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WEEK 2

MY ART & MY INCOME

Its difficult to understand what the media and politicians say about how torn apart the world is at the moment. Wars have been fought before but yet our so called heads of state never learn from the past or do they? People helping people yet why do we only see the violence when scrolling through our smart phones? Can everyone actually live together? What creates social stigma? That is my art!

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My art is to try and understand these stigmas and break it up using the power of film. i want to show how diverse the planet has become and the common ground that all of us as human  share. Least to say, this is not a money making idea nor a permanent income source. Working part-time jobs  now helps me get by but ultimately i would like to have a steady income source. With the talents I posses, i can still produce quality films and and at the same time work, whether a production company or freelance work, to fund myself in my endeavour to make my art.

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Currently, I’m doing my best to get more experience by working on short films and music videos. Some have been paid and some not, but its a start!

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BLOG & WEEK 13

This week i had to make sure the audio has been locked off as well as the picture for exhibition on the 14/12/2017 Thursday. Our last screening in class was well accepted but I’m very nervous on how the wider audience will receive it. Many of them won’t understand the struggles that happen on set but if they love it, all of that won’t matter.

Web series is certainly one of the most challenging projects. There were a lot of confusion and misunderstanding within crew. Its difficult managing 3 different episode with 3 different director to get the same end product. More time must be spent in preproduction. Directors have to have regular meetings with each other and the show runner to ensure everyone is on the same page. I can not imagine how tough doing Tv series can be, especially when there are nearly 50 people working on 1 episode.

This brings me to next point on where i see myself in this industry! I love documentaries and really want to keep making as much documentaries as possible. I feel TV is not for me but working on web series has certainly improve my communication and management skills for a director. These skills will be definitely useful on my documentaries. I would one day would like to show run on of my own series but for now I know now that my direction in this industry will be more focus on documentary.

BLOG 10 & 11

The main reason why i combine these 2 blogs is because in weeks 10 and 11, my editor, Syaheed, and I put a lot of time and effort to edit episode 1. Our first screening of a rough cut was not well received by the crew. There were many issues but the main one was the chaos scene.  As said in my earlier blog, we ran into a major problem that left us with little coverage and not many options. The shots were good but towards the end were rushed. That just added more pressure to my DOP and at the same time i did not have much time to come up with answers. We took a lot of feedback and spent nearly every moment of everyday trying to come with solutions. We went back to the basics of editing from trying dissolves through to L – cuts.

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAH0MoAv2CI )

. After week we showed the new edit and it was better. it still had along way to got but there was hope for episode 1. I spent alot of time researching for ideas when i came across the 2003  “The Hulk” by Ang Lee. The editor, Tim Squyres, also hit a lot brick walls making this film but used and interesting way to solve them. Comic book style editing!  https://youtu.be/82rE6y2lPh4 . When i saw it, i immediately told the show runner and editor. We had a quick discussion and got the green light from the show runner to proceed. it was hectic organising and framing the shots. Syaheed was amazing! he was quick, precise and never gave up trying.  After 3 days working on that style, we finally had a cut of the chaos that was worth watching. Everyone thought it was a mark improvement. We still have to fine cut, add some temp audio and add VFX.

Syaheed and i really worked well as a team. We bounce ideas of each other and always respected each other ideas. I would 100 % be working with him again as he has so much drive and ambition. He also is very helpful and showed me some editing techniques on Premier Pro as i am more comfortable with AVID. Both programmes are almost the same but i still find Avid tidier.

 

BLOG 9 ( bunker)

Leading up to this week, we had to build a bunker from scratch in the sound stage. It took all of us as team and we completed it in one and half days. Olivia who is the production designer did an excellent work dressing the set and organising the team.

Day 4 of shooting kicked off at 9 am until 8pm. We all knew it was going to a be a long day as there were many shots to capture and we only had 3 days. I was the sound recordist for all three days and was on standby at all times. The majority of the shoot went well but we ran into a few bumps, mainly the cat. It was same problem i had on day 3 but she was a little better.  It is very difficult dealing with animals on set. However, Shiloh improved day by day and by day 5 she was a real pro. We manage to capture a lot more with her and she was more comfortable with everyone on set.

