Monday, 29 October 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Feedback to Script Draft 1

As well as producer, I am Alex's script editor for the Pre-Production unit. I need to give feedback to each of Alex's scripts, to ensure he sticks to the idea and tone of the show and doesn't go off track. I also need to check that everything he writes can be done practically, by thinking through the logistics of it. 

Below is script draft 1:

My feedback:

Page 5 - The logo on the van needs completing - we can do this as a group, whoever has the best idea we'll go with

Page 5 - 9 - Conversation between Tim, Luke and Pete might seem like it goes on for a bit too long

Page 9 - In terms of risk assessment, where are we going to drive the van when it's driving on the road? It can't be on a real road as we pull over to the side and bump over an object (the dog), this will be too much to do on a main road as we may be in the way of other drivers. Possibly an empty car park, but we'll probably see it's in a car park on the camera

Page 10 - I’m guessing well see them actually go over something when they hit the dog / “the van shakes…”, are we going to actually drive over an object? If so, what have you got in mind?

Page 10 - When Tim picks up the dead dog, how are we going to do this as we'll probably see the dog on camera

Page 11 - We’ll need to practise the blood spatter again as it didn't go as well as it could have in the previous project

Page 14 - Sheila “the best cat….so lovely with around my grandchildren” doesn’t make sense

Page 17 - Graham treats the bird instead of Tim at the end of the script, should we still have Tim try to treat something as it’s about him as a vet, rather than flying owls?

Many of my feedback points are thinking about the practical point of view rather than scripting issues. The only point I would give to Alex about scripting is that it isn't very punchy. Some scenes drag out a bit too long, such as Page 5-9 with the conversation with Tim, Luke and Pete.

It possibly goes off topic when Tim goes to the Owl Academy and ends up flying an owl rather than treating one as we're meant to be watching him treating animals with disastrous consequences. However, we want the owl punch involved and unless the owl was flying towards him, I'm unsure on how we would bring it up in the story. 

Nevertheless, I think it is funny and dark (giving the dead dog to Sheila and punching the owl when he gets scared), the comedy is subtle too which is what we wanted, it's not a laugh-out-loud comedy and I think he's achieved this within the writing.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Learning Agreement

Previously to this tutorial, we sent Simon a table highlighting our different roles for the pre-production package. We had a tutorial with him deciding whether our jobs were appropriate for our roles in the film.

- Each of our roles are appropriate for our specific jobs.

- I need to make my producer statement very detailed. Talking about my creative overview and why I chose the choices I did throughout the pre-production of VET-MAN.

- I am the script editor, therefore, I need to give feedback to each script and make sure Alex progresses well through each draft. I need to ensure everything can be done practically and the story stays on topic and follows our tone.

- Biggest part of budget will be the food. As we will be filming between January and March we will be filming in the cold, therefore, we will need to serve our cast hot food, such as soup, teas and coffee etc, and quick hot meals, rather than sandwiches and crisps. 

As a result of this tutorial, I now know my tasks that I will be assessed on for this unit:
- Budget / fund raising 
- Schedule / call sheets
- Advertising and marketing 
- Crew
- Locations
- Organising auditions
- Costumes
- Props
- Producer statement 

I am happy with this agreement and I understand that I will be assessed on these for this unit.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Pre-production Schedule 2

I have already changed the schedule. Alex and I decided that the auditions should be pushed back a week to Week 8. They were originally Week 7 but on this week we also have the next test shoot scheduled. After deciding this, I realised that we didn't need a whole week to choose the cast, we will probably have a good idea of who we like after the auditions, so I combined these. Therefore, the aim for Week 8 is to complete both days of auditions, and by the end of the week we will have the cast chosen. I think this is realistic and we shouldn't have a problem meeting this deadline.

Pre-production schedule 2:

I've suggested taking headshot's of everyone who attends the auditions so we don't have to get the successful candidates to come back to the Studios just for a photo to include in our pre-production package. 

We have decided that we need more test shoots, possibly with our new cast. These will be decided for schedule 3. This schedule hasn't changed too much from the first because we are still at the beginning of the project and I haven't thought of anything else yet that needs to be scheduled. At the moment we are on track for most of the stages of pre-production.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Development of Casting

According to our pre-production schedule this is Week 5 and we should be working on research / prep and the casting advert should be online. Alex has finished the treatment and character profiles and is up-to-date with the schedule, meaning that I can now post the casting advert online.

The characters we are looking for are:
- Tim Stewart
- Luke Lucas
- Theresa "Tess" Connelly
- Sheila Hodges
- Pete Lucas 

This advert will stay online for 2 weeks so actors have some time to apply for our film.

To create the casting advert, I looked over Alex's script treatment and have taken parts which I think are essential for potential actors to know to help them get a feel of VET-MAN, such as the film synopsis, genre and similar shows we want ours to resemble, the type of characters we want and the audition and shooting dates. I started with the topline so the actors get an idea of the film and then went further in-depth with the storylineI advertised the role to be a unique opportunity to work with animals, particularly owls, I hope this will bring in some interest as this isn't probably very common in acting roles.

