my film won’t be the best looking so I thought it would be interesting to see how much of my audience this gets rid of.

Then sort of linking into the last question, what is the best way I can sell the film to you. Because if the production value is a little missing, perhaps a trailer will do the trick.

So with the survey ready, and my pitch in swing, I felt it was a good time to send out the survey. The responses I get can be used in my pitch to help back up what I am saying. Also we have begun lock down today due to Covid-19 so hopefully this means everyone will be sat, bored, and proceed to cheer and complete my survey.

First I sent it out to my private Snapchat story.

As well I asked if they would kindly share with friends and family.

Then I sent to the family group chat, as well asking if they wouldn’t mind asking friends to do it.

Also with my parents and their friends being a slightly greater age to myself and my friends, there answers are very helpful at adding range and authenticity to my results. There results with help show who does and doesn’t like what.

After I received around 25 responses I realised one of my questions (question 4) could be a little unclear, so I decided to fix it. I think it would have been fine but just to be extra clear by short film I meant a film under 40 minutes not just a film that is short.

So with 25 responses in the bank, I felt it wasn’t enough and I was being a bit of a coward not opening it up to the public. I mean cmon Ellis this is your final project? Put that survey on your PUBLIC Snapchat right now! Although even though it is a lockdown, wait until the evening so people are more likely to be home and not doing anything. I learnt this last year, don’t post asking people to complete stuff when it is early morning or midday. I got fewer responses than I should have, and even though it’s lockdown, I ain’t fooling myself again.

So I took to Instagram and uploaded this.

With this done I now have 40 responses which is still kind of pathetic but what can you do. I was about to upload the results until Pete sends his survey to the class email, I was like damn, I should do that. So I will wait a little longer so I can upload 43 results.

Results

So with 43 results in the bank, here are the results.

First here is the age range I managed to get. I asked my family to share it with a couple of friends if they could as that would help me get a range in age. Rather than just having just people my age. Anyway here are the results I’ve already explained this.

Not much to say. Happy with this age range. Didn’t want it to be too many people that weren’t my age so I am very happy with how these look.

Next is the gender dem.


Even less to say here other than hello ladies 😎. I wish you would have shown yourselves before quarantine but here we are. I also got a couple of ‘others’. I cleverly designed the question so for the people that think they are class pretending to be something they’re not they actually had to think about it. Still this wasn’t an invincible system.

Finally an actual question

Not to much to say. I would have guessed the answers looked like this. I am happy with these results looking like with most people watching films quite consistently. The top half dominating. Good signs for my future career.

Now these results are a bit of a surprise. I would have thought most people would have answered hardly ever which is true most people did. But around the same amount answered either every few days or once a week. Much more than I thought would have. It doesn’t feel like anyone really watches short films. I mean if I am honest I don’t really. I watch them here and there but that’s about it. So this is actually a very positive unexpected response. Nice.

This was a very open question and with the age range I was looking for this was never going to have an obvious answer, but look who pulled through baby! Comedy! I would have maybe guessed comedy would have won but hey I wouldn’t have wanted to mention it. As well romance and romantic comedy came second. Who doesn’t love a romcom. I do now regret combining romance and comedy together because I don’t know what exactly one they prefer but it’s not a big deal.

I also got four responses from other and probably two angry people upset I didn’t put thriller as part of the choices but that’s why I made the other section, not so people could add Porn. Although I guess in a sense that is a category of film.

Now question six I asked what do people prefer, story or characters. Slightly surprising most said Great story which I can appreciate. It’s not like it was a landslide either, but I sort of expected characters to win. This has opened my eyes though, make sure I concentrate on making a good story. I was anyway but perhaps I favoured characters a little much!


Now this is interesting. Alright no need to lean in, not that interesting. But despite comedy coming out as favourite genre serious film with comedy elements. Again if you asked me before I would have guessed that serious film with comedy elements would have won but the real surprise is it won by quite a bit. My film is pretty much already established itself as a comedy but this is certainly interesting to see. When I identify who my auidience is and go through their single responses I will see if it is the same response.

Now this question shows why i will be releasing the film onto YouTube. Most people probably wouldn’t pay for a short film. However a really surprising amount believe they would. This is really nice to see and I guess if the film didn’t cost much people would be willing to pay. This doesn’t change much as I am still going to release my film onto YouTube for free but I was interested to see what people would say and I am pleasantly surprised.

