Welcome to the blog of Rasam Production's Rob Shaw (The Producer), charting the evolution of the opening to the new feature film "Wrenched", jointly produced with Sam Pollock (The Director) and Asa Newmarch (The Cinematographer). Here is a link to our final cut! There are various short videos and vod/podcasts right here on this blog! Enjoy, and please feel free to comment/add suggestions! Remember there are links lists on the side of this blog to make it easier to navigate to useful posts!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

RS - My original coursework pitch

Mix between: Halloween + Psycho + Home Alone
Location: Victims house, a lonely detatched house in the middle of nowhere
Lots of POV shots used
Shadows can be used to fuel the imagination, so you don't actually see the killing, you just see shadows of it happening
Gardening sheers are used as the weapon

Story: The man is looking for a job and finds one in the local newspaper. He goes to the house that the job had been advertised at to find the people advertising it are not in, however their daughter is in by herself. She explains that the job has already been taken. The girl gets a phone call and he over hears her saying she is home alone. The man is angry because he didn't get the job and knows she is alone so he goes for her.

This is evidence of me reading the pitch out in class.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

RS - Prelim Film

For the prelim we recorded a film in which we broke the 180 degree rule and can be seen here

We also recorded a film in which we didn't break the rule to see what the difference was and how important the rule is in film.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

ALL - "Groundsman" Coursework Ideas

  • Man seeking a groundsman job in the newspaper
  • Throws the paper on the kitchen table, circles the job description in red
  • Rips out a piece with the address of the house advertising a job
  • Travels to the rural house to find the people advertising the job 
  • Fades to girl on her phone talking to her boyfriend and says "i've got a free house all weekend, come round later"
  • Door knocks
  • Girl says to boyfriend "i'll call you back later" then goes to answer the door
  • Invites the man inside and says "you might want to take a seat my dads on his way...he said he will be five minutes"
  • Man sits down in the lounge, girl asks if he wants a drink. She goes off into the kitchen and gets the weapon
  • Man: "What's taking you so long?"....Girl replies: "Just give me a minute"
  • Girl looking through the draws and finds the weapon
  • She returns to the room (Over the shoulder shot)
  • POV of the man watching the TV, knife comes from behind him, in his periferal vision
  • Screen fades out like he is passing out. To end the opening.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

RS - Swede Film

 For this task we had to create a "swede" of a film, of our choice. I chose "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" which is one of my favourite films. We had to take the aspects of the film and change it so it would be humorous. Therefore, using bananas as guns, and silly costumes was the way forward! We then added the films soundtrack and added a few sound effects to make it all fit together and look better.

A swede is picking a film and recreating it on a zero budget. Therefore there is no need for high budget actors or special effects, its just a small budget and a camcorder, and you are set!. Jack Black created the "swede" in the film Be Kind Rewind (Michael Gondry, 2008), this introduced sweding to the public and made it popular.

RS - Micro Drama Film

RS - Mise en Scene Film

We were given 5 lessons to pitch an idea for a 30-60sec opening sequence; form groups having voted on the favourites; storyboard; shoot; edit; present and semiotically deconstruct. Exposition has to be primarily provided through mise-en-scene + shot selection; only 17 words of dialogue were allowed

Friday, 10 December 2010

RS - How I would improve my Prelim Task

  • The quality of acting in the prelim. It seemed a bit too unprofessional at times and a bit funny because of this.
  • Use a tripod to film it because some of the shots are a bit shaky.
  • The actors looked at the camera a few times which is a bit of a problem as it hardly ever happens in professional productions.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

RS - Prelim Task

Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.

Match on Action: match on action, a technique used in film editing, is a cut that connects two different views of the same action at the same moment in the movement. By carefully matching the movement across the two shots, filmmakers make it seem that the motion continues uninterrupted. For a real match on action, the action should begin in the first shot and end in the second shot.

Shot/reverse shot: shot reverse shot (or shot/countershot) is a film technique where one character is shown looking at another character (often off-screen), and then the other character is shown looking back at the first character. Since the characters are shown facing in opposite directions, the viewer assumes that they are looking at each other

The 180-degree rule: Within a scene, two subjects should always have the same left/right relationship, e.g person A on the left and person B on the right. However, if the camera passes over the imaginary axis, is called crossing the line.

Friday, 26 November 2010

RS - Sample Opening - Four Weddings and a Funeral

 Four Weddings and a Funeral (Mike Newell, 1994)
Budget: £3.5m
US Box Office: $52.7m
UK Box Office: £25.5m

I deconstructed this opening with Emily Moore
  • Non Diagetic Music: Violins, string, trumpet, slow music signifies romance
  • Font: Sans Serif
  • See Hugh in a messy room signifies rom com
  • Binary opposites with Hugh and his room mate we can denote this because when their alarm clocks go off, one gets right up but the other stays in bed
  • Contrast in clothes, one in striped pj's and other isn't sleeping in anything
  • Woman in the room signifies her status, very posh room, signifies her social class. The mise en scene provides anchorage with the statue, flowers and the mirror
  • Diagetic sounds, the cars, the talking
  • The men wear shirts and ties signifies social class (upper)

