Bent is the title of the film I will be making a trailer for. The name refers to the saying “bent not broken”, and I chose to use this because I feel this is very relevant to the characters in this story.

I did my best to write in 5 speaking characters, as required for this project, and partially succeeded. I have five characters in the trailer, as it currently stands, but only two speaking roles. Over the next week or so I am going to write out one or two more scenes from the full story to see if I can work in more dialogue for other characters.

The last couple of weeks I have been working on the pre-production for this project where I developed a director’s manifesto. During this process I have realised that the trailer, and in fact the whole first season, of Broadchurch has become a key source of inspiration. Not only am I taking inspiration from this show for the visual style, but also some of the characters. The two characters in particular that I find very relevant to my own project are Beth and Mark Latimer (played by Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan, respectively) who are a couple who’s relationship is challenged after they discover their 11-year-old son has been murdered. What I am drawing on from these characters is how their relationship is affected by this tragedy. The event that causes strains on the relationship between my characters is less tragic, but causes emotional breakdowns regardless. Understandably, the roles of the Latimers require very emotional performances and I think Whittaker and Buchan do an excellent job of this. For this reason, I will be suggesting to the actors who play my characters to look at these roles and draw inspiration from them also.

Teaser Trailer

I am not trying to write a script or develop a concept that has less than 5 characters in order to spite those who have stipulated those rules, I am trying to write less than 5 characters because I am aware of the resources available to me. Yes, I am sure I could work around that and find 5 talented actors, but that would be a very time consuming process when time is one thing I do not have right now. I am trying to write an effective story with few characters. It’s been done, and done successfully. For example, Lars von Trier’s Anitchrist. There were only 3 characters, and one of those was a small child who was on screen for maybe 5 minutes. The rest of the film is carried by 2 actors and I think it’s done brilliantly. I am not saying that I am as skilled as Lars von Trier and am able to create something as successful as he has, certainly not at this stage in my life, but what I am saying is that I would like to try. If I am not given the chance to try, I will never know. Now is the perfect time to try, because I have people around me who can assess my work from a professional and experienced viewpoint and give me feedback on what worked and what didn’t. Perhaps it will fail completely, but at least I will have gained some experience and knowledge.

We have been told that in our third year we will be able to make what it is we’ve been dreaming of making (or something to that effect). I have been dreaming of making something visually stunning, that challenges me and gives me a chance to experiment.

I find that structured films and trailers frustrate me. I like to see creativity that breaks the rules. For this reason, I thoroughly enjoy teaser trailers. More often than not, there is limited dialogue, a great soundtrack, and stunning cinematography. This combination stirs up far more of an interest than a generic or traditional theatrical trailer ever could. It leaves more to the imagination and encourages viewers to find out more or see the final production through gently teasing the story, and I find this to be far more effective. For this reason, this is the kind of trailer that I have set my heart on making. Yes, it will be very challenging, especially as I will be working backwards (making a trailer before a full production… or even writing the full script), but that’s how I am going to learn!

In light of this, I have been finding teaser trailers made in the style I have just mentioned. Some of my favourites are below:

Broadchurch – Season 1

I love this series. I think it is beautifully shot, has strong characters, and creates a powerful connection with the audience. The themes explored in this series, and this season specifically, are very relevant and allows for just about anyone to relate to it in some personal manner. In terms of this trailer, I think it cleverly sets the mood, simply addresses the overall storyline, and generates interest. I also feel that it caters well to its target audience, which I would imagine is around 25+.

La La Land – Offical Teaser Trailer – ‘Audition (The Fools Who Dream)’

This is the trailer that really sparked my ideas for my own project and made me realise how much I enjoy trailers like this. The first time I saw it, it stood out because it was so very different from any other trailers that were playing and I think that makes for a strong promotion. It caught my attention because there’s no dialogue – it’s all beautiful shots set to a song from the film (performed by the cast). I guess it read a little more like a music video, but clearly promotes a film. The production values are incredible, and I certainly do not think I can achieve that for this project, but I have taken a lot of inspiration from this teaser.