Day 6 was our final day at the sound stage and it was smooth until the last shot. Daniel wanted to parody Denzel Washington scene in ‘The Hurricane”.  Our major issue was solving the light. We were trying to make sure everything around Craig was black but his face. Lucky for us Blair from tech department offered to help us out. We took nearly an hour setting that shot up. I learned a lot form that experience on how to do the low light shots yet not darkening the subject too much.

BLOG 8 (SHOOT DAY 2 & 3 )

Shoot day 2 was our first day up in Mornington. Arrive at 830am and got straight into my duties as gaffer for the day. I organise all the equipment, gaffered all wires and setup lights. I was told to match all the lights to their individual room lights to prepare for along shot for that scene. We faced many difficulties getting Craig out of the bunker and finally decide to cheat around it with Danial. I took over sound while Danial help out with the scene.  The shoot went smoothly and  wrapped around 7.30pm. After that i had a lilt meeting with my DOP to prepare for our shoot tomorrow as it will be very tight and we have to move fast.

Shoot day 3 started for me at 615 am. I came in together with my DOP. We discuss our shoot all the way to Mornington. He was well geared up but a bit nervous about the steadicam. I had full confidence in him as his test shoots were good but that was the least of our worries. Our first scene of the day began with Craig and Shiloh ,his cat. We were all ready but Shiloh was a bit shy of the camera. It was vital we get her in some shots but she kept hiding under the couch. I decided ,after an hour of no success with Shiloh,  to postpone this scene and continue with the outdoor chaos scene. Max, First AD of the day, was quick to make this happen and fortunately the actor playing Louis was early.  I was it fun experience doing the chaos scene as i was calling cues, for the extras, while trying to keep up with the staedicam. Everything was going fine until in between our outdoor shots, a big truck came and parked at our location. We were only given 15 mins to finish all our shots when in fact we actually had another 2 hours as were on time with the schedule. This setback really brought me down but the whole crew was very motivating. They kept me going and help improvised the situation. We manage to get everything done but we felt a bit disappointed that we could not achieve what we set out to get. This experience has really thought on how ell prepared i must be in preproduction and always be on my feet for any problems that could arise at any time.

BLOG 7

Week 7 is that of our shoot week officially. On that Monday i met up with the Director of the title sequence, Syaheed, to run some test shoots with the F5. On Tuesday was the day of the title shoot. We setup by 10 am and we had Mike, a guest facilitator, to help us with the shoot. The first few shots took a long time as i was trying to get the hang of controlling the jib. I was shaky in some shots but got better as the day moved. I made a big mistake underestimating the light, which led to a lot of our shots being too dark. We were aiming for a dark tone but a little light would have made it so much better.

On Wednesday, I had my first shoot which was the newsroom scene. I was on time but due to cast availability the shoot that was schedule for 6pm was pushed to 830 pm. I had only 1 hour to shoot that scene instead of 3 hours. Safe to say the shoot went smoothly and the actor playing the anchorman was very professional. He knew his lines and was very accommodating to my vision. We also had problem with the green screen and the actors shadow. However, Beth and Syaheed said they could fix that  in post.

It was great experience directing and camera operating as i have never taken these 2 major roles in short films. I feel i need more practice on the Sony f5. It is an excellent camera with quality pictures. However more time is needed to improve on my lighting techniques and terminologies.

BLOG 5 & 6

In these 2 weeks , we had a few production meetings, collecting props,  test shoots and s KPI meeting at the end of week 6. We also manage to collect nearly  AUD 500 from our fund raiser which i organised during a community Diwali celebration at Keysborough.  We spent nearly 10 hours at the event raising funds and the organisers  were kind enough to let Braydon(showrunner) to give a announcement  about  fund raising  for our web series.

The production meetings were more about confirming locations, props and shot list. I have already confirmed the hospital Berwick for the shoot and have uploaded a complete shot list on Trello. I have also had regular meetings with my DOP and have done a couple of test shoots on the steadicam both at the location and on our own time. The first day was tough as setting up took longer than expected, especially when balancing the camera on the steadicam. Jack Moir, first AC, was also present for the first day and helped out on that day. We spent a total of 5 days with the camera and have uploaded test shot on our Trello page.

