Taking on the role as the cinematographer was a chance to make my little individual stamp, after watching a few short films it is clear that good filmmakers develop their own style allowing the audience to recognise their brand. Savides, the DOP of ‘American Gangster’ starring Denzel Washington has said “I think that a film has to have just one style, one look, whatever that is” There is a need for stability, the frame shouldn’t be identical but should be uniform to an extent. The cinematography of the film will determine the mood and the meaning the viewer takes away, learning the impact my role had, it is not just choosing an angle. A BBC interview with Cohen, the cinematographer of ‘The Kings Speech’, when asked ‘what does a cinematographer do?’ answered “My job is to help the director realise what’s in his head. The cinematographer creates a consistent look for the film and makes images that help tell the story.”
Never have I ever worked in a team of ten, appreciating the challenge because it finally handed opportunity to work in a professional environment, emphasising the chance in comprehending what each role requires. In all honesty before the module I would have thought ‘whats the point of having a cinematographer, camera operator or a gaffer, ‘one person can do all that right? In the midst of all this, it hit me how difficult it was, it’s not a matter of pushing a red button while shouting rolling.
“On most feature film sets, the cinematographer’s team is the biggest crew on the production, which means that the cinematographer has to interact and delegate with many production members. Fortunately, the “division of labor” on the set makes this a manageable task.”
Every single person is essential, my role is literally to imagine the image, think about how I want it to look, I would delegate roles to my team. On a bigger set, communicative skills are crucial when for example, passing information through to the gaffer onto the best boy and then the spark ensuring lightings acceptable conforming to the mood’s conventions for the scene and overall film. However, in our case, we had fewer people so one person took charge of lighting, managing by all working conjunctly to achieve exactly the look we desired.
Considering my new found awareness of how little I actually knew about my role and the others I binged watched numerous youtube videos on what skills I need to be a decent DOP. Richarch Michalak emphasised the value of ‘mastering composition’ gr
asping the main rule of thumb and then bending the rules. Also not being boring by placing everything in the centre using tools like ‘Rule of thirds’ to cement the visual gratification.
To practise my technique while growing professionally I’d bring a camera to the location scout, take some shots, I also formed a storyboard so I could visualise my thoughts making sure everyone knows what is going on at any one time.
In the industry, there was a system ‘in previous decades’, whereby you needed loads of money to get your work printed and advertised before consumers even got to lay their eyes on it. “the main stumbling block for independent filmmakers operating within the low budget and DIY realms was always distribution.” Not too long ago VHS and DVD’s were a necessity, imagine the cost of printing just to enable you to reach a wide audience but even then profit is not guaranteed. Moving towards the present web 2.0, YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu and facebook are some of the tools used for effective but cheap distribution making it easier to gain viewership.
From the get go our crew discussed briefly how to go about the distributing, ‘P.s I stole your car’ would be entered in film festivals. Prior to this task uni projects was something you do then it’s over but that’s only the beginning. Studying other short films such as ‘The strange thing about the Johnsons’ and ‘Hageraseb’ they both went down the route of film festivals slowly revealing it to the world as weeks go on gradually acknowledging more critical acclaim. To be considered, an EPK would have to be created and that is exactly what we did. “Smart movie making means figuring out a marketing and distributing plan before you begin” Ideally putting research into “what genres are selling and what genres” distributers “feel will be hot in a year.” That’s one of our mistakes because now we will have to look for festivals that meet our requirements rather than us meeting theirs limiting our options. Also, many film festivals such as sundance recommend shorter films,”you might find yourself in more festivals if you make a 5 minute short versus a 15 minute one. A lot of this is simply down to the math involved. If two movies are of similar quality, and both deserve to be in the festival, it’s only logical that the shorter film has a better shot” P.s I stole your car is touching 15 minutes so if the movie isn’t mind blowing/revolutionary then the chances of making it into festivals are slim. For next time I know during the pre-production stage a list of every little detail will have to be made to ensure we don’t forget or underestimate the importance of each task.
“A 2009 report by stradella road showed that 80% of those surveyed said they were more likely to see movie after hearing a positive review from other moviegoers.” Leading us to showcase the rough edit to the class observing their reactions and taking in their feedback. If they liked it they would talk to their friends about it generating a buzz that may spread around the university to then grow nationwide.
Electronic press kit consists of …
- Teaser / Trailer
- Film poster
- Format information
- Cast / crew bios
- Contact details
Physical press kits with hard copies have almost completely gone out of style and have been replaced by the electronic press kit. Short films may present their EPK in PDF form like ‘Run’ but we wanted it to be interactive, we decided to create a website, Converging Trailers, posters and Crew Bios into one place that is easily accessible stirring a buzz.
The polished product is far from perfect but nonetheless victorious. The sound is not consistent which was a problem, messy external sound was a struggle to clean up. Visually every shot was very planned out from the production design to the frame composition following the conventions of the narrative genre ‘drama’ using quite dark/natural colour schemes in terms of lighting and prop colours. There may have been an overuse of drone shots within the editing and an issue on my part was the lack of creative transitional shots from scene to scene. I’ve improved professionally enhancing my confidence and encouraging me to make further projects in the future aware of what it takes to be a DOP make a short film and what needs to happen next time for it to be even more successful than what it was this time round.
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