Friday, 30 November 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Producer's Statement

As the producer of VET-MAN, I am in charge of all paperwork and emailing out to cast and crew, but as well as this I have an overall creative decision on what goes on during production. My responsibilities include creating the schedules and call sheets, finding the most appropriate crew and locations, organising the auditions, advertising and marketing VET-MAN and fundraising for it. In addition to this, I also have the final decision on the costumes and props that we use.

The organisational side to producing

The organisational role consisted of arranging everything, this included the auditions, call backs, test shoots and room bookings. Once I had been sent the final story synopsis and character profiles, I was able to create the casting advert. I decided that the best place to put this was on because I had previously heard good things about the website. I initially advertised for five characters, these included Tim, Luke, Tess, Sheila and Pete. However, throughout the pre-production process Pete was removed from the story and the character for Mollie was expanded. Once the two weeks was up and the casting advert had closed we received 32 applications for VET-MAN. They were evenly spread between the three main characters, Tim, Luke and Tess. The next step was for Alex and myself to narrow down the candidates in terms of their location. Due to our low-budget, we only wanted to work with people who lived around Kent or London. Once this was done, we invited 20 people into the Studios for an audition. Throughout the two week period between emailing the successful candidates and the audition week, I ended up rescheduling most of the auditions and we lost a couple of candidates during this time too. Out of the candidates, 7 of them requested to send over self-tapes. This was not ideal but we accepted them so people who could not make it were able to audition. I received 3 self-tapes overall. Due to the option for self-tapes and the people who withdrew, we ended up meeting and auditioning 7 people out of the original 20. Nevertheless, amongst these 7 people, we found our cast. Once the auditions were over, it was my job to keep in contact with the successful candidates and regularly send over relevant information to keep them updated with our progress.

I felt it was necessary to arrange a call back for the chosen cast so they could all meet each other and we could have a run through of the script. However, due to some of them not being able to make it, it had to be cancelled to prevent wasting time with under half of the cast being able to attend. This was not a problem because I was able to email over the forms I was going to give them in person instead.

Organising the test shoots was another one of my jobs. Katie informed me when she felt it was necessary to conduct a test shoot and I filled out the relevant forms, whether they were the risk assessments or room booking forms. Some of the test shoots took place in and around Katie’s house, one was in one of the lecture rooms, a couple were held at The Kent Owl Academy and the final one was held at The Bell Inn. Alex had the contact for the owl academy so he informed the owner of the upcoming test shoots, but I contacted the pub for our lighting test shoot. I did this by phoning the landlord back on the number he gave me. Before I could tell Katie and Alex to go ahead with the test shoot, I needed to fill out the risk assessments appropriately to whichever location they said they were going to. Risk assessments were an essential part of my job role because they informed every one of the hazards involved with filming in certain locations. Each location came with a few risks which needed to be written down. Along with this, I had to state the control method for each one, for example what we would do to prevent this risk from occurring. There were different test shoots which were more dangerous than others, these being test shooting at the owl academy and in The Bell Inn’s car park. Here, we had the risk of filming around animals and cars. These both pose bigger risks than simply filming inside a house.

As well as filling out the risk assessments, I had other paperwork to complete. These included the call sheets and consent forms for the actors. In order to fill out the call sheet correctly, I researched into how important they are. I found that the call sheet is extremely detailed, right down to the weather on the day. As a result of this, I knew how to approach filling out the call sheets for each location. I made sure to fill out every box, including the location for the first aid kit and what props, costume and make-up are expected on the day so the cast are fully briefed on what we expect on the day.

Budgeting for the film was essential because we want to know how much our idea will cost. I researched into different ways to keep the budget low. I found that one of the main points included writing the script as a low budget film. For example, not including any special effects or anything too difficult with vehicles like a high speed car chase or crash. After taking on this advice, I liaised with Alex and made sure that he was keeping the budget down in terms of how the story was going. Once this was sorted, I had to list all the things which would cost money. These included props, costumes, travel and food for the cast and crew. I did not allocate a certain amount of money at the beginning of the unit because we may have gone over it and then felt like we had to get rid of some costs in order to keep the film within our budget. This would not have allowed us to create a successful film. Instead, I added up the costs and came to a total and then I looked at ways to reduce the amount as long as it did not ruin the production of the film. For example, I was able to ask one of the cast members if he was happy to get the train because it was cheaper for us to reimburse train tickets rather than fuel. He was more than happy to do this, and in the end this may work out better because he will not be getting stuck in any traffic on the way to the locations. However, I couldn’t have asked Alex to remove some of the props to save money as this would have had an impact on the look of the film.

To work out our fuel reimbursement, I researched into different companies to see what their rate was. I came to an average of these and made our rate, which in the end was 0.37p per mile. I liaised with Katie and Alex on this because we are the ones funding it so I wanted to check they were happy to give this amount. For the train tickets, I will simply take their receipt and reimburse them the amount that they paid. The majority of the food on the shoot days will be provided by us. I have created a small menu ready to be sent out to the cast, this included dishes such as soup, curry and shepherd’s pie. It was essential to look into warm meals to serve as we will be filming in the cold weather.

