Final Saturday

Ding ding, round four. Knowing this was our last Saturday sure felt like a knockout, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t another great day. Today started with more filming tips from Michael Lennox, focusing around actors an how to work effectively with them on a set. He discussed how we should avoid ‘result directing’ where for example we tell the actors to be happier or be more angry, it doesn’t work. Instead we should tell the actors how to deal with the other actors and factors on set. Using words such as belittle instead, which is far less direct. I will definitely have to remember these tips in future. We got to look at a variety of the camera and filming equipment and Michael talked us through how each an every bit worked. My god the lens on that camera was something else. I couldn’t wait to start filming.

Next came a bit surprise from the actress, Suranne Jones. First we learnt about her past and how she had gotten to where she was. I quickly came to learn that any job within the tv or theatre industry can quickly lead to great opportunities in the future. Then She moved on to tell us how she was moving into writing. Discussing previous piece she had worked on and even some of her future projects. It was great to hear from someone so renowned and well known.

Needless to say we had our final tips on what to do, all that was left was filming and eventually our showcase.

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Week 3!

Finally week 3 arrived (30th November) and I couldn’t wait to see what cinemagic and BFI were going to throw at us next. Lucky for us it was 3 more amazing people from the film world. The first was screen writer Ryan Rowe. He was a huge help with our scripts. In turn each group read out their scripts and what they had done so far and from their we got Ryan’s opinion. He helped us reword what we had in such a way that the emotions we wanted to get across, got across.

After Ryan we had time before lunch so we got to view even more great short films. (Seriously, I swear Michael must have the largest library of short films in existence, how he doesn’t run out I’ll never know) Seeing these short films was by far one of my favourite parts through all the weeks, it showed me what others out there could do, what I could learn from them and on the negative side what we have to compete with. (Fingers crossed).

Next up was Peter Fraser, an NFTS representative. This man had some seriously cool stuff to talk about. Through him I learnt about the BFI/NFTS residential. This sounded unreal and I’d kill to be apart of it, I will definitely be applying.

Next was by far my favourite talker. Terry Bamber. I mean if this guy hadn’t been a production manager he would have been a comedian, the man was a legend. His views and opinions had everyone of us in hysterics and I could have spent days discussing film with the guy.

Overall probably the best day yet. Can cinemagic top it of? I’ll have to see.

First attempt at film reviews

[lots of spoilers! emphasis on first attempt at this]

Gravity
Gravity was a film I enjoyed yet felt let down by at the same time. Visually stunning the film left the viewer in awe at the 3D effects and beautiful shots of space and earth. Yet although trailers and actor names led you to believe the film was to be one that had you on the edge of your seat throughout, this was not the case. The majority of the film revolved around the actions of ‘Dr Stone’ after almost every other actor is killed of. Even the character played by George Clooney is killed very early in the film which is surprising, given the fact he is such a well renowned actor, he was huge factor in convincing me to see it. After his early death the storyline slowly deteriorated. Scenes became a lot slower and you begin to lose interest. Very drawn out scenes lead to crisis after crisis with everything that could go wrong, going wrong. Yes this gave brief moments of heart racing tension and action, but you felt you were watching the same thing over and over again. One of the key factors which helped to film however was the music. It was used perfectly in the right scenes at the right time. It built tension and was in sync with every scenario creating very good use of sound and action combination. Overall I think unless you are going to watch it for for the stunning views and CGI, it has a very drawn out storyline that is limited to what you could do with a film in space and therefore I would not recommend it.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows
This is a film that was made to amaze. The film contains a number of clever and well placed adaptations from the Sherlock books. The story line is clever to the end, with a perfect blend of action, suspense, humour and drama. It uses a variety of camera techniques to creates amazing scenes, slow motion shots creating scenes that just make you go ‘wow’ I want to see that again. Containing a number over very well know actors such as Robert Downey Junior and Jude law the movie has a cast of actors that play their parts perfectly. The film tracks across a huge variety of location from London, to France and all the way to Switzerland. This range of locations allows for some amazing landscape shots to be dropped in among the constantly developing story. The music and sound effects are also perfect for the time period with it sounds constantly changing to fit in with the change in scene and action. All of these effects, techniques and amazing features combine to make a truly amazing film. I would recommend this film to a Sherlock Holmes fan or someone who has never seen a Sherlock film or read a Sherlock book.

The Dark Knight Rises
The dark knight rises was an almost perfect ending to the Dark Knight Trilogy. The previous films had introduced a number of the most feared villains from the comic book series, yet done so in such a way that the villains had a sense of realism about them, not like in previous Batman films. However in my opinion there are a number of scenes where the Dark Knight Rises loses this sense of realism. For instance, the bit where all of the cities cops are sent into the underground to search for Bane? Bit unrealistic don’t you think. Then the final fight between the cops and Bane’s army, for some reason the army decide to drop all of their guns and use hand to hand combat? Bit unlikely. Another aspect that let the film down was the absence of the Joker. It contained all of the villains from previous films and yet the Joker wasn’t present, causing one of the most favoured villains to be absent from the film. Although this was not the fault of the directors and being down to the unfortunate death of Heath Ledger. Apart from these aspects the film was compiled brilliantly. Stunning CGI scenes, one of the most favoured being the collapse of the football stadium, fantastic fight scenes and of course as always, a fantastic villain. Even though some would argue Bane was hard to understand with that mask, I feel the producers created a very realist adaptation of the comic book villain. Overall yes I would recommend the film and is a truly amazing watch, yet I still feel the could have accomplished more from it.

