As I said, I wasn’t well this week and because of this I took a few days off, Tuesday afternoon included.
I watched a film while I was at home and it made quite an impact on me. I spent most of the film either on the verge of tears or fully crying. The film was A Girl Like Her by Amy S. Weber. It’s the story of a girl who attempted suicide after being bullied by a girl she used to be friends with.
What is different about this film is not only the way it is presented as a documentary, but the way it seems to follow the bully more than the bullied. Bullying is very important issue, but it seems that most often the bully is ignored. This film seems to address the issue that both parties are equally as important. They both need help and the people that hurt are hurting too.
I think that presenting this film as a documentary made it even more powerful as it felt more personal, more real compared to presenting it as a drama.
The title, A Girl Like Her, is very clever because it refers to both the girls this film focuses on. It’s for the girls getting bullied, and the girls doing the bullying. I looked on the film’s official website and saw a quote from The Washington Post that said “it has the power to engage teens on all levels”. That’s quite true, like I said, it’s for girls on both sides of the issue, but it’s not just for the girls. It will also impact the boys. And not only those directly involved in the bullying, but those who look on and do nothing, it’s an encouragement to stand up, say something, and get some help.
I felt this story on a personal level because bullying was the reason I left school and was homeschooled. I wasn’t bullied to the extend depicted in this film, but what I experienced as a young child impacted me deeply and I sometimes still feel the effects of it today.
I think this film does an excellent job of making the viewer aware of both sides of the story of bullying and in a way that makes it a powerful, personal experience.
I haven’t been feeling very well this week so I’m surprised I’ve been able to get as much done as I have.
Wednesday was a particularly busy day this week for filming. We got up early and headed into school at 7 to reshoot our interviews for our showreels. A day or two before we’d sat down and figured out a guideline for questions so we wouldn’t struggle to think of some or mess around for too long.
Once everything was set up and we were all ready to go the process went very smoothly I felt.
To start with it was just us girls (Nicola, Kate and myself) and I found that was a really good environment for us because it gave us a chance to just figure things out and do what we wanted or thought was best. There are times when it’s great doing things with the boys, but having time for us girls to do some filming together is also great.
My interview features Nicola and Kate talking about the parking situation at the Downtown campus. The b-roll for the interviews will be in two parts; Nicola pulling up to the parking meter, checking the prices and driving away, and Kate pulling into the carpark, sitting the ticket on her dash then locking and leaving her car. I am yet to film the second part with Kate as I ran out of time on the Wednesday and just needed a bit of down time to recover on the weekend. Hopefully I’ll be able to film this extra part in the next couple of days.
In other news, our horror genre project is all go for filming on Monday afternoon. We have our location sorted and our shots assigned. I’m looking forward to it!
It was sad to say goodbye to Duncan this week, but I will look forward to seeing him again next year. He’s been a huge help with my story writing and development and a great encouragement.
I really enjoyed the last couple of days we had with him. He got me doing a bit of improvisation (as he does) which I thought I wouldn’t really enjoy, but I actually did.
What he was getting us to do was to change elements of our ‘story’ and see how it changed the mood or effectiveness. I found it to be a real help because it got me thinking about how good it is to change a story or piece of writing, even if you think it’s great how it is, because there’s always going to be ways to improve it. Sometimes it’s just something simple like making one character talk a little more or even making one talk less.
During the writing exercises where we put this advice into practice, I started thinking more about what to do for my web series of short film. I’ve been really wanting to write a web series because I think it would be a bit more of a challenge and will just be nice to do something a little different too.
I had an idea while listening to the conversations we have at dinner that it would be fun to write a web series that were basically dinner table conversations. Sure, it will be a challenge to make each episode different enough and make it really engaging too, but I think it will be fun to play around with how you can get to know characters and reveal a lot about a person, or a family, from what they discuss at dinner.
Sitting down to dinner and getting to hear about everyone’s day is something I really look forward to in my own life. For me, it’s where I’ve gotten to know the people I live with and it’s the place we all come together and start to connect. Plus, we always have fun and interesting conversations.
To be honest, I think I’m going to start taking a pen and paper to the table and taking notes just in case any gems pop up!
The horror genre is heavily influenced by the German expressionism movement from the 1920s. Some of the early German expressionist films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) and Nosferatu (1922) are classed as horror film and even ranked as the top 2 horror films on Rotten Tomatoes. For out research on our genre project, our genre being horror, we looked at several classic horror movies. Two of these being The Ring (2002) and The Cabin in the Woods (2012). Even though The Cabin in the Woods isn’t exactly a classic, it is an excellent example of all things horror and can almost be considered as a parody of the genre. It almost pokes fun at horror movies, it focuses around a group of teenagers, has a creepy, isolated setting, but doesn’t really take itself seriously and this is emphasised by the men in the “control room”.
For our short horror film we’ve decided to lean towards the parody side of the horror genre. By doing this it we will be able to take all of the classic horror set ups and put them into one short film and not have to worry about not having it look ‘cheesy’.