Logan – Offical Trailer

This example isn’t a teaser trailer, but it reminded me of the La La Land  teaser when I saw it because of the way the song is champion. I think this trailer is very compelling, and it caught my interest, which is very unusual for an X-Men film, because I’m not normally interested in them.

Antichrist – Official Trailer

I was very interested in this film last year, because I noticed there were only three characters, which is highly unusual for a feature film. It was for this reason that I watched it (also, it’s directed by Lars von Trier and he’s a genius), paying close attention to how the characters were used, especially the locations in which they were placed. Most of the film is set at remote cabin in the middle of a forest, but there are a few scenes in a hospital where one would expect to see a lot of people, but the lead characters (who are never named) are the only two characters we see. What I find particularly clever about this film is that, even though there are only three characters (the third is a child), it isn’t boring, in fact, it is quite gripping.

The Handmaiden

I’ve not yet scene this film, but I do want to. I think this trailer, which, like Logan, is an offical trailer, is cut really interestingly, especially at the start. What I like about this is the way it cuts every second or so alternating shots from the same scene with shots from others. This style of cutting, combined with the soundtrack, creates tension resulting in a very compelling trailer. I think the fact that there is no dialogue adds to the build up of tension, because we’re always waiting for someone to say something, but they don’t. This is purposeful, because it seems like the characters are in a situation where they can’t speak up even though they want to. We do have little hints of vocalisation with a few gasps here and there, but nothing more. I also enjoyed the use of reaction shots, and there were a lot of them, as they create a sense of mystery, urging us to find out why these characters are behaving like this so often. The other thing I noticed with this trailer was the use of titles. I often feel that titles look really tacky in a trailer, but these didn’t. The large, bold font fitted with the genre and made simple, easy to read statements without being cheesy. They were statements rather than the classic “in a world…” titles that Hollywood films often have.

Looking at these trailers, I feel there is hope for success in what I would like to make this year. I love the way some of these trailers build tension and mystery with their absence of dialogue, and, with that, suggest some themes in the story, such as not being able to speak up, or the way suspecting your neighbours makes you shut yourself off to them. This is the kind of feeling I want to create with my trailer. I hope it works.

BSA306: A new Project

The challenge ahead: research a topic, technique or style etc. that interests me and produce a body of work based on my findings.

Obviously my biggest interests are film and photography so my research will be focused around elements of these mediums. I am considering the idea of a multi medium project that uses both film and photography. I would to try taking the same techniques, ideas or styles and presenting them as works of photography and film to then compare the final products, even though I feel it could be very ambitious with the work load I am about to take on. I would compare them in the way the idea is portrayed, how it is received and whether or not the pieces are translated in the same way. Alongside this I would be interested to know which piece myself, and others, found to be more successful.

I definitely think the question I will be exploring will be based around the idea of the piece rather than the techniques used in it. That being said, I would love to explore the use of low lighting to create mood and emotion in this work.

This article discusses lighting techniques in film and the effects they have on the subject.

In this blog post from a cinematography student, backlighting, and when to use it, is explored. I found this interesting because I was thinking of predominantly featuring silhouettes in my project and those are created by backlighting the subject. This blog post discussed various forms of backlighting the different moods each creates. Perhaps I could try and utilise as many of these techniques as possible to create different moods through the lighting.

I love the lighting used in these images by Babak Fatholahi.
What I like about the first image is the sense of mystery that is created by the lighting. I would love to try something like this in my project because I think it feels very sombre, like there is something lost and this is emphasised through the fact that we can only see the model’s face and everything else seems to fall into the shadows.

