Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Feedback to Final Cut

This is the feedback we got from our class after having watched our final cut, we'll use some of these as example and supporting evidence in our evaluations.

- Genre is clear
- Good production logo
- soundtrack works with film
- Protagonist easily identified
- Genre quite clear
- genre a bit unclear
- filming good
- main protagonist easily show

- good use of titles
- simplicity of credits reflects well on film title

- Clear genre: british social realism
- shots of countryside/family life-home shots
- Shows it is a social realist drama because there's no music at the beginning.

- Good mix of steady cam and panning helps to attract [audience]
- mix of diegetic and non-diegetic sound where appropriate
- background sound makes it sound more realistic and meets conventions of the genre.
- Long shots are good for establishing the area
- music suits genre
- (could have carried music on?)

- Couldn't really hear the speaking

Poses Questions:
- Who are the boys?
- What are they going to do?
- Why can't they go any further?
- [You can] see it could lead onto a story


Friday, 6 March 2009

FInal Cut!

This is the final cut of our opening, we had to edit it down from a bout 5 minutes, hopefully at some point that version might be able to go up here but for now to satisfy the exam board we have the exam board friendly final cut,



Wednesday, 4 March 2009


We have just been informed that we are not allowed to use the music we were going to use in the background of our film opening.
We are now in the process of making a new soundtrack in garage band that will have a similar effect as the song that we were going to use.


Teacher Comments

Further to our conversation in class yesterday, action points to take forward from the rough cut to final cut include (some of which you may have been working on already):

- Experiment with altering the sound levels in the segments that are affected by the sound of the wind.
- Add footage that includes close ups during the conversation segment, preferably with more audible dialogue.
- Alter your titles to effect softer transitions (using fades and maybe superimposition onto live action footage). Currently the straight cuts from footage to black title cards look a little harsh, wheras the faded in 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere' is much more effective and in keeping with the overall tone of your sequence.
- Add in your music track (to be recorded???)
- Create a soundtrack in Garageband for your production company logo.


Friday, 27 February 2009

Rough Cut of Film Opening

This is the rough cut for our film opening sequence, it's obviously far from finished. We need to film some more footage of birds flying, atmospheric fen skies etc and some more stuff at the end.
We also need to put the song we're going to use on for the final cut and shoot some close ups of me and james dialogue so it's audible and you can see our expressions etc.

The two minutes or so of blackness at the end is not meant to be there, ignore it


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Titles :)

Below are the list of titles that we will be using in our film opening:
  • James Heath
  • Joshua Lucas
Both these will be put on a black background and faded in.

  • 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere'
  • 'Produced by Jamie Murray'
  • 'Artistic Director Ashley Simpson'
  • 'Directed by Joshua Lucas'
All these will fade in on the video in different positions on the video


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Progress report

Editing is coming along well, we've ordered all our footage we've shot into order we want it to be and cut down the clips to the lengths we want.

Next lesson we'll be putting the titles in so we've got that done.

Our major problem is that we don't have all the footage we need and have some gaps, so some time this or next week we need to shoot the rest of the stuff we need.

then we'll be able to finish all our editing for the final cut deadline


Friday, 13 February 2009

Opening Title Fonts

Above are three fonts which could possibly be used to display our opening titles. In descending order the fonts are STFangsong, Century Gothic and Euphemia UCAS. We felt that the fonts Century Gothic and Euphemia UCAS were two similar but both still would have been appropriate for use in our film opening. This is because they are simple, clear fonts. We have decided to use STFangsong as the font used in our opening titles. A space has be made between each letters to make the writing clear and easier to read. This font is simplistic and doesn't look flashy or expensive. We wanted to achieve this effect as our opening is for a brtish socialist drama and not some hugely edited hollywood movie.



We are now in the process of editing our footage. Ashley is working on the text for titles which will be up soon and once we have that we can start working systematically through the sequence in chronological order.


Thursday, 12 February 2009

Shoot Foiled

Unfortunately I was unable to do the filming I was intending to do this morning. The weather foiledour plans, I was inteneding to do it at home during our first free and then moped in later. But my father deemed the roads too icy for me to go in on the moped so I had to go in early meaning I wasn't able to do the shoot.

We'll have the re-schedule the shoot for during half term.


Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Extra footage needed

We've decided that we need some extra shots during the dialogue on the top of the bank.This is because really for dialogue you need some form of close up and also the sound recorded during the long shot wasn't really good enough, you could barely hear my half of the dialogue.

Filming some close ups of this dialogue will solve both these problems.
We will probably do this thursday morning during our free first thing (me, Jamie and James all have this free). This will mean that I'll have to make sure I do all the filming at home as fast as I can and then get into school to do these closeups.


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Second Day of Shooting(?)

