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.

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

 

Initial Interactive Media Ideas – Three Little Pigs

We began our interactive module with a simple story idea based on a short poem my daughter had written. The poem was based on her perceived love of bacon (she hates bacon) but we thought the topic would fit in with the fairytale theme we were given as a base for our interactive module.

Laurens ‘Bacon’ Poem

We took the theme from the poem and tried to create a back story that would involve the use of the ‘Three Little Pigs’ Fairy Tale. We imagined an application that would follow the story of the Wolf after the original fairytale using the key words in the poem ‘Tasty’, ‘Sour’ and ‘Small’ as traits for our characters in the story world.

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We discussed how the Flash application would function and envisioned a map based app that was anchored to the home screen with the use of the wolf who would act as a narrator for the story.

While trying to understand this module we became stuck with our concept and realised that we were going about creating our story in the wrong way. We decided that instead of taking an application and working backwoods to create a story, we should first create the story and build up from there. After this realisation and our initial tutorials we decided to start over and create a whole new concept, this allowed us to work with clear heads and create something from the central hub of a new story rather than working backwards from a single interactive element.

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.

Story Telling Workshop – Production Meeting 2

Having discussed some initial ideas and creating some rough storyboard and shot lists, our second production meeting was used to expand on our ideas and sort through some of the finer details including setting roles, finding locations and creating a production schedule.

Firstly we met with Ann-Marie McCormack who took a look over all our material and discussed with us how we could make some changes to enable the final product to be more appealing to an audience. Ann-Marie introduced the idea of having a man and a woman play our fake poker game which would add an interesting angle possibly bringing some sibling rivalry, gender dominance or sexual tension into the piece.

As we discussed the different background ideas for our story it became a lot easier to think of other elements such as the plot, shot types and props that could be used to convey a message.

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Having spent some time discussing our ideas we spent the afternoon adjusting our script, sourcing props and hiring out equipment. We were lucky enough to be able to book the small studio which will be an ideal location for 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.