The research I did, definitely shaped the entire film in some ways. Since I mainly did research for the Night Shift idea as I did not have much time to do extra research for the Two Foot Under short film. To start, I basically looked at my main practitioner Stanley Kubrick and secondary practitioner Edgar Wright. During this stage, we realised we wanted to make it more comedic than horror, and it then we looked at other tragic comedies and realised getting the right mix was key. Making a scene in a certain way could make the comedy take over and completely neutralise any sort of horror or threat that you are trying to setup and vice-versa.
During my the FMP I kept a notebook, in this I scribbled production notes and ideas but at the start I used it to keep a written version of all the research I did, this was so I could also look at it when on set if needed be and it was a lot easier keeping it in one place than online; it was something physical. But my point is that this was really useful and it gave me more reason to do research than to just type it up, I could be creative when doing research and it definitely structured the way I created the film and came up with ideas. I would take it to every session when we were brainstorming or script reading/ rewriting.
Thinking back on my best sources I would say overall was YouTube. YouTube is such a valuable source of information and most of my research I find on YouTube. It explained complex topics to me in such detail with ease and is really easy to use. Getting down to specifically there is a video “Edgar Wright – How to do visual comedy” by Every Frame a Painting. If I had to use only one video as a reference for the entire FMP it is this one. Since I am new to comedy and haven’t really done much work on it, it helped me to understand what generic comedy films do and how Edgar Wright does it. And since Edgar Wright is my main practitioner that is even more helpful, the YouTube channel has so many other videos that were really useful and it did help with how I was going to “play out” scenes and why I should do it this way.
With a bigger budget and more time there would have been a lot more primary research. When I talk about the first idea Night Shift I would have spoken to people about their experiences at a night shift and if they have had any scary/funny moments that they remember in a hope that it would inspire more ideas and just give it an edge with more realism. But for the latest idea which was the one that we ended up doing Two Foot Under – I would have watched a lot of documentaries about murderers and gotten into the head of them to write the script – I feel like this would have made the characters a lot more complex and give the audience something to actually invest in; unfortunately I did not have a greater budget or more time but if I did that is what I would have done.
In conclusion, my research obviously had a great impact on what my final film ended out being and I just really wished we could have continued with the Night Shift idea so the research would have reflected through the film a lot more however it is what it is and I have learned a lot from the experience nonetheless.
Final Film Evaluation
Look back at your aims. Proposal and personal aims for the projects.
In the end, we did eventually decide on an idea and create a short film. All within about a week and a half. To start this was not the plan, in fact, me and my partner Ben who I worked with started early pre-production of our first idea The Riddle House a couple of months before our FMP brief was even handed out. We fleshed out the idea, developed it and even wrote a script before we had the brief. Fairly early on we realised were not able to secure a location good enough for what we wanted so we had a meeting, said we would keep the script for another time and do something less ambitious but something that we could actually make with near to no budget and something we would be able to make really good. Then came our second idea; Night Shift, even at this point it is still the best thing we have come up with and I am extremely disappointed with Morrisons for declining us their location last minute even after accepting our risk assessments and proposals and essentially telling us we could film there. We worked a lot on the Night Shift idea, we had actors quite early on so we met up with them on more than three occasions to talk ideas and write the script with them, we even had read-throughs with the actors. All of this was extremely helpful when it came to writing the script but once again it will be saved for another time as we were not able to use the location. Our final idea came when the FMP deadline was very close. We had about a week to film and then half a week to edit not to mention it was very last minute for the actors too so we only had 2 mornings to film which I would say total to about 5 hours as well as still fleshing out the script on the day which really didn’t help.
So even after all of that, I would say we did reach our aims to a certain extent. I wanted to create something funny that looked good, and although I find it very difficult criticising my own we have had feedback which backs up my goals for this short. This just gives me more confidence that with longer than a week we could have actually stylised the film and got it to a point where we’re completely happy with it. When talking to our tutor Emily she told me she could see the style of Edgar Wright through the camera movements, editing and dialogue which again just goes to show that with more time we could have done a better job but for now at least I am satisfied with what we achieved towards our aims in such a short space of time.
When looking at how does the film reflect our skills learned over the year, I would say that this is not really an accurate reflection of that. For example, trying to put everything into a film that you have learned over a year in only just a week it quite a task, obviously there are things we have learned that will carry over with us for every project we work on, such as learning more about shutter speed, iso and aperture allows me to completely change the image and I will take that knowledge and use it all the time such as I have in this short. But for more advanced things that I have learned such as looking at character development and visual storytelling I just didn’t have time to put into practice meaning that I didn’t really have time to put everything I learned into this film.
When looking at what I would do differently next time, I really want to say things like pay for a location or hire someone to recce and secure a location – although that sort of thing may help it won’t entirely secure us a place. I think it would be best to look at multiple locations and ask for permission to a number of places even if one already says yes and gives me the go-ahead; it just keeps doors open and basically gives you more opportunities if they suddenly cannot cater for you at one location. Another thing I would do is test equipment beforehand (which is something I have learned from this project especially) during the editing process we learned that the audio equipment we’re using was broken. Although during test shots we allowed ourselves to get used to the equipment we really didn’t anticipate to get given a faulty piece of equipment, so always expect the unexpected and test every piece of equipment before you use them and have it all ready for the day of filming. With the timing of the project I would look more closely at giving weekly goals to achieve and reflecting on if they have been completed or not and why not and then finish by looking at the next steps, it allows to create a sort of tick box which slowly enables you to start filming once all the essentials things are complete.
To conclude I want to say that I have no regrets for doing the college course this year, although my FMP didn’t go exactly as planned that was always a possibility. The main thing was that I have learned from this experience and now I look on to my next steps.