Journal – Crowd Funding Second Meeting – Rewards & Timeframes

This afternoon we had our second meeting with Lydia and Hannah about crowdfunding for our short film ‘Behind Closed Doors’. Last week we met and they initially described the process to us and what we needed to do to make it successful including rewards, info and updates.

Rewards

Over the past week we’ve come up with a selection of rewards which will help us hopefully to raise the £1000 we think we need to create the film.

Lowest Reward – £5 Massive Thanks and A Digital Download and Name in the credits

(40 – £200)

Low Reward – £10 – Half hour live Q&A online (google hangouts) After film release + Digital Download & Name in Credits (20 – £200)

Mid Reward – £20 – Signed Movie Poster or Signed Printed Production Still (your choice) + Live Q&A, Download and Credit (10 –  £200)

Mid Reward – £30 Both Signed poster and print plus Q&A, Download, Credit (5 – £150)

High Reward – £40 ‘Pick a Prop’ Donate a prop to be included in the film (from list) + Signed Poster, Q&A, Digital Download (3 – £120)

£50 – Thank you you’ve helped fund our festivals. Receive all rewards and Exec Producer

Total £970

In the meeting today we went over these rewards. Myself and Sinead were under the impression that we had to limit the rewards so that we could only make the amount required. Lydia said we did not have to limit the rewards so we decided that all rewards except the most expensive Two (Exec-Producer & Submit a prop) would be unlimited, We could then hopefully use any extra money towards improving our production.

After pricing up Posters at around £6 for creation and despatch to the backer Hannah suggested we offer handwritten postcards as an alternative to Posters and prints. These would be cheaper to send out in the post, offer a personal touch and maybe more useful as people don’t tend to display posters anymore. Hannah also suggested that they should be more original than normal movie posters so that they are more exclusive and fan orientated.

We have tried to focus on rewards that don’t cost us anything to produce like the google hangouts video chat and movie download & credit. With this in mind we decided to replace the £30 poster and Print option with a signed script.

We decided that the incremental rewards would include all previous rewards, this way there is an incentive for backers to move up a level as they will not loose any of the previous rewards and a small step may mean they are prepared to offer more money to move up a level.

Timescales

Initially we were looking at launching Crowdfunding in December but after some discussions about peoples willingness to give during this time we have decided to kick off the crowdfunding at the end of January. As we will not have to pay our actors until after filming this will suit our production schedule; this timescale will also be beneficial because we will be able to see how our funding is coming along before production and determine if we need to make any changes to the budget.

In order to make the crowdfunding successful Lydia and Hannah have advised us on the importance of good social media, essentially building an audience for the crowdfunding before it begins. We are looking at using Twitter and Facebook for more official updates such as the trailers and posters promotion, this will begin at the start in December to give enough time to build an audience before the January crowd fund launch. We will be using Instagram for more ‘Behind the scenes’ style updates, these can begin sooner with photos of production meetings, filming of sizzler and more genera updates.

Lydia and Hannah will set up our social media sites for us using images we will provide when finalised. They agreed that we will provide them with media such as treatments and more in depth posts but they will offer day to day general updates to help promote the film.

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Stock Images For Sizzler Pond 5

This Monday we will be filming our ‘Sizzler’ film for ‘Behind Closed Doors’. A Sizzler is a term I first came across while doing work experience for the Wild Screen Wildlife Film Festival in Bristol. When presenting new programme ideas, producers were showing us a ‘Sizzler’ of their next project, These were short highlight videos of programmed that act as a little teaser of what to expect when watching the final product. Sizzler’s are used as part of a pitching process to wet the audiences appetite.

We will be using our Sizzler to help us during the pitch and we have also planned to use it through our social media campaign and in our crowd funding programme to help attract and audience and gain funding.

Our Sizzler will be a number of key object shots which help tell the story in the final film, these shots will be shot cinematically and have a lot of focus on diegetic sound, the aim is to create a visual and audio pice that will cement the tone of the film with the audience and make them interested to see the final story. We chose to use objects as these raise questions, give great options for diegetic sound and also will save us having to show characters who haven’t been cast yet.

