Monday, 6 May 2019

MAJOR PROJECT: Comparison of Finished Work from Original Research & Plans


I thought it may be beneficial to reflect back over the project as a whole to see how it has developed from original research and plans to how it has ended up. As I have taken on two roles throughout the project, I have split the comparisons up as two sections. I have already compared some aspects of the project such as the budget and the post-production schedule, these will be found in blog posts Final Budget and Development of Post-Production Schedule.


The props I had first noted down after reading through the first draft of the script decreased to the amount we actually had on during production. Below is the first prop list compared with the final prop list:

The first prop list contains 33 items while the final prop list only contains 29. This shows that the number of props we needed only went down by 4 items. Although this is a comparison against the first and last prop list, this number fluctuated throughout the project as I added and took off props according to the latest script draft. I constantly changed the number of props throughout pre-production and production to ensure I had the correct number of items we would need for filming. We decreased in the amount of props needed by the shooting period, however, some of these props changed completely throughout the development of the project. For example, when the the shoot weeks came we didn't need the hammer, blanket and door lock for the owl enclosure, but we needed photos of Skevy and photo frames and a USB stick. These changes to the props were all achievable and they helped add to the believability of the story, for example, having the idea of Skevy's photos to signify the older, more successful sister. These simple props gave more background information about the characters to the audience.

In the list above the first set of props are what stayed the same from pre-production through to production. The props after the gap on the first prop list are the ones that were taken out of the script and therefore, off the list. The items after the gap on the final prop list were added into script drafts and were kept in the story. 


The costume with the characters stayed the same from when we planned that they were going to wear to what they actually wore during production. Alex and I agreed that Luke should be wearing lighter coloured clothing so show his innocence and Tim wearing darker coloured clothing to show a contrast. We decided exactly what they would wear at the script read through as we were able to talk to both Ed and Dan in person to see what sort of clothing they had.

Becky's costume stayed the same throughout pre-production and into production as her clothing was quite obvious for her role in the film. She played Mollie who is the owner of The Kent Owl Academy. Playing this role meant that she had to look like the employees at the academy. I took note of this and explained to her the costume requirements at the script read through. All she needed was black leggings or jeans, boots and something warm for her top half, as we had sourced her a Kent Owl Academy fleece on the shoot day. 

Skevy's costume also stayed the same throughout planning and shooting. As she is a successful estate agent we wanted her in smart clothing. Although the days we were shooting could have been her days off from work in the story, we wanted to establish her character in the scenes she was in. As she was only in the two scenes for a short period of time, this meant we wanted her wearing her smart clothes of the duration of her time in the story. 

Sue was able to wear whatever she wanted, all we asked for was that it was something she would wear as everyday clothes. As a result of this, I didn't speak to Sue again about specific clothing until it came to the re-shoot. For this, I asked her to wear the same clothes she did in the shoot week incase we wanted to use some of the initial footage we captured. The minimal clothes advice went for Al as well. I explained that he could wear anything he wanted with the only requirement of wearing a leather jacket to help establish the biker / intimidating look we wanted from Mark. As result of the costumes staying the same as we planned, apart from the extra costume for Mark, I believe these aspects of the final film matched up with our initial plans quite well. 


We gained a cast member in between pre-production and production with Al. Sue suggested him to us. Previously, we were going to have Alex's dad stand in for Mark as it is not a speaking role and we just wanted a big built male for Tim to feel intimidated by. However, we were glad to welcome Al so we had a full professional cast. The only requirement I wanted from Al was that he was tall. I found out that he was 6 foot 1in which we believed to be tall enough for Mark. Apart from the additional cast member, all other cast stayed the same throughout pre-production and production. This was beneficial because Alex and I didn't have to look for more cast members throughout production. I believe that keeping the cast members on board was my responsibility and I feel that I did a good job in keeping them up-to-date and interested in the project. I can only imagine the extra work we would have had to put in trying to find new cast members if they didn't stay on board so I am very grateful that they did.


