361. FMP. Conclusion

LANDSCAPE THE BROTHER CODE LOW RES

In conclusion for 361, I feel it’s been an interesting module where I’ve had the freedom and expression to develop where I was interested, and create something that I feel reflects my own skills well that have developed whilst at University.

Some of the highlights of the module include getting well known stars to act on my FMP, professional contacts to do steadicam, music and graphics work, and getting the film seen by other film directors who are interested in my work. I feel that I’ve branched out more and learnt a lot in my research, and the development of my FMP has been more productive than it would have if I had lectures to constantly focus upon. But the other side of this is that I feel I could have got Clifton or Karen to discuss more on my FMP or give feedback, so I could have developed it better.

My skills have grown more through the module, learning more about coordinating actors and acting as a producer by getting paperwork and organisation sorted, running a crew and organising filming for a whole week. All of this is stuff that I can use in the future and will contribute to work outside of Uni or any other productions I want to create afterwards. The process of getting a composer, graphic designer and steadicam op to work on the production has been helpful as I feel it has raised the quality of the work, ensuring that this is the best thing I’ve made out of University.

Looking back 3 years ago when I started ‘planning’ my FMP by saving up money and considering ideas to film, the current product is nowhere near what I wanted to do, as indeed I only wrote the script a few months ago, however I’m very happy with the idea I’ve produced. My original idea of a documentary has been put on the sidelines and I’m going to develop this externally, but overall I feel that my FMP summarises everything about me and everything I’ve done whilst at University.

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361. FMP. Analysis

I feel that the 361 FMP module has been the most beneficial whilst being at University, as it’s provided the freedom (alongside 360) to learn about and explore what i’m most interested in about film.

This module has enabled me to research into the films I enjoy and discover more about the people behind them, the techniques that go into them, and then to utilise that as part of my own personal growth and incorporation into the work. I also feel that I’ve learnt more, by choosing to create a film, about the film making process and the work that goes into that through hiring actors, organising a budget, writing out contracts, spending several days shooting, ect. Every aspect of the FMP I’ve tried to conduct professionally and of an industry standard, so I’ve strived to do things in a way that I’d learn from and benefit in the future, and I feel this has been beneficial when you compare my other work at University (such as Cowboys Vs Zombies or Life of Crime) to that of The Brother Code, and I feel that the standard of the research and paperwork is much higher than before, and so is that of the production through paying out for professional actors/equipment/crew.

I feel that my learning and personal development throughout this module has been interesting, as I’ve researched from a variety of indie and professional sources, looking further into the background of big productions and smaller films and how they were created, and all of this has been more beneficial than sitting in lectures or reading power points, giving me the opportunity to look into and learn about subjects that directly appeal to me or things that I feel would be useful for the production. On the flip side of this, I feel that there may have been aspects I’ve unknowingly overlooked, so could have benefitted from more research or tutor discussions to iron out what I have and haven’t done, or came to a consensus on wider materials that I could have looked at.

I also feel that for the budget of the production, whilst substantial, I should have utilised a better location or a larger place, both for betting filming and so I could take more crew, as having a lack of people whilst on set wasn’t beneficial and hindered the production in aspects. Overall the production looks well and I feel that I researched into a wide range of sources, both to understand the context behind what I was making, but to also include new techniques into the film and ensure I was going the right way about making the production. One of the aspects I feel let down on is the distribution of short film productions, as It’s proved hard to find out more about this online so I had to resort to asking my contacts at festivals, ect. I wish this was something we were taught more about on the course, as everyone just says “submit to festivals” but nobody understands or teaches about the process and when you start it actually turns out to be a lot lengthier, expensive and harder than expected.

Overall I feel that the amount of work and research I’ve done for the FMP has been beneficial, and I’ve learnt a lot more through self exploration than I would have by being in lectures. I’m happy with the end product and everything I’ve done to get there, there are things that could have been improved on but overall I am satisfied with how my work on the FMP has progressed and developed.

 

361. FMP. EPK Finished

I’ve finally received the finished version of my EPK, and I feel it looks very professional and summarises all the relevant details about The Brother Code. I feel that it’s been an interesting experience, as I got a graphic designer to create it for me, so finding that middle ground between what I send over and what he creates has been a learning experience of occasionally agreeing to his professional outtake and trying to balance what I want in there. Also the pictures, having to go through all the production stills and choosing the best ones I feel that epitomise the film, has been a hard experience as I needed to summarise the film in a few simple shots and couldn’t easily do that. I’ve also learnt a lot about the kind of information that is necessary to include through the research into other EPK’s, and including my own ‘style’ into it through the writing and detail partaken, so the reader gets a feel for the film through the written style of the EPK.