Casting advert for VET-MAN

I made clear that this is a student project and the roles will not be paid, only their travel and food will be paid for. However, this is only for the final filming days and not including the auditions. This way we will be able to spend more of the budget on props, locations and costume. Nevertheless, the actors will receive a copy of the final project.

Once I had copied over specific parts of the treatment, I was able to complete the character sections. Here I was able to go into more detail about the characters, such as the age ranges, personality and ethnicity.

Tim's character profile

Tim is the main character of our film, therefore he will be the character that we want the most like our advert. We want his personality to be arrogant but charming and charismatic, so we will be looking for this in the auditions. We were quite specific for what we're looking for in Tim, such as being quite tall, but as we need someone who can work well with comedy, we are open to anyone to apply who's got experience in this genre, we will be prioritising performance over appearance. 

Luke's character profile

We wanted Luke to be slightly younger than Tim to show off his innocence and the way he looks up at Tim as a role model. To add to this we said we wanted Luke to be of an average height so he's smaller than Tim. In Luke, we are looking for someone who can be intelligent but also naive. 

Tess's character profile

We wanted Tess to be a similar age to Tim as they're close as siblings. We also wanted her to be successful in life so she had the right to tell Tim he's doing something silly. She is married to Aidan, we won't see him in the film but he may be mentioned so the audience have a bit of background on her life and family. We don't mind how Tess looks, as long as her look matches Tim, being his sister. If we find two people who look completely different but are perfect for the roles, we could play with the sister relationship. Possibly by saying she's his stepsister. 

Sheila's character profile

Sheila is a sweet elderly lady. We want her to be able to get upset easily so when Luke breaks the news to her about Sooty, we can get the emotional side to the story. However, this doesn't last long as before we know it Luke has run away from the house after realising Sooty is a cat not the dog they hit. 

Pete's character profile

Pete isn't a big speaking role. We wanted a big built man to play Pete, he gets upset and emotional when Tim says his van design is bad. Alex felt that Pete being a big man and ending up sobbing would be quite funny, which is where the specific body type came from. During the audition we will be looking at the candidates body language rather than how he can speak the lines. 

Once I had completed the casting advert, I wrote out a booking request form to book out Lecture Room 1 for the audition dates (12th Nov & 14th Nov), this was so we had somewhere to take the actors to film their auditions. I filled out the booking form and sent it over to Laura, she responded and said that Lecture Room 1 wasn't free for the 12th but was for the 14th, and that we could use Lecture Room 2 for the 12th instead - we were pleased with this. 

Room booking request form

By filling out this form, we have agreed to putting back the room as we found it when we enter, including any tables, chairs, wires and computer equipment - which we intend to do so.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Risk Assessment & Test Shoot 1

Following the feedback about changing the name of our sitcom, we've decided to call it just VET-MAN

As producer for this project, I am in charge of creating the risk assessments and making sure everything can be done practically. Risk assessments are essential during the planning of a television show because they help manage the health and safety by outlining the possible risks and how we can control them. Our show, VET-MAN will have some risks as we will be working with animals, who are very unpredictable. I will need to create a risk assessment for each location and each test shoot that we decide to do. So far, the plan is to carry out two test shoots, one testing the cameras and deciding what one we want to use, and the other will be filming the animals as we already know this will be difficult. 

Test Shoot 1 - Risk Assessments

Location - The Owl Academy

After assessing these hazards and control methods, I decided this was a low risk shoot and was acceptable to go ahead, I had the risk assessment signed by Simon a couple of days before the test shoot, and he agreed this shoot could go ahead. Alex and Katie are aware of the risks involved with filming at the Kent Owl Academy and they know how to control them to prevent injury to themselves and the staff and animals at the academy.

Location: Private House

Again, I decided that this location was low risk and was appropriate to film at. I gave the risk assessment to Simon a couple days before the dates we wanted to film on, he agreed and signed the risk assessments. Alex and Katie are aware of these risks and know how to control them to prevent any injury to themselves or any family members.

Test Shoot 1

Alex and Katie started the test shoot by filming at a private house, they were simply testing out the different cameras (JVC, Panasonic, Sony EX & DSLR), to see which one was best for handheld work and how they coped in different lighting. They did a couple of profile shots with each camera to keep it as a fair test.

The following day, the three of us went to The Kent Owl Academy. Alex's sister was able to show us round the enclosures and she had a lot of information on the animals, e.g. what owls are best for static shots and what ones are obedient enough for flying shots. This was very helpful because I didn't have all the information when I visited for the location recce. Alex's sister told us what areas we are allowed to film in - which was pretty much anywhere we wanted. 

Today was primarily about getting a feel of the location and spaces that could be used in our film, along with again testing the different cameras in and around the wooded area. It's my job to make sure the location is safe to film in, so I informed both Katie and Alex of where was a good place to film. We were surrounded by uneven ground but we found a patch that was flat for Katie to stand on with the equipment. Mollie, the owner and managing director, was very helpful and said we can literally do whatever we wanted for the animals, they want the publicity and it's not the first time the animals have been used for films and photography. 

