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.

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.

New Chartist Idea Tutorial – Judith and Alistair

New Chartist Idea Tutorial – Judith and Alistair

This afternoon we had tutorials with both Alistair and Judith about our new Chartism project. We were a bit apprehensive about suggesting a new project at this stage in the semester but myself and Hannah-Jane felt that we had valid reasons for parking the St Fagans project (access, pace of development and story) and that our new idea was a lot more suitable and achievable.

Our first tutorial was with Judith was brief but we explained our reasons for the project change and Judith was positive about our plans, she was aware of the Chartism movement and was pleased that we were continuing to work with interactive platforms. I think she was particularly pleased that we had now included the Klynt application which will allow us to create an interactive archive of our event and the research we will be carrying out.

Our third tutorial of the day was with Alistair. We briefly explained the project to him and he offered some useful advise on research. Primarily that we had to nail the history of the Chartists ready for the pitch so that we could easily and clearly explain both the project idea and Chartism in general as most people will be unaware of the movement. Alistair also suggested some people to contact for research for the project and students who could maybe help with that. Colin Thomas who is a BBC film maker and is part of the Bristol Radical History group. and Ben Pike, A fellow student who has made a number of social history films while at UWE.

Our meeting came just two days after the election of Donald Trump and with this in mind along with Brexit we all felt that this project could fit in well with the current mood for politics and change in the UK and around the world. Our project documents part of the introduction of real Democracy in the UK and the plight of the people who fought for it and could remind people about how important it is and how it may/mayn’t be being eroded.

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

 

Last Minute Location Change to Wales

Two Weeks before we are due to shoot our short film and i’ve been getting increasingly anxious about the locations I have chosen. It has become clear that our access to the house is increasingly restricted and we are struggling to get time to visit with the crew to arrange lighting and camera plans.

During our tutorials we discussed the benefits of filming in Bristol which would be easier logistically but with what seems to be vague prop and set design plans and a lot of work to be done in set design I feel that although filming at my original location choice would mean having to factor in extra time to travel, we would benefit from having a most of the set dressing already completed which would in fact save time in the long run. There is also the benefit of being able to leave kit such as lighting set up and having unrestricted access for shooting and any re-shoot if required.

I have suggested that we keep our outdoor locations in Bristol as we already have the filming permit for them and it has proved difficult communicating with the council in Wales for a short notice permit.

Location Manager Initial Research

The job of location manager is one that has always fascinated me and during this assignment I was keen to take on the role to research how to complete it to a professional standard rather than just treating it like a small part of the production as is usually the case.

Initial research on the Creative Skillset website suggests that the Location manager not only sources suitable locations for the film crew but must also manage the whole crew when on set; this is a much bigger role that I imagined and was keen to take it on.  I was keen to work out what exactly was involved and how I could best do my job so I researched a number of professional location managers and also some of the agencies that assist location managers in my local area.

Alex Giannopoulos – Breaking Bad

Alex Gianopoulos was one of the location management team on HBO’s successful drama ‘Breaking Bad’. I chose this show to research because for me one of the key things I enjoyed in this show was the cinematic locations used and the detail that seemed to have gone in to choosing exactly the right location to fit the narrative.

Over time I learned that to please Vince, I just have to find cool looking shit holes..

In a Blog Q&A, Gianopoulos described the tight deadlines that he faced between getting the script and shooting the scenes, He explained that often they could have less than 8 days of planning before shooting commenced. Having such short deadlines I think emphasises the need to have a good database of possible locations to hand and having a really good working relationship with a network of local planning agencies and landowners, as well as a great knowledge of the producer’s vision for the scene so that time isn’t wasted on unsuitable locations.

Four Corners Monument Breaking Bad

Interestingly Gianopoulos also provided some information about the logistics of filming on location, He highlighted a scene at the popular ‘Four Corners’ monument on the border of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The monument is normally very busy and Gianopoulos described how they combated this by filming wide scenes on location at dusk when it was quieter, using a standing actor and then the close-ups were filmed on a soundstage where they could re-create a small portion of the monument and use the actual actor for close-up shots.  Filming a scene in this way saves money on closing an attraction and hiring the more expensive actor for scenes where they are not necessarily needed. This highlights also the need for a location manager to be considerate of budget constraints during production.

Location Manager – Rob Story

CREW CALL  Location Manager Scout Rob Story   YouTube

If found Rob Story through my research on YouTube into Location mangers and the way he works and his motivation was really something that I could relate to.  Story explained that as a location manager his job was a professional liar which ties in with my experiences of location managing small projects of my own. To have to have the ability to negotiate with clients and property owners is key to doing a great job.

With regard to actually scouting, much like Gianopoulos there is an emphasis in knowing your own local ‘patch’ like the back of your hand and being able to call up an ideal location quickly. Story explained that a locatons are normally picked not just because of their visual appeal but how close they are to the Airport so satisfy budget and time constraints, in fact he says that this is one of the first questions he asks a producer during the initial negotiations.

Story says that he enjoys driving and this is something that has helped him get to know knew locations. I can definitely relate to this and can understand that having a sense of adventure and just driving around exploring new areas, even as a way of self-therapy will be a massive benefit when building a database of locations to call up when required in the role of location manager.

