Thursday, April 20, 2017

Week Ten: The Shoot

The shoot went smoothly for the most part. The major incident which occurred was that our male lead got sick one of the days which cancelled the entire shooting date. Unfortunately communication was a bit of cluster between mixed messaging. I got the message when I was already on the train going into the city (I live rural), so it was too late for me. Once in Melbourne I did miss a couple trains back as I was trying to call people attempting to get information, I finally did get around to everyone, but I suppose lines were all busy on all ends.

This meant that Twilight had to be filmed all in one day instead of allocated two days, but we were working well on set and we managed to film two days worth all in one day.

I wasn’t there for the miniature shoot, but all the shots were gotten. I was the DOP of the pony episode and we got everything we needed to film within the whole day, due to giving ourselves a good amount of time, for the most part we were able to stick ahead of or just on time. Which was good stuff.

Week Nine: The Look

Being a film shot entirely on Green Screen, this puts an instant limitation on camera movement and lighting as it could negatively affect the keying process in post-production.
However, if we had the freedom, I would have tried to match the show’s general style as much as possible.

But due to the amazing work of the design students, the visual style of the backgrounds is spot-on with the visual style seen in the TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic which the script is based upon.
Visually the show changes from brightly lit to dark depending on the mood, however for our film it’s almost always brightly lit due to the nature of the greenscreen. The backgrounds provide any darker tones needed (such as in the forest) and I suppose colour grading could as well in theory.

But camera movements aren’t really possible in the limited space, meaning anything would all be post-production tricks.

Week Eight: Character Breakdown

Unlike other characters in the script, Flyhoof is a totally new character conceived for the story.
While it’s true that Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy don’t act in the script like their canon show counterparts nor do the actors take any real inspiration of the performances of the voice over artists/animators.

Flyhoof is different because she is totally original, so it does give some more flexibility. Her general visual style was my idea, I envisioned a more edgy character. As she is an Original Character (or OC), I was inspired by the infamously edgy OC pony characters created by the community, a common trait of these would be full black coat with red mane, so that’s the look we went for. Of course in my mind the original version still had wigs and a full costume, but the end resulted fitted in fine as it provided a stand-out contrast in comparison to the more bright other characters.

Her performance was largely based on what Logan desired.

Week Seven: Three Different Ways.

Fluttershy’s death scene is in part the climax of the film, it’s set in the forest (all naturally filmed on green screen), but there was debate of different ways this could be filmed (including even outside).

Due to the nature of the stunt where the actor (Jackson) falls over it could be covered in three different ways. We chose to use a static shot of him walking in, then lifting his foot up into frame which shows the beartrap, then he falls out of the frame as he dies.

But another way this could be filmed is to introduce a tilt, so when he gets caught by the bear-trap, the camera could tilt down to reveal the bear-trap to the audience, then his reaction as the camera tilts back up or he simply falls down into frame.

Another way is like the static show, however as he falls out of frame to die, the camera would tilt to follow him, but the reveal would remain the same as him lifting his foot into the frame as a surprise.

However I think the story is better served by the total static, I believe it adds more comedy quirk by having the foot lifted into frame with the trap (as his foot is normally out of frame) and then simply falling out of frame.
It makes a bit more sense with the Greenscreen forest in the background as well, if inclined it would also have extra editing for the background to track the movement of the tilt.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week Six: Safety

Sets can be dangerous places, so many things may need to be flagged as problematic. When filming a short film child services believed that having a goat near a teenager was a danger because of biting, so then again people these days are on the careful of everything side.

Tripping hazards is the major thing, film sets have cables, boxes, lights, boom mics, props and all sorts of stuff everywhere. It could be very easy to trip if not paying attention.
Masking down cables is a good way to keep things clean and have less slack to loop around one’s foot. Having all equipment in its own obvious corner and not scattered around is another good way to avoid problems.

Having a safety prep talk before, highlighting problems is a good way to hopefully make sure everybody, both cast and crew is on the same page.
Safety officers can also be employed to ensure the upmost safety and check off on stunts, fire and more alarming things which need to be flagged as a problem.

Electrocution is another one, faulty equipment with a high amount of energy can cause many problems, one of my colleges found that a light would zap him. 

Week Five: Budget

Budgeting is a reality of film-making. Using the Screen Producers as a guide, I got the weekly cost for a low-budget web-series to be $10,155 with the costing being $2,031 per day.

Here is the breakdown for a daily cost which I figured.
Producer $750, Director $164, First AD $144, Second AD $122, Runner $107, DoP $157, First AC $107, Clapper $107, Data Wrangler $107, Sound Recordist $144, Editor $122.

Now I am sure these numbers as well below the industry standard, but it’s what I could figure out from the reference.

