CONSTRUCTION OF A MAGAZINE REVIEW

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As part of my research into similar media products concerning magazine film reviews, I thoroughly analysed the medium which can be seen in this blog here however, this was very much an individual exercise to expand my knowledge. In order for Jannath, my teammate, and I to learn more about film reviews, we found a vast range of examples to look at together. You can see us doing this above.

After understanding the conventional composition of the reviews, we put together a draft featuring two photos and a layout that drew inspiration from the products we studied. The video below illustrates parts of my construction process of Adobe’s PhotoShop and shows a number of problems I had to overcome to get the high quality review I wanted. You’ll see how I tackled getting the right font and how I correctly arranged the different elements in the piece.

After many attempts towards this layout, I found that it wasn’t what I wanted. It didn’t quite capture the mood or tone of my film, Screen Three, which film reviews tend to do. I thoroughly experimented and continued to contact Jannath through Facebook to discuss the successes and failures of the piece. Facebook works as an effective and accessible way to send images and receive response and you can see below. During the editing processes when I wasn’t with Jannath I could easily update her with what I had in mind and we could evaluate together to get the best result possible.

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Below is a video showing the composition of our film review. The clip reveals every element that we pieced together to create our review such as the images, the different layers of text and the shapes involved.

TIME MANAGEMENT

Managing time is vital in filmmaking. Setting yourself and your team an appropriate time scale to do things is something to take much care in. In making Screen Three, I kept this mind and continued to organised my time strategically and so the production process would go with any problems. peter emailLets begin with our first scene. Emailing was key in communicating between myself and Red Lion Theatre which was the location for our shoot. I first contacted Peter Glanfield, an actor at the theatre, who gave me plenty of advice about when to propose a day to shoot. This worked to my advantage in that I could more easily organise with the Chairman, Shirley Moffat. shirley email2 After a series of emails with her I was able to secure not only a date and time, but also an allotted time for when our people could be in the theatre. Because I was weary of problems for the shoot, I asked for an hour more than what I thought I might need to ensure we’d get the film done and the quality of our work wasn’t reduced because of any pressures concerning time. Also, I knew it would take a while to clear up the popcorn and pack away all the equipment (cameras, tripods, lights, projectors etc) and so having this spare time really helped. actors date Whilst all this was being organised, I simultaneously organised with my actors to ensure everyone could make it. I contacted all my actors in a group chat using Facebook to make for a more efficient process. scene 2 scene 2 2 With the second scene which we intended to be shot in our school’s car park, I contacted the Deputy Head Master and after a series of emails, we managed to come to a date that worked for everyone and didn’t interfere with any of the events going on at school. I also arranged this with the school’s caretaker who allowed me to have power whilst on the shoot. Time really wasn’t an issue for our film after it was organised. Taking care in carefully managing time in pre-production can really boost the quality of a piece since it isn’t undermined by time issues. It’s something easy to organise and if you want your film to be successful, time must be addressed right.

PUTTING A FIRST EDIT TOGETHER

In order to begin our film poster, Jannath and I needed a clear understanding on the purpose of the media and how it was constructed. We did this by looking at a range of film posters from all sorts of pieces, but especially from those belonging to the drama genre.

Whilst both being dramas, He Got Game (Spike Lee, 1998) and The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan, 1999) are two very different films and their posters illustrate this.

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We had the photo we wanted to use so our next move was to open it within PhotoShop and begin editing. By studying the content and composition of various posters of films, particularly those from the drama genre, I had the knowledge of how to put together this poster and PhotoShop allowed me to put it together. Using the website, Facebook, Jannath and I could easily share our feelings towards elements of our poster at different stages. We were able to discuss what worked and what didn’t work, and you can see this below.

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I sent her screenshots of the two images below. This provided her with a visual presentation of what I had been working on and together we could come to a conclusion on an issue. In this case, we were discussing where the time should go; above or below the central image.