My KPI meeting was insightful as my facilitator was very strict with deadlines and  made it very clear about meetings with my crew as well as keeping him up to date with my progress. I took that advice and have organised more meetings with my crew to get them on the same page.  After the KPI meeting we had a production meeting with our facilitator. The main topic was the title sequence of the web-series. I volunteered to DOP the shoot and Syaheed will be directing.  We had meetings during the weekend to plan the shoot. We uploaded references on the Trello page and i did test shoots by myself with the F5. I have used the F5 only once so i decided to brush up my experience on it to be well prepared for out shoot. We will be using the jib for most shots as the director wants a-lot of tracking shots as well as crane shots. We also sent out a  prop sheet on trello to ensure our production designer has everything there for the the shoot day.

Blog 4 & 5

This week, i used most of my time planning for my episode 1. After reading through the shooting script, as i will only be shooting only Craig in the 90s and 80s, i came up with a directors treatment. I broke down the character, came up with colour scheme( look and mise se scene) and some visual reference.( DT (Craig was here) ). I was aiming to have more darker colours but after discussion with the show runner  i have now changed it to more brighter colours which i feel plays well the humour of the web series.

Next i had numerous meeting with my DOP, Syaheed  Ismail, to plan how we want to shoot our parts of the episode.  We came up with story boards and are almost done with a shot list that can be found on our Trello page. We went through the script carefully and discuss the shots that we aim to get on that day. We spent alot of time discussing the chaos scene as that looks to be the most challenging scene. We expect to have a lot of tracking shots and movement but due to the location not lock down , we decided to leave that scene and focus on the interior scene.

Once the producer told us we had all the locations locked, we agreed to shoot the outdoor scene either using a western dolly ,with the jib on it, or a steadicam.  The dolly and the jib was excluded as setting up will take along time, not including rehearsals. The steadicam was the best option as the shots will be more stable and  tracking shots will be much easier. We will also save heaps of time after it is setup and the camera movement will help contribute to the effect of chaos. However, my DOP has had very little experience with the steadicam. We decided to do test shots next week to grab some experience and see if we can accomplish the shots we hope to capture.

In addition, i have also manage to locate two possible locations to film the hospital scene. One is in Berwick Hospital and the other is at Melbourne University. I have sent it thorough to the producers and show-runner to see which location is suitable.

 

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This week we had another read through of the scripts and locked the final drafts of scripts. Syaheed, DOP for my web series, and i began discussions on how we feel on the shots we might shoot. I begun writing my directors treatment and breaking down the character of young Craig. I have been reading ” On Directing Film” by David Mamet(1992) and one thing that is stressed constantly is clarity and think visually. He much prefers less dialogue and the use of juxtaposition to tell a story which is ideal for this web series. As the dialogue in my part is quite minimal, the use of shots  and the visual is very important to keep the audience interested.   This has led us to start drawing storyboards and discuss other ideas that we could use to help engage the audience with the comedy.

 

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While researching, i have also come across the rule of 3 in comedy that suggests that events or characters introduced in threes are more humorous, satisfying, or effective in execution of the story and engaging the audience. This piece of information was particularly useful to us when we were discussing about certain scenes where there is no dialogue. We manage to improvise with the script and come up with shots that uses the rule of three to deliver the comedy as visually as possible. Working with a DOP like Syaheed is great as he tries to take on all my ideas and at the same time tell me what would work better visually.

Blog 2

This week, I was given a chance to direct 1 episode of  ‘Craig Was here’ as well as help with the script. We had a read through of episode 1 and 2 in class on wednesday and a meeting with the directors and show runner to help with ideas. Though the show runner was very persistent with his concept,  he did take on certain suggestions. The story of each episode is going to be non linear so we broke up into 3 parts , 1999, 2017 and  the bunker. I was given the year 1999 and started working on the sylistic approach i want that year to look like. The show runner had suggested using the TV series  ” Last Man On Earth” as an example on the colours that he feels will suit the web-series. (   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WD7LywZ9JQ&t=149s). The colours are very bright and saturated on that Tv series which also could blend well with the humour on our web-series. However, natural vibrantand dark colours will work better with this black comedy  as the script in the 90s also  starts of with chaos, overcast and heavy winds.

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There will be more time to discuss this in-dept once all 3 scripts for the episodes are complete. In addition to this, i have also begun scouting for bunkers online and emailed Deakin University to find out if can use any of those locations for that shoot. I have also organised a crowd funding event for the 16th of October and Keysborough to help us raise funds for our budget.

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