This information basically answered my questions:
- In terms of dates, are there any days you know you won't be available on or any times we cannot have access to the site or animals?
They are closed to the public in January 2019, but we are still welcome to film. This might actually be a better time to film because we won't have large groups of the public around us.

- How much access can we have to the animals during filming?
We are allowed to enter any enclosures and film any of the animals we want, as long as we let Mollie know in advance.

- Are you and the staff available for more test shoots?
As long as I inform Mollie in advance, her and the staff will be available for us to use with the animals. We will work around their animal displays and experiences in order to keep their business running like normal.

- How are the animals around cameras / equipment and small groups of people?
The animals are fine in front of cameras and equipment, they have their photographer who has never had a problem. As long as we don't purposely frighten them, the animals will be fine with groups of people, they perform shows everyday so they are used to crowds. 

While we were here, Mollie asked if we would like to try and film the owls, static and moving. As I had stated in this risk assessment that we would be working with the animals we thought this was a good idea, instead of waiting until next time to try filming the animals incase it's impossible and in the worse case scenario we need to change the idea.

Katie stood quite a distance away from the animals so they wouldn't be spooked or get in the way of the equipment. This was good practice for her as Director of Photography to film the owl while it's flying.

Capturing the owls moving
Capturing the owls moving 

Mollie was very helpful and said that we would be able to film pretty much any time we want to, as long as we contact her with the date and time in advance. This makes things easier for our production because as we can film whenever we want, it will make it easier to arrange with our cast once they're onboard. 

Our next test shoot will focus on filming more of the animals and filming them closer up, as this time we may be able to get in the enclosures with the equipment. My next job before this second test shoot is to produce another detailed risk assessment, focusing more on the risks and control methods using the animals and being in their enclosures. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Greenlight Pitch

As part of the Pre-Production unit, we had to pitch our idea to Simon and the rest of the group. Katie, Alex and I created ours on Google Docs and then we were all able to access it at the same time and work on our sections. 

We started by outlining the idea behind VET-MAN: On the Road and we then went onto our individual sections. As I am the producer of the project I highlighted my responsibilities which are to:
- Create the schedule and budget, and keeping the pre-production within these
- Finding and contacting the cast and locations
- Helping in the edit
- Risk assessments
- Call sheets and consent forms

I also detailed the cast, locations, schedule, budget and booklet research I did in the powerpoint.



The group liked the idea and agreed with our idea to change it from a mockumentary to a sitcom, especially after we related our ideas it to The Thick Of It

We need to advance the story more - we need the audience to know where there going throughout the story, they need to know where Dr. Tim Stewart is going to be at the end - even if he doesn't reach that goal. 

Cast and props MUST be realistic and believable. I already know this and I am working on it. I am shopping around for the most suitable props for our film and I am in the middle of organising auditions in order to find the best actors that we can to be a part of our film.

VET-MAN: On the Road sounds similar to David Brent: Life on the Road. Consider changing it to avoid confusion. As a group we have decided to keep the title as just VET-MAN. It's short and sweet and straight to the point. The audience will be able to grasp the main point of the sitcom from this short title - that it's about a vet. We will keep it as a working title so it can be changed later if needed.

Unsure on the tone of the show. 
As producer, it's my job to have a clear understanding of the tone of the show, and to make sure this is constantly communicated between Katie and Alex to keep it consistent throughout the show. The tone is essential to a television show, it also needs to be made clear at the beginning as this allows the "audience can identify what they are watching" (Sofluid, 2014) from the start. As we are only creating the first episode of VET-MAN and as this will only be a maximum of 20 minuteswe want the tone recognisable from the first minute or so. 

Another reason as to why the tone needs to be address early is because if we advertise the show as one type of genre, e.g. VET-MAN being a sitcom, and it doesn't live up to the genre at the beginning then the viewer may "get frustrated and turn over" (Sofluid). Therefore, we must comply with the conventions of a sitcom that I explained about earlier in order to show the audience that they are watching a sitcom. The tone of the show can also be set through the channel and broadcast time we choose. There is a watershed from 9pm every night where nothing inappropriate can be shown before this. As VET-MAN is a dark sitcom, it will be shown after 9pm, simply advertising the show with a later broadcast time can give off the idea that the show involves dark humour and is not appropriate for children and teenagers. 

We want the show to have elements of humour in it but for it not to become a laugh-out-loud type of comedy show. Therefore, we are going for a subtle comedy for the tone of VET-MAN. We want the humour to come across as blunt, which can be funny in itself. We also want the tone to be made up of satirical humour. Using sarcasm is a way of creating a comedy but without having to make it a laugh-out-loud film. The tone of the show is something that I will keep in mind while reading and giving feedback to Alex's script drafts, for them to be successful I will need to be able to tell the tone / genre from the first couple of pages. As we have advertised VET-MAN as a dark sitcom, I will be expecting a couple of dark jokes or something horrible to happen at the beginning, to help set the tone. 

I will be assessed on being purely producer, so I need to make my work detailed. I already know this and I am constantly working towards making my work detailed enough. 