A landslide response. Good production is pretty vital to most. Absolutely no one answered mentioning it doesn’t matter much. Am I surprised? Not really. Although it is a little daunting that this is definitely my weak point when it comes to film making and this is what the people want. However I am more than up to the challenge and I have the Canon 700D with me so lets get it baby.

Then finally, the best methods people feel that make them want to watch a film. This question I was really happy with and excited to see what people would out with.

So trailers came in top voted in terms of score. It was also voted first the most by quite a bit. Second and somewhat surprising was social media presence and promotion. This is unexpected but also really good news. I have been planning on running mulitple social media accounts as part of my project so to see the people believe this is a great way of promoting is great news. Third was interviews which is great as this is another method I am using to promote my film. Fourth but almost third was posters which was expected as unfortunately posters are a little bit updated but still relevant. They’re just not the main method of marketing anymore. Then finally mystery marketing. When films give out very little information. This isn’t a common method of marketing so I am not surprised it fell flat at the bottom.

Overall some really useful information which I will certainly take into account when creating my promotional bits.

Analysing my audience

Now one mistake I do realise is in trying to find a wide age range in audience for my results I have skewed my results so it’s actually not so clear what my audience wants. This isn’t a problem. Just means I have to put a little extra thought and effort into my results. Analyisng and taking down what my audience answered. A bonus is I will still be able to distinguish what my audience want and those who aren’t my audience want. So it means I’ll have two different audiences and two sets of results which I can use to help my ideas and backup my decisions.

To do this I will be going through every individual response. Checking which audiences which and how. So I have just spent the last couple of hours developing and analysing each individual result of someone who answered their age 18-24. I have been going through each one and tallying each question and their response. So, what did I learn?

Here is my notes and they’re quite chaotic so I will lay it out in clear and explain what I did. Also my handwriting is notoriously terrible.

So I went through every response that was age 18-24, I tallied how they responded to each question. Do excuse the use of Word and especially the Calibri font.

Not much to say other than, it was clearly my Mum pulling in the ladies. I retract my statement from earlier.

So it would seem my audience enjoys a film. Good to see most of them watch films regularly. Then short films clearly watched a little less but there certainly is some interest for them.

Comedy was voted as the most favoured genre, with romantic/romantic comedy joint second with action. Then fourth is genre. All these genre’s linking in with the base plot of my film. As my idea develops I will be sure to keep these results in mind. I think the only genre that might miss out is romance. I think my protagonist will have a relationship from the past which adds to his story but that is all I have planned at the moment. Compared to the full results this doesn’t change much.

Again very similar results to the full survey. Story just edging it over characters. This means I will definitely be working at my story to make sure it is a good one and not focusing too much on characters. Then of course the dream is to have both as clearly it is very even to what people prefer.

So again same as the original results. People prefer a serious film with comedy elements rather than just a comedy film with serious elements. As my film is primarily a comedy this is an interesting one. I am not gonna change my decision to make a comedy, I mean it is still the favoured genre, but perhaps making sure the story is still really strong and that the serious elements of it can be seen. As well not trying to hard to make every line a joke.

Again pretty much the same results as before as most my audience would not pay for a short film. This isn’t a surprise but it also doesn’t effect much. Plus I can use this to show why my film will be released onto YouTube, for free.

Now, finally I can see a difference between my audience and the whole survey. In the original results it was very even with somewhat important just edging it. Now somewhat important as been voted by quite a bit. Which is nice to see that my audience feels they can still appreciate a film so long as the production value isn’t horrible. Although it is important that extremely important came second with just three less votes. So clearly it is still important. This doesn’t change much as I am still going to try my best to make it look the best it can. But you know.

Again not much changes here other than posters come 3rd instead of interviews which is really surprising. But hey there we go.

So to conclude. my audience results really don’t change much and if I am honest I should have just been smart by sending the survey out to my audience. I thought it would be cool to get a range in audience and then I could identify multiple audiences and compare with each other. Unfortunately if I wanna do that I have to go through each individual result which is very long.

However I do now have clear results of my audience which I can use to back up my decisions in my pitch.

Identifying other audiences

It never ends does it. Now I am going to identify the other audiences from my survey responses. I am going to identify the other potential target audiences I have. This will include under 18s, 25 -34, and 30+.

Under 18s

25-34

I only have one result for this age group so here is how it looks. This is all I have to go off so it definitely isn’t the most viable of results as I can’t confirm it is consistent.

Q1: How old are you?

  • 25-34

Q2: What gender are you?

  • Female

Q3: How often do you watch films?