Overall I’m very pleased with how it looks and feel that sending it off to some festivals online is going to create a bit of feedback or get some notice, both because of the visual style and the short anecdotes and jokes throughout the EPK. I also feel it looks very professional and outsourcing this has helped me grow as a director/producer by getting more experience working with other media creatives, and also learning how to create a larger project by getting people with the relevant skills to do the work that I’m after, instead of doing it for a sub-par quality myself. I feel that if I had to improve the EPK, I may add more pictures, or instead would swap some of the text around, maybe even throw crew/actor bios into it, however that may be going too overboard and presumptuous for a short film.

361. FMP. Director Viewing

This is just a quick post, as I’m still currently working.

I’m out in Italy at the moment at a film festival, doing research for both PPP and FMP and trying to get some contacts/interviews/answers/feedback/oranges whilst here. One of the things I’m doing whilst at the festival is using my press pass to privately interview a fair amount of the VIPs, and then trying to snare them in with my new business cards, refer to here, to get them to watch my short film.

One of the contacts i’ve traded business cards with is Pang Ho-Cheung and his production coordinator Veronica Bassetto, who work for Making Film Productions. Cheung is an award winning Director with his own company and was screening his latest big budget feature film at the festival, you can see the trailer below.

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Business Card for the production coordinator, contact details hidden for obvious reasons…

 

I’ve met him twice before and he’s always been good to chat with, plus he helps out with a young filmmaker initiative ‘Fresh Wave’ in Hong Kong where he mentors and gives advice to new directors, so I’ve asked Pang to watch my FMP and emailed him the private youtube link for the finished cut to see what he thinks and if there’s any feedback (i’ll update this post if there is before next friday).

I feel that this kind of advice and help is the exact reason I’ve came to this film festival to help further both my FMP and the PPP, I’ve met a lot of great people whilst here and traded cards, discussed more about the film industry and how to get noticed, been given more advice and progressed further in the freelance work. Hopefully getting my film watched, and potentially some advice or feedback, from an award winning director (it doesn’t matter what country you are from as the language of film is universal) will be incredibly beneficial and I can utilise it to maybe tweak the edit before submission, or utilise that in future films to see what comes from it.

Who knows what’ll happen? At the moment, all i’m doing is giving business cards out to people and requesting they contact me, or I can contact them to watch my short, as that’s all I’m after. I don’t want a distribution deal or to get noticed, all I want is the film to get watched as I’ve got no pretences that ‘its going to get discovered or something’ at a film festival, more than likely it’ll get made for the FMP and sit on Vimeo doing nothing like every other student film before it, so if I can get a few people to watch it before then, then i’ll be happy enough. But maybe something might come from this, who knows.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 10.23.58

 

Update: I’ve also traded cards with Director Fruit Chan and his Executive Producer Winnie Tsang, in the hope that I can get either of them to watch my FMP also. Winnie works primarily with independents in HK, and Fruit mentors a lot of first time directors like Pang, so hopefully I can get something back from this. Still waiting on an email back from Pang.

361. FMP. Budget Update

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One of the things I originally focused on during the pre-production and 360MC was the budget for The Brother Code. Having never fully budgeted for a production before, or even self financing a project, I took a guestimate of about £2000 as a total cost for the production. After it’s all now finished and almost all of my finances are paid up, I’ve got a final figure of how much The Brother Code cost.

I originally estimated £2000, however the final cost was £1778.04 for the whole production, start to finish. This cost takes into account all of the props purchased, food, transport, location scouting, actor payments, ect. There are several things I didn’t originally factor into the budget, such as petrol, food costs, location fees, and I consider this a real oversight in retrospect, however I find it bizarre that even though I didn’t consider them my budget still came under estimate. One of the big things I didn’t factor was that both the food and petrol were extortionately more expensive than I originally considered, so money from others areas had to compensate for this. This is definitely something I can learn from in future productions, as I’ve now got all the details from TBC to take forward and benefit from, so I know exactly the kind of costs to expect and more exact details to cover in a budget.

Refer back to my original 360 posts about budgeting to see a comparison for what I originally considered in the budget and how ‘out of reach’ my first costings were.

https://andrewdaleyyr3.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/fmp-budget-proposal-v2/

https://andrewdaleyyr3.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/fmp-budgetting/

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361. FMP. Graphic Design & EPK

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I’ve made contact with my graphic designer now, Steve Want of IWantCreative, who I’ve done film work before and he’s owed me a few occasional favours, so I’ve collected them all in to get him to make my EPK and promotional posters for free.

I’ve also sent him across the details to include in my EPK, all the press photos/BTS/VO shots from production to include, and sent across other graphics as well include my Inspir3 Films updated logo to include, the Florencesans font to write it all in, TBC logo/PSD files for the film and some examples of other press kits and how to put one together professionally (see below). I’ve also taken inspiration from the EPK below in how to lay my own one out, looking at the different categories/photos and the type of information I need to include in it so it is congruent with other press kits and provides the right amount of details to festivals for their own publicity and promotion, and also detailing them the right information they need to know about my own film.