We gained the green light for the pitch and we can continue researching and getting the pre-production package together.

- Sofluid. (2014). TV scripts: The importance of setting tone/genre right from the get go!. Available: Last accessed 14th Oct 2018.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Kent Owl Academy Location Recce

As producer of the project, I am in charge of the 'world' of VET-MAN and making sure the show is a success. We need the best location possible to help bring our film to life. We've contacted the Kent Owl Academy and we're visiting them for a test shoot, to see what the animals are like in front of the camera. As the Owl Academy isn't far from the studios, I went there and had a look around to see what the area is like, how big it is and what the trip hazards are like. We're shooting the first test shoot here but theres a possibility we'll want to film some of the sitcom here, to prevent having to take the animals elsewhere, it'll be easier to film on site. 

The place itself isn't very big surrounding the animals, they have owls, replies, meerkats, insects, a skunk and small animals. There are big areas just outside but there's only a small path in-between each enclosure. The animals are all locked away, there's no animals roaming the academy which would help with transporting the equipment. We know that the camera equipment would be safe while we're moving it from the car to the grounds of the academy. 

Behind the owl enclosures there was a bigger wooded area, this may be a good place to film the owls. It's an area that the public wouldn't walk through because it's not on the path through the enclosures. On the first test shoot we know we want to see how easy it is to film the animals, we may be able to get the owls out if the staff are free and try filming them fly (we won't be able to find this out until we get there on the 11th) - this wooded area will be good for this. It would also be a nice backdrop for the film while the vet examines the owl. 

However, the ground in this wooded area wasn't flat, there were a few uneven patches which would lead to trip hazards. 

The Kent Owl Academy

The Kent Owl Academy 

In between the trees is a relatively big area, and would be appropriate to film in. If we were careful where we were standing and stood in a flat area in amongst the trees then there would be no problems with the uneven ground. Katie won't be moving around with the equipment, ideally we will have the owls flying through the trees and Katie, at a distance, will be filming them in flight. 

If we film in this area, it's away from the public path, therefore, we will not be around other people. We will only be working around the public if we film the animals while they're in their enclosures, which is how we will be filming the majority of the animals if we use them, such as the meerkats. We will not be going into any of the enclosures with the equipment in test shoot 1, so I won't need to concern myself with the risks associated with entering the enclosures until we do this in test shoot 2. 

The majority of the academy is outside. There is a foyer type area when you first enter the academy where the public buy their tickets, but apart from this the enclosures are all outside. This may prove difficult if the weather is bad on the shooting days. This is quite a high possibility as we will be carrying out the test shoots between October and November and the real shoot will be sometime between January and March, this is when the weather will be at it's worst throughout the year. We will simply keep an eye on the weather and postpone filming if it's bad weather. 

Before test shooting we will take a walk around the academy again to make sure there are no new hazards since my recce. By reviewing the different hazards at the Owl Academy, I think this is a low risk area to shoot in and following this, I will write up the risk assessment for the first test shoot. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Development of Locations

In order to create a realistic show, we need to find believable locations. The location is one of the many important aspects of filming, just as finding the right actors to portray a role, and just as important as the music choice used in the film. It is essential to find the right location, environment and setting as these are all critical to a film's believability and success. The audience will appreciate visually pouring over the scene details and becoming immersed within the film. I contacted all the locations I looked into because from my research into The Thick Of It and their struggle with locations. I learnt from this that we should always have a back-up option incase circumstances change with the initial location we go for.

Locations we need:

- Animal sanctuary 
- Tess's house
- Sheila's house 
- A pub & their car park
- External locations

Animal sanctuary

VET-MAN: On the Road is about a vet, therefore, we need a believable location where a vet would go to treat animals otherwise we won't be able to pull it off. When Alex started writing the script he told me that he had a location in mind - The Kent Owl Academy, in Maidstone. Before, I told him to go ahead with this location, I had a look into some others. From my research on Adam Tandy and the location issues they had for The Thick Of It, I remembered that we should never just have one location just in case something happens which is out of our control and we are unable to use it in our film. With this in mind, I looked into two other wildlife / animal sanctuaries closer to home, Monkton Nature Reserve and Wildwood to see how they compare with The Kent Owl Academy. Our initial ideas were surrounding the idea of using owls so I know Alex wants to work with these particular animals. As a result of this, I will be looking at the sanctuaries in terms of how available their owls will be to us.

Monkton Nature Reserve is registered, non-profit charity. The reserve is situated in an old chalk quarry. At the reserve, it is estimated that there are over 350 species of flowering plant, including 9 species of orchid. 25 species of butterfly have bene recorded along with many more protected and endangered animals and plants.

Monkton Nature Reserve website

At Monkton Nature Reserve there are a number of trails laid out and signposted around to allow visitors to take in all the varied habitats. Around the trails there are lizards who like to make an appearance in the sunshine, which people can find when walking around. There are also chalk cliffs which were formed at the bottom of an ancient ocean 80 million years ago. These cliffs now act as a home to a number of bird species and bats. At the base of the cliffs are scree slopes, made up of loose rocks from cliff fall. These are used for hibernation by the great crested newts and many other small animals and insects. 

