As a part of my Short film module me and 9 others formed a group and set each other roles to create a short film. We adapted the script ‘The Birthday Card’ written by Alexandra Thomas, a second year English Literature student at Coventry University.
Giving out the roles was simple as everyone already knew what part of the process they wanted to enroll in. I wanted to be director or a camera op but I couldn’t attend the session due to being at work, so I given the job role of set design- However this is something I have never focused much attention on so this was new and exciting for me and I can honestly say that I learnt a lot about set design and actually how important it is within a film!
I attended a lecture hosted by Brad Porter about the importance of set design and how it is actually one of the most important part of creating a film, wether short or blockbuster. This lecture inspired me to take my job role more seriously because when I have no passion for something i find it very hard to put my all into it. This lecture gave me the push I needed to do a better job, when I got home I annotated through the script and created a look book. You can find these in our production folder!
I took on the role of costume and make up as I believe in fit with set design nicely and it allowed me to challenge myself more. I researched photos of colours, clothing, make up techniques and drew up how I wanted everyone to look and created a props list of what I needed to purchase and take to the shoot.
I felt there were many pros and cons that can be talked about during this evaluation.
A pro was that I was working with people that really knew there stuff about there production roles. Alex was our camera operator and he has so much equipment that he has purchased outside of the uni including a drone! Because of his passion for camera’s he was a great person to have within the group. He was always changing lenses and using sliders to lighten up and experiment with the shots that were being taken.
Another pro was our location, although it was very small it fit what I wanted the set to look like pretty perfectly! It was bright white and creams throughout and the house naturally let so much light in, this made shots look more clear- especially filming in 4k.
A con would be our timing, sometimes we took a little longer than wanted for set up due to the fact we wanted it to look as good as it could. However we were always done filming at a reasonable time and we were so lucky with our actors as they were patient and very understanding.
Miscommunication was a small problem at times due to the fact that everyone was very passionate about their roles and we all wanted to just do a really good job, this meant sometimes interruptions occurred and patience was left thin. But I’m 100% sure this happens in almost every film production group!
We faced a few problems, for example a problem I faced meant that the actress didn’t even end up having make up on! So, I took all the props and make up needed in a suitcase and was going to meet the group at the train station, half way there my suitcase broke!! So I had to rush back, put it in another one and rush back to the station- I missed my train by 2 minutes!!!!!! So by the time I get there nearly an hour late they had decided to continue which was definitely the right thing to do.
Also, a major problem was that one day before the shoot our main actress to play Lucy, dropped out due to a family emergency. So James as our producer phoned us all up and all of us were asking around for replacements, eventually after tears and what not, we found an actress who actually played the character Lucy very efficiently.
The original aspect of the film in my opinion was that the genre was going to be very murder mystery themed piece of work about a middle-aged married couple. We wanted it to have that very real-life dramatic effect on the audience almost like Eastenders when you get so caught up in the show you just want to keep following it to see what happens next. This is how we had planned it the whole time even when meeting with the writer to adapt the script to our aspirational vision for the film.
After watching back the film I feel the film had a complete different over-view. The cast were a lot younger, this made it hard for me to believe they were married so I’m guessing the audience feel like this as well, to the point where it wouldn’t cross their minds. The film did not have the murder mystery overview, instead it was very drama- romance themed. But from pre-production to post-production you will notice that things change no matter what production you are creating. There have been many times were I have pictured something and when I have finished creating the piece it has a whole different vibe to what I wanted. However this is not always a negative thing to happen! We still managed to create a short film that followed the script and is an easy watch. When watching the film back I was a bit on edge due to the fact I love work to be perfect and perfect in my opinion is when a film runs smoothly. I believe we used to many moving motion shots, it felt like the camera was never still and it often caught me off guard. But I’m happy we played around with the shots because now I know for next time when I would use moving shots and when I would use still shots.