Schedules were another important part of my role as producer. I know best what is happening on what date during the shooting period, and it was my job to let everyone else know this information. To do this well, I researched into different schedule examples to see how other television companies have set theirs out. Once I had looked at each section to include and looked into the different types of schedules needed, I started to create my own. The first one was the pre-production schedule, this was something Katie, Alex and myself could follow in order to meet each of our deadlines. This changed throughout the pre-production period and I updated it accordingly. The next schedule was the production schedule. This was for the cast and crew’s benefit so we knew what was happening each day on the shoot. The shooting schedule was a more detailed version of the production schedule as I went through each scene and listed the cast involved, times and dates and what equipment and props were needed. This was also sent out to both cast and crew.

Finally, the post-production schedule was something for just Katie, Alex’s and my benefit because this one detailed the steps we needed to take after the shooting period. This included timetabled tutorials so we knew when we were busy or not. I also added in the different stages of editing and by what date each stage should be completed by. This schedule was set over a couple of months, March to May as this is how long we have to edit the film. Lastly, I added in the preparation time for the final degree screening and the deadline for when the film had to be finished.

The creative side to producing
As well as the organisational role, I also had an overall creative look at the project. This included getting the right locations, crew, costumes and props for our film. These aspects of production could not be underproduced because it would have impacted on the quality of our final film. To start the process of looking for locations, I liaised with Alex to find out what type of areas he wanted to film in. The locations I received from him were an animal sanctuary, two houses, two different external locations and a pub. Alex said he already had a place in mind for the animal sanctuary, but before I agreed I had a look around at some other places which may have been more suitable to be our animal park.

During my research into The Thick Of It, I learnt that we should always have a second option for a location in case something happens to the first one which prevents us from filming there. As a result of this, all the locations I looked into I contacted and asked if they would accept a film crew on their site. This was so if one of our final locations let us down, I had a head start on finding another one because I had contacted them previously. Alex set me up on sourcing the locations by giving me ideas of what he wanted. I knew that my choice of location need a reason behind it to which I could use as my evidence as to why the location was the best one for our film. Due to this, our final locations each have an aspect to them which makes them most suited to our film. For example, The Kent Owl Academy can provide us with access to the owls, and the volunteers are more than happy to help us out. They also have a big wooded area away from the public to make our shoot days that bit easier. The house in New Ash green is neat and well-kept which reflects Tess’s character and personality. In the same area to this is the road and drive. This house provides us with a drive big round the back, big enough to put the Vet Van on. The area is also secluded which will give us privacy when it comes to filming. The house in Margate for Sheila has a big drive on the front, suitable for crew, cast and equipment. Opposite the house there is a strip of road which we are able to film on. This is essential for when Sheila explains that she only lives across the road. The last location is the pub. The pub I sourced is small and traditional and is very quiet during certain times of the day. They have had a film crew there before which is reassuring, and the pub also has a car park to the side where we also have permission to film in.

I conducted a search for each location and found more than one area for each. The locations I chose had that one feature to them that the other locations did not, which made the final choices more appropriate for our film. I was briefed about each location from Alex as he was writing the script so I knew what he was looking for. Knowing what he wanted was essential in order to get the most appropriate location for his story. I had a couple of rejections but this did not stop me from finding the best location.

Another role I had within the creative side was the props. I initially read through the first script draft and listed all the props that we would need for the production of the film. This list changed throughout each script draft because the scenes changed. I knew that Alex wanted the best and most suitable props for our film. If the props are not very good, it could bring the quality of the film down. This role of sourcing the props could not be underproduced. As soon as I had my prop list, I looked online to see where I could find the best looking prop. At this point, it did not matter about the price because we needed the most suitable prop that I could find in order to make our film a success. Whatever Alex wanted, I tried my best to find. Every time I found a prop I liaised with Alex to see if it was what he had in mind. I had to make sure the props were very specific, for example, in the script Tess hands Tim their dad’s old bag with the tools inside. After reading this description, I could not buy a new bag as this would not be appropriate for the film. In the story, the bag has been put away for years after the dad died and he used it for years while he was working as a vet. As a result of this, the bag would be old, possibly ripped with a faded colour to it. I thought that a leather bag would be most appropriate as leather lasts a long time, and because of this it would make the idea of the bag being years old more realistic. It would still be in a bad condition but any other material would not have lasted that long. Due to this, I searched for an old leather doctors bag. I found the exact bag Alex had in mind on eBay, and it wasn’t a bad price either. I followed this structure for each prop and found the best one that I could. Some props weren’t very specific like the bloody tissues. This can be done with any tissue by dabbing it into some fake blood. As we already needed the blood for the scene with the dog, we will be able to reuse this particular prop.