There are also two ponds inside the Reserve. The pond is popular with dragonflies, especially the broad-bodied chasers. There is a smaller Damselfly Pond which is higher up in the Reserve, in a secluded location overlooked by a small bird hide. Damselflies are frequent visitors here. Both ponds are visited by grass snakes on hunting expeditions, and there is evidence that the rare water vole is also present at the first pond I described. 

The Monkton Nature Reserve built the UK's first artificial bat cave in 1986. It is located close to the ponds at the base of the chalk cliff. It's purpose was to help prevent the decline in Britain's bat species, specifically, the brown long-eared bat, by creating a suitable roosting and hibernation site. 

The Reserve has a small, young woodland in land above the quarry. The woodland was first planted in 1970s and is becoming well used by the bird population. A circular woodland walk allows visitors to view a diverse variety of plants, including orchids, snowdrops, snowflakes, bluebells, primroses and more. Piles of logs and branches will be seen in various locations. This is intentional and provides a habitat for small animals and fungi, which then provide food for other larger organisms. The larger and older the woodpile, the higher the diversity of species one can expect to find there. A bird hide on the southern edge of the woodland overlooks the reserve, here you can see kestrels, buzzards and sparrow hawks. 

Pros of using Monkton Nature Reserve
- It is a small, well knit community who run the reserve, therefore it is not a big organisation. This will help when it comes to filming as we would probably have to film while their open. The smaller the organisation, the lower the amount of people we would have to work around. 

- For somewhere that I thought specialised in plants, they house quite a few animals, and interesting animals at that. Water snakes, bats and butterflies stood out to me most as these animals are uncommon when it comes to filming them, maybe we could incorporate them in somewhere.

- On the website, they state what their accessibility is like. They have handrails at the steps, and if you cannot use them there are alternative routes to access the higher and lower parts of the reserve. There are a number of benches placed around for rest stops, and there is timber decking in some places. All these points of accessibility will make it an easier filming location, in terms of carrying around the equipment. The benches can provided somewhere close where our cast can sit when not in front of the camera. The timber decking can provide an even ground to possibly set up the camera as a lot of it is made up of uneven ground.

- The reserve is a big open piece of land so there would be plenty of room for equipment, crew and cast.

Cons of using Monkton Nature Reserve
- Further down on the website they state that there are no bats residential in the caves at the moment due to flooding in the recent winters. Before, I said they would be interesting to try and incorporate in with the filming but they do not house the bats anymore.

- The animals don't have specific enclosures, it's just luck if you spot them while you're visiting. If we plan a short film around one of the animals here we are not always guaranteed to see it. This will be a big issue with having to complete the film before a deadline if we were always unable to see the animals.

- As this is a wildlife centre where you see the animals in their habitats rather than in enclosures, it wouldn't be as easy for us to disturb them in their homes to try and film them. Not only this, we would never be able to get close to any of these animals or birds as they roam free around the reserve. 

After looking at the pros and cons of having Monkton Nature Reserve as one of our filming locations. I have decided that they don't have enough control over the animals as we would like in order to film them. The organisation is wonderful in terms of being able to see animals in their own habitat and is very educational, but unfortunately it's not a good fit for a filming location. They also only house a couple of species of birds, but no owls.

Wildwood is a conservational trust. It has over 200 native animals set in 40 acres of ancient woodland, including bears, wolves, arctic foxes, bison, deer, owls, foxes and more. They are also home to Kent's biggest drop slide, tube slide, wild fort, tree top towers and more. 

Wildwood website

There's a lot to do at Wildwood, such as bear and lynx experiences, photo days, guided tours, conservation courses, talks and feeds, junior keeping and keeper for a day experiences. They also allow schools and groups to visit the organisation for educational days. 

In terms of birds, Wildwood house avocets, barn owls, black storks, cranes, different species of ducks and an eagle owl. I was particularly interested in looking into the barn owl they have at Wildwood. Their barn owl is a native to the UK, and is slightly larger than a tawny owl at 36cm from head to tail. It is a protected species, and at risk from habitat loss. Their barn owl has a white underside with buff wings, and a white heart-shaped face. It also has exceptional eyesight and hearing for tracking small prey in the grass. The website also states that you can see their barn owl swopping and soaring during the summer, as he is one of the stars of the bird show.

Pros of using Wildwood
- Reading about their 'Things To Do' page on their website, proves that the employees at Wildwood are keen to get the public involved with the animals as they hold so many different things for people to join in with. We want to be able to work with an organisation who are enthusiastic, so knowing the they do all this for the public can give off their friendly nature. 

- They also give educational tours for schools and groups, showing their keenness to work with other people, especially children.

- They have a bigger range of animals than the nature reserve did. They also have their animals in enclosures, which for us would be easier to film them in. Each time we visit we will be able to guarantee seeing the animals.