One of the things I hope to get from this is some professional looking materials, so I’ve requested he takes inspiration from the RED VALENTINE EPK below, as that looks incredibly professional and has some quality pictures, so i’ve asked mine to be laid out in a similar format and use my best photos. I’ve also asked that the Florencesans font is used throughout as that is the standard ‘font’ for the film, both on the posters and on the EPK, so creating that level of consistency through the film graphics/credits/online design to make it look consistent.

example of Steve’s work

I’m excited for this as Steve has done some quality design work with his company in the past, and it feels like I’m raising the film another standard by hiring someone who is a paid professional in their area, understands exactly what I want after a few meetings, and can focus on getting it turned around for free whilst I work on other materials. I really hope it turns out okay, but i’ve got several weeks to request draft changes before submission anyway. If it all turns out okay then I’d like to work with him in the future, and perhaps see what else he can make for me, if other projects earn money then I could potentially hire him for more work, start by increasing my professional network now so i’ve got the resources in place to shoot other films. I think this has been a large part of increasing my professionality by expanding this network and getting both the knowledge and resources I can utilise in the future, whilst furthering the personal work I have at the moment.

Note. PDF above taken from CUMoodle, EPK borrowed from Clifton and copyrighted to the filmmakers.

 

361. FMP. Trailer

I took a break from editing yesterday to (guess what) edit together a trailer for The Brother Code. I feel that the overall finished product looks good and is a teaser for the content of the film. I would have liked to add more into it, perhaps some more dialogue or interesting snippets to tease what the film is about, however currently the voiceover from Richard provides enough exposition for the trailer and anymore would probably detract from visuals I’ve added into the paced second half of the cut.

My main focus when editing the trailer was not to fall into the same trap everyone else does. Trailers actually let you know what a film is, Visual reels are a collaboration of lots of shots. A lot of trailers I’ve watched from student productions fall into the trap of just putting pretty shots together and think that’s enough, but a trailer needs to establish the narrative in some form and create a hook for the audience. You can’t hook an audience with some pretty shots, eventually there needs to be some substance for them to bite otherwise the payoff will be low and they’ll shirk your product. So cutting together, I was very aware of putting something that, yes did have lots of aesthetically good looking shots, told some form of narrative and attracted a potential audience to find out more.

An example of this ‘trap’ would be Convolution, below, one of last year’s films which always has the trailer shown in the ET plasma screens. It looks visually nice, but there’s no hook, there’s no words or substance in the trailer to relate across the narrative and give the audience an impression of the content of the film. I feel a trailer should compress the narrative into a few paced moments and ‘give’ that impression to the audience, so once the trailer is finished you at least have some information of the content of the film and what it’s about, and be able to have an informed opinion on wanting to watch it, instead of just thinking “well it looks nice, even though I have no clue about the story, so I suppose I can watch it”. Another example is the trailer below by Dickens, there is some narrative in it and you instantly get an impression of the narrative, however I still feel there isn’t enough of a ‘story’ behind it to hook the audience. I like the subtleness of the trailer however the constant ‘titles’ that come up on screen are more of a shoddy get out clause than an example of your film. I feel there are both good parts and bad parts to this trailer I can take into account, good parts being the slight relation of the narrative to the viewer, bad parts being constant reliance on black screens and text which gives the impression there isn’t ‘a lot’ to the film or not enough clips to make a full trailer.

Compared to the student trailers above, I’ve been inspired by the film trailer for Blumenthal. Yes I realise it is a feature trailer, however it is the first film by a director and was shot in the same indie style by an independent as my FMP has been, so I feel both projects share similarities. This trailer has a lot I can learn from and share, such as the overall cinematic quality and instantly creating that atmosphere of ‘cost’ and ‘cinematic feel’. It also sets a good pace throughout so the audience doesn’t lose concentration and the narrative is interesting enough to give details about the film, teasing the viewer with more to get them to watch the finished product. These are all elements I like from Blumenthal and feel can be borrowed for my own trailer above, adding enough of a ‘narrative hook’ into the piece to garner interest whilst still retaining some element of mystery.

I think the biggest restriction in the terms of the trailer is the actual FMP assessment criteria, as it needs to be a 1 minute trailer. I would have preferred more leeway such as 1-2/3 minute long trailer, then I could have allowed some shots more room to breath and threw some funny dialogue in to create more of a hook. Due to this constriction, that’s why I stuck with constructing a trailer similar to my concept piece for the 360 hand-in, as I feel that worked well first time around and related information to the audience in individual chunks. Everything in the trailer is segmented up, ‘here are your location shots, here’s the two actors, here’s something fun’, to ensure that the narrative is easily related over for the audience and it doesn’t become too convoluted. That’s something I want to avoid when this is only a ‘short’ film. Overall I think it turned out well, however I could probably improve it if I had another 30 seconds leeway, letting some shots linger for longer and have slightly more room to sink in for the audience, or not beatcutting and instead reflecting the gentle pacing style of the film to get across more the substance of the finished product instead of trying to cram in as many pretty shots as I can before the minute was up.