Relief To the Max!

We have just finished our one and only day of filming! YAY! The shoot was so much fun. We could pretty much get into filming straight away as we went in the night before to cover all of the mirrors and erotic art. It was a slightly slow start because we were trying to figure out where we wanted to put the lights because we wanted some really good shadow on the actor’s faces to really get that classic Film Noir style, but once we got the hang of that it was plain sailing from then on. Both Marie and Gary had worked as husband and wife on another film not long ago so they already knew each other and how to get the best performance from one another, so it just took reading through their lines a couple of times before they were ready for their first take. It seemed our luck had gone from bad to good, at last :) Although we were all enjoying ourselves, the day was long and draining and by the end we were all slipping into madness and just crazily laughing at the smallest things, that’s when we knew it was time to wrap up! There is such a weight off our shoulders as I personally was afraid of filming on the last week but it all turned out well, now just for my favourite part, editing. If you didn’t realise, that was sarcasm.

OH NO. Part II

Seeing that I had so much free time before filming, I decided to get on with my essay. There I was, happily writing about archetypes, visual iconography and other such things that are to do with Film Noir anyway… 2073 words later I accidentally deleted my whole essay as I was stupid enough not to save it the WHOLE time. There was crying, so much crying.

OH NO.

I cannot believe the luck we’ve had on this film. So many actresses have dropped out and now we’ve found Marie (who, like Mary Poppins, is perfect in every way) cannot film until Monday 7th of May! Just one week before hand in! So trying to pull the positive from this situation, we thought we could get the things like voice overs, foley sounds and our essays done in the week and a half that we had spare. So, it came to the day when we wanted to record the voice overs and the poor Gary had a car crash on his way to meet us! So glad he was ok, but you know it was still one more thing that we had to squeeze into that final week. Hopefully things will change for Monday 7th otherwise I don’t see us pulling off this film how we imagined…

Marie & Gary

marie

This is Marie Wilson, the actress who we finally decided on.

Gary Diggines, the actor that we used for False Reading, the very film that boosted his career.

All work and no play makes Caitlin obsess about her work..

First week back and I feel it’s a fresh start. Last term I feel like I dropped the ball but now I’ve come back and have the need to prove my worth even more than when I started back in September, but there’s no use saying it so I’m just going to get on with it.

The film is starting to take shape. For those of you who don’t know we are producing a Film Noir short. This is one of the most challenging genres we could of picked, the reasons being: firstly we, and anyone we know has not been affected by World War 2 so we cannot create the suspicions fuelled by a melancholy society and show any other problems they faced at that time. Secondly, there is barely anything in our reach to create a realist portrayal of 1940’s America, clothes, setting, make-up, accessories ETC so this is a challenge that we’re ready to grab onto but we are also aware of the problems we could face.

I’ve taken it upon myself – with permission, consent, and detailed discussion on development from the group of course – to write the script. I’ve had to research stereotypes film noir characters, the male protagonist is a sexist anti-hero who has some sort of vice like drinking or gambling, and the female protagonist is is the classic beautiful femme fatale that symbolises all lost innocence. I’ve tried to portray these characters through hard-boiled dialogue, voice overs and flashbacks so there is no hiding of what they are truly like. We are determined to make it gritty yet classic with the conventional negative ending.

With this film I’m writing an essay about the Film Noir genre. When doing primary research on the subject I came across an idea questioning where it is a genre or just a style, this is going to be the whole basis of my argument. Firstly, I’m going to discuss what makes a genre: the conventions they own, the influences they have and how they are coined genre, then I will discuss the conventions a Film Noir uphold. This will lead me onto what the origins of film noir are. Next, I’m going to talk about how film noir has developed, been influenced and influences others such as German expressionism and French New- Wave, here I will discuss Film Noir being a style rather than a genre. The penultimate paragraph will be on the new take on film noir, or more commonly known Neo-noir, and also the comparison and hybridisation with other genres, and finally how film noir can be shown in short film format. To conclude, I will say whether I think film noir is  in fact a genre or a style, I can’t answer that right now due to lack of knowledge and research on the topic. There is a great chapter in Bordwell and Thompson’s book ‘Film History: An Introduction’ specifically on American cinema in the postwar era 1945-1960, this will hopefully help with the historical and social context when trying to determine whether film noir is a genre.

Media Roles and Responsibilities: BEING A SCREEN WRITER

Being a screen writer requires a lot of imagination and creativity, also being able to tell what viewers would like to see to create a most entertaining film that a general audience will enjoy, with your own twist of course. This is a particular role that I have been interested in for a while and started writing my own scripts in the hope to become apart of the industry in this specific area. To delve into this role in more detail and to look for inspiration for my own work, I’ve picked a writer to research, her name is Heidi Thomas.