- They have a couple of different species of owls, like the barn owl, eagle owl and tawny owl. Therefore, we know we would be able to get access to the correct animal if I was to get in contact and ask to film there.

Cons of using Wildwood
- This organisation is a lot bigger than the nature reserve. If it's bigger, it may have more visitors, this could hinder our filming because we will have to work around big groups of the public. Even during school hours because they allow school trips. It will be difficult to film around big groups of the public. We will also be filming in February which is where one of the half-terms fall. Wildwood is such a big name anyway, in the half term I can imagine that it is very busy - too busy for us to be getting equipment out.

- As they are a bigger organisation, I can imagine that the employees are also very busy and may not have the time to help us film. If we were allowed to use their owls, we will obviously need an employee on hand to help with the bird. We want someone the bird can trust with us in order to keep filming simple and hopefully come across no problems. 

- On the website they state that we can see the owl swooping and soaring during the summer. This may mean they don't get them out during the colder months, and we will be filming in February so this may not work.

After looking into both pros and cons of filming at Wildwood. I have decided that they have more availability than the reserve, and house the animals we want to film. However, they are such a big organisation that filming may simply be impossible with the large groups of public. If we are unable to find any other locations, I will contact Wildwood but for the safety of our equipment, cast and crew, I'd rather film at a smaller organisation.

The Kent Owl Academy is an animal park situated in Kent Life in Maidstone. It's not like a huge zoo, it's a small and friendly wildlife site where they house animals such as owls, reptiles and raptors. They hold experience days and school trips, and they also have Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages so anyone can see what goes on at the academy. 

The academy also offer ring delivery during wedding ceremonies, and a static display of the animals during the day for the guests to meet the owls.

The Kent Owl Academy website

I've looked into The Kent Owl Academy through their website and they have a section on TV, Film and Media. They have a photographer who comes in regularly and takes photos of the animals for the website and social media pages. The animals have also been featured in newspapers, magazine, TV, film and radio in the past, most recently they have been featured on Channel 5's The Secret Lives of Owls. On this page of the website they ask if anyone is interested to film the animals then just to contact them. From this, we can see that they are up for people filming their animals, whereas, I didn't see anything like this on the previous two websites. They also offer to bring the animals, particularly the birds of prey, to you. They can take them off site and go to peoples houses, provided they are safe.

Pros to using The Kent Owl Academy:
- The academy is local to Maidstone and is easy to get to. This will be helpful when it comes to transporting the actors and equipment here. 

- They hold experience days and school trips, this shows that they are very eager to work with the public and children. 

- The wedding ceremony option is a really good idea, and a great way of getting the public involved again. It is clear that they are passionate about their work and wanting to get everyone involved with their animals. We want to work with a company who are as welcoming and engaging to the public as The Kent Owl Academy are. I believe they will be reliable to work with and won't cut us out at the last minute. They want the publicity and for people to see what they do at the academy and including them in our short film will be a great way to do this. 

- Knowing that they have a photographer come in regularly shows that the animals are used to being in front of and around camera equipment. This is beneficial to know for when we are filming with them. On top of wanting to work with the public, they also help take the animals away from unwanted places. They offer bird and pest control services for the public too.

- Their animals are in enclosures unlike Monkton Nature Reserve, so it will be easier film them and we will be guaranteed a view of them. 

- It's a small organisation, therefore we shouldn't have to work with big groups of the public. 

After weighing out the pros and cons of filming at The Kent Owl Academy and realising there are very few cons, I believe that this will be the most appropriate location to film at. They are a small organisation so they shouldn't be as busy as Wildwood might be. They have many owls which is what we want to plan the film on. They seem very engaging with the public, and as they are a small name, we would love to work with them and help them get their animals and site on screen.

Once I made my decision I told Alex to go ahead and speak to the owner. Alex got this contact for the academy because his sister is friends with her. We have now heard from her that she is very interested to have her academy be a part of our film. We have arranged our first test shoot with them, in order to get a sense of the area and to meet the animals. This will be the best time to ask any questions I have about the academy in terms of practicality. I've decided a date when I am going to visit the academy for a recce but I want to just visit the place myself and take notes on the site and the possible risks involved with filming there. We are taking up their time on the test shoot day, because of this I don't want to take up their time on another day as well as this because they are a business who need to work. Therefore, the questions will be asked on the first test shoot day.

Below are my questions:

- In terms of dates, are there any days you know you won't be available on or any times we cannot have access to the site or animals?

- How much access can we have to the animals during filming?

- Are you and the staff available for more test shoots?

- How are the animals around cameras / equipment and small groups of people? (It states on the website about their photographer, but it might not be all that it seems so I felt it was best to ask this question, as the health of the owl and the condition of our equipment are very important)

Tess's house
Tess's house is the first location that we use in the story. Tim climbs through a window Tess finds him in her house uninvited. As described in her character profile, Tess is a successful estate agent and she is very clean and tidy. Her house needs to match her personality and character profile. If she is an estate agent, she'll have a nice house anyway, because she should have a good income and if she sells nice houses, she's bound to have one herself. This idea, added to her character being clean and tidy means that her house needs to be the same. For Tess's home I am looking for a well-looked after house so the audience can see that the neat house reflects her personality and character. 