© Babak Fatholahi

This second image has a very different mood to the first. It’s still very dark and “moody”, but I think the emotions felt from it are almost opposite. I feel like the use of lighting and the model’s pose suggest hope and determination. I always like to try and find a story within an image and to me the story in this is one of a woman who has been trapped in a dark place, struggling with life, but now she is beginning to come out of that place and move on into a happier and brighter future. Even though that sounded incredibly cheesy, I would love to try and create that kind of feeling, or story, in my own photographs for this project.

© Babak Fatholahi


I found this essay interesting as it looks at the use of lighting in several scenes in Casablanca (1942) saying, “Casablanca is considered by many to be the finest example of the film noir style of the 1940s”. This essay focuses a lot on the use of lighting to represent emotions or the state of mind of the characters.


The next step for me in this project will be to decide what exactly my focus will be. I do know that I will be focusing on emotion in film and photography, but I’m not sure just yet whether or not that will also relate to lighting. Though I am interested in how lighting can effect the mood of a scene or reflect the emotional state of a character, I’m not sure my interest is strong enough to keep me enthusiastic and invested throughout the project.

BSA227: Refraction.

Refraction is the title Kate and I have ended up giving to our film. It’s very different to anything either of us have ever made before, but I think we are both quite happy with the end result.

I spent about 30 hours straight in the Mac Lab, without a wink of sleep, eating mandarins and working on compositing photos on the blank pieces of paper that our actress, Teneill, was looking at. I was aiming to get a photo on each piece of paper and then cut between the photos and film of the same locations. Unfortunately I ran out of time to do all the photos, but I did manage to successfully composite two of them. I’m really pleased with how well I managed to mask them into the scenes and I think they look quite believable. However I did overlook the fact that the photos are larger in some shots than others, but with the way the film is cut, it’s not hugely noticeable.

Kate filmed a really neat timelapse of the clouds which in parts looks as though it is filmed below the sea. This is emphasised by the blue colour grade Kate put on it.

Kate edited the film to a piece of music which I had found and used earlier in the year. It is quite up beat so I thought it would be quite a good one to use.

Below is the final film.

BSA227: Changes

Our story has gone through quite a lot of changes from the initial idea of incorporating tiny planets.
I will be honest, I haven’t had a huge hand in the actual story development – most of that has been Kate’s work. As we got into the process I found I preferred to be working more the practical filming and editing side of the project. I think this was because I felt Kate had more of an idea of what should be happening in the story from the start and some of my attempts at ideas really weren’t working. Developing ideas for stories is usually something I really enjoy spending my time on, but for some reason I didn’t do well with that for this project.

Even though our story has been changing constantly, we’ve generally had a pretty solid idea of the content of the film. We were always planning to film various landscapes then manipulate and distort them to give an uncomfortable feeling. With this in mind, we were able to go and film and photograph different locations, providing us with a bunch of material that we would be able to decide whether or not we use later on.
I ended up going on a couple of solo missions out to Riverton with a Canon 7d, a fisheye lens and a macro lens (which I have already posted about).

I found myself stressing over the project and thinking I couldn’t do anything because Kate wasn’t there at that moment so I just opened up Premiere Pro, imported the best clips and began colour correction. I wasn’t very confident with After Effects and didn’t think I would be able to produce much from spending hours trying to figure it out again, so I thought my time would be better spent doing something I was confident with.
With the colour correction on the Fortress Cliffs clips, I tried to make it feel a bit like an Instagram post – like someone had put a filter on a photo and was now imagining it coming to life. I did this by pulling out the blacks, lowering the whites, and bumping up the saturation a little. Considering it was filmed on the Black Magic camera it was quite dull to begin with.

In After Effects, I played with the presets and effects and found one (I can’t remember what it’s called) that pinched together parts of the images and puts them into spheres which I then made move around the frame. Parts of it looked a bit like the tiny planet effect Kate and I wanted to create in the first place.

I also put together a sequence in Premiere Pro where I flipped the footage of the cliffs 180˙ then cut, frame by frame, between the flipped images before settling on the upside down one and fading it into black and white. I also reversed the upside down footage so the waves move the wrong way.