Similarly to the cast, I gained a couple of additional crew members. I recruited Harriet as on-set dresser and Gina as photographer. This was recommended to me before production so we could concentrate on our own roles rather than concerning ourselves with prop and set dressing and taking promo photos. I am glad I took on the advice in the end because it was helpful during filming to not have to worry about the location set up or taking the photos. There were a couple of days when we didn't have Gina, however, these were minor locations such as Tess's house. I still took a few photos to put into the blog post but I took a significantly less amount than what Gina took on the shoot days when she was present. This explained the importance of a photographer on the shoot days because I just didn't have the time to take photos and then before we knew it, the day was over and the opportunity for photos had disappeared. In addition to this, Harriet also benefited us on location. Having her on hand to sort the props by making sure they were back in place for the next take meant that we didn't have to stop and move the prop if we had forgotten to reset it before. I can imagine that we all would have been too busy to remember where a prop was to start with until the character came to use it and it wasn't there.

Unfortunately, the crew I mentioned in the pre-production package changed throughout the production period. Previously, I stated that we would have Alix and Katthaliya throughout the production period, but in the end we only had them for about 4 days of production rather than 6. Fortunately, I was able to get other students from our University course to stand in as sound operators and runners. We still benefited from this as they knew what they were doing with the equipment due to taking the same course as us. Although we didn't have Alix and Katthaliya for the duration of the shooting period, we always had someone on sound who knew what they were doing which meant we could still concentrate on our job roles. The runner role could be completed by anyone, however, on all of the shoot days apart from one we had someone who was on our television course.


The locations all stayed the same from the pre-production package apart from one. I was advised at the beginning of the unit to look elsewhere for a location for the dog hit to take place on. The initial location wasn't quite right and there was no reasoning behind my decision which I agree with. As a result of this, I looked at a few more locations which were more suitable and I showed Alex photos of each one to get his opinion. We agreed on the road of St. Mary's Avenue which ended up being a suitable mix between residential and rural which is what Alex wanted. 

In the pre-production unit, I was unsure on the location of Tess' house as we weren't confirmed to be able to use it. However, I thought positively and we were able to use the house. This was beneficial as I didn't have to look for another house to film in.

As I said previously, all location apart from the one stayed the same. We got what we wanted out of them as well, for example, we wanted the house for Sheila as it had a big drive, big enough for the crew and equipment. We liked Tess' house for the neatness and well kept aspect of it which worked well with Tess' neat and tidy character. The features of these two houses were requirements from the beginning and we managed to keep these locations through until production. As all the locations, apart from one, stayed the same and as a result of this, I believe that our final film matched up with our initial plans well.


There was quite a big change from the initial budget I created to what we spent by the end of production. Although there were big changes, I believe I improved the budget. As a result of this, the changes were very positive a because we needed each change to ensure we could create the best film possible. I didn't include every single outgoing in production that was possible, for example, van insurance for re-shoots. This was purely down to not realising every aspect we would need to cater for until it happened. This led us to have to put more money into the budget to pay for the re-shoots, voice over day and GV pickups. I started by calculating a budget of £1,500 and in the end we spent £1,680. As a result of this, the plans which created the budget didn't quite match up with the end product as we had to spend more to get to this stage.


As the individual producing aspects stayed the same for the majority of the time, I believe my research also stayed the same. From pre-production to production, I only developed and improved my research, rather than changing the idea and having to research again about it. The only time I repeated research may have been to look into editing, I briefly mentioned this in the pre-production unit, and explained how I would be the offline editor while Katie is the online editor, however, this changed when it came to post-production as we referred to ourselves as rough and fine cut editors. I learnt the comparison between offline and online and that it differs to rough and fine cutting. Throughout the course we have known to do rough and fine cuts so it made sense to follow these titles into the major project. 


During production we changed a couple of lines and actions from the script as they simply felt more suitable when the characters were in the moment. Ed was really helpful in giving advice towards the film, he would constantly suggest different lines to say which helped the story flow and some of these lines were more amusing than what was written in the script. We were open to suggestions so some of the lines are different to what was in the script to what is now in the film. Some of the lines Ed changed were:
- "young padawan"
- "the game is a foot"

In the script we hadn't referenced why Tim and Luke got changed. We realised this and added to their lines, so Tim's line was originally - "there's not much else we can do now is there? And I can't go around looking like Patrick fu*king Bateman, can I? Besides, it's your fault, you distracted me" - whereas now he explains - "I can't go around looking like Patrick fu*king Bateman can I? I need to get changed. Besides..." - although we realise now that getting the characters changed wasn't the best idea, our main priority was that the story flowed smoothly and we though that it would be odd to see the characters in different costumes without referencing it. We did the same with Luke by getting him to say - "I'll get my coat" - after Tim hits his arm with his blood stained hand, rather than originally described in the script as a direction where Luke 'looks down at his sleeve which now has a big bloody patch on'. 

