Script to Film 3 : Major changes to Script & Location and actors & Storyboard

Today’s meeting has resulted in a pretty major changes to the whole scripts, as the 5 min limitation has been, in m opinion, greatly underestimated by us. After a careful look and read through, we all found that there are just simply too many redundant scenes. I am myself quite amazed at how much works need to be done to filter through necessary and unnecessary scenes, perhaps all good scripts really do require some time to be polished, and first version is not really the best version most of the time.

Luckily, we have some good news in the form of locations and also the auditions of the three girls for Megan’s role, though I was not there, Patrick has kindly taken and uploaded all of the videos to a google drive. From what I have seen, I am really impressed with the three of them, though it’s pretty obvious who will get the roles.

Location has been set and determined to be Craig’s friend who will be acting as Jack. Finally everything can start to go smoothly. Though I have to admit, from now on, I will never fully depend on a person for such important jobs of location and actors. It is pretty annoying that sometimes we couldn’t get the info we need earlier so we could do more pre-production works.

Lastly, I have begun to do storyboard for the scenes and shots, using whatever pictures from Craig’s as references. It will be mostly imagined in my head as he only provides 4 pictures.

Editing Sound

Today learnt more on what and how audio is handled in the industry, regardless if it’s film or television footages. But one unique things is that people always disregard audio. There is a mindset that when a video has an off-sync situation, most people will blame the audio department instead of the picture department, even though sometimes it’s the pictures that are off sync in the first place.

Also finally understood on the importance of timecodes, of which there are two kinds, and also codecs. Seem like the common format like h.264 is very undesirable in the editing process due to how it handles audio compression etc, causing much detail to be lost, while one like ProRes or DvPAL handles it well but causes massive file sizes much more than the h.264 etc.

Guess I will really need to study and chose a format soon to streamline my work process in anyway I can!!

Interactive Media 2.5 : Character Designs and Marketing Plans

I did some character designs for the characters, with some inputs from Petra and Alex, who gives me a short description of their characteristics and visual appearance or behaviors. Also, marketing plans have been included as part of the pitch, where we will shoot a ransom video, create twitter accounts of the Witch and the Revolution Army, while also create a Facebook campaign to save Hansel.

Things are going according to plans and I feel that my characters will be made more dark and also gritty to give the sense of a horrid fairy tales that is really grim.

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Script to Film Research: Film Noir

Brody R (2014) “Film Noir”: The Elusive Genre(BLOG) The New Yorker[ONLINE] Available from: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/film-noir-elusive-genre-2 %5BAccessed on 18/2/2015]

Ebert R (1995) A Guide to Film Noir Genre(BLOG) Rose Ebert’s Journal[ONLINE] Available from: http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/a-guide-to-film-noir-genre %5BAccessed on 18/2/2015]

Our first idea of how the film should looked is the style of Film Noir. It is a genre that I’m not very familiar with and all I know is that it employs a huge shadow contrast during the black & white period. With this lack of knowledge in mind, I decided to do some research to see if it is a viable option for our film.

From a website I searched, apparently it is a pretty mysterious genre and is almost always associated with crime drama, at least in the past. It is also a film that is deeply linked to history and real-life events, but there are a major split halfway as seen in that “early noir films created a psychological atmosphere that in many ways marked a response to an increasingly realistic and understandable anxiety—about war, shortages, changing gender roles, and “a world gone mad”—that was distinctive from the later postwar paranoia about the bomb, the cold war.” So in a word, the film noir style relied on story a lot as the visual is more for setting an atmosphere that produces tension. This, in a way, does fit our story that is set in 1950s, which is one of the time period where film noir is a common genre, and also because it evokes tension, which we want to achieve in our film.

In another website that seems to list out many common traits of film noir, one of them is “For men: fedoras, suits and ties” and “A movie which at no time misleads you into thinking there is going to be a happy ending” which somehow described our characters and story very well. For the former, our character is the Father who is a perfectionist and always wear suit and ties, even at home while the latter alludes to the sad ending that we are going to have which involved the murder of one of the parents.

There was just one thing that I’m worried about using this particular style as we really need to adhere to the 1950s era where things are so different from today. I felt that it would be hard to pull it off if we wanted authenticity due to such places normally require pretty high cost to rent. We might need a back-up plan in case this noir style did not work as expected or costs too much.

Interactive Media 2 : New Characters and Story Add-ons

Yet more new characters and story branch out are added. This time it is the inclusion of Red Riding Hood being the leader of a revolution to overthrow the witch’s control. Mr Wolfe, a screwed lawyer who is on the side of the Witch has been added in one of the side quests that will involve the 3 Little Pigs and Gretel could choose to save them or sell the pigs out to the wolf. A Morality meter has been added to let the players change the ending depending on what they choose to do after each play through .

3 endings:

Bad : Gretel stole the Witch’s magic hat and becomes the new witch instead

Neutral : Gretel collects enough ransom to save Hansel

Good : Gretel assist Red Riding Hood in overthrowing the Witch, saves Hansel and brings peace to the Enchanted Forest.

Settings have been changed to be more dark and filled with drugs. Hansel is now captured by the witch for tax avoidance and selling porridge(drugs) illegally.

