Category: Independent Project

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Formulating the Project:

For this project I needed an external brief to meet the criteria of this assessment. I knew I wanted to make a short film for this project, so I did some research on competitions in the UK. I found the Sundance London Short Film Competition online via the website Although the competition would probably be stiff, it was too perfect to pass up as it fit perfectly with what I wanted to do. Another added challenge was that the competition deadline was in less than four weeks. However I wasn’t going to let that deter me, if anything it motivated me to get the video finished before the deadline because in the media industry most projects are given a maximum of two weeks.


The first thing I did was send the link to my fellow classmate Jordan Schofield to see what he thought about it. He really enjoyed the brief and was willing to collaborate with me on it. We discussed the brief and what it consisted of. The video had to be 3 to 5 minutes long and the brief states that the theme had to be inspired by the theme, “Making A Go Of It.” This was followed by a short paragraph that stated.

“As the world around us changes rapidly, it seems we are constantly striving to either get ahead or get by. This year we are looking for stories about moving forward in life, love or loss and the pursuit of what makes us inspired to keep going. Sometimes these are happy stories and sometimes they are poignant, but they always change the way we look at the world.” – Sundance London

With this, we decided a few main components that we wanted the video to consist of, and from there we did a rough brainstorm of how the video would be put together. So since Jordan loves writing scripts, and I’m not the biggest fan, it was bestowed upon him, that he took on writing the script for this short story. We both came up with ideas, and Jordan produced the dialogue.

We started with the ending first. We knew that whatever the story ended up being that we didn’t want a cliche happy ending, as most videos tend go down that road. The problem with that is it’s just not realistic, as life isn’t always happy as media usually makes it out to be. We then devised the story around this factor. We came up with the main character wanting to be a successful writer but struggling to find jobs in this industry. This is also a real struggle that many people face once they graduate university, so I quite liked that fact that the story remained true to reality. Below are the notes/ brainstorm leading up to the script.

Main Components:


Opening scene is a dream of the main character of his/her ideal job. ie writer

Second dream is the main character younger with a parent saying they can be whatever they want to be and anything is possible.

Maybe third dream during interview process ???

-Wakes up, walks past his degree, showing he is capable.



Between mom or girlfriend for added character development asks if he has any luck with job hunting

Newspaper on side, red circles around some jobs, some crossed out already.

Computer open on job site.

Gets phone call, being denied another job, his face drops, and he crosses out another red circle on the newspaper

Throws paper in the bin, camera follows, zooms in, when zooms out it is the psychiatrists bin (bridge between scenes).



More character development

See that the main character is afraid of actually going for this big job and afraid of failure

Doesnt want to work a factory job like everyone else


After this he is confident, montage of him getting ready for his interview, circled date, brushes hair, sprays mouth, puts on suit and tie, polishs shoes etc etc



Really trys hardest for this big interview, gets suited and booted/practices his interview in mirror

Cuts as he sits down across from the employers, with him smiling hopefully



Comes home with a factory jumpsuit on.

Slumps down on the couch/ chair.

Looks tired is not happy, slow pan out to symbolize he is alone and he comes to realization that his life is not how he wants it.


 Implementing the Project with Agreed Procedures:

With our idea set in stone and the script made it was then time to get this video made. Andrew Miles offered to help out with the production which was very nice as we definitely needed the extra help. So we then allocated roles and responsibilities. While I would direct and edit it, Jordan would write it, and Andrew would be in charge of head camera operator as well as lighting.

We also decided that we would all be acting in it, as sourcing actors would be too difficult of a task to do within such short of a period. I decided that I would take on the main role while Jordan took on the role of my psychiatrist, and Andrew would be the person interviewing me in my dream. We also acquired Gareth Skinner from college to help act a bit, as well as Jordan’s father and younger brother who also did some acting. I also arraigned an external music composer to create an original sound track for the video but due to time constraints with the contest deadline, I was forced to do the sound design myself sourcing royalty free music and sound effects.

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As a team we all pulled together and produced this project to get it made. We had 5 locations all together: Andrew sourced his mothers office in Syston for the 1st dream sequence. Next I had used my home for the main portion of the short film, I also used my Aunties house in Grimston for the psychiatrist bit. Jordan used his house for the 2nd dream sequence and finally we used the college for the job interview towards the end, both of which are in Melton Mowbray. We made a shooting schedule that consisted of 5 days over the course of 2 weeks.

To get to and from location we all relied on public transportation, which wasn’t all that bad apart from lugging heavy equipment on a crowded bus. We used most of our own equipment, such as multiple canon DSLR’s, a tripod, My Rode video mic pro, and a jury-rigged boom pole. From college we had to book out the photonbeard lighting kit and the 1 metre glide track (which were the biggest kit we had to lug around).

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I had also considered costumes a major thought. Since Jordan was going to be a psychiatrist he needed to be dressed in somewhat smart clothes. Although he didn’t seem to have any to suit that role. So I went to the thrift shop and found a nice collared shirt and a sweatshirt to go over it for a reasonable price. I would say for the scene it suited him quite nicely. Next I wanted the factory uniform that I wore at the end. I located one from the Country Co store for about 20 pounds, which wasn’t bad but considering I only needed for one scene and nothing more I returned it and gained my full money back, not bad if I don’t say so myself. Also Smart clothes were also required for the first dream sequence and last interview scene.