Similarly to this, I had to make sure the costume choices matched the script and character profiles. Our costumes need to be believable so the audience stay interested in the film. Most of the costumes are everyday clothes but they are specific to the story. Alex has stated in the script when Tim and Luke get changed half way through. I had to take note of this and make sure I told the cast the correct clothing that they would need. As most of the clothes are every day, these can be provided by the cast. There are a couple of pieces which we will be getting dirty, like the stain on the hoodie at the beginning, and having Mollie covered in mud to look like she has just finished working with the animals. As a result of this, these clothes will be sourced by us because I could not ask the cast for their clothes and then get them dirty on purpose. I listed all the items of clothing and which we could source and which I could ask the cast for. After this went back online and searched for the best suited clothing items. Some were more specific than others, Mollie needed some leggings to get muddy so I was able to source these in a cheaper high street store. However, Tess needed smart clothing. As she is described as a successful estate agent, she should be on a respectable wage. Due to this, she would have good quality clothes, and I would not be able to source her costume from a low-priced shop in case it looked cheap. As a result of this, I had to look in a higher end shop like Debenhams in order to get the good quality clothing. In addition to this, as Mollie is the owl expert, she needs to look like one rather than being there in jeans and a top. When we were test shooting at the academy, I took a note of what the volunteers were wearing. Their clothing mainly consisted of black leggings, jeans and old trainers or wellies. They also had a fleece with the academy logo on it. To look the part, Mollie will be dressed similar to this. We will source the leggings and boots or trainers, and I will ask for a spare fleece at the academy for her to wear. As we are filming during the cold months, I added a coat to each of the character’s costume lists.

The crew were another important aspect of the production which couldn’t be underproduced. I found out through my research on crewing that all roles on a set are important otherwise they would not exist, therefore they need to be experienced within the job role or at least be interested in it. As producer it was my job to find specific crew members rather than anyone who was available. By having crew members who knew what they were doing, we will be able to get on with our own roles on the filming days instead of trying to help the other members of crew. To source experienced crew, I first looked at the other year groups on the Television Production course to see if they would be interested. I heard back from one person who had experience in sound and was very intrigued by it. I looked through her work and decided that she would be a valuable member of our group.

We were still in need of a camera assistant / runner and a make-up artist to work with the fake blood. I ended up combining the camera assistant role with the runner role because I liaised with Katie and she said that she will not need someone on the second camera the whole time. As a result of this, I felt that having someone purely on the camera would be a waste and while they are not on the camera, they can help me with the food and drinks. I looked at previous videos online from people on our course and looked at who the camera operators and runners were. There were a couple of people who had the same role as camera assistant for some of these films and I liked the look of the work so I thought they may be suitable. However, I emailed them and they never got back to me. As a result of this, Katie suggested someone she knew in the first year. Initially, I looked at her blog and found that she was the cinematographer for her latest group work and that she had a lot of interest in the camera. We got in contact with her and she said he would happily be the camera assistant / runner for VET-MAN. For our final role, I decided that we needed a make-up artist. This was because we attempted a fake blood splatter in the previous project and it did not go as well as we hoped. As a result of this, I felt it was appropriate to get someone who is experienced in working with fake blood as they may have better ideas than us. Katie and Alex both agreed and I started looking around for the most suitable person for our film. I knew someone who studied theatre make-up at college so I immediately got in contact with her. She was unavailable on our shooting dates but she put me in contact with her friend who was available to help us. I looked at her friends work and she has experience in fake blood and prosthetics, therefore, I thought she would be the best fit as our make-up artist. While I was explaining the scene, she was even giving me advice on what instrument would give the best splatter effect. I believe that she will be able to create a realistic blood splatter and black eye which will help raise the quality of our film.

I had to conducted some market research in order to find out our target audience and then which platform they were most engaged by. During the advertising stage, I needed to make sure I was relating back to my market research in order to advertise VET-MAN to the correct people. I chose to advertise on the following social media sites, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. During my research, I found that not every young person has a social media account, and therefore I decided to hypothetically advertise on tubes and buses. Due to our low-budget, I would not have actually been able to do this. My reasoning behind this was that I found a statistic that showed that the biggest age group that get public transport was 18-29, which is also part of our target audience. I created a fundraising poster which I posted in areas where I thought there would be the most young people, this was another aspect of advertising because our social media links were at the bottom of the page so if people wanted to find out more then they could visit our sites. As a result of this, I didn’t feel that it was necessary to create an advertisement poster to go on a wall because I would have posted it in the same places that I posted the fundraising poster.

Throughout every aspect of the production Katie and Alex came back to talk to me. As the producer of the project, I overlooked every part to the film. For example, I was the script editor, so even though Alex was writing the script, I had to look at it and give my feedback. Although, he is the sole writer of this project, his work still had to go through me. I felt confident in taking on the script editor role because I looked into a couple of short comedy films. From this I took advice on what a comedy script should be like and then this gave me points to look out for. Some examples include keeping the story quick and to the point, and to not dwell on something that is not funny. From watching Ghost Family, I realised that they did not hang onto the fact that the boy’s family had just died, instead they got straight back into the comedic aspects of the film. This is the sort of thing that would happen in a dark comedy, which is what our sitcom is. My other research consisted of looking at specific producers rather than the shows. From Charlie Hanson, I learnt the distinct differences between a sitcom and a comedy feature. These differences are other aspects I can look out for when looking at Alex’s script drafts to ensure he is going in the right direction for a sitcom. As the producer, I liaised with Katie and Alex throughout the project to keep me updated on every part surrounding the production. By doing this, I was the source of information for both the cast and crew as I was able to pass the information on from us to them.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Feedback to Script Draft 4

Below is script draft 4:

Script 4 [DIRECT LINK]

Script draft 4 feedback:

Page 2 - The diploma is back. This was first introduced in script draft 1 and was shortly removed. I am glad it's back into the story as it gives an insight into the desperation of Tim because he's gone to the extent of creating a fake diploma. I think Tess's comment about taking the kids to Legoland bounces well off this.