Due to the fact that we didn't quite manage to get all the shooting we needed done last Saturday we need to do some more shooting.

I asked to take the camera out this evening, but then realised that there would be no point due to the fact that by the time we got home I wouldn't be able to shoot because it would be dark so I didn't bother picking up the camera. Instead we'll see if we can borrow it overnight tomorrow so I can shoot the stuff we need in my free first thing Thursday, hopefully this won't be a problem.
We will have to see if this is possible if not we might have to improvise.


On Shoot Pictures

Below are some of the excellent pictures our friend Liv took during our shoot, which give a real insight into the working process-really slippery muddy banks included.

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Monday, 9 February 2009

Shoot Report

On Saturday we had our first day of primary shooting. The group plus our friends Liv (photographer) and James (actor for the day), gathered at mine and then headed out into the Fens to shoot the majority of our opening sequence.

The day was pretty much a success, despite a few hiccoughs. The primary one being Jamie's bike (one of the two bikes we were using in the filming) completely died on us halfway through the shoot. So we had to improvise and wrote into the script on the spot that the bike belonging to the character James was playing broke, and then subsequently they had to walk the rest of the way home. This was annoying as it meant the shot of the boys cycling down the main street and turning into one of the side roads is considerably longer and slower, and therefore sorts of destroys the pacing/interesting of the opening. We may have to cut this shot, or at the least just use a chunk out of it.
It was also quite tiring because we had to walk quite long distances between several different shots, so 20 seconds on the camera could take 15 minutes to shoot simply because of distance walked.

Despite these things overall the shoot went pretty well, despite REALLY slippery grassy banks, snowy ground that was insanely hard work to cycle (and having to do it three time) and every getting a bit tired and cold.

We managed to shoot all of the shots of the two boys out in the fens and then coming into village, but by the time we had done this it was getting on and we were starting to lose the light. So the final shots of one of the boys going home alone to his house I'll shoot on my own (not a problem as I'm the 'actor' playing that one of the boys), sometime this week. I'll have to do it before all the snow melts however, because otherwise we'll have continuity problems, hopefully I'll be able to do it tomorrow maybe, or early Thursday morning. We will see. After I've done this all shooting should be done, apart from the stuff inside the house which I can do at the same time.


Friday, 6 February 2009

Quick update on the actors

Should have mentioned this earlier but unfortunately the person I had in mind for the the role of one of the teenagers couldn't do it on the date we had to shoot, so we decided that I would take his place as Jamie is (in)famous for corpsing. This shouldn't be a problem though because Jamie will still be able to operate the camera with me directing from in front of it as well as behind.

In terms of 'extras'-the old people on the street we'll just use Jamie and my friend Liv who is coming along and kindly agreed to take pictures of our shoot

pictures which should consequently be up tomorrow evening


Shooting Schedule

After some effort over being able to co-ordinate the right people to be in the right places (lots of thanks to Liv and her parents for their help with that), and we now know when are where we will be shooting.

Saturday 7th of January- Principal Shooting

We'll be shooting from about 11:30, 12:00 til some point in the afternoon depending how long it will take. It will also mean we'll have the whole afternoon to film, which barring any enormous hiccoughs should be plenty of time.

This filming will include all of the scenes in the fen and coming into the village on the bikes, however we might not be able to film the shots of one of the characters going into the house, because this shoot has come sooner than we expected and we've yet to see if it's possible to shoot there, we will see tomorrow.
However if we're not able to shoot this bit tomorrow it not be a huge problem because this part only has me as one of the actors in it so I can shoot it either on Sunday or a later date.


Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Research into British Socialist Drama Opening Credits

As well as filming our opening to a British socialist drama we also need to create opening credits. In order to do this I looked at the opening sequences of films by British directors Shane Meadows and Ken Loach. I decided to analyse the opening credits of 'This is England' and 'Raining Stones.'

The opening credits used in Ken Loach's 'Raining Stones' are very simple and not very artistic. The font colour is white and the text is centred in the frame. These credits are made simple as it helps set the mood of british drama and not try and make it appear like some big Hollywood production. The names of the actors and team involved with the film are in large where as the title of thier role in the film appears small abve their name. The titles also appear still and do not having any transtions or effects.

In Shane Meadows' 'This is England' again a white coloured font is used for the credits, however, the font type appears slightly more artistic. It appears like torn paper. This ties in with the narrative of the film which involves destruction and conflicts between two different nationalities. Again this socialist drama does not use flashy effects or transitions with its opening titles.

In general 'Raining Stones' uses simpler credits than 'This is England', however the credits in 'This is England' have a font style that ties in with the narrative.

I think we will probably use very simple lettering similar to that in Raining Stones opening, plain white, although probably a little thinner, which will fit within the conventions of the genre whilst being striking and fitting with the feel and mise en scene of the opening.