One of the shots we are filming on Monday is a family photograph being tossed into an open fire. As casting has not started yet we needed to get a suitable photograph to use for this scene, Looking through my own and other peoples family photographs I couldn’t find anything suitable with a couple and a young baby so I looked to the internet instead.

As the Sizzler will be viewed online it was important to consider copyright, I couldn’t just download an image form the internet. I’ve been using a stock site Pond 5 for a number of video and audio requirements in the past so I decided to check there for stock photographs. There were a number of suitable options for purchase and after contacting our Director we agreed on a photograph/Family to be our stand in characters for the scene.

The 2 images i purchased cost £3 each. I then took these to a photo-lab to get them professionally printed. I could have printed them out cheaper at home but I felt as this was a very cinematic close up shot we needed to see this was a real photograph and it needed to also burn the way a real photograph would when placed on a fire.

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https://www.pond5.com/item/60821740

Developing the photographs was an easy process, it took less than 5 minutes and cost under £4 for 8 photographs. I printed 4 of each photograph to allow for any mess ups.

 

New Chartist Idea First Tutorial – Jen Stein

Over the past week myself and Hannah-Jane have had a complete U-Turn on out idea proposal. Initially we planned to work with the National Museum of Wales in their St Fagan’s welsh history museum but we had complications with access and story so it was a very slow process. While working with the Museum we had the opportunity for some work experience with them filming the annual Newport Chartism commemorative march, doing this inspired me to change the idea for our project and this is the one we will pitch to the industry.

Jen Stein

This was our first meeting with Jennifer. Jen is an Assistant Research Professor of Media Arts + Practice at the University of Southern California and is over in the UK for a year carrying out research with UWE and the pervasive media studio. This tutorial was really useful because Jen was unaware of our previous idea so she had no opinion of it which meant we could pitch our new idea in a totally fresh way. This pitch also gave us the chance to explain the background to the idea to somebody who is unfamiliar with the content and the area that our project would take place in.

Jens tutorial was a chance for us to get more enthusiastic about the Chartism project, she gave us some practical advice on accessibility, having the project online for armchair viewing and how we could overcome security issues with equipment such as having people pay a deposit/leave a driving licence or be accompanied around by adults or members of the team. We planned on using a screen to display the Klynt page and Jen advised us about the cost of the touch screen but also that using a normal screen with a mouse might not work as many people still may not know how to use it.

As we are planning on making a real world element and an online element Jen advised that they shouldn’t be identical. We want users who experience the real world story to be able to find different things in the online version so that they are not just seeing what they just experienced. this could be as simple as having items talked about in the real world experience on display in the online element but with more information. Essentially we need to make both experiences worth doing by the same group of people.

With regard to the app we discussed the importance of making people look around, we don’t just want to spoon feed them the information, we want them to be actively involved in the story and this can be as simple as directing them to look for something.

Jen recommended checking out street artist Candy Chang for inspiration with our interactive elements. We were particularly interested in the ‘I Wish I Was‘ project that invited people to place stickers around the local area in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. This idea fits into our pans to ask the public to suggest a new peoples charter.

Candy Chang 'I Wish I Was'

Candy Chang ‘I Wish I Was’

Jen has given us some great inspiration and highlighted some of the practical problems we will face. a Very useful first tutorial.

 

 

 

Oblong Films

Oblong Films is a Bristol Based film company specializing in observational documentary. The company was set up in 2009 and has had a number of documentaries presented on television including ‘Prom Queen Divas UK’ (channel 5) and ‘The Naked Rambler’ (BBC) The Company was nominated for 3 RTS West Awards for their documentary ‘Millionaire Boy Racers’ an unscripted documentary that provides an insight into the influx of super cars and their wealthy owners in central London each summer.

The company hasn’t posted any recent updates of work online and they haven’t posted on Twitter for the past 6 months.