Page 3 - when Tess mentions their dad but only says "even after what happened to dad" and Tim pauses, the audience don't know what's actually happened to the dad. This will build an interest into the father and what happened to him but this is never actually answered in the script.

Scene 2 - The conversation between Tim and Luke is shorter which is good. There is little dialogue and the humour comes across in the body language and facial expressions when Tim sees the van. It's finished nicely by Tim making a comment about the slogan as they drive away.

Scene 2 - The fact that the van doesn't start well shows the audience that the van is dodgy and something bad is about to happen which I think adds to the comedic element of the film.

Scenes 12 & 13 - Not sure as to why Tess isn't inside the pub but then is standing with Tim and Luke outside the pub. The audience may wonder how she's got there. Maybe the scene doesn't need Tess but it would be nice to see her in more than one scene.

Scene 13 - I think the scene drags on a little bit, maybe the less dialogue the better for this scene as the bloody nose and black eye speaks for itself.

Throughout each script draft so far Alex has detailed enough about the story for me to work with. He clearly includes each prop and costume which has helped me choose the most suitable creative aspects to make our film the best it can be. Again, the script draft has improved from the previous one. This is proved by the smaller amount of feedback from the last feedback session.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

PRE-PRODUCTION: Location Developments

As the script has developed, so have the locations. Alex has added in a night scene which takes place in a new location - the car park of The Kent Owl Academy. Both times we visited the academy we parked and walked through the car park.

Filming in the car park can give a bit more to the story than just having Tim and Luke appear at the academy, the audience will want to see the build up to Tim attempting to create a successful career.

I didn't visit the car park again, I thought back to the last time we went there and parked in the car park. It has a lot of uneven ground as it’s similar to a dirt track rather than a flat concrete car park. The academy has a couple of car parks where you can drive into. There’s one especially for coaches, but cars can park around the back of this one. As a result of the academy having more than just the one car park for visitors, we should be able to find a quiet space. We will be filming early in the morning so ideally we will miss the busiest time period for visitors to be entering and leaving the academy.

PRE-PRODUCTION: Risk Assessment & Test Shoot 3

Katie suggested carrying out a third test shoot. I agreed as the more tests we do the better once it comes to the production period. As producer, I created the risk assessment. We want to test out the cameras with different lighting. 

Risk assessment for test shoot 3

Location: Public field in New Ash Green

We wanted to test shoot outside to test the natural lighting with the artificial lighting. As a result of this, we picked a public ground as during the day this should be quite quiet with children being at school and adults at work. 

As usual on a risk assessment, I have to list the hazards and then the control methods to prevent them from happening. I described all of these and after doing so, I decided that this was a low risk shoot. I asked Laura to check it, she agreed that it was a low risk shoot and she signed it. This means that the shoot was allowed to go ahead.

Location: Inside the Bell Inn, Bearsted 

We wanted to take the equipment to one of the real shooting locations, the pub. This was so we could test the artificial lighting inside the building where we will be filming during February. 

After evaluating the risks and control methods involved with filming inside the Bell Inn, I decided that this was a low risk test shoot. Simon checked the risk assessments, and agreed with me that it was a low risk shoot. Therefore, he signed them and said the shoot should go ahead. 

Location: Outside the Bell Inn, Bearsted 

The last scene in the film is shot in the pub carpark. Again, we wanted to test the natural and artificial lighting with the Panasonic. Although this is the same location in terms of it is all being filmed on the Bell Inn's site, one test shoot is being conducted inside the building and one is being done outside the building. As a result of this, they needed two separate risk assessments because they both come with their own risks. For example, inside the building we don't have to worry about moving cars, but we do outside in the car park. 

After looking at the risks and control methods associated with filming outside the location in a carpark, I decided that this is a low risk test shoot. We are filming at 11:30am, during a quiet time for the pub, therefore, there shouldn't be too many cars around. Simon checked the risk assessment, agreed that it was low risk and signed it. Again, this meant that it was able to go ahead. 

Test shoot 3

Test shoot 3 was purely about lighting the locations. Katie and Alex lit Katie's house and outside at the public field. Then the following day, the three of us went to The Bell Inn and lit the inside of the pub and then outside in the car park. We noticed that inside the pub it was very dark on the camera, so this location will definitely need to be lit. We'll be filming this in the morning even though it'll be portrayed in early evening, so we will have the light coming through the windows, however, this wasn't enough. 

Inside the Bell Inn

It was still quite dark on the camera even though we had natural light coming through the window next to the bar and seats. As a result of this, we tried it again with an LED light which brightened the area significantly. I was holding the LED while Alex stood in for the camera and Katie was on the camera. I changed the LED's warmth and brightness accordingly to how Katie wanted it. 

We tried the lighting in different places in that corner of the pub - by the bar (photo above) and on the seats by the barrel (photo below). Alex wasn't quite sure at the time where we wanted Tim and Luke to be sat, which is why we tried both positions. While we were here with Alex he explained where he thinks Sheila and Mark should sit. By having Tim and Luke sat at this barrel table, I have not needed to get extras. The only time we may need them is when we see Mark and Sheila sat at the opposite table as the camera will show a bigger section of the pub. However, there were people sat in the pub when we were there. In order to save money on the budget, I may bring a group of friends to sit around the area of the pub which is in the shot. As this is a very small part where we see the rest of the pub, I don't think extras are essential. 