Shot list

The opening starts in the fens near a large grassy bank, the shots then follow the two characters home, then one of them to his home. It will then follow him inside his house and up to his room.

Medium, long shot of grassy bank/sky (two thirds/one third), this then holds as characters climb into shot, as they climb higher it then tracks up behind them and over the top so now we can see over the top of the grassy bank and it's now 2 thirds sky and 1 third grass. This shot then holds for a long time as the two characters have some dialogue.

-Long shot of farm buildings, cows in background,bikes in foreground. Boys enter shot from right, exchange brief dialogue, they pick up there bikes and cycle off, camera pans to the left to follow them and holds as they ride off.

-Long shot of boys cycling towards the camera across rough ground, they then pass the camera and the camera pans to the left again to follow them as they cycle away down the road.
-Possible footage of birds flying in fen sky, or fen landscapes.
-Medium, long shot of road and bridge, cyclists cycle past and then pan to the right as they cycle across the bridge.
- More possible footage of birds flying in fen sky, or fen landscapes.
Medium long shot of boys approaching junction, pan to the right as they cycle past, finishing on a shift of focus to road sign saying 'Witcham'.
-Medium long shot of road and houses on far side in background, pair of people in foreground on near pavements. Static shot: bikes cycle pass in then out of shot, people in foreground react to there passing.
- Medium long shot of village cross roads. Static shot: bikes come down far road and turn right into road on the left of the shot.
- Medium long shot of more village roads-t-junction visible, before this a turn to the right. One of the teens turns down this road and the other continues down and left at the t-junction, they wave each other bye.
-Medium shot of pavement with roads on one side, cars on other bikes cycles down it towards camera and then past it.
-Medium long shot of terraced houses with gardens and then garden fences in front, bikes come down path in front from the right of shot. pulls up in front of one of the houses opens gate goes in garden up to front door. Knocks and waits till door is opening and enters.


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Film opening animatic

(arrows indicate the movement of the camera within the shot.)

This is our film opening animatic. Alot of it seems quite bare, just random shots of places, this is because we didn't (apart from in one shot) draw in the peoples/bikes. So in all of the scenes of bits of road and countryside/village there will be bikes traveling through the frame. Also at the start with the long held shot there will be the sound of people climbing, and then subsequently climbing into view. The camera will then follow these people (indicated by the zoom in the animatic) tracking from behind, til they arrive on top of the grassy knoll, at which point we will have a long held shot of the landscape with them in the foreground having some dialogue, this is what the second long shot is (it seems rather boring in the animatic due to this lack of dialogue). They will then turn and go back down the hill and the title will appear, something vaguely like shown in the animatic, although this obviously only a rough version.

Despite these rather large holes, the animatic still serves its main purpose to give some idea of the structure of the final thing and what it will look like. We have this clearly shown in the first section empty of non-diagetic sound then contrasted with the boys journey home with the song playing over the top. This will be the structure of the opening for the final thing. The song I chose is 'Everybody Knows This is Nowhere' by Neil Young, I mainly chose it due to the lyrics covering similar themes to ones we might explore in the film, plus borrowing the films own title from it. However the style of music perhaps is a little incongrous with a british social realist drama so before we put music to the final film, we'll carry out some research into the use (or non use) of non-diagetic music (mostly songs) in the openings of british social realist dramas. This will then at least give us some idea whether the music is appropriate on top of our own feelings about it, it might turn we like it because it's more (possibly) happy mood juxtaposes the harsh realities of the boys lives, a technique I'm sure I've seen used in films before. We will see.

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Friday, 30 January 2009


The parts we need for people to act as are the following:

- Two teenage boys
- The parents of one of the boys
- I would also like to try and find two old people so that the two boys on the bikes can cycle past them, however this might be easier said than done, we might just have to have two people on the pavement who watch them go past.

As for who's to play these people, I've asked one of my friends whether they're happy to do it and they said yes, I need to ask the other. I will probably resort to use my parents as the parents, or possibly my friends depending whether they're game or not (not likely).

As for the old people we're not entirely sure, we might or might not be able to find people for it
we will see


Location scouting update

The locations for all the outdoor scenes are fine and we know what we're doing with them.

However when it comes to inside the out house, we're not so certain. I have a friend's house who I would like to use but first I need to ask them. This would be the front door and possibly hall/stairs if they were ok with it. If not we'll have to try and make do in my house, we'll be using my bedroom for the bit in his actual bedroom anyways.

If it comes to it and we're not able to shoot in these locations we might just finish the sequence with him going in the front door of his house.