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22 layersAbove is the image I manipulated as the main element of my poster. By adding adjustments such as “Contrast” and “Levels” and masking on PhotoShop, I was able to make a much more stylistic image that was true to the tone of the film. It also made a more appealing photo that more easily fitted into the poster’s black background. To the left here is the alternative layers that worked together to create the final piece. Images in PhotoShop are composed from a series of layers such as smaller images, shapes and text and layers. If a layer is above another layer in the layers window, such as “Layer 14” is to “Layer 13”, it will appear above it in the workspace. Many layers were pieced together to make the final piece below.

The majority of the layers in my poster were text which consisted of different fonts set out differently; having alternative spacing and sizes. Manipulating the settings of the text was vital in getting the right look, rather than sticking to the default settings.

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COSTUMES & PROPS

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In order to communicate the cinema-environment we had created for our first scene, in addition to the lighting effects, I felt it was important to have the appropriate props. With the script featuring popcorn being thrown it was important to have popcorn boxes for this to happen and so, through Amazon, I got my hands on some. Although they were scheduled to arrive on time for the shoot, during my visit to the West End Cinema in Boston I managed to get my hands on some boxes that were perfect for the shoot.

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Through Facebook I could efficiently and easily to each actor or all the actors together and it was using this tool where I discussed costumes. With the “YOUTHS”, Sam, Gareth and Connor, I wanted them to wear darker clothes which could help the audience identify them as menacing and the protagonists. Also, visually this would contrast them and form a barrier between them and Peter who would be wearing clothes such as a white shirt. I wanted him to wear clothes that would communicate his age so the audience empathises with him more and I think this worked on the day of the shoot.

PAT TESTING – HEALTH & SAFETY

shirley emailAfter emailing Shirley Moffat, Chairman of the Red Lion Theatre, she made it clear that if my group were to use the electrical sockets in her establishment we would need to provide PAT testing for our equipment for health and safety reasons. PAT stands for Portable Appliance Testing and is a process in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and Australia by which electrical appliances are routinely checked for safety and although it’s slightly more work, it’s totally understandable for Mrs Moffat to stress its importance.

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An external company can be hired to test all the electrical products in a business however, we were lucky enough to have a caretaker capable of doing such tests and so before the shoot I took into school with me equipment I planned to use for the shoot. This included my laptop charger (which is needed to keep the DVD running for the projector), a battery charger for my lights in case we loose power through the three-hour shoot and also the projector and its cables. The plugs were tested through the machine you can see on the left by Mark Harris who is certified to do such a test and give a legal result. His certificate can be seen below.IMG_2345Although we hadn’t the ability to perform the process ourselves, Mark Harris lead us through the PAT test step by step where he must attach each plug and push certain buttons on his machine to collect results. If these results were correct he could pass them as being safe. Also, with some plugs, such as the projector’s extension cable, Harris had to look closer into the plug by opening them up as you can see below. With all our equipment it was vital that he carefully checked the cables for any holes, tears and open wires since this would fail the test and certainly be dangerous.

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IMG_2333Luckily, all of our equipment passed the PAT test and was rewarded the green sticker to indicate this. As you can see above the stickers includes who had tested the equipment (MH meaning Mark Harris), the date the test occurred and the next date the equipment will have to be tested once again. But with this done and out of the way, we had pleased the woman in charge of the Red Lion Theatre by ensuring a safe environment to work in whilst Jannath and I were one step closer to being ready to film which was a great feeling.

IF WE CAN’T GO TO THE CINEMA, WE’RE GOING TO BRING THE CINEMA TO US.

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Myself and the Ritz had a email conversation concerning filming that ran throughout October. We discussed the films content, organising a date and things we needed for the shoot such as a piece of film being projected with no sound to run during the shoot. However, towards the end of the month there seemed to be a communication breakdown and I learned the establishment was extremely busy through undergoing big changes to its theatre. Jannath and I wanted to get a date sorted however, we both agreed it was important to not be pushy and apply pressure to the already busy Pete Genders who runs the “community driven project” of the cinema. I sent a few emails every so often but got no reply and Jannath thought it would be a good idea to contact that a different way.

facebook pageWe came across there Facebook page and managed to contact the boss about filming then but it was not good news.fb convo ritz

The Ritz not being available to host as a location until December seemed like a huge problem at first but soon we realised it might turn out for the best. Shooting in December wasn’t really an option as we wanted to get filming on the road as fast as possible. We both knew the editing process can often take far longer than the production process and so we need as much time as we can to do a good job with that.