Once Katie had enough footage to compare which lighting setting was best, we made our way outside into the car park.

Inside The Bell Inn

Outside in the car park was lighter, however we still experimented with the LED aperture light to see whether it would be needed or not for the shoot. Again, I held the lamp and adjusted it accordingly to what Katie wanted. Similarly to before, Alex stood in for the camera. 

We were lucky because we were there early and the car park wasn't full or even busy. As a result of that, we were able to take a spot at the back of the car park to experiment with the lights. By being at the back, the few cars that did enter the car park weren't able to drive by us because there was nothing to go to, as you can see in the photo below. We were stood in front of a fence, so the cars had no reason to come near us. 

We decided that we would like to film in this same spot on the shoot day in February, because of the reasons above. If we film at the same time then we shouldn't have many problems with cars entering the car park. I asked the landlord and he said it was fine to bring cones to place around our area for that extra bit of safety. 

Outside The Bell Inn

Practicality issues:
- While we conducted the test shoot there were a couple of things I noticed about filming here. Inside The Bell Inn there was music playing, this is very normal for a pub open to the public so customers can enjoy music while eating and drinking. The atmosphere may also be a bit awkward if there wasn't any background music. However, in terms of filming the music may be too loud over the actors dialogue. As it's normal to have music playing at a social area we can add in a quiet music track during the edit so the audience believe we are in a working pub. Having a quiet background while filming is best so we can hear all of the dialogue. We asked the landlord if we would be able to turn the music off while we are filming in February and he was more than happy to do this. As we will be filming at a quiet time for the pub, there will be less people in there expecting music. 

- Another issue I found was by the seats where we want Tim and Luke to sit (shown in the second photo) there is a television screen on the wall behind. This may pose as a problem when it comes to filming in terms of reflections. If we aren't careful we may see the crew or Katie with the camera in the reflection of the television. I'm glad we picked this up now because we now know about it when it comes to filming. As Alex will be directing the shots, I will be there to remind him about the television screen so he can place Katie in a different spot away from the reflection. I will also ensure all cast and crew are away from the television screen. 

These were the only two issues I came across during the test shoot, and as we are able to work around these they shouldn't have an impact on filming. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018


As I have a visual view of the film as well organising everything to make the film happen, I am in charge of the props. I know props are important but I wasn't sure exactly how important they are. I carried out some research in order to see how useful the right props can be. Props cannot be underproduced, therefore I will look at this research to see how 

Props are very important because they can change an atmosphere in a scene completely. They can help transport the audience from watching the film on the outside, to in the film with the actors. Some stories are incredible and touching, however, if you don't put enough recognition to the props in your scenes. It can make your audience perceive the story in the wrong way. The importance of props in films are often overlooked. We should keep in mind, visual objects of each film, as important as the story, characters, sound and cinematography. Many aspiring filmmakers simply overlook this factor or they only consider placing props as something in the background, without making them meaningful to the scene or not appropriate enough. 

Photo from

The photo above shows a film Have A Nice Day compared with two other films, Horrible Bosses and Anger Management. From the screen shots of each film, it is clear to see what films would be more engaging to the audience due to the amount of props. In Have A Nice Day, the desk and computer could have been anywhere, but we can see that the desks in Horrible Bosses and Anger Management are set in offices. Even if the desks are on a set rather than in a real office, it still looks more believable as an office area. The amount of props that are on the desk in Horrible Bosses and Anger Management is what makes it more realistic. It is clear that the production team did their best to get as many props on the table as they could. We believe that desks at work are messy as they are usually covered in a lot of paperwork. The amount of props on these desks can help enhance the performances of each character, and make them look more conceivable. 

Have A Nice Day looks very flat and lifeless. The scene is very plain which makes it difficult for the audience to focus on the plots and build the emotional bond. Characters can be given a prop that gives a lot of meaning about the character itself. However, in Have A Nice Day, it's harder to see an object that get characterise them. 

Props need to add their purpose to the scenes, and they shouldn't be there to just fill empty spaces or for decoration. Some props are used for decoration but there should be some which add to the story.

My thoughts:
- Props need to be considered carefully before they are put in a scene. They need to be there for a reason not to just fill a space. While reading through the script and making notes on the props we need, I will make sure I record everything that I could put into the different scenes to help bring them to life.

- Too many props must be better than too little.

- I will look around at different props in order to get the best ones which are most appropriate for our film no matter what the price. The look of the film is most important in terms of props. I will be able to reduce the budget in other ways, however taking away props in order to save money will hinder the aesthetic of the film which will bring the quality of it down.

As Alex is further into the script drafts, I can start securing my props list. I started a props list on script draft 1, but with the script changing over each draft the props have been changing. By looking at the script, a lot of the props can be sourced from either Katie, Alex or myself, but there are a few I'll need to buy.

Below are the props that are needed to create VET-MAN:

Props to add to the costume

Tess's briefcase 
We first see Tess when she gets home from work. She works as an estate agent and her character is very neat and tidy. As she works in sales she'll need to carry her paperwork to and from work. As she has to wear smart clothing, a briefcase is an appropriate bag for her job. Tess is very neat and we see this within her home and the condition of her clothes. This also means her briefcase will need to be in a good condition as well. In order to get one of these is to buy a new one. If we were able to source one ourselves, it wouldn't be in as good condition as a new one would.