  • Every few days

Q4: How often do you watch short films? (Films under 40 Minutes)

  • Hardly ever 

Q5: What is your favourite genre of film?

  • Romance/Romantic Comedy

Q6: If you had to pick one, what would you choose?

  • Great Story and Good Characters

Q7: If you had to pick one, what would you choose?

  • Serious film and comedy elements

Q8: Would you pay to watch a short film?

  • No

Q9: How important is good production value to you when watching a film? (Camera Quality, editing,)

  • Very important

Q10: What is the best method of making you want to watch a film? (Rank most likely to least likely)

  • Trailer(s)1
  • Poster(s)5
  • Interview(s)4
  • Social Media presence/promotion 2
  • Mystery Marketing (When very little is revealed about the film)3

Identifying my target audience

As I edge closer and closer to having a developed story it is important to work out who I am aiming my film at. I will be using my survey results and my general knowledge to choose my audience and explain why I believe they will be interested in my film.

I will be using my own target audience theory as a way to display who I am aiming my film at. If you’re unfamiliar allow me to quickly explain even though it is quite self explanatory. Last year during FMP and more specifically my pitch, I was creating my pitch using the Devil’s Prezi. One of the sections of the preset was a history timeline which I was about to delete when suddenly, I had a moment of inspiration.

I took the timeline and turned it into a timeline at how my product would sell. So first was the primary target audience. Exactly who you are aiming and selling your product at. Second was the secondary target audience. Those who don’t quite land directly into your target audience but come close, they’re the second people you are aiming at. Then the third wave, likely to see or hear about the product and take an interest to it. Then finally the pick up pieces. Perhaps picking up your product just as the ‘hype’ is starting to dip.

This is how my target audience looked last FMP using the theory.

I really enjoy using this and I do actually believe it is a good theory. As well I am vain enough to call it my advertising theory and use it wherever I can so allow me to use it again for FMP 2020.

As well under the theory to backup and explain what you’re saying I like to use psychographics and demographics. Psychographics being the seven different types of people in the world. I think if you take the average person you can probably identify them under one of these. Just key to remember not everyone is the average person. For reference I think I am mostly an aspirer, but also a bit of a reformer, with a bit of mainstreamer. Of course I am not the average person so I don’t fit cleanly under these. I am semi joking.

Then demographics which again, I think if you take the average person you can fit them under one of these, just not everyone is the average person. Something else to remember is in industry both psycho and demographics are used to identify audiences and sell pitches. I am sure my theory will be there someday but for now it isn’t industry standard. For reference I am defiantly social grade E, as I am a student and unemployed!

So let’s get to the crunch. My primary and main target audience will be males aged 18 – 24, social grade C2/D and mainstreamers. I believe the people who will be able to enjoy and relate to this film are those of the working class. I am making this film for the average person. For my friends and people in a similar position to me, working out where they want to go with their lives.

My secondary

Legal & Ethical

Concepts & Ideas

Welcome to Concepts & Ideas. I do remember it being very helpful last FMP so I am hoping this will be a great help in me nailing down my ideas..

Comedy

What I want from my film is for it to not take itself too seriously. I know it won’t be the best film ever and because of this I feel the less serious it takes itself, the less cringe or bad it will feel. I think comedy is a good route to go down and whether I directly joke about my film or if it just features comedy dialogue/moments, I feel this will help make the film feel less like it is trying to be the next Tarantino film.

I believe I have a good taste of humour and I think I am able of writing stuff that others will find funny. I reckon about 70/80% of my jokes land well. Every now and then I have the stinker unfunny joke. Which is why when writing this I will be sure to have people who I trust as well have similar humour to what I am going for, to tell me if the joke is funny or rubbish. 

I’d say in whatever media I listen or watch I enjoy it more if it has comedy elements in it. Podcasts, films, tv shows, I always enjoy it more if there are elements of comedy. So this is definitely something I’ve indulged loads of. The art of comedy is definitely something that is a lot more difficult to write than I think most people believe. I would just like to say I am totally aware of how difficult comedy is. I know it’s not just a walk in the park and definitely not as easy as making a joke to your mate. There is a lot that goes into comedy and I think one of them is character. 

I found this video essay on Shaun of the Dead, why comedy needs character. They talk about how the story is written to prioritise character over everything else. How Shaun’s needs and desires actually only come about because Shaun is forced to take responsibility due to the zombie apocalypse. They talk about why building a world based on character is so important.