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And so we had a challenge upon us. Unless we contact another movie theatre, how are we going to make the scene in the cinema work? Peter Glanfield who plays our main role as the “Old Man” in our short film luckily has strong connections with Horncastle’s Red Lion Theatre which , from a previous film project, I know has an ideal seating arrangement that consists of many rows of stylistic red seats facing a stage.

But what about the cinema screen? If we are to have a film being projected in the scene there’s no way the scene will be convincing if my group don’t do anything about the lighting. Together, Jannath and I came up with an idea involving the light from a projector bouncing of from a reflector and onto the characters’ faces. I did a camera test and here are the results!

I think they’re convincing and turned out great in that we see the movie in Jannath glasses and she looks forward to where the screen is imagined to be. Thanks to her standing in as a subject, we got a great feel for what we had to do during the shoot and was definitely a big and valuable part of pre-production.

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Concerning “three point lighting” the projector almost acts as a backlight for our shoot and creates a great look for me that it replicated right when we’re in the theatre will be fantastic. Additional light are to be added to set a more atmospheric scene and to distinguish what’s going on in the frame.

All this preparation would go to nothing if we couldn’t get to a theatre and so through our links with the Red Lion Theatre in Peter, our main actor, we contacted Shirley Moffat who confirmed our shoot after numerous emails describing the details of the shoot.shirley email2

Before arranging a date I spoke to all my actors through Facebook and we all came to a date we were all available to make, as well as a date likely for the theatre to be free. We’d realised through Peter that many dates would be taken up by the theatre company. Below you’ll find an extract from my conversation with the four actors involved in the production.

actors dateLike I said, with thanks to Peter we had an advantage. Being a member of the theatre for over a decade he knew what was going on behind the scenes concerning rehearsals and guest appearance and was kind enough to personally email me these details.

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ORGANISING ACTORS

head2I wanted to make a change with this short film to improve it and to make it more professional through including only experienced actors to play the main roles. Although I did not know of these actors I was looking for, I took the time out to contact members of the Red Lion Theatre Company that’s located in my hometown of Horncastle to get hold of some people who might be interested. Luckily I knew a member and asked for her help concerning communication.

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I spoke to Shannon Woodley who’s a member of the group and has been for many years and after explaining my request she posted in the group’s private page on Facebook and I managed to get a positive reaction. Three actors and an actress expressed their interest and it was great to have this so we could pursue our film quickly and efficiently in an attempt to get a good result. One of the actors was far too young for the role in mind however, the other two were ideal. They both were of the age I imagined the “YOUTHS” to be around which is around twenty years old. One was short and slim whilst his companion was tall and broad and this arrangement was something I had in my mind beforehand to add a variety to the goons in the plot. I didn’t want them all the same but rather each having their own unique personality, manner and look.

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The social network Facebook acted as a huge help in contacting my actors. Through the website I could not only speak to them but get a good idea of what they look like and how well they suit the role I had in mind for them. As so I got to speak to everyone! They were all super excited about working on the film and it’s great to see such passionate actors. I communicated their role such as saying to Sam Colley, who I had in mind to play Youth One, to act as the biggest and meanest bully he can imagine. I think this will important in his role and encourage him to be proactive.

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Our main character played by Peter Glanfield owns a local music shop and so I thought it would be suitable to visit him personally and hand him a copy of the script in person. We discussed the film is great detail and he gave me plenty of things to think about concerning line delivery since he has directed actors in productions in the past. With the other actors, I sent them the script as a PDF through the messaging system on Facebook and they were delighted to finally see the script they had been waiting for.