As briefcases are usually an accessory for a man to have, I need to make sure Tess's bag is more feminine rather than a man's bag. Being a women, Tess would have a women's briefcase. I looked at a couple of women's briefcases but they all looked very manly. The bags pictured below were the best type of women's briefcase / laptop bag that I came across. Other bags just looked like a casual everyday handbag which wouldn't be appropriate for a work bag. The bag below can also hold a laptop which is something an estate agent would use to send emails and arrange house viewings with their customers.

Women's laptop bag / briefcase

Old doctors bag
Tim visits Tess at the beginning of the film because he is looking for his fathers old tool bag. This tool bag is very old as Tim's father used it when he was younger and worked as a vet. To help establish this to the audience, I need to source an old worn doctors holdall. Leather will be the best material for this because it lasts longer and we want to bring across the point that the bag is very old. As we want an old, well-loved bag, it will need to be a preowned / used bag that someone is selling, rather than looking in the shops for a new one. Websites such as eBay, Amazon and Etsy would be the best places to look for a bag of this description, as these online shops allow people to sell what they want. High street stores would not be appropriate because they sell new and modern accessories. 

The bag I have in mind is the one in the first photo out of the three below. 

Old doctors bag / holdall 

Household props

Dust pan and brush 
Tess uses a dust pan and brush to clean up the vase that Tim accidentally breaks. A dust pan and brush is a normal household item that anyone would have in their house, as a result of this it doesn't have to be a specific dust pan and brush. I have one that I can bring to the shoot. By bringing my own, I will be saving money on the budget. 

Dust pan and brush

Cup of tea
While Tim is visiting Tess, she walks back into the living room with a cup of tea. The house we are filming in for this scene will have cups available for us to use. As Tess's house is very modern, I would expect a modern looking cup rather than a small, old-fashioned teacup that an elderly person may have in their home. Pictured below are a couple of examples of modern cups, and the sort of pattern I would expect for a more contemporary look. These cups will also add to the neutral aesthetic of Tess's house.

Examples of modern cups

Two breakable vases
While Tim is at Tess's house he accidentally breaks a vase by throwing a blanket towards it on the table. As we will be breaking a vase we cannot use one that someone owns. We will need to buy a new one. We will probably want to try breaking the vase a couple of times to practice the action of throwing the blanket towards it, to see how it breaks after the blanket hits it. As a result of this, I will buy two vases so we can practice the breaking the vase more than once. The vases don't have to be any in particular. They could be made out of a thin material in order to break easier. If the vase doesn't break then we won't have anything for Tess to clean up with the dust pan and brush. 

I looked into vases that break easily with the intention of finding advice about what type of material would break easily. While I was doing this research I found out about 'breakaway objects'. These are fake objects that can be used in films to hit someone with without hurting them, therefore they break easily. A breakaway vase would ideal for this situation as it would hopefully break easily once it falls off the table. I will use a cheaper vase first as this may work just as well. If it's really cheap it may be made of bad material, rather than thick sturdy material  and then break easily anyway, rather than a thick sturdy vase. 

Before buying the vase I thought back to when I visited the house for a recce to what their colour scheme was. Our character Tess is very neat and organised and we want her house to reflect this. Therefore, the vase would have to match the decor of the house. If the main colour in the living room was blue, and I brought a pink vase then it wouldn't fit in with the colour scheme of the room. The colour scheme in the living room is light and moderate, with the darkest tone is the brown fireplace. Because of this, I could really get any colour vase. As the colour scheme is made up of neutral tones, I will avoid bright colours as it will stand out too much. I can also imagine them having a modern pattern on them to match the neutral, contemporary house. Below are examples of vases that I have in mind:

Examples of modern vases

Tim looks into a mirror in the living room of Tess's house when he tries to get the stain out of his shirt. A mirror is a normal object to have in a living room for most people. The location we are filming in for Tess's house has a mirror in the living room so we will be able to use this one. The mirror that is already situated in the living room is pictured below:

We will be removing the two photo frames and the vase that are in front of the mirror when it comes to filming the scene.

Tim tries to clean the stain on his shirt by rubbing it with a blanket. He then throws the blanket and it knocks a vase off the side table. As we will be using the blanket to rub a potentially wet stain, this could then stain the blanket. As a result of this, we will need to buy a new blanket as we wouldn't want to ruin anyones own blanket. Because we will be getting the blanket dirty, we only want a cheap one. 

Again, the colour of the blanket would need to match the colour scheme in the living room. As I have already established that the colours is the living room are made up of beiges and browns, a neutral colour blanket would suit the room well, and look as if it had always been there. The coloured blankets in the photo below would be suitable for the colour scheme of the living room.

Grey blanket from Primark Home

Extra props

Phone & road map
Luke looks at his phone when he is looking at directions to The Kent Owl Academy when they run over the dog. This can easily be created by Luke looking at his own phone or one of ours. To make it more believable we can use an iPhone and get maps up with the directions to the owl academy on it. 