In the video they talk about John Truby’s book “The Anatomy Of Story” and the quote that reads:

This is saying that part of creating great characters you often have characters which play a role in defining each other. The video goes onto explain how the characters around Shaun are extreme versions of him, representing his own struggles. Pete representing Shaun’s need. Being the ambitious, responsible and successful version of him. While Ed represents his weakness, lacking ambition and being very lazy.

The characters are designed to help support Shaun’s character and needs. However this is also not the only thing to support Shaun’s character. The Apocalypse is what forces Shaun to actually take responsibility as otherwise he will die.

What this is saying is how the world around the character should be an expression of the characters and more specifically the protagonist. In Shaun of the Dead, the zombies are a physical representation of Shaun’s weakness. In the same way, he has to avoid the zombies from certain death, he has to avoid falling into the slump of not taking responsibility.

So how does this link in with comedy needing character? To be honest I am not sure it 100% does but this information is new to me so I felt it was worth noting down.

So why does comedy need character? Comedy enhances character. As comedy is very subjective, a great way to use it is to reveal character. The main source of humour in Shaun of the Dead comes from how the characters react to the story world i.e the Zombie Apocolypse. One of the ways they do this in Shaun of the Dead is with callback humour. Callback humour is when something repeats itself. Early in the film, something will happen which represents or defines the characters life of lifestyle. Then, later on, it will be re-contextualised in the new events of the story world. What makes this funny is how when this joke was used the context was purely just a joke. Now as the events have begun unfolding, the context the humour is used in is much more serious. The difference in tone but the same joke is what makes this funny. It is also very clever.

Now unfortunately this video doesn’t actually go over to many of the reasons to why comedy needs character. So this is my take. I think comedy needs character because I think a lot of humour comes from laughing at the joke because of the way someone is. It’s hard to explain but I think we all have that friend who is a bit of an idiot and either they will say or react to stuff which is so stupid, it’s funny. So in a way we’re not laughing at them, we’re laughing at that character.

So I think it is important for the audience to understand that character, their lifestyle to be able to laugh at the things they do. Also I think comedy will be a lot easier to write when you have a good character to write for.

Second part. How to do visual comedy, again Edgar is the example.

One of the first things they go over is how Edgar will make a fairly mundane scene entertaining or funny. His use of visuals are so creative but also often very entertaining and they come across very humourous. He shows different examples where Edgar does this. Edgars use of visuals and sound are all so creative and he puts them together so well to make them entertaining and humourous.

They talk about how this is what separates a good director, from a great one. The ability to take the most simple, mundane scents and make them interesting and entertaining. Edgar’s creativity is shown so brightly because of other’s director’s lack of it. The way he shoots certain scenes is so different to how most would.

The point of the video is to be creative with your film making. To find humour in places people wouldn’t expect it. They go over 8 things Edgar Wright does with visual comedy that they want to see others apply to their work.

  1. Things coming into shot in a comedic way.
  2. People leaving the frame in funny ways.
  3. There and back again (A character checks if something is there, he checks, he comeback in a comedic way.
  4. Matching scene transitions
  5. Perfectly timed sound effects
  6. Action syncronised with the music
  7. Super dramatic lighting queues
  8. Using the world around them as ways to create funny moments

So with that clever, well put together video essay aside, I decided to search how to be funny, because I am sure that is what all comedians searched up at the start of their career.

This video by The Closer Look is a great look into the theory of comedy. He believes every joke has a victim. Someone who we are laughing at. This links in with the theory that comedy needs character. We need someone to laugh at, and that is what makes the joke funny.

He talks about comedian Konan O’Brian. Konan has built up his comedy career on playing a character of someone who is very egotistical, creepy, and overall has a lot of weaknesses. Konan has worked out that a character with multiple flaws allows jokes to easily be made at the expense of the character. The character is what allows Konan to create jokes from just being this idiot.

Another comedian Jimmy Kimmel has set something similar up. However, his character is more about laughing at other people rather than himself. He shows how this can actually have the opposite effect and how it can go from comedy to damaging his reputation because they were the victim of his jokes. He believes comedy is a fine line between humour and being a bully, and that this is the number one danger.

I think this is an interesting theory but also one that is quite clever to follow. The idea that all jokes have a victim. I think when writing applying this or at the very least analyising your jokes and being able to explain why it is a joke, and why it will be funny.

Next is another video by the closer look, but this time it’s the opposite. How not to use comedy, and more specifically, how it killed the last Jedi.

