Class Assignment · CS4 · film making · Life · school · Uncategorized · Videography

CS4 Blog 9 – Production: True Colours

Now is the time when all the pre-production stuff, all you learned in class last semester, all you rehearsed for, all comes down to these days – production. This is when your actors choose whether or not to show up for shoots, producers go missing, and everybody gets at everybody’s throats for not cooperating. This, my friends, is when you see who is serious about their grades versus who will just ride on yours. Did I just say that? I think I did.

For the first film that was shot I assumed the role of Sound Designer and later had to assume the role of the leading lady on screen. Acting has never been my strong suit so imagine my frustration when my face was what I thought “serious” and having my director shout at me “Stop smiling! You’re supposed to be serious!” I kindly shouted back “This is my serious face!” It really wasn’t but I was too frustrated at the time to care. Yeah, not fun. Acting? I can now cross that off my list of career attempts, I’ll pass.

But despite the disagreements and the challenges met on the first shoot, I do think it put quite a few things into perspective for me.

  1. Team work is always key. If you want a successful shoot you have to be prepared to work together with people you may not like just to get the work done.
  2.  Learn to play the hypocrite. This was probably the most valuable lesson my 9th grade art teacher ever taught me and possibly the only thing I remember from that class. Learn to smile and nod in the face of those who get under your skin and on your last nerve. At the end of the day the goal in mind is to have the work completed and create a successful film, not to make friends.
  3. Learn and improve. Learn everything you can by watching others who are better than you at a specific area. Learning from somebody more talented will only help you in future. Don’t be jealous of what’s true.

Production taught life lessons and boy did I learn them.

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Class Assignment · CS4 · film making · school · Videography

CS4 Blog 7 – Pre Production: Props and Script

After the script is written ensure EVERYBODY on the production team has a copy and is aware of any changes made. This is to ensure everybody is on the same exact page in the same exact book.

Okay guys repeat after me: Props and script MUST coincide. It doesn’t make no sense you have a comedy script with blood and spiders as props. No.

No matter what anybody wants to think, without everybody having the correct version of the script you are bringing to screen your shoot will fall apart. Seriously, I’ve had similar experience. Take from my production experience and mishap. Keep everybody in the loop at all times.

Class Assignment · CS4 · film making · Literature · school · Videography

CS4 – Blog 5 – Sound Design: Wall-E

After that rant about the silent film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” I figure it only makes sense to balance it out with a rant over one of my favourite animated films by Disney Pixar – Wall-E. Not only was the storyline for this film so-totally-amazing, (yes, I just did that in my uptown Beverly hills voice) the sound design for this film was damn near flawless. Wall-E holds – in my opinion – one of the most powerful stories in Pixar history and makes me stop to consider so much about technology and the way we treat the environment.

The difference between the sound Wall-E made, to the sounds of the cockroach (gross) running around and the other ambient noise, the instrumentals, the sound of the voices and how they were manipulated to match each character… can you sense my excitement from reading this blog?

Because of the excellent sound work that was done, watching Wall-E became an experience, rather than just a film. I felt as if I was on that space ship being a lazy, fat ass as those people were. I felt like i somehow needed to throw away my cellphone and pawn my laptop so I would not end up like them. That, my friends, is not just the power of great storytelling, but also due to the power of excellent, meticulous sound design.

The attention to sound detail in this film has made me more conscious of sound when filming. Not just so I can have clean, crisp dialogue, but also that I can give my viewers the type of experience that can transform their living rooms into the scenes happening before their eyes.

Sound designers, pay attention to your environment in a way you never have before. Listen to the sound of the rain pitter pattering on the roof, the steam rising from the hot asphalt as the raindrops begin to cool the roads, the sound of the wet footsteps on the pavement walking quickly to escape being drenched, the sound of the car tires meeting the wet road, the sound of the umbrellas opening to shield their owners, the sound of coats billowing in the wind.  Pay attention to how the sounds we don’t normally give recognition to add to the realness of the experience.  Pay attention to EVERYTHING and how it affects your mood the mood of the people around you.

If you have never seen the film Wall-E (Finding Nemo is another excellent choice where sound design is concerned) go ahead and Netflix, buy the dvd (or blu-ray), stream or whatever other activities you must do to get this film in your possession. To my future filmmakers, you will not regret it.

Class Assignment · CS4 · film making · school · Uncategorized · Videography

CS4 Blog 2 – Genre

Assuming you do not know what a genre is, in layman’s terms it is pretty much the category that a song, TV show film etc falls into. When I tell people I can watch or listen to anything from any genre as long as it doesn’t bore me, they think I’m lying but I am as serious as a heart attack. I enjoy musicals from the 1950’s (Pal Joey, No Business like Show Business) just as much as I enjoy a good action movie (Transformers, 300). Since we are indeed talking about film and television I’ll give some examples related. One of my favourite TV shows currently is Castle (on abc Monday nights at 9EST. – I should get paid for this) and Castle happens to fall into two categories – crime drama and comedy. One would ask, how do you mix murder and humour? But somehow the creators and writers manage to make the two not seem like oil and water.

Knowing your genre thoroughly before you begin filming not only helps with underlining things such as character development and cinematography, but also helps you to better appeal to your target audience. Castle would not have been successful if people were not able to find humour in the most serious of situations.

So before you begin writing your script, consider these things:

  • Who are you trying to appeal to with your story?
  • What genre would your story fall under
  • Is your story the appropriate genre for the crowd you are appealing to?
  • How can you make your story stand out in its genre

Genre is only one aspect of writing and filming but it is not one to be overlooked.