Props and costumes

Props and costumes for our opening is relatively simple

The two teenage boys costumes will be typical teenage wear, t-shirts, jeans etc, I would like one of them to be wearing a hat so I can get a bit of dialogue in. The parents will probably be again wearing typical adult type clothes (or basically whatever the actors we use are wearing).

In terms of props we will have the two bikes and that will probably be about it, we don't really need anything else.

This is one of the bikes we will no doubt use :


storyboarding and animatic

Over the last two lessons we've been working on our storyboard/animatic.

We started with the pictures I'd taken of the general ideas for shots I wanted that I'd taken from the location scout, Ashley then drew these in the last lesson to form our storyboard with my guidance (Jamie was away), then in this lesson myself and Jamie took pictures of the storyboard and uploaded them into Final Cut where we ordered them, cut them to length and in one case animated it to create the effect of a zoom.

Unfortunately I forgot to bring in the necesary cables to connect my iPod up and get the audio file we wanted to use for the animatic in the final cut file, so we are currently emailing this home to me so I can do this at home (as I have final cut).

This will probably be up sometime tomorrow afternoon with a blog post going through all the various shots and probably a shot list.

we will see

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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Feedback from pitch

Yesterday we presented our pitch to our class, this consisted of:

- Jamie's analysis of the opening sequence of Juno
- Ashley's genre specific (british social realism) analysis of the opening of This is England.
- Josh talking about the general synopsis, mood board, and some of the ideas we're exploring, as well as trying to express the sort of tone of the piece we're going for. (All these are for the most part detailed in previous blog posts mood board, location scouting etc)

We then gathered the feedback from the rest of the class to our ideas, analyses and other general good points (and bad points).

The response to our choice of analyses was generally very positive, people saying there was a "briliant choice of opening clips" that the "related genre film This is England was a good choice" . they commented how they were "relevant to the genre" and that the "examples [of openings] link with what they are doing".

We also has no negative comments when it came to our synopsis and general ideas for the piece:
"good synopsis-sounds interesting"
"ideas for own opening sequence are good"

Someone noted that we "explained the synopsis clearly and gave examples of shots to be used" and commented on how they thought it was good we'd "made a connection with their analysis and [their] own plot" and that there were "lots of conventions mentioned with 'historical context'", I think this means we have noted how previous social realist films have been made/shot and have used this as inpsiration/an influence on our ideas and shooting.

All this is good because, it probably means our idea is a pretty/relatively good one, as a goup of people who had never heard anything about all pretty much thought it sounded like a good idea for an opening sequence, which is encouraging.

Sort of aside from our actual ideas we also quite a lot of positive comments about our blog and way of working. Two of the groups commented that we had researched well ("well researched", "good research in opening sequence"). One of the groups said the following about our blog:
" [It] showed the groups trail of thought as they progressed from the analyses of film openings, where they got ideas, and then you can see them turn it into their synopsis and mood board"
This is good because this is effectively what we're trying to do in our blog: make it so you can follow our thought process, and subsequently, actions all the way through as they happen.

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My (Jamie) Annalysis of Juno

  • Juno's opening is in the style of a doodle. I feel that it is in this style because it looks as if it has been drawn by a bored teenager in class. This instantly gets across the teenage bit of the teenage rom com.
  • The song in the background is probably the happiest and the 'loviest' that you could here with the lyrics talking about how close the two people are.
If I was a flower growing wild and free All I'd want is you to be my sweet honey bee. And if I was a tree growing tall and green All I'd want is you to shade me and be my leaves

This song is constantly talking about love so this gets across to the audience that the film will be a romance.


Monday, 26 January 2009

Test footage

To make the opening more interesting I thought we could intersperse the shots of the two boys traveling home, with shots of the landscape, animals stuff.

I love the idea of flying birds something which are a very big part of the nature of the Fens due to the large areas of Wetland and it's position on the migratory paths. Birds also tend to stand out more against the large empty skies.

To this end I filmed some test footage of a flock of birds wheeling around in the late afternoon sky, to see what it might look like. I'm quite happy with the result especially as it was filmed on a relatively low quality camera, and this is something I'd like to fit into the final opening sequence, if we're able to.


Feedback from location scouting

Have been out this afternoon to do some location scouting was very useful, as I'm now pretty sure we'll be able to do the opening sequence we want.

I effectively just went to all the different places, we'll probably be doing shots and had a look at what it would look like if it would work/ below are some of the pictures I took, to give an idea of what the location is going to be like first out in the fen then in the village.

At the same time I tried to take some pictures of the framing of the shots we'll actually take which we'll use to draw the storyboard. I also took some films to give myself an idea of how the shots might look like and whether they'll work or not, we'll also be able to use this to give us an idea of camera movement on our storyboard.