Also, thanks to Kelly, we got ourself a fully functioning app prototype. I knew that this group is really dependable and everyone is doing what they are supposed to do for their roles. Mine is the artist as well as doing the marketing materials like posters and character designs. This is a good teamwork I must say, one of the best group to work with.

Learning After Effect

Today is my first time fully learning After Effect, with many shortcuts and functions explained. However, I’m quite disappointed at the barebones as we don’t really learn much other than placing files and removing green screen with camera movements.

What I feel is particularly cool is the camera function that makes a 2d photoshop pictures turn into 3D by manipulating perspective, but that’s it. Most of the time is spent on importing and layering each file, which I kind of feel we should be able to do more in this amount of time.

The lecturer also introduced us to VideoCopilot where many effects are already made and we can just download some royalty free version, I think that this website will be useful in near future if I choose to specialise in this department.

Learning Flash 2

Today learnt more on xml, which sorts of like html, but most importantly, I have finally grasped a bit on Flash architecture, especially on symbols and it’s naming conventions. Though there are still some errors that appear without me knowing where they are, I found that some of the general errors normally result from naming convention or any spelling errors that is usually easy to miss.

Finally, Flash seems a bit easier and less confusing as last week, though I do hope that we don’t get too deep into the Actionscript3 as it’s still a hell for me to code stuff, I figure I’m just not a coder myself, though I would really like to create small interactive media using the minimal skill I had.

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Script to Film 2 : Problems and Researching roles

Today we discussed more on changes of the script that is deemed necessary to make it better, while also researching into my roles as storyboard artist deeper at the same time.

There is some problem with communication as Craig did not give us the details and pictures of the location like what he said he would, it had already been a week and no info yet. Worse, he’s now in Australia so until he replied, we have no ideas at all of the actors’ capabilities and the suitabilities of the house. Though he did say that for a week in March, we could rent it out as the owners would be out. I feel that this delay in information really affects our production process and schedule. Casting wise is also delayed as we could not contact the actors’ directly, this will be noted next time to straight away ask the casters to post all actor’s info in facebook or at least in some forms for us to use.

Lastly, out script is getting more complicated as Dom explained some reasonable changes or ideas that I feel will really develop the story. Currently, the constraint is the 5mins mark, hope we can discuss more on this.

Interactive Media 1: New Module and New Group

Today a new module is launched, which is focused on interactive media marketing, as we are shown various ways people of the film industry markets their film using transmedia, ex Dark Knight Batman film. Our first task is to form a group, I have already known some of them, and they are all wonderful group mates who are dependable fortunately.

Then, we create a fairytale of Hansel & Gretel with a dark and modern twist, using the setting of Enchanted Forest with the likes of Shrek 2, combining various other fairy tales characters like Little Red Riding Hood into the story. After some brainstorming, we finally manage to get a rough story, with the Witch being the head go the Forest but rules with an iron fist and is evil. She kidnaps Hansel for stealing her porridge (drug) and Gretel has got to save him back.

It is more of an interactive game of choices, that branches out to different mini-games which help her gain Magic Beans aka the money in this world. After she got enough, she will be able to pay the ransom and save Hansel. We plan to get 2 – 3 different endings.

So far everything is going well and each of the team members contribute, I feel that this time it’s a bit different from last group where some will be absent for no reason, at least the people in my team wants to do it and we are able to cooperate well till the completion of the project.

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Before Sunrise

This is a film where I got interested when it was mentioned in one of the lecturers, heard from them that it’s a really good film that is unconventional and I decided to take a look at what makes it so special.

After 1.5 hour of watching this film, I came to a simple conclusion: It is marvellous, beautiful and so true to life. The movie itself does not has any antagonist or tight plot which is so common in Hollywood style films nowadays. There are just two actors talking to each other for the whole movie, like literally that is all they did inside.

However, it is the natural conversation and acting by the actors that tie everything nicely and creates such a natural flow that I go along without feeling bored. They make me feels like I will actually be able to meet such people in real life at anytime. The scripted dialogues do not feel like it’s acted out, but more of improvised along the way. The film looks more like something I can create just by recording two persons’ conversation over the period of one night.

They say dialogues should be kept to minimum and leave more for visual, but this film breaks all those rules. I must say it probably comes from both, the smart natural dialogues and the super excellent chemistry between the actors, their expressions and reactions are what we normally do in real life, no acting whatsoever, but honest feeling and expression.

Interestingly, I learn so much from characters over the period of one night in the film, from Jesse being someone who distrust people easily probably due to his broken family and childhood, but he keeps a certain innocence that attracts someone who is completely opposite, Celine, who has a happy family but is trying to rebel.

Music is used effectively in the background, created by real life performers etc to make it really authentic.

Lastly, I find that the ending is really unique, a love story where both parties decide to focus on one night and may probably never meet again, they won’t call or text to preserve the memories deep into their heart, and instead promise to meet in the same place in 6 months. And all of these are happening in modern Vienna, something that is really unusual for a love story ending, but I like it so much.

Overall, this is hands down one of the best love film that explores the unconventional methods and storytelling!