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!

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.