Heidi was born in 1964 in Liverpool, she started her career with the National youth theatre, Liverpool playhouse and Royal Court. She made her break on ITV’s ‘Soldier Soldier’ and ‘Doctor Finlay’ before writing her own adaptation of ‘Madame Bovary’ for the BBC, and I Capture the Castle for BBC Films. She then created, wrote and executive produced the Liverpool-set BBC drama ‘Lilies’ (which I throughly enjoyed). She won several awards at the RTS for the BBC period drama ‘Cranford’, including Best Writer. I tried to contact Heidi to ask her my own questions, but as I have had no reply I’ve looked at previous interviews that she has done to find out why she wanted to be a writer.

When asked “what made you want to write?”, she replied with “I was thirteen or fourteen [when] I started to be able to write short pieces like poetry and entered local competitions and won some prizes” suggesting that her love of writing started from when she was very young, much like myself, however, this isn’t something that everyone who wants to write will encounter. People who are involved in the film industry somehow, whether being an actor etc, can easily write things themselves. Being a writer, you often have to start out being a free lancer, just like Heidi “I sort of thought, well why get a proper job really? So I waitressed for about a year and just wrote at night”. There is no fixed income for a freelancer, you can either have a good year or bad year depending on your determination, your ability to network and get your name known in the industry then that will lead you to a more stabilised job where you would probably start on a minimum of 20k a year. Freelancing gives you a chance to discover what genre you like writing in, who you would like to be working for, whether you want to write for television or film, the process will strengthen your skill and just get your name and work out into the world.

When writing about subjects that touch you, often come from experiences, people and social/historical events that you have come across in your life time. Heidi’s particular influences come from the past of britain, “As I say, there was a sense at the very beginning of wanting to write work of historical dimension, wanting to explore the slave trade and where that came from in Liverpool, and with the Irish famine in ‘All Flesh Is Grass’, my very first play. It was something about reaching back into a past that I connected with.” This particular method I do not use because I prefer to write dramas, something that will connect to an audience, based around one particular emotion. Heidi wants to draw that same emotion from her audience but based around one particular event. Every writer is different, that’s what makes this industry so diverse and why there will always be an ongoing attraction to films and other dramatic performances. Heidi’s particular view on this is “I think nowadays we’re terrified of the future. We don’t know where we’re going to be as individuals or as a society, but if you look at something like ‘Cranford’ … everybody is convulsed with similar fears, and you think actually a hundred and fifty years on we’re okay, we’re still worrying about the same things but we are still here to worry about them.”Playing on people’s fears and phobias is something one of my favourite writer/director used to do, he found it highly effective and he’s renowned for his work, even now. Alfred Hitchcock became very famous for his ability to manipulate his audiences by using the general fears that people had and used them against them to create a fantastic thriller. 

Later in her career, Heidi started working on adaptations. This is an area that I am interested in as I read many novels (particularly contemporary ones) that I feel that an audience would appreciate if they were shown in a different way, also you can show people what you were imagining when you were reading the book as it is seen differently in everyone’s minds. This is Heidi’s opinion of what the essence of a adaption is: I think there’s a much more sort of spiritual issue of what do you seek to do when you adapt. The thing is, you have to assess what the essence of that novel is, what makes it magical, what makes it loved, what has made it last over perhaps a hundred and fifty years? And what you have to do is identify the sacred moments. There are some things in some books that you simply cannot leave out.” This is advice that I will certainly follow myself. 

Heidi is apart of a minority of woman writers, here’s why she thinks that is. “There are a lot of younger female writers who get going, and you know they have great bursts of activity, but it is quite a hard life, it does not accommodate what goes on with a lot of women when they’re in their thirties and forties. They’re balancing time between their professional and their creative life and bringing up a family, which is a job in itself, and is also a creative act.” She is very right, you have to be writing for years before you get recognised and like most women, I would like to get married and have children so there’s only so much that you can do, so you either have to choose your career or having a family, so it’s definitely not because it’s a male dominant industry because they are better than women, it’s just that women often choose a different path to men. 

After looking into Heidi Thomas’ life and career, she has inspired me to carry on writing and work hard to achieve. Being takes years before you are properly known, bringing to light the harsh reality of this industry. 

Best Week Ever!

There have many good things that I can talk about this week, I’ve finalised the idea of my non-narrative film, had some awesome lectures, and learnt something new and very cool.

For this part of the project I have decided to make a short film based on abstract images and sounds, that I will design myself.