Bracken Films – Corporate and Documentary Small Film making Company

UWE Industry Talk – Bracken Films

Bracken Films is a small Corporate and documentary film company headed up by Two ex UWE Film making students Jim Smith and Zander Mavor. They created the company after leaving UNI and have secured a number of contracts with high profile customers to create promotional videos and internal team videos for company training and information.

Jim and Zander came to UWE to give an industry talk. he main focus was of their experience since leaving UWE and how they went about setting up their company; they also showed us some of their past work including Jims documentary ‘The man who fell from the sky’ which documents the story of immigrants fell from a planes landing gear onto a London street.

This talk was very useful to me because it’s the sort of area I wish to go into after finishing in UWE. While I feel many people will turn their noses up at corporate work, i think it’s a good way to build a brand and a reputation which could in tern lead to bigger more creative documentary work, Also I think this steady work offers stability while still offering the opportunity to work on passion projects for low or no income.

Jim and Zander explained that they have a good working relationship because both of them specialist in different aspects of the film making process. Jim is more of the DoP while Zander takes on the sound roles, I think having these specialisms is a real asset because it means that both parties need each other which will help strengthen the bond of the owners while also easing the pressure on each person.

Jim and Zander explained some of the pitfalls of setting up their company and things we might avoid. they explained how they contacted a number of companies to offer their corporate video services and that this didn’t get them much work; the work they currently get comes through networking and through contacts through friends so this is something to think about when I start my business. The boys talked about some of the processes such as invoicing the company (40% pre-production & 60% on delivery) and the importance of contracts to protect yourself. They also explained some of the other work that may be involved including pitching ideas from a brief to potential clients.

Zander and Jim also stayed behind after the talk for a beer and had some great personal advice for myself and Hanna-Jane.

One criticism I do have around Bracken Films would be the lack of online presence, while the boys had business cards it is very hard to find any information on the company and there is currently no website to get contact information or view the companies show reel of past work. I think when building my company this will be one of the first things I should look into initially.

Home

 

Floating Harbour Films Work Experience Meeting

Today I had a meeting about possible work experience with a Corporate/Events Company called Floating Harbour Films. They are a small company which operates from a boat docked in Welsh Back, Bristol Harbour.

I got the contact through a uni pal, Alex who has been working there over the summer. The company are looking for Camera operatives for an event they have to film in the next few weeks called ‘Wild Screen’. Its a film festival focused on Wildlife films and photography.

I met the owners of Floating Harbour on their boat, we had a brief chat about my background and the sort of work i’m interested in, the boys ( Rich and Ben) explained to me that I will probably be acting as a runner and camera assistant during the week and possibly have to do some data transfer and running about with memory cards as we had such a tight schedule.

The thought of doing some running work and data wrangling really appeals to me right now, I have a heavy edit load and this would give me the opportunity to learn more about the back end processes of a professional company; how data is stored, logged and how they manage quick project turnarounds.

The meeting went pretty well I think and the owners seemed pretty fun to work with so I’m hoping to hear back to see if they will take me on for the week.

SISE Group Project – Avonmouth Bridge Material Gathering

Production Journal

Today, myself and David went to gather more material for our SISE project. Our main aim was to further explore the area to take images back to the rest of the group who have yet to visit and to enable us to think about how we will use the area to best to create our final piece of work.

As well as gathering images in the immediate area, I had the chance to explore the nearby avonmouth village which was somewhere i’d not known about and was a source for some appealing images that showed the tight mix of residential and industrial buildings in the area.

While we gathered a number of fantastic images that will be useable in our pirce, our main aim was to gather some more interesting sounds as we had the use of some better equipment and the contact/underwater mics.

As it was a Sunday it was a lot quieter so we were able to isolate some of the more interesting sounds of the bridge more easily.

The contact mic once again was a really good choice when gathering interesting material. using the contact mic on the metal barriers on top we were able to create a unique sound that could be layered with other sounds to create a portrait or used on its own to highlight some of the more obscure sounds found in this location.