When carrying out my role I’d like to take inspiration from Story. I don’t want to be they type of location manager that hides things from clients; I think the key thing when building a contact network for me will be honesty. I think if you hide the fact that things will take longer and be messier than explained will just prevent you from using that location again for other projects or even if you have to return for re-shoots.

 

 

Research Photography – Peter Fraser

While sitting in a lecture for sound image and sensory experience we were presented with a number of images by Peter Fraser. These images were used to describe ‘Fine Art’ which is a concept of culture that has really always been confusing for me. Some of the images I could find some sort of meaning with but when presented with the image TWO BLUE BUCKETS., this image seemed to me the final straw in my understanding of fine art and I let out a giggle and didn’t understand how I could take this image seriously. why was it so special? What is the meaning (if any?)

download

I Was intrigued to find out more about this image and the photographer so decided to take his book, also entitled ‘TWO BLUE BUCKETS’ out of the library. Having looked through the images and studied the accompanying text it became clear that the special element wasn’t just the image but how it was produced, how it worked alongside a series of images and how it broke conventions at the time it was produced.

At the time (1983) most photographers were using black and white. Walker Evans said that “Colour photography is vulgar” Fraser explored the use of colour to highlight the present verses the past and used it to add an extra element to an image. seeing both ‘The blue and the sky’ Rupert Martin Two Blue Buckets.

In this interview Fraser explains of his work with icons as being there fro that moment in time and I think this alongside the curating of the book has helped me to understand how actual process of presenting an image in printed form in great detail is just as much a part of the image as is the subject matter and when creating an image thinking about how its intended look (in this case with colour) can have an impact on the composition.

I’ve decided to use my SISE still image project to try and dip into these concepts and create my own Peter Fraser inspired images.

 

RESEARCH – Questions for Dave Riddett

Production Journal

Part of our  task for PP1 will be designing questions to ask at our interview. Our contact is Dave Riddett, a stop motion DoP at Aardman animations. Researching Daves background, past work and future projects will be key to getting a good interview, going into an interview without knowing a bit about your contributors connection with the topic will not only be unprofessional but will make it difficult for the interviewer to engage with the contributor.

We have conducted our research using a number of online sources including interviews with Aardman on behind the scenes DVD extras as well as YouTube, internet reference sites such as IMDB and Wikipedia. We gained our most valuable information from Dave Riddetts own website which includes a very detailed biography along with showreels of his past work. Daves website is also a great resource as we know this information will be accurate where as sites such as Wikipedia may not be 100% accurate.

Dave-and-Nick-3-300x258

 

When designing the questions we have structured them in such a way as to ease into the interview comfortably with some informal questions and they gradually move into more in depth questions where we hoe to gain the majority of the responses we require to fit in with our films theme. The last question will be an informal one just to lighten the mood at the end if we need it.

Questions for Dave Riddett Interview

Do sound test – Say name, spell name. Ask about breakfast and what Dave did yesterday.

Your family has a background in the creative industries, and you started learning your craft at Art college. Can you tell me what is was about film that made it take priority over your other interests. (such as performing)

  • You have many credits for your work in stop motion animation. Having an interest in both cinematography, art design and puppetry – would you consider this your ‘dream job’
  • You’re in  final stages of filming the latest Aardman feature. How does your job role change as it shifts to post production?
  • Everybody has a camera of some form these days and websites such as youtube make it easy for anyone to produce their own material. Can you tell me about your first camera and how it felt to be able to produce your very own films at that time?
  • What advice would you have for a student moving to bristol to pursue a career in media?
  • what drew you to study in bristol…what was the bristol media scene like then and what changes have you seen
  • You set up your first production company [BOLEX BROS] after studying in Bristol University. How important was University in helping your career progression?
  • Do you believe that University still offers one of the best ways of learning your craft and breaking into the industry?
  • How does the local council support the filmmaking industry
  • Why do you think bristol has developed into such a media capital
  • How do you feel bristol compares to other media focussed cities
  • Bristol is famous for the work of Aardman, do you think the constant name dropping has a negative impact on the ability to promote the other forms of creative production that Bristol has to offer?

Finally:

  • We have been told that Bristol is the City that never wakes up. Can you shed any light on this?

Can a Music Video be a Documentary?

We had just discussed our plans for our short documentary about Bristol and the opportunities for media in the city. We came up with a narrative that explored how Bristol was probably now known as a ‘one trick pony’ in media (everyone is always harping on about Aardman) so we wanted to show something different. Driving home I hear Sigmas latest dance tune, featuring Paloma Faith ‘Changes’. I’ve heard it many times before (being a bit of a fan) but never really heard the lyrics.

Now listening to the lyrics it seemed like it would fit ideally as our background audio and could even be used to push the narrative along. I had visions of fast moving shots of Bristol landmarks and people along with our ‘sheep’ narrative that had already been discussed. The main issue that I was debating with myself was can a music video be a documentary?

I think Documentary or Factual as a genre has a very wide reach. As long as something is being ‘documented’ then does it matter if it’s being done in the style of a music video?

I don’t think it’s a problem but would be interested to hear what other people think.