In the script, Tim is looking at his photo in scene 6 when Luke runs back to the van after his encounter with Sheila, instead as we had to reference the characters getting changed, we positioned Tim with the scrubs in his hands at the back of the van. When Luke runs by, Tim throws the clothes in the back and speeds off in the van. Also in this scene, the script describes the cat as 'curled up in a bush'. In the main shoot week we had the cat across the road under a garden gate, and in the re-shoot and final take we have the cat sat under a car. We changed the line in the script accordingly because we realised we didn't have a bush close enough to put the cat under. Fortunately, this wasn't a big amendment and it didn't take any production values away from the story. 

Scene 10 changed significantly to the original plan in the script due to the unexpected sensor light turning on and off whenever someone walked past it. As the light was next to the enclosures it was difficult to stop it from turning on. The script initially suggested Luke simply running down to the enclosure, drugging the owl and then returning to Tim before running off. However, we had to change this on the shoot. We had to play the sensor light into the film by Luke becoming startled by it and running faster to the enclosure. Shortly after this he emerged from the enclosure and ran off with Tim. During one of the takes, Ed suggested giving silly hand signals to Luke as there wasn't any dialogue to this scene. This looked really good and added to the comedy in the film at the time. 

The script initially described the dead owl as laying 'in a pile of blood and feathers', and along with this the owl was meant to 'twitch'. From the start this was going to be difficult to create. During the shoot day, instead of seeing the fake owl on the floor our runner sprinkled feathers over the top of the camera. The camera was facing Mollies angry face, which then prompts the idea of her punching Tim. We decided against seeing the fake owl on the floor because it would be revealed to the audience as a fake owl and we want to keep the believability of the film throughout. By shooting the aftermath of the owl punch in this way, it also gave us a reason not to show the owl 'twitch' as this would have been difficult to create as well.

In scene 12, the script paints the picture of Tim taking a second sip of his drink after saying - "look here you old bag" - and before - "you're not Sheila" - whereas on the shoot day, the action of Tim getting up off the seat and swinging round to face Mark worked well as a whole movement, rather than breaking it up with a sip of his drink in the middle. The effective swinging movement worked really well and allowed the take to flow better, which is why we changed to this from the original script.


I created the rough cut of the film which meant that I had to get it to a standard of what it may look like by the end of the project. Creating the rough cut meant that I was responsible for the visuals and making sure they matched what was already planned in the script and storyboard, or changing it so the story flowed better in a different order to what was already planned. As I didn't work as the editor throughout the entirety of the project, I can compare the edit in two ways, one from the initial plans through the storyboard and script, and the other, comparing the edit from the first rough cut to my third rough cut, to then the final piece.

I believe the edit represents the script quite well as the structure didn't change from the progression from script to screen. The main scenes displayed in the script are the same scenes that are in the edit and they are in the same order as well. Throughout production we developed a few aspects to the story with the additional GVs. We refined the edit and cut out some shots that weren't benefiting the story, however the GVs and voice overs were the only things that weren't included in the script before production. This was something that was considered after watching the edit and seeing how it transitioned from one scene to the next. Although the story structure didn't change much from pre-production to the end of the project, the rough cuts I created vary slightly. I refined a lot from the original script, the final script finished at 19 pages which means the film should have been at about 19 minutes in length. However, as we are creating a comedy, the editing needed to be fast paced and choppy to help get the humour across successfully. Due to this, I cut down the edit quite significantly to 16 minutes and 26 seconds in my final rough cut. The fine cut got the film down to about 15 minutes 33 seconds. Altogether we shaved off nearly 4 minutes from the original production script (latest draft). The first rough cut was purely about getting the footage onto the timeline in the correct order to see if it worked or not. Although we needed a re-shoot and some additional GVs, the general tone of the film worked. We agreed that the structure was there and the story progressed from scene to scene. 