Below are the story boards for the set ups I worked on:
The antagonist emerging from a shadowy hallway
The protagonist approaching the camera curiously
The antagonist looking back over her shoulder while running away through a forest
The antagonist framed in a CU while going about ‘daily tasks’ that involve opening doors, then having the antagonist appear behind a door
Leading the frightened protagonist slowly down a hallway with the antagonist darting around behind her
The protagonist hiding in a dark cupboard/wardrobe with only a slit of light showing her face
We also have a location for our film thanks to my lovely second family. The house I live in is an old, dark house with long hallways so it’s a perfect location. Photos are below.
Duncan came back this week and just in time to be able to give me some advice on my table play before I handed it in. The screenplay was due on Tuesday and Duncan arrived on Monday so i met with him to have a read over my step outline and get some feedback.
He like my idea, but suggested I rework the ending to reflect the beginning. I did have the story end with the two children, Katie and Tom, deciding to play a different game. Taking Duncan’s advice, I went back to the story and rewrote the end entirely. During this process, I got a bit stuck. I came to a point where I just didn’t know where to go next. Thi got me to thinking and I realised that ending a story is the part I seem to struggle with the most. I can start a story and take it to some interesting places, but then I just come to a standstill.
Duncan asked us at the end of class on Thursday to have a think about what we would like him to cover while he is here so I went up to him straight away and told him about my problem. I feel that the ending of a story is one of the most important parts because I think it leaves the biggest impression on you. I’m really looking forward to whatever advice Duncan has to offer on this, and hopefully it will help me to find ways to effectively end my stories.
Below is a little snippet of my finished table play that I titled The Play Date.
Friday morning I was feeling relatively confident. I had done some research the night before to refresh my limited knowledge on the topics we’d covered in class and blog homework for cinematography, so I sat down at my computer feeling I’d do quite well in the multi-choice exam the class was about to undertake.
…one can dream.
I didn’t fail, but I didn’t do as well as I had hoped. I got 57 points out of a possible 100 which gave me the grade C. Sure it would have been nice to have a higher grade, but I did pass so I’m happy about that.
In other news for Cinematography, we’ve been told to start planning for our 3rd assessment. I guess that should mean our 2nd assessment is well under way? Yes? Oh. Better start on that then.
It’s now the 14th of May, the Showreel (assessment no. 2) is due on the 2nd of June, and then the Filmed Drama (assessment no. 3) on the 17th of June. That basically gives us two weeks to get our showreels filmed so we have some time for editing.
I have to talk to my class mates, but at this stage I’m planning to do as much filming as possible this next weekend.
I wasn’t too sure what a cinematography showreel should look like so I searched it up on YouTube. The videos below are a couple of examples of the showreels I found.
What is the psychology of the camera? It is one of my favourite elements of film. It’s the way the use of camera techniques portray emotion. It’s the way a wide lens gives a slight fisheye effect, distorting images, conveying to the viewer the discomfort of the character, a threatening character, or abnormality of the situation. It’s the way a steady cam communicates a sense of confidence, peace, or control, and adversely the way handheld camera work expresses panic, uncertainty, or distress. The choice of framing, composition and movement influence the emotional value the audience gain from what they’re watching.
These two videos explain this well:
For a class exercise this week in cinematography, we when outside in small groups to practice the psychology of camera. We had a list of different emotions or situations to portray in photos. The point of this was to experiment with composition, framing and shot type to find the best way to communicate these emotions. Below are some of the photos we took (apologies for any that are out of focus).
The second assignment for Screenwriting is due on Tuesday afternoon. It is a table play and that more or less means a story with two people talking. It reminds me of having a conversation with your mum at the kitchen table. The biggest challenge with this project is making the story interesting. There is a limited amount of stories that can be written that are set in one location with two people just talking.
After doing a class exercise of creating a character and putting them in the table play situation, I thought I had a good story for my screenplay. I wrote the step outline (a course of action for your screenplay) for this story and sent it to my tutor. I wanted to have a slight comedy element running through the story, but when I talked about it with Patrick, it became clear to me that it just didn’t make sense.
As I tried to rework the story so it made sense, I started to really hate the story. It was becoming incredibly dull and that’s not the kind of work I want to hand in.
Eventually I came to a much simpler idea – two children having a play date, bickering about what to play and, at the end, getting along.
The criteria for the table play:
Two characters. (A third is permitted with prior tutor approval)
One indoor setting
A clearly established main character/protagonist
Dilemma and/or conflict
At least three status changes
Character arc(s) are developed and resolved.
During the process of my new table play I focused mostly on ensuring I had clear status changes. The way I incorporated these changes of power between the characters was to have them almost bully each other at times, as children do.
I do have a third character, the girl’s mother, appear briefly in the story, I haven’t yet received approval from Patrick on this. Hopefully he will give me the all clear before I’m rushing to hand it in!