Luke is also holding a road map. These can be sourced from any supermarket, to keep the idea of them searching for the owl academy believable, I will find a map that focuses on the Maidstone area.

Two screwdrivers
After Tim and Luke run over the dog, Tim believes he can save him. He asks Luke for the tools, but Luke picks up two screwdrivers instead. As it states that he picks these up in the script, it means we will see them on the camera. Therefore, they need to be given as much thought as the other props. After this line, Luke asks if he wants a phillips or a flat-head. As a result of this piece of dialogue, one of the screwdrivers must be a phillips and the other must be a flat-head. 

Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers

Pet food bowl
When Sheila goes hunting for her cat, Sooty, she is seen holding a food bowl. In the story, she is holding the owl with the hope of luring Sooty out from wherever he's hiding. This prop doesn't have to be anything special, just as long as it is a small food bowl, fit for a cat. As the audience don't know that Sooty is a cat until Luke visits Sheila and tells her the bad news, the food bowl shouldn't have anything on it that associates it with a cat. Otherwise the audience may get confused or predict what is about to happen. If it is obvious that the food bowl is for a cat then it would be likely that Tim and Luke would see this and realise she is looking for a cat and not a dog and then the story wouldn't play out as it should. As a result of this, to avoid any confusion or continuity errors the food bowl should be plain.

Alex has a spare food bowl that we can use as he has pet cats. 

Bin bag & something solid for inside
Luke delivers the dead dog to Sheila in a bin bag. The bin bag was simple to source as I have a roll of these at home. However, thinking of something to pretend to be the dog was slightly harder. We thought of using an old piece of carpet that one of us may have lying around in attics or sheds. As we want to use an old piece of carpet we should be able to cut it to whatever size we feel appropriate for the size of our dog. 

Luke gives Sheila a tissue when she gets upset about her Sooty. Tissues are another prop that doesn't require much thinking about. We can source a pack of tissues from any supermarket for a cheap price.

Bloody tissues
At the end of the show in the pub car park, Tim is seen holding a bloody tissue to his face after being punched by Sheila's son. We can use a tissue from the pack that Luke gave to Sheila in order to keep the amount of props that we need down. We can cover the tissue in the same fake blood that we use for when Tim operates on the dog in the back of the van. 

Empty Kleenex box/packet
Tess explains that she has no tissues left for Tim to wipe his face with after getting punched. In order to let the audience believe we didn't use the same pack of tissues from before, it will be wise to buy another pack of tissues. Alex also states in the script that these are branded Kleenex tissues, so to bring his vision to life I will source this exact brand of tissues. 

Vets props / equipment 

Latex gloves & a surgical face mask
As Tim is a vet, it is essential to show that he has real hygiene equipment. This will help bring the idea of Tim the vet to life and make his character more believable to the audience. As part of his vet costume, he'll need specific props that real vets would have. Latex gloves are one of them. He uses these first when he operates on the dog. By having these props in his van he is one step closer to making the audience believe he is a real vet. 

He also needs a surgical face mask. There are different types of face masks so I will ensure I will get the correct one. Builders wear face masks as well as doctors and vets. However, these masks are different. Builders masks are usually made from a harder material for safety, as they protect the mouth and nose from dust and building materials. If a piece of material was to fall onto their face, the hard mask will protect them. On the other hand, doctors and vets have soft masks for hygiene reasons, they protect their patients from bacteria passing onto them. This can be done by someones breath hitting someone else as they may be carrying an illness they didn't know about, the soft barrier stops this. 

I will make sure I source a surgical face mask in order to get the correct one for our project.

Syringe, scalpel and stethoscope 
As our sitcom is about a vet, in order to make it believable the audience need to see his surgical tools. There are many tools that a vet would have but the ones described in the script are a syringe, scalpel and stethoscope. Therefore, I need to source these as props for the vet. We have a stethoscope and syringes from the previous project so the only tool I need to source is a scalpel. 

I have shopped around for scalpels and the majority of results I came across were art scalpels for clay making and crafting. In order to make our vet believable he needs a surgical scalpel. I made sure to search for a surgical scalpel in particular and I came across the blue one in the photo below. This is the one we want to use in the film.

Vets tools

Fake blood
As our sitcom is dark and gory, a lot of fake blood will be needed. We used this in the previous project and we still have a lot left over so we will not be needing to source this again. 

'Vet Van' & keys
The van is a big part of the film. It is the biggest item that we'll need for the film. Alex's grandad is lending us his van for the project. This has saved a lot of money because it would be very unlikely that we would be able to afford to hire a van for the shooting period. The keys will come with the van so the whole time we have the van, we will have the keys. 

Vinyl transfer sticker
On the side of the van, Alex has planned to write a slogan, then by opening the side door, it will reveal something rude. To do this to a professional standard, I have looked into the best way to apply slogans and graphics to a vehicle, and how to create the slogan for the best results.

The most common mistakes people make when creating the print for the van are putting too much information on it - less is more. Another mistake is getting the proportions wrong, resulting in a distorted or blurry picture. We have different options of getting large vinyl stickers and cutting them ourselves or sending off for our slogan and when it comes back it'll be ready to stick on the van. We will most likely go with the idea of sending them off, so we will have to keep in mind what size we want them.

In terms of colour, recommended is black with two accent colours. These are more engaging with the public for advertising the service. Our main colour of the slogan is black, and our graphic is of Tim so that will be a mixture of a few different colours.