I’m not sure how these will fit into the final film, but I’m interested to see how we can incorporate these sequences.

BSA227: Out and About

Kate and I have been doing a lot of filming and photographing for this project over the last few weeks. Now it will just be a matter of putting it all together to create an interesting story.

Below are some of the photos from some of the locations we’ve been to. These are my own photographs.

A few weeks ago Kate and I went to McLean Falls. We were experimenting with long exposure to make the water seem as though it was moving even though you’re looking at a still image.
I also looked for areas that, if photographed close up, could appear a lot larger than they really were. The photo below titled “Riverbank” I felt was the most successful. I can easily imagine a person walking along the riverbank in the picture.


On Sunday I took a couple of cameras with a micro lens and a fisheye lens to Riverton and then to Queen’s Park. I tried to take photos and then film the same thing from the photo, but zoom out to reveal it’s surroundings.
I tried this with a couple of interesting holes in the rocks. The idea was that inside the hole could be a cave that someone is exploring. Unfortunately I used the fisheye lens for some of these so when I zoomed out it created an effect that made the hole look like it was closing up, resembling a particular part of the human anatomy.

I focused a lot on getting shots with the micro lens of surfaces with interesting textures, or really tiny shells. I then switched to the film mode and filmed the same things from a distance that you would more naturally be looking that those things from showing how small they are. I imagine these being used in our film to intrigue the viewer with photos of these interesting textures or pretty shells then follow with the pieces of film. The idea with the following film is to show how insignificant these things in the photos seem in this bigger picture, but yet you were so interested and invested in them a few seconds beforehand.


Yesterday I went back to Riverton to get pick ups, but this time it was raining so that wasn’t ideal. I took some photos and videos from inside the car so the camera or I didn’t get wet. Eventually the rain eased off so I jumped out and ran down to the water to get some different shots.
I think it will be quite nice to have the difference in the weather with these photos and videos because everything else we’ve shot has been during sunny weather. It will be nice to have a little variety.
These photos haven’t yet been edited so they look a little dull. My plan is to do some colour correction on the videos and editing on the photos later tonight.

BSA206: Mind blown

When I first saw Lord of the Rings I didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t know the story. I was just told that it was about hobbits (not that  knew what hobbits were).
The films blew me away. Sure, I was just a little kid and a lot of things do blow you mind at a young age, but the Lord of the Rings movies were just amazing. I knew that the movies had been filmed in New Zealand so seeing this fantastical world set in such a familiar environment made the experience even more magical for me.
The places in the world of Middle Earth that stood out to me the most were Rivendell and Lothlórien. They were just so beautiful and I think it gave me a little hope that maybe those places could exist.



Falkor from The Neverending Story (1984) blew my mind as a child. I remember the first time I watched this film and first seeing Falkor, I wasn’t sure if he was good or bad. I remember thinking that he seemed nice, but he was so huge that surely he must be dangerous. I really wanted him to be good because he seemed so soft and cuddly, but I couldn’t help but think Falkor was playing a trick on Atreyu. Thankfully, I was wrong and Falkor was the absolute best.
The reason this character blew my mind was because of how huge he was, but also how realistic he seemed (at the time). I also loved the way he just seemed like an over grown soft toy, in fact he reminded me of my Cuddly Bear, the most favourite of all my soft toys.
The Neverending Story was another of the videos my Nana had at her house so I would watch this film over and over again, and every time I would cry at Artax’s death, but I would know that Falkor was going to show up soon so that was okay.

If I think of what blows my mind now, completely different kinds of things come to mind. Mostly, I am now impressed by the cinematography in a film or the excellent story rather than how magical a world seems or how large and cuddle a character is.
Every time I watch an episode of Peaky Blinders (2013) I get really excited over the beautiful cinematography. This show doesn’t have really epic shots like the Lord of the Rings, or just about any other film set in New Zealand, instead Peaky Blinders has a lot of gentle, intimate  shots and this really impresses me because that’s exactly what I love seeing in cinema and photography. It also helps that the story and characters are really well written.