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The main prop that I had to get ahold of was a college diploma in a frame. This was to add to the character development to show that the main character had the qualifications but just struggled to get a job in the industry. So since I’m still working on my diploma and I’m doing media not journalism, I thought I’d just make one instead. I downloaded a diploma online (one from California which was very suitable for me) and I erased the name that was on it and replaced it with mine in Photoshop. I used a specific font and even curved it a bit so it was more realistic. In the end it looked somewhat real which was good for what we needed it for.

Once all this was done I had a week and a half to edit the video as well as did the sound design before the submission deadline. This was all done in Adobe Premier CS3.


Below I have release and consent forms for actors who appeared in the video as well as spoke in the video. In addition there are also location release forms for the places we filmed.


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Evaluate Project Outcomes: 

I spoke to my lecturer Paul Smith about this video, and he gave me some really good critical feedback. He made a few valid observations as well as pointing out some mistakes we had made and I gladly took them all in and learned from them.

Above are 2 shots from the beginning dream sequence. In the first one I am looking left towards Andrew while the second I am looking right towards Andrew. Although I am positioned on the left side of the frame this still makes it really confusing to the viewer. This is because we broke the 180 degree rule and we crossed the line of action while filming. This is the only time we made this mistake during this shoot, but if we never had the first shot then things would have been okay. Paul did say that since it was a dream sequence, that we could have gotten away with it if we actually did it intentionally because dreams aren’t always normal.


Above is another two shots that we used from the short film. I cut from  the mid shot to the close up because I wanted to show more emotion with the characters. The problem is the continuity with the little boys neck. In the first shot he is leaning back more, which makes it not flow and obvious that we filmed multiple times. To avoid this, next time while filming, I’ll get a shot individually of each characters face, possible an over the shoulder shot so it makes continuity and editing much easier.

Another criticism that paul had was the fact that nothing was pushing the main character to go and get this job. We needed more character development to make this a real problem for him. Paul suggested that maybe the mother is pressuring him to go out and get a job and she is always nagging him about it otherwise she’ll kick him out the house.

I completely agree with this point. Watching this video I feel as the problem isn’t intensified as it should be. This was definitely a learning experience for next time though. To my defense, if we had done something like that, it would greatly surpass the 5 minute limit for the contest. The video was cut down from 8 minutes to 5 minutes already, so adding in more scenes would have been very difficult from me when it came time to edit.

Other than these mistakes I believe the video was shot quite well and had a somewhat high production value. With a little extra time I think we would have realized these problems and fixed the issues accordingly. Next time I will make sure not to break the 180 degree rule as it can confuse the audience, as well as create more of a problematic setting for the main character so it engages more with the viewers.

Unit 3. Criteria 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1, &; 4.2

Zombie Media Makeup

For this task some of our group was put in charge of documenting the media makeup department, and the process of them doing up the performing arts students as zombies. This was for a short film that the BSC’s were doing. A lot of people were involved in making this possible. Our role was to record the techniques that the media make up used as well capture the making of the video of the zombies.michael-moore-young

To understand the development of the film documentary format, I took a closer look at one of its current practitioners to gain more knowledge in this area of filmmaking. Michael Moore is an American filmmaker who specializes in documentaries which usually are in controversial topics. His film Fahrenheit 9/11 is the highest grossing documentary film of all time. It delves into the Iraq war, former President George Bush, and the inaccurate coverage in the media about the war on terror. Moore also has 2 others films in the top-ten highest grossing documentaries film categories, Bowling for Columbine and Sicko. Bowling for Columbine takes a closer look into obtain guns in the US, while the movie Sicko focuses on Us health care and pharmaceutical industry. All three of these films he has done great intense investigation to gain superb results.

I came during the second half or the making of so I had missed the make up part of it. However Vicky Grant, Gareth Skinner, Andrew Miles, and Craig Ellis had turned up in the morning and gotten the appropriate footage. We each had are certain roles and responsibilities for this production. We did numerous interviews with the media makeup students asking them questions about the process they use for the different types of make up they do. Also the media crew that was filming was also interviewed about how the shoot was going.

Besides the interviews our main focus was to get a lot of B-roll footage so we had  plenty of images to cut too to keep the viewer entertained. I contributed to this, getting loads of shots of bits and bobs of anything that seemed interesting that we could use. We decided not to use lighting as this would make the documentary unrealistic. Plus since we were filming in the morning/ early day we had a lot of good natural lighting. Our time management was up to par as everyone was following the daily schedule quite well. Below are a couple of pictures from the days shoot.

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I also contributed to the project by editing my own version of  the video in premier pro but the only problem was I didn’t have all the footage to work with so the video ended up being only a minute an a half. I think that the production value was not the best but saying that not the worst either. We had a fair amount of good shots which was nice.

Overall I believe the final product could have been longer and more informative  showing more footage of the make up being done and the making of the video but because of the deadline for the client I knew I could only work with what I had. I knew that the video would be suitable for the client for what they needed. However with critical feedback from our lecturers they had agreed that the video could have more informative, as well as a bit longer. Vicky Grant did an edit which was about 3 minutes but ideally we should have enough footage for about 5 minutes. I believe that with better communication between everyone involved, we should have came together and obtained all the footage as a group rather than presuming that someone would magically do it for everyone. Next time as a group we should become more organized and establish who is going to do what and create deadlines so we’re not rushed towards the deadline.

This all in all was a good group learning experience. I’ve learned that proper planning is key when it comes to shooting documentaries. This is because there are no extra takes when it comes to filming live action and if you don’t get it right the first time then you’ve missed the opportunity completely. I’ve gained a lot experience from this and I’ve learned from the mistakes the group and I have made, and I’ll take this with me for future documentary projects that I’m involved in.

Unit 61: Criteria 1.1, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, &; 4.2