It was really useful doing the location scout because it meant I found out that some of the shots I had in my head wouldn't work in practicality now rather then when we came to first shooting. The main example of this is the shot over, the mound as the two boys are climbing. It won't be possible/practical to do this shot because in the location we won't be able to get high enough to take that shot. So I tried a different technique, a track following the two characters climbing from behind which then pans up so it's above and behind their heads as they look out across the view. We might do this or something different we'll think about it before we go out and shoot (possibly might use a dolly?)

video below, it's rough and a bit wobbly cos I was doing it by hand on a slippery slope, and the camera isn't very good, but you get the general idea

p.s It was also useful because we found out that the land I was planning to shoot on is access land so. i.e it's not private property, so this means we can film there :)


Saturday, 24 January 2009

Location scouting/working out shots

I have learnt quite a valuable lesson from our last piece of practical coursework. On that I had a rough idea of what I wanted to happen and our storyboard was rather vague and we didn't really use it. This meant that we got on location (for the first time) we were sort of making it up as we went along, this led to a rather chaotic shoot with lots of last minutes changes. It is possible if we'd done it properly, then the final result might have been better, or at the very least the shoot may have been a little more relaxed.

So with this in mind we intend to know every shot we're going to do before we go out and start shooting this will mean that we'll be able to spend more time getting the shots good rather then spending that time on working out what we're going to do, which would be even more of a problem due to the fact the shooting will be done over a much larger area this time around.

So to enable this I intend to go out (I'll do it as I live the nearest to where we'll probably be shooting), taking with me and mini-storyboard and roughly sketch out each shot actually in the location meaning I can take this and armed with it and the knowledge of the shots we're going to do and in what order can then draw it up into best (using Ashley's considerably artistic abilites) next week for our full storyboard. (This'll then also go into our animatic)

This will also double as a location scout as I have a rough idea of where I want to shoot but not exactly, and I need to see if it will work (*fingers crossed*). I will probably go out and do this tomorrow or on monday (it's too late today because we're already losing the light and there's no point me doing it in the dark). Photos from the location scouting should be up after then, also with a possible shot list, although we might leave that until after we do the animatic.

we will see



The synopsis of the events of our opening sequence are as follows:

Two teenage boys are climbing an embankment, it being the highest point around in the famously flat Fens, this is symbolic of they're striving for escape getting to something higher. Once there they realise that this is all there is, it doesn't get any higher than this, (seemingly pessimistic-possibly change of opinion in the rest of the film, realises that it doesn't matter? etc.). They then go home passing through the Fen countryside, into their small rural village where they live, past pensioners etc. The two boys then split going to their different houses, we then follow the boy who will (probably) become our main character (if not at least one of the more important ones). He then carries on going home alone til he gets home, where his parents are arguing as he enters, they try to drag him into the argument, but he ignores them and we follow him upto his room where he slumps down on his bed. This is the end of the opening sequence.


Friday, 23 January 2009

Mood Board

This is our mood board it's nothing amazing, but we found it a bit hard to express what we're trying to get across with photos of the web.

The sort of feel we're trying to capture in our opening sequence is almost two-fold. Firstly we want to try and capture and express the distinct feel that the Fens has, something very close to our hearts as two of the groups numbers are from this area (me and Jamie). This is the feel of great space and emptiness, the Fens is truly the land of the big sky and a landscape quite unlike any other place on Earth (with the possible exception of the Netherlands).As far as I'm concerned the Fens is as big a character in this film/opening as any of the characters. We also wanted the capture a sort of sense of dreaminess that goes with the land and the feeling of dislocation and listlessness, and yearning to escape the characters have. For this sort of feel we drew on the earlier sections of Requiem for a Dream for this sense of Dreaminess, as shown in a couple of these pictures.
The other main feel we were trying to capture is that sense of isolation, dislocation and almost numbness to the modern world that the main characters experience-brilliantly expressed both in the films Garden State and Life in Translation hence it's inclusion here.

(Ashley made an interesting point that although our characters are teenage and Life in Translations are considerably older, they still face the same sort of problems as do people of all ages in real life)

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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

(Initial) Ideas for our Opening Sequence

Having already decided we were going to do an opening sequence for a British Social Realist film we now needed to start coming up with some ideas for what our sequence was going to be.

I've had an idea for a scene to start a film for quite a while, and this will hopefully form the start of our opening sequence. The scene is a shot of some form of hill or steep embankment, we can see over the top of the embankment which has a good view of the surrounding countryside. It is empty when the camera first sees it but we can hear the sound of people walking up it. It then cuts briefly away to a black screen with credits, and then back to the shot of the embankment, the walkers now come into view-two teenage boys. (Possible cut away again two black title page). The two boys have now reached the top and are getting their breath back/admiring the view. After a while they have the following dialogue:

Boy 1: Well here we are, we're not gonna get higher than this around here.
Boy 1: This is it, isn't it?
Boy 2: So it would seem.