Beat Sheet

1. Boy wakes up and turns off alarm. That is when voice over voice mail messages begin. We hear alternate messages between boy and girl.

2. Boy checks Facebook. He scrolls through girls profile. He then messages her asking to meet up. Now there’s less messages from girl in voice over.

3. Boy gets ready to go out. He then looks out to the beach. He sees her and boy two kissing each other goodbye. The voice mail is only from the boy now.

4. Then there are many obstructive shots as boy starts to catch up with girl. Boy two has left. The voice mail messages are becoming aggressive. Girl is on her phone, earphones in, bobbing to music.

5. Boy taps her shoulder. The voice mail messages stop in that moment and girl jumps in shock. Boy is annoyed, girl is surprised to see him an a little scared. She’s mostly awkward.

6. He starts the argument. She’s confused and accuses him of being crazy. Then there is a revelation that they stopped dating six months previously.

7. The argument continues to get heated until her uncomforted state brings her to slap him.

8. There’s a silence. They stare at each other. She breaks the silence by apologising but there is still an awkwardness. The slap allowed the feeling of equality between the characters, finally they speak with less tension.

9. Silence. There are many silences between topics. They sit on the beach eventually, slow awkward conversation. This follows by the boy seeming to accept the situation.

10. She taps his leg and leaves. He then takes out his phone and had recorded the whole conversation and begins to listen to it.

11. The End.

BFI Week 2

BFI Film Academy

The 23rd of November saw the second week of our film academy. Once we arrived we had a brief discussion on what we were doing then got straight into our separate groups to discuss and finalise the film ideas we had come up with during the week.

Once that was done we got everyone back together and each group pitched their ideas, giving each other advice and criticism to help improve our plots and ideas. This was really helpful as it gave us a chance to hear how our film sounded from the outside.

Next we had a short presentation on the ‘Three Act Structure’/’traditional Hollywood screenplay’. This after discussion seemed so simple yet before the presentation hadn’t even occurred to me. It was an amazingly simple way to think about film ideals.

The next part of the day was perhaps the best. We were able to interview the director of ‘Mickybo and me'(A brilliant film), Terry Loane. This was an amazing experience that allowed us to ask a number of question about the directing world. Terry was a great help in gaining an insight.

After lunch we were asked to take our most film idea and in our groups put these ideas onto a ‘Beat Sheet’ a new idea to me. I found this to be very helpful, it took our entire idea and laid it out in a simple step by step method. I’ll be sure to post this later on my blog for all to see

Once this was completed we once again came back together, pitched our best sheets and received feedback. This was a great way to see if our idea made sense to an outsider who hadn’t seen it and then receive feed back on how it could easily be improved.

Sadly that’s where my second day with BFI ended and I was left waiting for the next.

BFI Week 1

Saturday 16th of November was the first day of our BFI Involvement and proved to be an extraordinary day which I hope is just the first of many.

Arrival at the BBC was exciting by itself, a place I never imagined visiting. Our small group slowly filtered through the front doors one by one and eventually we met everyone we would be working with. Following this we had a number of ‘getting to know each other’ exercises, which aroused a number of laughs which eased the mood and had everyone getting along in minutes.

We were then given a quick over view of what we would be doing on the day and in the following weeks, all of which looked amazing and I can’t wait for the next time we all meet up.

After this we met the director Michael Lennox which I was very excited about. Having worked with Michael before on the entwined histories project, I knew how great he was to work with. He showed us short films he had created and told us about his background.

Following this Michael showed us the Evolution of film. This involved us discussing film over the last century and the people and individuals who made it what it is today. We watched a number of films showing the progression from the first film, to films with sound and eventually film in colour. It was a great exercise which showed me things about the progression of film I had never known or seen before.

Brian Henry Martin was the next great surprise. He was a documentary director and film critic and it was clear we could learn a lot from him. With him we discussed a number of films and he taught us a number of methods we could use whilst analysing films. Full of great ideas and humour he was brilliant to talk to.

We then broke for lunch, even getting time to visit the Christmas market before returning to BBC for the next task. Shauna divided us into 3 groups Wright, Boyle, Hitchcock, I was placed in Boyle (obviously the best group). In our groups we had to choose an image from the several options on the board and come up with a story based around the image. Although our end story was only slightly relevant to the picture, it was brilliant and well thought with each of us contributing a different piece to it.

To end the day we watched and reviewed several short films which were fantastic, I now have a better understanding of dark humour..

The entire day was brilliant. All I can do now is look forward to next week.

Looking forward to the BFI

(Written 13th November on paper)
The BFI film academy is an amazing experience that I’m very excited to be apart of. I believe the academy will help me to develop areas of film I’m already aware of and expose me to knew and areas I have yet to even learn about. The experience will hopefully introduce me to a number of new people in the film/television industry which can teach me these skills, but also people that hopefully I come to for help in the future. The fact that so many other school students are going is a great chance to build my team working skills with others and also gain an understanding of the alternative methods other students may use for certain tasks. I also look forward to creating the short film at the end of the course. Although I not yet sure of the theme or even genre of the film I know, having worked with Cinemagic before, will be a fantastic experience and well just a lot of fun really. The first session takes place this Saturday and I can’t wait to see what we get involved with.