I have found two houses that would be appropriate for Tess. One in Northfleet, Gravesend and the other in New Ash Green, Longfield. 

With the character of Tess in mind, I've decided to go for a house in Longfield. It is located in the small town of New Ash Green and is on a quiet road. It's a fairly big and spacious, ideal for transporting and using camera equipment inside. They have a window that is a good height for the idea of Tim climbing through it. We won't actually see him climb through it but for the audience the idea of him climbing through is realistic with a window his height.

As we are trying to get across Tess's personality in her house, the house needs to be tidy and neat, and the one in New Ash Green is. The reason we've gone for this one rather than the other house in Gravesend is because it's slightly more accessible. There is no difference in the look of both houses as they are both extremely tidy, therefore, it came down to how accessible they were to film in. 

As the house is located in a quiet street, there should be no noise when filming. There may be the odd car drive past but there will be no continuous noise. This would be difficult to remove in post-production so it's best to not have to worry about it at all. 

We still have permission to film in the house in Gravesend so we will have a back up incase anything happens preventing us filming in New Ash Green. 

Sheila's house

Sheila's house is used in the middle of the script for a short period of time. It is used when Luke gives Sheila the dead dog thinking that it's her pet. During this scene we only need Sheila's house from the outside, as Luke talks to her on the doorstep. This seemed easy to start with but in order to film at the front of the house, the area needs to be quite big. Many front gardens are filled with bushes and trees so we needed a house that had a drive or a bigger front garden. 

With these factors in mind, I've decided to use a house in Margate. This house has a drive outside the front which can fit two cars on. Once the cars are off the drive, the space would be quiet big and will be able to accommodate equipment, the cast and the crew. As we will only be filming from the outside, it doesn't really matter what the house looks like inside. This has saved us money on extra props as an elderly person's house can usually be filled with antique ornaments that they may have collected over the years and their homes aren't usually very modern, because they may have lived in them for years. The house we have chosen is quiet modern from the inside so it doesn't look like an elderly persons house. Nevertheless, we are only filming the outside so this won't matter. 

The house we are using is in the photos below. As it is shown in the photos, the drive is rather big once both cars are moved. The homeowner is fine with moving their cars to allow us to film. The area is quiet which will make filming easier. 

Nevertheless, relating back to my research advising that we should always have a back-up. I have also contacted the homeowner of a house in Broadstairs. This house also has a big drive at the front, big enough for two cars. It is unlikely but if circumstances changed with the house in Margate, we have permission to film at the similar house in Broadstairs.

Sheila's house

During the script, before we are introduced to Sheila's house, Tim and Luke are trying to save the dog they've just hit. This is the scene were Sheila comes over to them looking for Sooty, she says that she only lives across the road. We want to be able to see this on the camera, therefore we needed a strip of road opposite this house, and this house has just that.

The photo below shows the strip of road opposite the house. The road is usually quiet which will benefit us while filming. By using this strip of road, we will be able to turn the camera round when Sheila says that she only lives just there and the audience will be able to see that Sheila's house is in fact very close to where they've just hit the dog.

Road opposite Sheila's house

The pub & their car park

Towards the end of the film, we will be watching Tim and Luke sitting in a pub. They will be summarising what happened during the day. While they are talking, Sheila and her son are also at the pub and once they see Tim and Luke, Sheila's son comes up to them and punches Tim after giving Sheila the dead dog and running off. 

I wanted to use a pub that was small and quiet to film our final scene in. My reason for this is that in the film it's the end of the day when everything has calmed down quite a bit, and the last thing we need is them thinking about the day in a loud and busy pub. It's easy to just pick a time when it's not busy but a pub like Wetherspoons is always busy.

Keeping this in mind, I looked around a few pubs near to where I live. I thought it would be best to do this because I can reflect on my past experiences of going there. The pub that came to mind in Margate was The Hungry Horse.

The Hungry Horse is a pub restaurant. It's quite big, it caters for all different age ranges by having an over 18s section with a pool table and fruit machines. Then outside it used to have a play area for children, although now this has been taken out and there is an outdoor dining area. However, the children still have fun running around on the grass patch further down the garden. The bar is located in the middle of the pub, with the over 18s section on one side and the garden area on the other. 

The Hungry Horse
The pub is very spacious, it has an upstairs and a downstairs and the main middle floor. I have been in the building at different times of the day and it is usually busy with either lunch or dinner. They are very popular with the local residents which could prove difficult to film in. The pub is also usually very loud because it's so big, especially in peak times. As the pub caters well for children, there are likely to be children there when we want to shoot, who can also be quiet noisy. 

The lighting in the pub is good during the day, due to the big windows situated around the whole building. These allow the natural light to flood the rooms. The light coloured walls also help this. If we were to film here during the day, the lighting may not even need to be altered by artificial lighting, which is a good thing to note. However, the general look of the pub isn't how I imagined it to be. It's very modern and light but when I found out Alex wanted a pub, I expected a small, cosy dim lit area and I think he expects this too. The Hungry Horse doesn't quite look like how I described. 