The boys then stay looking for a few more seconds, then turn and go back down the hill.

Ideally the idea would this would be all in one shot, but this might be subject to finding a practical location for this.

The rest of the opening would then be following the two boys home, probably with them on bikes, one will then split and we follow (what will become our main character) along to his house, where he enters past (hopefully if we can do it) his parents arguing and up to his room where he slumps on his bed and the opening ends.

As for the shots during this sequence I think we're gonna go for as many long held shots/takes as we can to give the feel of a British Social realist film, but probably just several big wide long shots that capture feeling of the (emptiness of) the Fens around where I live where we'll be shooting. I'd quite like to have a shot once we get into the village a sort of medium long shot from the side of pavement with some pensioners on the pavement and then the two teenagers riding past on their bikes. Other then this I haven't really got any fully formed secure ideas for shots in my heads yet, something which will probably form once I've been out and done a location scout out.


discussion of all five genres

A supernatural thriller with a strong female lead
Definition: A film with a strong female main character which comes across supernatural events such as ghosts, vampires, werewolves etc.
Example: Others

A British social realist drama

Definition: 'Social realism in films is representative of real life, with all its difficulties. The stories and people portrayed are everyday characters, usually from working class backgrounds. Typically, films within the social realist canon are gritty, urban dramas about the struggle to survive the daily grind.' (Definition from
Example: East is east, High hopes and anything by Ken Loach and Mike Leigh

An adventure story for younger audiences
Definition: This genre always contains children as the lead and has fantastical events and usually involves the children traveling to distant fantasy lands.
Example: Jumanji, Zathura, Golden Compass, Narnia.

A teenage romantic comedy Definition: This genre will usually contain one teenager that tries to 'woo' the opposite sex, that they have usually loved for a very long time, with hilarious consequences.
Example: 10 Things I Hate About You

A crime caper with an ensemble cast
Definition: A group of professional/non-professional thief organise an incredibly deep plan to steal a lot of money. A group of people with equal screen time with no main characters.
Example: Oceans Eleven through to thirteen.


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Final Production Company Logo

This is the final version of our production company logo, enjoy.

We chose not to have any sound in the logo because we thought it would be more in keeping with the British social realist genre.

Cinema makes real life more exciting than real life, in our production company logo the hands symbolise the frames of the camera/film and the much more vibrant colour within symbolises this heightened excitement of cinema. This could be considered heavily ironic considering the fact we are making a British social realist drama. We chose to use a zoom in the logo because it is symbolic of how sometimes the viewer has to look deeper and through the film to discern a deeper meaning. White is also visual associated with cleaness and purity, showing how Gag Reel productions are these things and get right to the point.
The fact the hands are in the position they are in making a 'frame' shape is also very important, when someone does this it is almost as if they are trying to catch a certain moment in time or focus in one particular thing, this is very important to us in terms of film making because in making british social realist films we are trying to catch a moment in time, a slice of life as it were.

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Saturday, 17 January 2009

British Social Realist genre conventions

After having watched Cathy Come Home and High Hopes, as well as the beginning of Bullet Boy in one of our media lessons I compiled a list of genre conventions and techniques that are often used to create a sense of British social realism.

• It attempts as best as it can to make the viewer think what he is watching is real. So:
- Often uses long takes, which can allow the actors to semi-improvise in the roles of their characters creating more natural dialogue.
- Not a great deal of camera movement, use of lots of long held shots-perhaps with slow pans, tracks or other movements, fast camera movement would draw attention to the fact that their is a camera and subsequently what you are watching is not real.
- No flashy editing is an important part, again flashy editing would draw attention to the fact this is a film you are watching.
Some social realist films have a lot less non-diagetic music than films of other genres (although this is not always the case e.g High Hopes), this is again to make the film seem more real.
- In it's most extreme forms social realism can become almost documentarian in it's style, this being where it originally grew from, a good example of this is Cathy Come Home which during my viewing of it I wasn't sure which characters were actors and which were real people they'd interviewed, or sound clips from things real people had said. This made the film much more effecting and effective, because the message hits home much harder if you're not entirely sure whether it's real or not. This is the highest achievement a social realist film do.

Stylism/stylistic editing and camera techniques are the enemy of social realism by default.

• As a general rule British Social Realist films are concerned with British people which means the huge majority of the characters are British, be this Caucasian or any other racial group or ethnic minority.
- As a result of this the characters can often have quite strong regional accents, the best example of this being Riff-Raff by Ken Loach where for American audiences they had to screen it with subtitles due to huge array of dialects.

• Social realist films often try and address and discuss social issues, these are often social issues very specific to the time periods they are made/set in.