BSA206: Drugstore Cowboy


Directed by Gus Van Sant ❖ Released 1989

Drugstore Cowboy (1989) follows Bob, Dianne, Rick and Nadine as they pop pills and evade the law.

I don’t think I enjoyed this film, I was certainly interested in the story, but I didn’t find it enjoyable. Perhaps I would have been a little more engaged with it if I hadn’t missed the first 15 minutes. Even so, the story seemed to make sense so I can’t have missed too much.

There was one particular technique that I did enjoy in this film; when the main character, Bob, was high, there would be extreme close up shots of random things, such as the trigger of his gun or Gentry’s tie, but as he started to get clean, the ECUs turned into close ups. I thought that was a clever way to show his state of mind and how he was beginning to see things clearer.

In some ways this film seemed to glamorise the drug culture and promote it by making it look like an exciting, fun kind of lifestyle, but there were also some moments that it did the opposite.
Nadine, the “innocent victim” of the story, suddenly commits suicide and this causes the main character to examine his life and make some changes.
It was almost as if the filmmakers wanted the audience to want the fun and exciting lifestyle these characters have had, but when this change of events happens, to be ashamed that they thought this seemed to be a good life.

BSA206: Sequels

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), directed by Sam Raimi, was basically a prequel to The Wizard of Oz (1939), directed by Victor Fleming. The Wizard of Oz has been one of my favourite films since my mum showed it to me as a young child, so I was naturally a little excited, but also a little skeptical, when Oz the Great and Powerful came out in 2013. Admittedly though, I didn’t watch it until a few weeks ago and to say I was disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt about it.
The promise of returning to that fantastical world that I loved as a child, but as a revamped version, made me a little giddy with excitement and I felt like a child again. The beginning of the film I enjoyed. I liked the way it seemed to pay tribute to the 1939 film in the way it started in black and white with a smaller ratio picture then transitioned to “glorious technicolor” like The Wizard of Oz did. After that it was just a complete let down, it really just felt like a grab for money by the film makers, and, honesty, I really wish I hadn’t watched it.

On the other hand, a sequel I enjoyed more than the original was The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004). I realise both of these examples make me seem like I watch a lot of movies meant for young people. I swear I don’t, these are just the ones that really stick out to me in the “sequel category”.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Princess Diaries (2001), it brings me much happiness, but I just enjoyed the second one more. Part of that reason is the characters were a little older and slightly more mature so that was nice to see. More than that though, The Princess Diaries 2 was just a funnier film. I think the fact that the viewer gets to know and love the characters in the first film contributes to this as you know what to expect.
Something else I discovered about these films, which I think have also contributed to the success of the sequel, is that they are both directed by the same person and written by the same people too: Garry Marshall (director), and Meg Cabot and Gina Wendkos (writers).
Also, Julie Andrews makes anything good.


BSA231: Inspiraish.

I was inspired by Brave (2012) and the trail of “wisps” that the character Merida follows. I really loved the way this added a fantastical, mysterious and magical aspect to the story. This element didn’t need to be explained as it was so fantastical that the viewer just accepted it. I wanted to recreate that feeling with the trail of photos that Lily follows in my film. The idea was that this in between world that the story is set in is a fantasy kind of world where things don’t make sense, but if you understand that you are in a world where normal rules don’t apply, you can almost control it. The boy in The In Between understands that he isn’t in the real world so he manages to almost conjure these photos out of nowhere.


I wanted to show Lily’s confusion and panic when she first changes location and at the same time immerse the viewer in her experience. I liked the way this kind of effect was executed in The Forest (2015). As far as I remember, the 180˚ rule was completely scraped in the scene I am thinking of, but for the reason that it creates confusion and disorientates the viewer just as the character is feeling in that situation. I made the point when filming the first scene that Lily changes location to film it from different angles so that I would have options for cutting between various angles when it came to editing.