Reflecting back on the script (draft 8), I made minor changes throughout each rough cut to take the story from as described in the script to the final film. We shot scene 1 with Tim picking up the framed photos of his sister, however this changed over the course of the rough cuts so he just looks at the frame rather than picking it up. By cutting it like this, I was able to make the sequence quicker and flow better, we were able to move onto the main focus of this scene - printing out the fake diploma. With the same idea in mind, I also refined scene 2. The script describes Luke shutting the side door on the van before getting into the passenger side, however, I realised I was watching someone close a door and get into a van which wasn't essential for the story. As a result of this, I cut from Tim's disappointment towards the slogan on the van, to both characters sitting in the front of the van ready to drive away. Again, this shaved off a couple of crucial seconds making the edit faster paced. In scene 3, the script describes Sheila only calling for Sooty once, when in the edit I prolonged this slightly to help build the tension of the surgery scene. This scene was the one exception I made to hold the shot rather than feel the need to cut quickly for the comedy aspect. When Tim puts his hand on Sheila's shoulder her facial expression is really impressive and she looks horrified. Due to this expression bringing the comedy to this specific shot, I felt that it would be more comedic to hold the shot rather than cut back and fourth between Tim and Sheila. The cuts weren't evident in the script, however, this shot was significant as it was the only time I didn't obey the quick cutting rule for the comedy.  

In scene 8 when Tim and Luke first meet Mollie, there is a lot of 'to and fourth' between the owl Mollie is feeding and Luke. This sounded effective in the script to bring across Luke's hatred of owls, however, it didn't quite work in the edit because the conversation stopped. Firstly, I tried having the conversation with Tim and Mollie over the top of the reverse shots of the owl and Luke, however, there wasn't enough time to for Tim and Mollies shots as well and they are the people talking so it was necessary to see them. As a result of this, I cut the scene down slightly by minimising the amount of times I cut back to Luke and the owl, instead I focused more on the conversation between Tim and Mollie and cut to see Luke's reaction of the owl once or twice.

The hand signals in the night scene (scene 10) were difficult to see on the edit due to filming it at night with limited artificial lighting. As a result of this, I completed the first edit with the hand signals included, before cutting them out by the final rough cut. They added humour to the story but as they were difficult to see, this took away from the comedy and therefore, didn't add anything productive to the story which meant I had to make the decision to cut them out. This did benefit the film as it shaved off a few seconds. In this case, the hand signals weren't in the script and they weren't in the final edit so it's as if they were never thought of. I felt that it was important to highlight this to show the development process I went through in production and into the edit from the script. In addition to this, the script describes Luke meeting back with Tim and they both run off, I ended up cutting the scene when Luke enters the owl enclosure as it wasn't really adding anything to the story of Luke running back up the path to Tim. 

The final scene was described in the script as watching the van reverse out of the parking space and out of the car park. However, when it came to the edit, this manoeuvre seemed pointless as it didn't add anything to the story. As a result of this, I cut the film at Tim's reaction of Luke's - "what does it taste like?". Cutting on the reaction shot is more amusing for the audience rather than finishing the film on a long winded shot of a van driving around, which is why I made this choice in the rough cut. During the post-production stage, Alex and I held a voice over day. This was to record dialogue to be used at different parts of the film. We wanted some over shots of the van, and Alex came up with the idea of having a short conversation between Tim and Luke to be put over the credits. At this point we were moving away from the idea of music but we needed something for the end credits. As a result of this, we thought that Ed and Dan could improvise a funny conversation for the audience to enjoy whilst reading our credits, and we received this on the voice over day.

The rest of the edit simply needed refining rather than cutting bits out completely. Comparing the edit to the script is beneficial. It's interesting to see how a script works and then the same story and scenes don't work as well in the edit. My changes were minimal compared to what could have been changed. Fortunately, I didn't have to change the structure of the edit and the general tone of the film worked well. 

I believe that the final product matches up with the initial plans we made quite well. Reflecting back on to the different aspects of producing, there wasn't a lot of change from initial plans to when it came to production and editing. I believe that means that we planned the film really well. All locations, apart from one, stayed the same. All costumes stayed the same to the initial mood boards I created in the pre-production package. The props may have changed the most over the course of the project because these developed with each script draft. The biggest change may have been the budget, as we overspent by £180. 

In addition to this, I believe having the creative control over each shoot day by being on hand for the director, and checking shots and coverage were as initially envisioned, helped create a final product that matches up with our original ideas. If I didn't take on the creative side to producing and didn't have a list of shots to obtain on each shoot day, our final product may not resemble our original plans as much. As a result of this, I believe I did my job correctly on shoot days as the creative producer to help the film get to where we wanted it from the beginning. 

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