Maths and budgeting is not my strong point really.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Week Four: Work needs doing

While we have made strong strides into pre-production, there is still work which needs to be done.

Casting is critical right now, we need to know who it is we’re working with and what they’re able to do, costuming will also play a big part in this. As we have three different stories, we’re going to have to need three different sets of costumes.
I myself have already began work on what the costumes for the My Little Pony characters can be like, but until we know the gender/height/size ect of the actors, we can’t progress with the actual physical side of the costume.

Title Sequence

The title sequence is due to be shot by week seven, this means we need to have our idea chosen, equipment booked and set(s) built by that time. Some of the ideas floated require green screen, so being able to light/shoot green screen will be critical knowledge to pull that off beforehand.


I don’t believe we can get away with shooting everything on the soundstage in front of the green screen, apart from looking maybe bad, the sound-stage is in high demand for many other students as well at the uni, we can’t hog it.
I believe we’re getting close to the narrator’s room, however for other locations I don’t know how close we are. Different episodes will have different vibes and locations as well, so there’s a lot of work to be done in this area.

We’re getting ever closer to the middle of the trimester, we gotta’ get moving soon.

Week Three: Title Sequence

The idea behind my pitch is to focus on the writer of the Fan Fiction themselves. While a lot of pitches focused on the fan-fiction or the presentation of the fan-fiction (a lot to do with books being opened, looking like a classic fairy tale ect), I personally felt that focusing in on the creative mind behind the works is an interesting way to open the episode.

It would star a tween (or most likely a adult who is dressed up like a tween) who storms into their bedroom frustrated after a day at school, after tossing their bag on the bed, they bring out their laptop to start typing (only major light source in the room).

Behind them is their thoughts, which would be the ideas of the Fan Fiction they are conceiving, then they start to type. The camera would spin around and on the screen is a word document, which would have the name of the episode.

Another thing I wished to include is a disclaimer regarding copyright, that this isn’t our works, that the original copyright isn’t either. We’re walking a double-whammy copyright brigade issue with our project, not only the original holder of the IP, but also the fan-fic writer themselves.

The first attempt at my pitch didn't go well, not enough detail, too vague. So my second pitch I think went a lot better in terms of what my vision is. It seems however a version of my idea is being considered, but some old man on a typewriter instead of a tween on a laptop.
Which to me is going back to the old classic fairy tale vibe of the other intros, which is perfectly fine, I understand it, however I think it does miss some of the reality of who it is that is actually writing these stories.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week Two: Crew Roles

I am still unsure what role I wish to take in the industry, however I believe I am leaning more directly towards post-production.
As much as I enjoy the creative process in terms of script-writing and the general concept of the show, I don’t think I am focused enough.

I don’t have the people skills required for directorial or producing work, or the artist mind for production.
I am not quite strong enough for camera and I don’t know if I can deal with the pressure of being around people when they’re worked up (of which I have been led to believe happens quite a bit on set in the real world, my experience at uni so far has been great on set, however I know that isn’t totally representative of on the job).

If I was to be camera, I think I would prefer a smaller unit such as news or current affairs kind of camera work, while still stressful, there isn’t a lot of other people with flashy lights either.

So I think editing could be where I fall into place, I am quite skilled with computers and know Adobe Premier at a decent level right now.
The only thing is I am not very good at AVID, I did an editing unit with it when I was still a games student and as I never used AVID outside of that class, I forgot how it all worked despite getting good marks at the time.
I am so used to how Sony VEGAS and Adobe Premier work, that I would honestly need another class in learning AVID again, for me it feels a bit jank in comparison.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week One: The Pitch

My pitch wasn’t done very well. Instead of having a solid story idea, I instead came in with a vague concept. So, it wasn’t too surprising that my peers weren’t sure to make of this, at the time this was by design as I thought in my mind that I could custom shape the vague idea to whatever they thought could be cool. But in hindsight the vague nature of the pitch would look poor in comparison to fully fleshed out ideas with character and resolution.

My inspiration was shows like the UK version of the office or the ABC show Utopia. My general idea was a kind of dry satirical comedy. I know comedy is what often are the golden winners for web series and honestly after the more grim/realistic films we have been making last few trimesters I more than welcome something light hearted.

But on retrospect, the kind of satire I would have might only have amused me and nobody would enjoy watching a web-series about some guy letting out his annoyances of the world, it could have become very preachy against the nanny state.
Although I must say that I am very pleased with the actual result, of Fan(tastic) Fiction. As fan fiction was a good strong part of my own tween/young teen years the idea did resonate with me strongly.
I think this was the right direction, the more laugh-out-loud kind of less preachy humour is something all of us can get behind, not just me.

If I did it again, I would be less vague. I would come in with a more stronger vision, so I could offer concrete answers to what the story was about instead of just being open to suggestions.