Their car park would be perfect to film in because it is very big. It is surrounded by bushes so we wouldn't be overlooked by the public, and we can go towards the bottom to avoid getting close to cars. If we were to film at a quiet time then the car park would be practically empty. 

Although, the car park would be a good filming location I need to think of the inside location as well as the outside. The lighting seems perfect, but the decor and general look of the pub is more important. We can change lighting with help from artificial LEDs, but we couldn't change the look of the pub. Therefore, I don't think that The Hungry Horse would be suitable to film in. After looking properly at the location The Hungry Horse doesn't quite suit that description that we are after.

After establishing the look I wanted from the pub (small, traditional looking, less restaurant type pub), I decided to look into pubs in Canterbury. From personal experience, I know that the city has these in the centre. Some of these pubs include Bramleys, Lady Luck, The Black Griffin and The Cherry Tree. All these locations are small and traditional looking pubs, rather than a big family restaurant. However, I realise that none of these pubs or any of the pubs in Canterbury centre have car parks. This isn't a big issue because we could film in a separate car park due to the two locations being in two different scenes, but for ease it'll be better to use a car park which is next to a pub. As these scenes will be filmed on the same day, it will prevent us from needing to transport the cast and crew elsewhere during the day. 

Lady Luck, The Black Griffin & The Cherry Tree
The Hungry Horse and Lady Luck didn't have the look we wanted so I didn't contact them as their pub wouldn't benefit our film. However, The Black Griffin and The Cherry Tree had more of the look we wanted so I contacted them. They were both happy with us filming there but The Cherry Tree isn't very big so if it's busy then we may not have a lot of room. From previous research I found out that it's better to shoot at a location when they're open so if we followed this, then the room may be too small. The Black Griffin is slightly bigger, but it is on the high street so it's usually busy. I contacted them anyway because we could get around this by finding a time when they are less busy or negotiating with them to film when they're closed. 

After this, as we would still like to film at a pub with a car park near, I kept looking. I looked even further afield than Canterbury. As I know the area of Maidstone better now I've been at University for a couple of years, I thought about the pubs I have been to there with my group of friends. We've been to a couple of Wetherspoons but as I said previously, these would be unsuitable because of the size of them. As a group we have been to The Bell Inn in Bearsted. The Bell Inn is a small and quiet pub. It is dimly lit and has a friendly atmosphere. It also has a car park on the side. This seemed like the best suited pub that I had found for our project so far. As it was looking promising, I gave them a call to see if they would be interested. On the phone I was asked to leave a message for them to get back to me. I included who we were, what our film was about and explained a rough filming time period. That evening the landlord, Nigel, phoned me back and I re-capped on what we wanted to use the pub for. He was really helpful and said that he was more than happy to help us out. They've had another camera crew there before filming Don't Tell The Bride so the staff have experienced being around equipment and crew before. 

He said to just get back to him nearer the time to organise dates, times and what we wanted from the pub exactly. Even though he said this, I will make sure I am consistent when contacting them and will phone him a couple times during the winter break to update him on our project. This will allow me to keep in touch with him because he could lose interest during the months leading up to filming. We will most likely want to test shoot at the pub before the production stage starts and I want to carry out a location recce, in order to be prepared for filming. As soon as I know when they want to test shoot, I will phone the landlord and get him updated. Then when we know the exact shooting dates, I will phone Nigel back and inform him of these.

Although he sounded very committed, if their circumstances change by February, I could consider going back to the previous pubs I looked into situated in Canterbury, and then we could go to a separate car park to film the final scene.

External locations

I have previously explained about one external location, outside Sheila's house. On top of this, we also have another external area. We found the best place for this area to be located is in New Ash Green. This will hold the scene where Tim and Luke pick up the van. 

This location could have been anywhere but we've chosen a house with a drive and the house has an alleyway down the side which we will also be using. Alex described that he wanted a house with a drive to put the Vet Van on with a local alleyway for Tim to walk down once he leaves Tess's house. The houses we thought about didn't accommodate a drive and an alleyway, apart from this one. We gained the homeowners permission and we are allowed to film outside their house and on their drive when it comes to the shooting day.

By having the van on a drive and in a secluded area, the cast, crew and equipment will be safer than being on the road. The isolated area will work with noise levels and will help us stay away from groups of the public. 

This seemed like the perfect place for Tim to appear and walk down to meet with Luke once he’s left Tess’s house. 
I have contacted the Kent Film Office in order to get a permit for filming at these two external locations. We will be filming handheld so the permit isn't essential, but it'll be helpful to have in case we get asked any questions about filming there. With the added fact that we will be filming inside a van and driving it around while filming, the permit will be there for a sense of security if anything happens. 



Hoffman, S. (2011). Choosing The Right Film Location For On-Screen Believability. Available: Last accessed 2nd Oct 2018.

MAJOR PROJECT: Project Evaluation

Production My aim for this major project unit was to further develop the aspects of production which I had written about in the p...