Digital Filmmaking: Production REFLECTION

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Post this info for your Reflection on the Team Process

Your Name:
Project Title:
Collaborators and their roles:

Describe your own pre-production activities and tasks: (such as:
writing, sketching, storyboarding, character design, prop /costume
research, location scouting, test shooting, etc)

Part 2 : ON THE SET
Briefly describe each day of shooting.
What jobs did you do, what went well.
What equipment did you use? What shot choices did you make?
How did you light each shoot? How did you capture sound?
What challenges came up and how did you meet them?
How was the experience directing and working with actors?
How did you respond to unforeseen variables?

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Preproduction for Tribute to Tour Guides
Tribute to Tour Guides
Emily Bullivant

Film-maker: Sarah Rovano
Assistant Film-maker: Kate Bendel
Assistant Film-maker: Joellyn Rock
Actress (Liz): Amanda Sjodahl
Actress (Beth): Brittany Mingo
Actor (Jack): Alex Goebel
Actor (Extra): Tom Isbell
Actress (Extra): Irene
Actress (Extra): Liza Demyanov
Actress (Extra): Laura Grieme

Part 1: Reflection
My pre-production activities began while brainstorming possible storylines for this film project. I met and spoke with some actors to get advice on plots that would be interesting to them. I contacted other members of our Visual Narratives class to determine opportunities for collaborative work. I typed up a pitch outline and presented “Tribute to Tour Guides” in front of class. I met with Sarah Rovano and the other actors to brainstorm potential characters, conflicts and shot types. Sarah Rovano made sketches of each “scene” and shot type and I wrote the script for the video. I met with Sarah outside of class time to review the script and incorporate her feedback. After receiving feedback from the actors as well as Tom Isbell, I wrote a new script and distributed it to the actors. Outside of class time, I visited Glensheen with a few people from the Film for the Actors class and scouted possible locations within the mansion for the shoot. During class time, our team created a short props and costume list. Sarah and I discussed our roles as leaders in the filmmaking process and divided out our individual responsibilities. Separately we checked out equipment and experimented with our rented cameras to ensure that everything was working properly before our first shoot. Due to weather conditions, our first shoot could be considered part of the preproduction process, as we spent most of our time practicing as a team.

Part 2 : ON THE SET
Briefly describe what you did on each day of shooting.
SHOOT 1: Practiced filming in MPAC due to weather conditions, recorded possible sounds and prepared for Shoot 2 by experimenting with camera angles and acting choices with actresses Amanda and Brit.
SHOOT 2: Filmed at Glensheen with Amanda (Character: Liz) and Brit (Character: Bethany), filmed all interview sequences involving two actresses.
SHOOT 3: Returned to Glensheen and filmed with Alex (Character: Jack), Amanda (Character: Liz) and Brit (Character: Bethany), recorded with Tom Isbell, Alex Goebel and Irene for first tour guide segment, Sarah Rovano recorded ambient noises
SHOOT 4: Returned to Glensheen, recorded Alex’s interview and group sequences between main actors, recorded “cup being stolen” sequence with extras, Liza Demyanov and Laura Grieme. Joellyn and Kate Bendel assisted with filming. Recorded cut away shots.

What jobs did you do, what went well.
My job was as a filmmaker and director. Filming the interview segments at Glensheen mansion went well with our actors. We recorded many possible reactions, allowed time for some playful improvisation work and took time dressing the set to ensure all logos and background items were properly placed. Sarah and I function well as a team because we have different strengths and are able to rely on one another. Sarah is able to work the equipment; she is organized and has ideas and sketches about possible shot types. She makes sure that we have all the equipment we need to be successful. I have experience as a director and notice when certain dialogue is muffled or unclear and I help encourage the actors to explore possible movements and exchanges.

What equipment did you use? What shot choices did you make?
We used a DSLR camera, a tripod and a shotgun microphone. We did not use any extra lighting equipment besides lamps or any additional sound devices. For the interview scenes, we decided to shoot the actors straight on, looking directly into the camera. For the other tour or group scenes, the actors rarely look at the camera. Typically, the camera was at eye level with the actors. We have many medium shots; we experimented with a zoom-in and zoom-out effect. We have one “over the shoulder” shot type and we will be shooting more establishing or wide shots on our last shoot date.

How did you light each shoot? How did you capture sound?
Our team used a lot of natural lighting as well as a few lamps within the tour guide office. The interview scenes and groups scenes filmed in the office required us to be the most creative with our light resources, but the scenes of Brit (Character: Beth) giving tours throughout the mansion as well as the scene filmed in the Breakfast room provided us with natural lighting. We captured sound by using a shotgun microphone and we made sure to run sound tests before each shoot.

What challenges came up and how did you meet them?
The challenges of our shoot mostly had to do with time constraints and sharing one of our actors with another team. When we filmed at Glensheen, the time seemed to slip by much faster than we thought. To manage our time better, we decided that it should be my responsibility to check the clock. Sarah and I worked harder to make quick and efficient decisions and to use the actors’ time well, especially if they weren’t available for the entire two-hour shoots. Although we had to share our actor, Alex with another team we were able to successfully coordinate and manage our time wisely when we did have him. With the other group we came to the agreement that Alex’s time would be split evenly in half between our groups.

How was the experience directing and working with actors?
All the actors, including the extras, were wonderful to work with. All of them were willing to go out of their comfort zone and try new things. They were positive team players and were dependable and timely. I appreciated that they were willing to ask for clarification when they needed to and I thought they acted very professionally during our shoot days.

How did you respond to unforeseen variables?
The only truly unforeseen complication that came up was the bad weather that influenced our first shoot. When we had issues with weather, we were able to make the most of our time in a classroom within the Marshall Performing Arts Center. We practiced setting up and taking down our equipment and the actors had time to practice saying their lines.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Joellyn Rock published on April 15, 2014 1:56 AM.

The Power of Film was the previous entry in this blog.

The Story of Film: An Odyssey is the next entry in this blog.

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