Throughout the process of creating my Final Major Project: ‘Engage’, I wanted to learn new skills, work with new people, and most of all; make sure everyone involved enjoys themselves and the final production turns out to be the best piece of work that I’ve produced. I can safely say that I have achieved all of those goals as I directed two new people I’ve never worked with before, learned new skills when editing, and learned how to film with a Canon 5D Mark 3 glide cam, (a camera I’d never used before.)
Having looked at the latest version of my proposal, I’d say I’ve achieved my aims to a good standard. One part in particular where I said: “I intend to make a short action film which is around 6 minutes long”. I know for sure that I’ve achieved that as the full production comes to five minutes and forty-four seconds. It was originally set to be a bit longer but I edited out some of the ‘less believable’ shots in the fight scene and sped up the credits to make it shorter and to try and keep the audience’s attention for longer.
I also stated in my evaluation that “My FMP will reference famous action films like Jason Bourne and The Raid for the action”. I’m very glad I included these references as best I could. I got them spot on with an example of a fight move shown bellow.
I learned this move from my cousin that knew martial arts at the time.
I also stated in my evaluation that I’d use influences from “Batman v Superman for the visual style and lack of saturation in the image.”
This is Batman v superman‘s colour grading, vs my colour grading below.
Both are really desaturated, dark, and have that negative feel to it. This is why I’m confident and pleased with the colour grading. The first screen shot (from “Batman v Superman“) was taken from a scene filmed inside and so it was darker than my screenshot which was taken from a scene filmed outside.
I feel I could improve some of the planning for my year two FMP. Even though I’ve done a lot, I still feel that if I gave myself more time I could take a couple of my main actors and the cameraman up the location before hand so I could plan the shots accordingly. The reason I am saying this is because I planned the whole ‘fight scene’ in my back garden and compared to the filming location at Heybrook Bay. It’s tiny and cramped.
The problem is, it takes a lot of planning and time to get to the filming location and then to get back. That’s the distance from my house to the filming location. Unfortunately, it takes longer as I’d have to meet people in town first. Then get the ‘2’ bus to ‘Hooe’ and then from there either walk or get a lift to Heybrook Bay which if we walk, can take another hour.
Use of time
I’ve mostly learned about my own workflow that I spend a lot of time experimenting with different scripts and talking with my film crew about when we can film. It has mostly revolved around when my main actors and cameraman are free. Unfortunately, everyone has busy lives and so I’d have to keep pestering everyone in the Facebook Messenger group chat until I could confirm a day to film. I have to make it so whenever they are free to film, I am too. It would be a disaster if the reason my FMP never got filmed.
I knew when planning my FMP, I needed to have every shot planned as best as I could with the script available and finished ready for the actors. In my opinion, I’m happy with the way I planned it and how well it all came together. I feel I can celebrate the fact that I’ve managed and directed 7 people all at once confidently, as I know what I’m doing.
Although there was a lot of stress coming up to the filming date, I had to be brutally honest with myself and cut out potential things that would most likely go wrong. This includes shortening the script, removing some props from the story, and just using visual effects when editing the headshot wound at the end. This is because I thought to just use fake blood with nose and scar wax to physically make the wounds was a bit too ambitious as after experimenting with it, the results were disappointing, to say the least. I feel that just sticking with using fake blood on the day was a very good choice as it was quicker, easier and overall looked so much more effective. I was originally writing the script so Jack’s character would introduce himself with a dialogue asking permission to enter the base (acting as if he had a scheduled delivery for the general). The prop was a case full of money. Jack’s character would then get allowed in. Once inside he would stealthily take out all the members of the military. I changed this because I’ve worked with Jack before and he isn’t the best at saying lines without laughing in every take. I also didn’t want anything to turn out cringy, and if Jack went around silently and no one noticed it would most likely look bad and less exciting than the final cut.
I knew I had the deadline slowly getting closer and so I knew that it was vital to get all the filming done in one day as getting people together for a second time to film would be too impossible.
My aims were to make a short 6-minute action film that I would be proud of and could call my best piece of work. Arguably I’d say it was the best film I’ve produced. It may only be five to six minutes long but I feel it’s just the right amount of time to leave viewers wanting more, removing the possibility of losing the viewers attention or leaving them bored. As I stated in my proposal, I aimed to properly “showcase cinematography, and script writing skills and then plan the film accordingly”. I knew I wanted to act in my film but it would be the directing of all 7 members of my film crew that would be the most challenging part. I was unsure on who would be the designated cameraman at first as the usual cameraman I work with ‘Ed’, wasn’t available. But I spent the day before we shot my FMP with Tom (my new cameraman) to confirm the plan for the next day. Although Tom was now the designated camera man, my aims were to tell him exactly where to stand and who to film. So to guarantee I complete my aims as director, I usually stood behind the camera directing him to make sure he films the shots exactly as I wanted them to look. Additionally, as the producer, I set myself an aim to get all the props and outfits sorted the night before to ensure there are absolutely no excuses for it not to work. Finally, my last aim as I also stated in my proposal was to “edit everything myself either at home or at college to show I can manage the project independently”. I certainly did put a lot of time and effort into editing as it took me 8 full days of solid editing and blog work to get it done. Overall though I would definitely say I completed the majority of my aims and I was sensible enough to figure out what was too ambitious early on to ensure the filming goes as smoothly as possible.
In my opinion, I’d say my skills in both directing, planning, script writing, and editing has definitely improved since the start of the process. I’ve learned a lot about how the Canon 5D Mark 3 works and most of all my leadership skills as I had to direct people I hadn’t worked with before. It was truly an exciting job being the creator of my FMP Engage and now can confidently work on editing platforms such as Hitfilm4 Express, Adobe Premiere Pro, Enlight, and Adobe After effects. I’ve also learned how to keep myself motivated when I’m stuck on a specific part when editing. I’d just look at other films that I’m proud of that I’ve made in the past and then hopefully get motivation from that to make my FMP even better.
My research into ‘Logan’ and Tarantino films has influenced the story as its a violent and thrilling reference to the Marvel universe. Plus anytime I was writing the script or was stuck for ideas, I would just refer back to my research or watch another film for some more inspiration.
Overcoming the hardest problems
When making my FMP I faced some difficult problems. However, I feel I would have had to face a lot more problems if I didn’t plan the production as well as I did. There were a lot of problems when editing the laser dot on Jack’s pistol. I had to go through every frame to make sure it worked smoothly. I chose to do this because when I let the editing program attempt to track it on its own it was almost guaranteed that it would mess up.
Another problem arose when Ethan messaged me on me the morning of filming saying that he was too ill to come today. At that point, I was speechless. I spent the whole day with him the day before when we were filming Ceri’s FMP. It did leave me speechless though hat the time as Ethan was a vital character. Anyway after what felt like hours of persuading. I frantically got Conor (another new actor that I hadn’t worked with before) to play Ethan’s role as well.