His problem with the use of comedy in the film, is the strange amount and oddly timed bathos. Bathos is when a scene is super serious, and something happens to completely change the tone of it. It is usually comedic and happens when two characters might be duelling it out, and suddenly the one just dies. The scene goes from very serious to a joke almost instantly.

His problem in The Last Jedi comes from how badly timed it is and used the Bathos is. Rian Johnson, who directed The Last Jedi, attempts to use Bathos however it fails miserably because the actual tone of the film is meant to be very dark and serious. There are multiple scens within the movie that are meant to be very emotional and we’re meant to feel how dark the scene and film is. Yet Johnson decides to chuck in Bathos as a way to please the Disney audience. This doesn’t work at all. The two tones are so different, and when you have a film that is trying to be dark and make you feel invested, it fails miserably.

Now it isn’t impossible to have a film with dark tones and have comedy elements in it, but when you have a film that you have setup to be very serious toned and dark, this doesn’t work. If you want to have a film that is dark-toned, with comedy elements in it, then you need to very carefully and strategically think about where you will include the comedy. In the climax scenes of TLJ where the tensions should be at the highest, Johnson still insists on using bathos which completely ruins the tension. If this was the intention of the film from the start, then it would probably work, but it is not. As I said you need to be very careful about where you include comedy in a film like this.

If you look back at any Star Wars film from the originals or the prequels, you will see despite all of the film’s dark tones there are still comedy elements. However, these are written in so they don’t co-inside and destroy the films tensions or dark tones.

So, comedy in my film? As mentioned I want my film to not take itself too seriously and I think I will be taking it down the comedy route. What’s important to remember is that I can use comedy in serious moments because it is a comedy film with very light-hearted tones. I will be creating characters who are flawed because comedy needs character, and comedy also needs victims. Finally, I will be trying to use comedy not just in dialogue, but in the way the film is shot, using visuals and audio to be creative and find jokes where most might not of. I think comedy is definitely something that is really difficult to write but I am excited to give it a go.

Drama

One of the themes of my film will be drama. Now as I mention that I have asked myself, what actually is drama? To my knowledge drama is quite litrerally what it sounds like. I would say drama often can be quite serious and I think it often revolves around change. Change is a theme in my film but I feel like change comes under drama in terms of film definitions. I think change is usually considered part of the drama genre.

So what is the definition of drama? Drama in the film world is often serious in tone, and it often means the film relies on the audience being invested in the characters. They say often these characters are realistic, meaning they feel real and relatable. The point of a drama is to tell a dramatic intense story that feels realistic to human life. The conflicts of the story can be either internal or external.

https://thescriptlab.com/screenplay/genre/952-drama/

There are loads of different types of sub-genre-s within Drama. Understanding these will help me get a better understanding of the drama genre and therefore a better idea for the route of my film.

Biography – A biographical film is when a film is based on real-life events or people. So a biography drama is when a film follows historical events and dramatises it for the film. These films are often very intense and serious toned.

Courtroom – Courtroom drama is when the plot revolves around the courtroom and the justice system. This is usually quite tense as we see the defence, prosecutor, judge and jury all go at it over something that is often life and death.

Dramedy – Dramedy is drama and comedy together, having that dramatic tone with comedy elements. The drama and comedy is shared equally bringing serious issues with a comedic relief.

Melodrama – Melodrama is where the plot plays on the heightened emotions of the audience. Plot and characters are often less realistic and is often aimed at a more female audience. The plot often features a heroic protagonist and a crisis.

Period Piece – A period piece is when the film is set in a period of time. The story is completely relevant to the time it is set in and costume matches this is well. No time travel waffle found here. Often these are based on novels.

Political – Where the plot, characters, and themes are about politics and the political scene. Often play on the corruption and conspiracy theories within the scene.

Romantic – The tragedies and complexity that is love. Romantic dramas are when love and its obstacles are explored. Often the plot is about how two people’s love is forbidden for one reason or another.

Tragedy – A drama about the downfall of a character caused by the characters flaws. Often about the self destructive behavior of a character. Ultimate;y the characters flaws are what lead to a tragic event.

So which does my film fall under? I mean in a way none. I think I am going to make my film a comedy for the most part. This means it is not a dramedy because drama isn’t the main feature or tone of the film. My film will be light in tone and hopefully funny. I want the drama side as I think this is a good way to make an interesting story and help pronounce my characters. As well I think when we see films and situations with serious consequences, watching how comedic characters react, is a good route to go down.