The piece is going to be called “Voices”. It’s going to consist of repeated images of close-ups of different people speaking (just the mouth). For each different mouth there is going to be a different ‘voice’ which will be a synthetic sound created by using different microphones (contact etc). These ‘voices’ will gradually increase in tempo and frequency therefore the images will increase with speed, synchronising with the metallic sounds. This will result in many layers of ‘Voices’.It’s going to have a pop art style with pastel colours, a lot like New Young Pony Club’s music video for ‘Ice Cream’.

I’m looking forward to this project. I was quite anxious at the beginning because I had no knowledge and really had no clue of what to expect of this topic but I really am enjoying and it’s brought forward  a possibility of working in this area which is very exciting because I never even considered it! That’s the great thing about this course, it opens so many doors for all of us, but at the same time it’s confusing because I don’t know what door to pick!

We had a session of VJ-ing and it was awesome. If I could afford the equipment to have a set up of my own then this would definitely be my new hobby. But sadly I don’t and don’t really have the time at the moment so hopefully it can be something I can pick up in the future (or just hope that they will hold another session at Uni). It was honestly so much fun!

Under Lock and Key

Starting to get ideas for my abstract film now, and it’s proving very difficult. I’ve been told by 3 different people to do different things with my film IT’S SO CONFUSING. So after debating with myself for several hours now, I’m going to stick to my original plan and use the learning outcomes to perfect it, it worked for me in the last project. I’m waiting to have the next tutorial to fully explain what the idea exactly is, so for now it’s a secret!

I’ve decided to do the foley artistry for ‘Seven Chances’. Made in 1925, it was directed and starred Buster Keaton.

Image

The plot: ‘A man learns he will inherit a fortune if he marries. By 7 p.m. Today’

I think creating the sounds for this romantic comedy should be easy enough as I feel like a genius when using Sound Effects Pro (thanks to Phil). I’m not so savvy with the program they call After Effects though. I’ve been using Lynda.com to help me when I found this week’s session confusing. Fingers crossed I can get to grips with this thing soon!

I’m Back!

So, we’re back after the most relaxing Christmas holiday ever. It’s been quite difficult to get back into the swing of things as I was used to getting up past 1 in the afternoon everyday and watching every South Park episode ever made, all warm and cosy in my bear onsie sipping on egg nog then having to deal with the complete antithesis, getting up at 9.30 still half asleep looking like a zombie trying my hardest to pay attention in lectures. Coffee has been a good friend of mine this week.

Anyway, having had the introduction to each topic we’re studying I feel like I can finally crack on with this semester. Sound design looks like it’s going to be fun, I’m surprised at myself as I actually enjoyed learning the technical sciency things you need to know about sound. If I was back in high school sitting in a science lab it would be the perfect time for a nap but I’m genuinely enjoying it. Probably because Phil is an awesome lecturer and he can hold a science hater’s attention, so kudos to him.

Media Roles in the industry is also interesting but scary, I didn’t realise we had to start looking for work experience already! It’s a tough business, but it makes me more determined to break through and make my mark on the world (I can’t tell if that’s ambition or pure naivety), but I’m going to continue working hard and see where it gets me!

I already know more

This is going to be a rant I’m afraid. I’ve just spent 20 minutes trying to write on this stupid blog, and it got deleted. Just like that, no warning, no draft save, gone.
I’m going to try and recreate what I just wrote – because I have to not because I want to – but it may be more aggressive as this thing is trying my patience.

1. I do NOT want to be an editor.
– This is meant to be the process in which everything comes together and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let me tell you something, there is no light! It’s frustrating and draining and we all want to go home. It is making me hate our film, I’m sick of the sight of it and will be glad when its done.

2. I hate sound.
– Syncing up the sound has got to be the worst part. It’s taking so looooooong, we’ve been here hours and it’s still not done. I wish there was some magical software that would do it for us.. Oh wait there is, yet we’re still not using it??
Liam said: ‘It shouldn’t be too difficult’, well Liam I’m sorry to say it, but you are wrong. It’s incredibly difficult.

3. I can’t write.
– It wasn’t too long ago when I was writing essay after essay for my A levels. I mean I had to sit in my film exam for 2 hours and 45 minutes and I wrote so much and came out with an A. Why can’t I do it now? I just find myself sitting at my laptop and coming up with nothing. Words don’t come to mind and ideas have disappeared . I just stare at the wall hoping for inspiration, and of course it doesn’t come. I get up and do something else and think “I’ll just do it later”, and then I don’t. It’s worrying because we don’t have much time left, but it’s my own fault and that’s even more frustrating because I can’t blame anyone!

And breathe.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.