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

ALL - Sample Opening - Halloween

Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Budget: $375K
US BO: $47m
UK BO - not given
There are 9 films in the franchise

  • Sans font signifies comedy genre but seriff signifies a horror genre, so the film implements them both into the title sequence to appeal to a wide audience. The font doesn't really fit the genre.
  • The font changes color which reflects the pumpkin to the side of the titles, the flames can also signify hell, the devil, death
  • One of the most recognisable soundtracks for film, slow string notes and fast piano over the top, this creates tension and the music begins to start when something drastic is about to happen
  • Very long title sequence around 5-6 mins
  • Black background and white font for the location can signify that it is a serious film
  • Anchorage on the time and day etc
  • Steadicam shot at the beginning to represent a POV shot walking up to the house
  • Blue tint on the house to show coldness could foreshadow something
Techniques we can use from this

  • This film is ideal for us because the scenario is similar, the weapon is a knife and the location, a detatched house.
  • The POV shots used in the opening we will use because they are so simple yet so effective and can be replecated very easily
  • We will also use the blue tint like in the opening to show loneliness and coldness

      RS - Sample Opening - Saw (1)

      Saw (James Wan, 2004)
      Budget: $1.2m
      US BO: $55m
      UK BO: $6.6m
      7 Films in the franchise all one year after each other since 2004
      Not a typical slasher because there isn't a murderer, one of the people in the film even says "he's not technically a killer" because the people kill themselves instead

      I deconstructed this film opening with Harry Knight

      • Fairly recent film, this is suggested by the clothing, the props such as the gun, tape and tape recorder
      • American accents of the people can anchor the location, but we never actually see the place or get a name of the place.
      • There is also no establishing shot at the beginning to anchor location, so it can be polysemic
      • Adam is the first person we see which can signify that he is the hero, he also has brown hair which is usually the last person alive. Adam has scruffy clothing which could signify him being working class. He even says "my apartment is a s*** hole, but now I'm actually in one!" which anchors the thought that he is working class
      • Lawrence has blonde hair which usually means they will die, we don't see Lawrence for a few seconds because there are no lights so there are polysemic views for him, could he be the villain? Lawrence has middle class clothing and also says he is a surgeon to anchor the thought
      • They both have "roughed" up hair and sweat patches to signify they have been man-handled or something has happened to them without them knowing
      • Lawrence is more dominant and tells Adam what to do most of the time maybe because of this social class
      • We expect it to be a horror from the start due to the location/setting, the dialogue, the blood, body on the floor and all the props that are in the room
      • The gun in the mans hand in the middle of the room can signify violence. The saw can anchor that it is a horror film because it is the weapon used
      Techniques we could use from this:

      • Unfortunatley this film is a bit too high budget for our opening so it would seem a bit too extreme to do anything like this.
      • The mise en scene is too hard to replicate without a budget therefore this film is not too useful for our group

          RS - Sample Opening - The Toolbox Murders

          The Toolbox Murders (Dennis Donnelly, 1978)
          Remake in 2004 Directed by Tobe Hooper, apparent sequel in the make
          Budget: $185K
          No Box Office Found
          Banned for 18 years from 1982 to 2000 in the UK

          • The strange music signifies horror genre
          • Genre clearly denoted, anchored with POV shots, the drill, drunk woman (typically the person to get killed)
          • Red font signifies the genre
          • Flash backs (orange tint is used to show that they are flashbacks)
          • Narrative enigma because you can't see the murderers face
          • Rips up the flowers in the flashback, could foreshadow things to come in the film
          • The clothing he is wearing signifies that he is middle class
          • The drill (weapon) anchors the genre
          • When he goes into the apartment the music changes, this creates tension and can predict that something bad is about to happen
          • Organ used for the music, signifies a low budget 70's film
          • Piano notes signify tragedy 
          • Blue tint to signify coldness
          • The record player can anchor the time period as most houses don't usually have them anymore
          • Clothes and the hairstyles anchor time period
          • Accents anchor the location
          Techniques we can use from this:

          • The problem with this opening is that it is too long, and not much happens in the opening, the man just drives around for a while. The shots are too long for our opening to be good

              Wednesday, 3 November 2010

              RS - Deconstruction of The Chase by Maddy and Hattie

              Deconstruction of The Chase

              Firstly, considering the aspect of Propp’s theory, we see from the titles at the beginning of the film the five of the seven archetypes are presented to us.  The Chase stars Connor C as the hero, Conor O as the villain, Hattie H as the sidekick (who could also be seen as the magical helper), Maddy S as the princess, Richard M as the victim.

              In considering Todorov’s theory, instead of having the state of equilibrium it starts at a state of disruption, which immediately engages the audience.  There is then recognition of the disruption and then there is an attempt to repair the disruption when the princess goes to the hero and sidekick (magical helper) for help.  To follow the trend of Todorov’s formula they changed it at the end by still being in a state of disruption.

              Looking at Levi-Strauss’ binary opposites, there are various instances where they are inserted. For example, the hero and villain and male and female, which sparks conflict.