So drama will certainly still be an element of my film as characters fall out, changes happen, and they may or may not find a dead body. However I can identify now that comedy will be my main genre, and drama coming second.

Murder

Now I have a decent idea that I think will work telling a good story with room for comedy elements but it is just a bit boring. Like the story of friends falling out can only be interesting for so long. Now it is a short film so perhaps I don’t actually need the excitement of something else to happen. However, say this was a feature-length film I think this is the route I would take it. A murder/mystery kind of thing. So what I am thinking…

Our protagonist strives for more from life and wants to join another friendship group or travel and basically do a lot more than his friendship group. One of the methods he uses to try and work out a way into the group is by using one of them, detective boards. He makes his way into the group and things are going well. Until one night after they have been drinking, one of them says “hey protagonist don’t you leave round here” or something like that anywhere there is a reason for them to head into his house. Where they discover the board and while he is worried that they’re going to think he is a freak, they’re worried that he is an actual detective and is after them because of the body they found. They go back and forth trying to work out what each other are on about, and eventually, this is what sends us into the next bit of story which is, they have a dead body, which they have nothing to do with, but they feel the need to do something about it as it looks very dodgy and the story goes from there.

i think this is a pretty interesting idea however it still needs a lot more development and thought into it. What is key is to look at this critically. How would this story benefit my protagonist and their needs?

Firstly what is my protagonist’s needs? My protagonist wants to do more with his life, and he feels he doesn’t truly fit in with his current friends. So why doesn’t he? I would say this is because he still lives a fairly comfortable life and he is worried he would be seen such as a ‘snake’ and he would fall out with his current friends. So it is a risk for him as he might lose what he already have. He doesn’t have the strength/responsibility to just take the risk. I’m aware this is a bit rubbish so far I’m sort of just thinking out loud. For the murder have to affect how he lives his life, he would have to take responsibility for the murder situation, and be willing to take the risk to try and do something about it. However the fact he is already friends with the hippies would mean that the responsibility and risk would already have been taken care of. Perhaps the fact he has fallen out with his old friends has upset him, he has made a choice between the two, some way him taking responsibility for the murder allows him to conquer both worlds (both friendship groups).

This is like a big jigsaw, lots of ideas, just about picking the right ones and putting them together. I am not beginning my pitch so it would seem no is the time to really home in my ideas, and have a full plot and structure ready to go.

Breaking the 4th wall

As filming is looking more and more difficult by the day due to Covid-19, breaking the 4th wall is becoming more and more of an option. I was thinking there would be some interesting ways you could implement it. As to be outside you either need to be doing something important or jogging, I was thinking it would be quite funny if in the scene the entire cast and crew was jogging because of this. Also, I think just in general breaking the 4th wall and explaining why we are pretending my living room is a pub would help my film seem a little less rubbish.

Pitch needs plot

As pitch has arrived it means I am need of having a pretty down to the core plot ready. The pitch is due Friday which as I am writing this is in a few hours so I am trying my best to get this idea ready. Microsoft teams did tell me that I can take as much time as I need for pitch as the deadlines are now fluid. Think they said something like “Take some time on it as deadlines are bad just like Microsoft teams”.

I’m not gonna mock it and take ages. In fact I will take as long as I need to get it done. Basically when the idea comes, and it all pieces together I’ll be there. I’m on like the last few bits of the Rubix cube, going back and forth just trying to work out how I am going to piece this all together to create a good story. Over the last week,I have been working through the day and giving myself a break in the evening, now I am working the night shift, trying to find the route to completion. When I find it, know damn well I am setting that camera, getting the dragons together, and I am doing that pitch.

The Concepts & Ideas Timeline

Hello. I would like to welcome you to the concepts & ideas timeline. As of right now I am very close to having my ideas all together. I am hopefully filming my pitch sometime in the next couple of days (currently the 29/03/2020). I am onto act three and making sure I know exactly where it goes. I have made some big developments in my plot and story as a whole.

So, back to the point. I wanted to upload some screenshots from my phone to show how far the idea for this film has come.

Representation

Test Shots

Costs/Budgets/Production Issues

Unlimited Budget Fantasy

Every day this seems more and more likely like it’s going to happen. Not because I will have an unlimited budget but with the whole Covid-19 thing filming is looking more and more difficult. My point is when I am writing my script, if I don’t have to film, I’ll just sorta be able to write what I like? Like nothing to crazy but before I would have been very conscious of everything I write but now who knows?!

Evaluation

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