We were interested in testing out the waterproof mic and after a bit of debating about weather we thought the mic was really waterproof (it wasn’t ours to break) we decided to drop it down a water drain in the middle of the bridge. While we couldn’t really hear the results while we were there due to traffic noise, we were pleased to discover that we had recorded something that was quite surreal.

Overall I think the day was highly productive and it gave us some more ideas about what we wanted to include in the project and something more to give to the group to inspire them.

Story Telling Workshop – Production Day

Production Journal

Today after planning our storytelling film we had the use of the small studio space to film. We had only 3 hours to shoot all of our shots and it became clear how planning out the shots we needed on both a storyboard and shot list meant we could be more productive when filming, managing to get most of the shots we needed and a few extra shots to give more options in the edit.

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The studios black walls were an ideal backdrop, we dressed the set using the props we had organised in our previous meeting. To light the scene we used a large LED light and some smaller lamps to take out some of the harsh shadows and light the talent from a number of angles. We hung a lower wattage bulb from the scaffolding above the set to act as the source of the light for the scene, this light was purely for decoration and wouldn’t be suitable to use to light the talent.

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When filming the scene we decided to get our talent to act out the whole scene over again for each camera angle, we decided to film in this way as we found that filming just the shots we needed for each angle was difficult for the talent as it interrupted their flow. The extreme close ups were filmed after we had the main wide and mid shots and were filmed as required according to the shot list.

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For each angle we had to reposition our lights to correctly light our talent. We captured sound separately on a Tascam recorder with a shotgun microphone.

We finished filming with 20 minutes to spare which we set aside to transfer our footage off the cards, we backed up the footage on two computers for safe keeping ready for the edit.

During the day we had some issues that had to be addressed. We had to find a way of mounting our go-pro to the scaffolding (using a monopod and gaffer tape), we ran out of memory on a card because it wasn’t formatted at the start of filming and we also had complications initially with too many people directing the talent which left the talent confused when trying to understand what we wanted from them.

SISE – Group Project Meeting 1

Production Journal

Todays meeting was a chance for our group to share ideas that we can build on to create our group SISE project in a few weeks time. We shared some of our recent ideas that have been generated from our individual tasks and from past work. Isla showed us a series of images she had created of tower blocks in London and we discussed using this a a theme for our project. We discussed the different types of people who might live in these places and how this could have an impact on our finished piece.

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Taking my inspiration from Bill Fontana I was interested in exploring the Avonmouth road bridge and the effect it has on the lives of the people who live directly around it in terms of light and sound, I’ve often driven underneath it and can’t imagine how it might impact on the quality of life (if at all)

Avonmouth Bridge

From discussing our ideas we seem to have a related theme that we could focus on and it’s related to both often obtrusive architecture and the people who surround or rely on it.

Taking our ideas to Kathy and Amanda they pointed us in the direction of a few professional artists who have taken on similar work. Tom Hunter who photographed residents of a tower block in Hackney, London before it was demolished in 1997. His work was displayed at the Saatchi gallery and is a great example of typology photography where collections of photographs are taken with related forms.

Holly Street Residents Series – Tom Hunter 1997

Another artist who we could look to for inspiration in this project is Andrea Gursky who’s image Paris, Montparnasse, 1993 is an amazing example of large scale photograpphy capturing the modern world in amazing detail.

I like the idea of taking an image of a tall building from an elevated position like the Gursky image. I think this angle which would not normally be seen as we are normally looking up at tall buildings will make for a more engaging image.

To capture sound for our project I was particularly interested in using contact microphones to capture sound that would not normally be heard in day to day life. I want to maybe make the building feel like it’s alive by capturing the sound generated from the walls of the building itself. We discussed also how we could focus on the sound of the buildings inhabitants as the images move across the buildings exterior.

Next Steps

Our next steps will be to arrange to find a suitable location and take some test recordings and images which we can use to help plan out our project.