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British Social Realist Directors

Mike Leigh and Ken Loach are arguably the two directors who are most synonymous with British social realism, they grew out of the realist flowering of the BBC in the 1960' they have been making films ever since.

The most hotly talked of new social realist directors of recent times is Shane Meadows who's breakthrough films A Room For Romeo Brass discussed issues of childhood, violence, men and women and the insecurities of men.

I chose to try and gain some idea of how a social realist film is shot, in order to be able to perhaps use some of these techniques in our opening sequence.

I rented Cathy Come Home and Raining Stones by Ken Loach from the school library and had Mike Leigh's High Hopes at home already. I decided I would watch Cathy Come Home and High Hopes and then add to the notes on some of the techniques used in them and the conventions of the genres that I'd started after watching the opening of Bullet Boy (a 2004 film directed by Saul Dibb) in class as part of a whole class exercise.

These notes should be up after I've watched the two films, which I will try and do this afternoon.


Social Realism background research-History

As we've pretty much as a group decided that our opening sequence is going to be for a Social realist film I reckoned it would be a good idea to do some research (to help us in creating our opening sequence, and also just because of my own interest).

The idea of British Social Realism goes back as far as the very early 20th Century, with films such as Rescued by Rover (1905) and A Reservist Before the War, And After the War (1902) depicting British society as it was. And in 'A Reservist', a film about a Boer serviceman returning home to face unemployment, realising Social Realism's value as a form of social protest.
Social Realism as we know it was really born out of the post second world war atmosphere, and the tension between the camaraderie of the war years and the individualism of the post-war consumer lifestyle. It was influenced by the pre-war documentarian style of film making (namely that of Humphrey Jennings), who's work looking at ordinary British people created a new iconography and influenced the Free Cinema Documentary movement of the 50's and the British New Wave of the 60's.
A lot more was also able to be portrayed and discussed in films due to the relaxation of the censorship laws and the general atttidue of the 60's . This allowed British peoples lives sweat, blood, sex and tears to be portrayed more realistically than before.
Social realism is a form of cinema where the time period each film is set and shot in is effectively another character. And, as the main protagonists of the New Wave in the 60's were usally working class males without bearings in a society which, due to the decline of industry and that culture that goes with it, is dissapearing. (Although these issues have been discussed time and time again, most well known being in The Full Monty. So, in the 80's it was that British Social Realism followed characters from the margins of society who were trying to find their way in the new order. With the arrival of the 90's and as the funding environment grew more precarious a formulaic 'triumph-over-adversity' narrative became more commonplace in an attempt to reiterate a sense of national cinema. The Full Monty which combined british social realism with the feel-good vibe of Hollywood movies, became indicative of this new cross-breed which got the usually considered auteristic cinema of social realism to a much wider audience.
Meanwhile this same auteristic spirit lived on and was revived with such new films such Gary Oldman's Nil By Mouth (1997) and Shane Meadow's A Room for Romeo Brass (1999), which explored a more lethal and complex representations of men and women. And so British Socialism will carry on changing with the times and it needs to, to become relevant and meaningful. Not that those which have been made in the past are now meaningless as the same problems still exist in society now as they did then, and will continue to exist in the future.


Friday, 16 January 2009

progress report on production company logo

we managed to make the logo

however we ran into some problems when it came to creating the zoom effect because we needed to create the animated zoom effect simultaneously on three layers and this is a complicated process.

we don't have time to do it this lesson because we need Ricky's help so will do it at the start of next lesson.

final idea for Production company logo

Our final idea for our production company logo is that with of the hands.

It will go something like this:
there will be a picture of someone's hands in the aforementioned position from the view point of the persons chest/eyes(picture in previous blog), which Jamie and Ashley are in the process of taking as I type this: this will be in black and white. Within this will be a vivid and bright colour picture of a scenic landscape. It will then zoom in getting closer to the scenic landscape (we will create this through an animated zoom on final cut), once this has almost filled the screen it will cross fade to a completely white screen and then the words 'Gag Reel Productions'.

This is the plan anyways

Edit: I misunderstood Jamie's master idea- the same picture which will be within the hand-frame will continue outside the hand-frame as well but in black and white rather that what I thought he meant with it being black outside.


Wednesday, 14 January 2009

some ideas for Production company logo's

we've already decided that our production company name will be 'Gag Reel Productions'

at the moment our main idea for a production company logo is a pair of hands put together finger to thumb to make a frame. We'll take a picture from the point of view of the person's hands. Then in this frame will be a scenic picture of some sort.
(picture below)
it'll be a picture taken on a camera in the final thing and will have some form of scenic view in the middle

I also quite like the idea of 'Gag Reel Productions' being 'scribbled' across this, this would fit with the idea of the title.
Also perhaps some form of chuckling noise at the same time-again fitting in with the idea of the a 'gag reel' production.
whether the 'scribbling' idea will be possible to achieve we will see

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We have been looking at some production logos to give us some ideas for our own.
We looked at the use of visuals, design, sound and animation (or not).