              Furthermore, there are uses of narrative enigma in order to draw in the audience. For instance, the audience is left not knowing why the murder has taken place on the victim, we are left at the end not knowing the future events that will take place after her older brother (murderer) was killed.

              In considering the mise-en-scene of the micro-drama, there are various props that are used. For instance, Maddy’s wig, Hatty’s wizard cloak, glasses and wand, Conor’s mask, and wooden sticks.  There is specific use of black and white to portray that it is set in the past which also could convey that it is a dream, or  a flashback.  This conveys that more anchorage is needed and more signifiers would give a more distinct idea.

              This micro-drama is aimed at the younger generation; children and teenagers. This due to the fact that the actors are young and there is a sense of magic (Harry Potter style) ,which pulls in both a male and female audience.

              There is use of dramatic orchestra throughout. This is used to signify to the audience that action will take place and also to build up tension.

              Considering the gender and age aspects of the micro-drama, the princess is blonde which signifies that she is dumb, whereas the brunette is seen in more of a intelligent way.

              Throughout the piece, there are subtitles, which convey to the audience what is happening.  For example, “There he is the villain!” This also instigates who the characters are.

              Tuesday, 2 November 2010

              RS - Lessons learned from our Micro Drama

              1. It is essential to have a call sheet with you at all times to know where to film the different parts of the film, who is in the shots and what objects/props are in the shot. 
              2. You can easily think of things to record on the spot and implement them into your final version even though you didn't intend to have them in it.
              3. Have a good idea of what the shot should look like by having a storyboard drawn up and annotated for reference.
              5. Make sure you know how to work the camera properly so you don't accidently damage it in any way.
              6. Be careful when editing and make sure you look back over the final piece over and over to make sure you haven't missed anything, or make sure no one is looking at the camera for no reason!
              7. Have a script ready for the actors to rehearse and perform in front of the camera.
              8. Make sure the audio you have works properly and hasn't got bits missing out. Prepare it the lesson or night before you need it, so you know it works and you can use it.
              9. Use a wide range of shot angles so its not just the same one over and over which can put some people off because it is boring.
              10. Make the credits nice and exciting, not just words on a screen! Make them come on the screen with some style.

              Sunday, 31 October 2010

              Wednesday, 13 October 2010

              RS - My Top 5 Favourite Films

              My 5 Favourite Films

              1. The Good the Bad and the Ugly (Leone, 1967)

              Budget: $1.2m 
              US Box Office: $19m 
              UK Box office not given.

              Ranked 5th in the top 250 films of all time on IMDB!!!

              Why I like it: Entertaining, lots of violence and action! Clint Eastwood being a badass. Great duel between the 3 main characters at the end. Lots of extreme close ups in the duels to show the characters emotions which is really effective. The final to the "Man with no name" trilogy and what an ending! Has the most epic sound track, worth downloading off Itunes, especially "Ecstasy of Gold" which Metallica use before every concert, a perfect intro!

              The Trailer

              2. Back to the Future (Zemeckis, 1985)

              Budget: $19 m
              US Box Office: $210m
              UK Box Office: £460m.

              Why I like it: Lots of humor and entertainment. About the only film all of my family likes, so watch it alot. And now they have re-released it into the cinemas celebrating the 25th anniversary.

              3. Star Trek (Abrams, 2009)

              Budget: $140m
              US Box Office: $257m
              UK Box Office: £21m

              Why I like it: Great action and special effects. You don't need to have seen the old Star Trek films to know what is happening! Cannot wait for the next film, but I hope Simon Pegg is in it a bit more

              4. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Cameron, 1991)

              Budget: $100m
              US Box Office: $190m
              UK Box Office: £18m

              Why I like it: Arnold's one liners! Action and lots of cool chase scenes even with liquid nitrogen. Classic film and definatly worth a watch. But dont watch Terminator 3 or Salvation they are dissappointing and dont live up to 1 & 2.

              5. Saving Private Ryan (Speilberg 1998)

              Budget: $90m
              US Box Office: $216m 
              UK Box Office: £18m 

              Why I like it: The best action scenes on a film! Filled with action, gore and Tom Hanks what more can you want? However the plot is a bit pointless but who cares, have you seen the action?!

              Friday, 8 October 2010

              RS - My Coursework Task

              THE BRIEF
              Your mission is to carry out the following brief:
              Preliminary exercise: Continuity task involving filming and editing a character opening a door, crossing a room and sitting down in a chair opposite another character, with whom she/he then exchanges a couple of lines of dialogue. This task should demonstrate match on action, shot/reverse shot and the 180-degree rule.
              Main task: the titles and opening of a new fiction film, to last a maximum of two minutes.
              All video and audio material must be original, produced by the candidate(s), with the exception of music or audio effects from a copyright-free source.

              The coursework is worth 50% of the AS (same at A2) and the marking (detailed later) is divided into 3 sections:
              RESEARCH AND PLANNING: 20%
              PRODUCTION: 60%
              EVALUATION: 20%

              • In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products? 
              • How does your media product represent particular social groups?
              • What kind of media institution might distribute your media product and why? 
              • Who would be the audience for your media product? 
              • How did you attract/address your audience? 
              • What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product? 
              • Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?