The best place to put the most important information, which is usually the contact number, is on the side and back of the van. This will allow pedestrians walking by and vehicles behind the vehicle to see the number. We had already thought about a contact number on the side of the van, but I hadn't thought about putting it on the rear of the vehicle, so I will keep this in mind when ordering the design.

If the vans sole purpose is for the business then a permanent slogan and graphic will be appropriate, but if the van is only being used as a temporary measure then removable graphics are essential. As our van is only being Tim's 'Vet Van' for a short amount of time, we will want a removable slogan. This is why we want to use stickers rather than paint, as stickers can be peeled off. Paint would be harder to remove. 

Alex has found the website he wants to use, called and has designed an example logo.

Fake owl
The script states that we are punching an owl. As a result of this, it was obvious that we needed a fake owl because we are not intending to harm any animals while making this film.  I searched online to find a fake plush owl, but in the end it was Alex who found this prop. He sent me the link and I looked into it further to see if it was practical. It originally came as a owl wool and sewing kit and we had to put it all together in order to get our final prop. It turned out rather well, and in comparison with the real owl we are using the size difference wasn't bad either. 

We have already brought the owl and used it in a test shoot. It withstood the punches well and is in a good condition. As a result of this, we will be using the same owl in the real shoots. This will prevent us having to buy a new one. By already testing it, it has given us an insight on how durable it really is. Now we know that it should withstand the final shoots as well, without having to source another one in the middle of the filming period. 

The owl is also completely made up of wool, no hard material in the middle. Therefore, it will be safe for our actor for Tim to punch without harming himself.

Our fake owl

Leather gauntlet 

During the test shoots with the owls, we've been using their leather gauntlets as they already have them to hand. We have permission to use their gauntlets during the real shoot also because we are using their birds. 

Fake black cat

After we see Tim and Luke speed off when they realised that Sooty is a cat and not a dog, we next see a cat sleeping peacefully down the road. As we found in the previous project, real animals are hard to work with. Owl's are more obedient but cats are not. We wouldn't be able to get a real cat to sit still for us and because of this it is best to get another fake animal. Similarly to the owl, I need to find a plush cat prop which looks realistic. I had a look online and found a couple of options which are pictured below. In the first photo is of a cat ornament and it is made from a resin material so it has a hard texture to it. This cat looks realistic but the closer you get the more it looks like an ornament rather than a fluffy plush. As real cats are soft and fluffy, I think we'll need this texture for the camera. It'll make it look more realistic if the audience can see the soft fur on the cat. 

The second photo is of a black cat, however because the cat is completely black with no marks on it, and you cannot see it's face very well as the eyes are shut. As a result of this, from a distance I think it could be anything, and it doesn't look very obvious that it's a cat. Then I came across the last photo. This is a black and white cat, the head is in a better position so you can see it well from the front, and the white marks make it stand out a bit more. From a distance, the audience will know it's a cat, and close up you'll be able to make out the fluffy and soft fur, making it more believable as a cat.

The third photo is of the cat we will be using.

Different fake cats

Owl food
During the film, the audience watch the owls being fed dead chicks. These will be supplied by The Kent Owl Academy because they know best what the owls eat. Having the audience see this also adds to the believability of Tim. It can also act as a educative part of the film as well as a bit gruesome, because it's not common knowledge to know what owls eat, so the audience can also learn something new during the film.

Tim hands Mollie a leaflet about himself and the services he can provide. To keep the believability of the film, I will need to create this rather than using any leaflet that I have to hand. If the camera shows this long enough the audience will be able to see what's on it. As a result of this, the leaflet needs to be genuine. 

On the right is an example leaflet I have created. For the shooting period I will be able to update the photo to one of our actor for Tim. He was unable to make the call back so I wasn't able to get a photo of him. Nevertheless, this example shows the layout I would expect to see on Tim's leaflet. His name, VET-MAN, a good photo of him in uniform looking professional and then his motto underneath: 'We love animals, small or large. From cats to cockerels. We care! Then his contact number. Inside the leaflet would have a list of his services to the animals, and possibly some made up good reviews about his work.

When the fake owl gets punched to the ground, we want feathers coming off it and falling down after the bird. We realised this looking back at the test shoot footage and we thought it was missing something. The owl we will be using is white with a few brown feathers on its back. I started looking at different white feathers and I found all different types. The ones I felt were most appropriate were goose feathers as these are most similar to owl feathers. The goose feathers are shown in the first photo and a standard craft feather is in the second photo below. Out of these two white feathers, I felt the goose feathers would work better. Then I came across the beige and brown feathers. I thought that the feathers would look better if they were a couple of different shades of beige and brown instead of plain white. As a result of this, we will be going for the feathers in the third photo, but taking the dark brown feathers out as the colours on our bird are quite light. 

Different types of feathers

Two pints in the pub

At the end of the film in the pub, Luke and Tim are talking about the days events. The script states that they have two pint glasses in front of them. Tim has an almost empty pint glass and Luke has a mostly full half pint of fruity cider. We will be buying these from the pub and emptying them accordingly to match the description in the script. 

Seisenov, D. (2017). Importance of Movie Props. Available: Last accessed 20th Nov 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...