 

 

 

Story Telling Workshop – Production Meeting 1

As part as our ongoing introduction to filmmaking we have been tasked in our groups to create a short sequence of shots that tell a story. We have to include a number of camera angles and framing techniques and characters expressions to tell the story rather than relying on sound and dialogue.

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Our first production meeting focused on generating an idea of what we could use as a story and what shots we could use to tell the story and create a certain mood. We had a number of options including a parody of the Good the Bad and the Ugly, replacing the guns with packets of biscuits.

 

Our final choice was to create a suspense sequence in the form of a poker game, using shots to show increasing tension throughout the game. We didn’t want this to be a normal game though and decided the payoff for the audience would be a joke at the end where we find out that the two characters were actually playing the card game snap.

Storyboard 1 SNAP

We set about creating a storyboard to plan out the rough framing of the shots; this made us think about camera placement and the use of framing sizes we might need to highlight elements that would help tell the story.

Snap Shot list

After we had agreed on the storyboard we transferred the storyboard into shot list which we could use on the day to give precise direction to the camera operators so they had a general idea of what we wanted to achieve.

The next step in the process was to meet with Rod Gray to go over the storyboard and make any adjustments to the concept or technical sheets to enable us to create a better production. We also had to agree on production roles and source locations, cast and props.

Media Futures – Editorial Decisions

Production Journal 

When filming our documentary we decided to split it up into 4 sequences to make it easier to gather footage and construct the final product. Sequence 1 would be an introduction to Bristol. Sequence 2 was introducing our contributor and getting soundbites related to our brief. Sequence 3 was added after our interview where we realised the topic was more focused on Aardman than just bristol so we wanted to include some stock footage and additional material from our contributor. Sequence 4 would be a conclusion.

Bristol Media Edit

Our brief stated that the final product should be no more than 4 minutes, this created a problem during editing as it became clear that with the voice over we would be way over time if we included everything we had planned. We took the decision to reluctantly remove our sequence about Aardman, this was a shame because it was very interesting but I think it was a good lesson about having to make editorial decisions in post production and made me think about how much useful material must get left on the cutting room floor during programme making.

Media Futures – Finding Music

Production Journal:

Having decided on the use of a montage to open our factual film I began looking for music that would be appropriate for the production. I wanted something that would be relevant to Bristol and also suit the style of the film as well as complimenting the style of our interview. I discovered a track called ‘Bristol Love’ by a group called Laid Blak.

While some of the lyrics depict drug use and prostitution I felt that overall the song fitted quite well with what we wanted to achieve in the introducing bristol with a montage of unusual clips as opposed to the more traditional images of landmarks and attractions. I posted the link on our facebook page and after some discussion the rest of the group agreed that we should use the track in the opening montage as a way to set the tone of our film.

Interview Transcript and Editing

Production Journal

We decided the best way to go about creating our main script which incorporates our interview will be to transcribe the whole interview and then go through it and highlight soundbites or responses that we think are relevant to our theme.

David Riddett interview transcript

Jack transcribed the interview in super quick time and we all met up and went through the transcript with a highlighter and tore out relevant responses to create a rough script, I took the all the material home and edited the transcript to make it easier for Tom to see which parts we agreed we want including in the final script.

Question responses to be used in Doco

The next step for us will be to get a full script together and then have a read through which will highlight any problems and also give us a chance to edit it again if it is too long for our 4 minute time limit.

 

Factual Film Structure

Production Journal

We have decided it would be easier for everyone to be clear about how the film will be put together if we split the film into small sections. Having a structure laid out means we can decide what shots we need for certain parts of the film and also be clear of the styling of the shots required based on where they will sit in the final piece. Having this structure will also help Tom when writing the narration as he will know roughly how much narration is needed for each part of the film.

doco Structure

Media Futures – Production Schedule

Hannah-Jane has created a production schedule for our new media futures film. It will be useful to keep people on track and ensure that we don’t leave everything until the last minute without the time we need to edit the final product.

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