We looked at Paramount, Universal and Dreamworks.
All of the logos all had animation and they all flew on to the screen with music that gets louder as it gets closer to the end. this added impact at the end when everything has flown in and the logo is complete.

Paramount - followed the stars that circle the mountains falling from the sky and it tracks the stars as it moves to it's final position. The music starts very quiet and then the music has a crescendo and the music is loudest when the starts are circling the mountains to highlight the end.

Dreamworks- This starts with the fishing hook falling into the water and as it hits the water you get the music starting. The camera follows up the fishing line to a boy that is fishing off the moon. The moon then turns into a 'D' for dreamworks. The camera then pans across the word and zooms out to reveal the whole name of the product. While this happens the music is getting louder.

Studio Canal- The is a small letter box size the camera zooms in on the letter box. In the letter box the camera is tracking forwards through the clouds. The logo for studio canal then fades into the path and the borders close in on the logo and the music gets louder.

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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Second Film Opening Analysis

I have chosen to analyse the opening sequence of British socialist drama 'This is England' written and directed by Shane Meadows. The film looks at the joining of two races from the typical white British skinheads to the world of Asian and black culture. The narrative is set around the time of the British national front party who were believed to be a racist group during the 70's and 80's.

The opening sequence begins with British Prime minister Margaret Thatcher driving a truck whilst wearing a safety helmet trying to being a working class women of the British nation.

The opening holds many recognisable British historical events such as the marriage of Prince Charles and Diana and scenes of the Falklands war. It also shows a clip of British music show Top of the Pops which is an icon of British music. This is mise-en-scene which is typical to the genre, a British socialist drama. Other memorable icon images of Britain are used such as vandalised council estates and games such as the rubiks cube.

The non diegetic ska/reggae soundtrack contrasts with the fact that it is a British socialist drama and at this time there was a conflict between typical Brits and legal immigrants, this is shown in the opening of the film as an Asian family's house window has been bricked which reflects the racial issues during this time.

When it comes to camera work long shots are used. No fast, flashing images like in Hollywood films are used as this is made by a lower budget production company and they are trying to get the events to be portrayed realistically as if the audience were actually there when the events were happening. This allows the audience to have a greater connection and understanding of the film.

The character used in the opening are selected well such as Margaret Thatcher, British Prime minister wearing her navy blue dress suit, manly Brits wearing their Doc Martins and Ben Sherman shirts and fighting troops in their war gear.

Shane Meadows here has successfully created a memorable British socialist drama using iconic footage and images that makes Britain a memorable place today.

Link: to 'This is England' Opening scene


Juno and Rock 'n' Rolla opening sequences

these are the link to the pages where the two video's are that we anaylysed

Rock 'n' Rolla:



Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Opening Sequence Research

We watched a few different title sequences from various different production companies in order to identify some of the conventions and similar techniques used in title sequences.

This will then be useful to us because it means we can use these sort of things in our opening sequence/title sequence

We chose to look primarily at the opening of Juno created by Shadowplay Productions and Rock 'n' Rolla created by Prologuefilms. These would be particularly interesting to see if they have any similarities in their conventions because they're such different films.


-Both opening sequences use songs, which set the tone for the film. Rock 'n' Rolla having a loud brash rock song, and Juno having a acoustic love song.
-They both also used animation in their opening sequences, animation is a clever media to use in opening sequence because it can be done alot cheaper and is often useful because you can be quite stylistic. It is also very eyecatching. Often title sequences will use animation for this reason, however this is not always the case. They are more often used in title sequences, perhaps as part of a larger opening sequence. In both these cases as a lot of opening sequences have they have live action sequences which then goes into an animated sequence for the titles. This is something we might possibly be able to do, depending on the practicality of this with our final idea.
- They also both had titles/credits and production company logo (or 2 in the case of Rock 'n' Rolla), this is something ALL opening sequences have, for obvious reasons.
- They also both introduced the main protagonist or one/or more of the main protagonists, something which most opening sequences do.
-Opening sequences also generally set up the tone of the film and you can often tell what sort of film it's going to be from the opening sequence.

-The Rock 'n' Rolla opening also had a voice over which is sometimes used in opening sequences (again often for introducing protagonists), although not always as in the case of the Juno opening sequence.

-Opening sequences also almost always include the title of the film, however this is not always the case. The best example of this I can think of is The Dark Knight in which 'The Dark Knight' comes up at the end of the film.

All these sort of things often crop up in the opening sequences of films, and we might be able to some or all of them in our own opening sequence

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Friday, 28 November 2008