For my capstone, I had the grand scheme of, based on my constant enjoyment of digital video classes and being a member of Rough Cut Productions, creating a short film. The original goal for the project was a 35-50 minute film, but as I planned the piece, this became less achievable. Therefore, I decided to make a shorter piece that acts as a tribute to and showcase of my personal style of fiction. The final product, which you can view the teaser of below, is around 15 minutes long. It began with an initial image, which, through many evolutions of ideas, didn't even make it into the final product. Even after the initial write-up of the plot was complete, evolution occurred. After discovering the ordeal that is working with a fluid outline, the logistical trials emerged. Even with a cast of 5, and a crew of even less, I had to dance around the schedules of many to complete my piece. In production I encountered issues with audio control, filming environment, and camera setup, but learned from these experiences and am already working to fix them. I am working on the final polishing of the film. Overall, I enjoyed the project and was able to create a product that demonstrates my personal style. For the first time in my years as a Rough Cut member, I had full control of the project.
Teaser below, Rough Cut, due to technical difficulties, will be uploaded 05/20/16:
August, John. "Johnaugust.com." Johnaugustcom RSS. N.p., 7 Feb. 2007. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.
Screenwriter John August gives his tips on writing dialogue. 1. Eavesdrop, because real sounding conversation comes from hearing real conversation. 2. Craft your dialogue around the flow of your scene. Run the scene through in your head multiple times, until dialogue starts manifesting. By building a clear image of the scene in your head, you are able to pace your dialogue in such a way that it makes the scene feel real. 3. You need to match the dialogue structure or presentation of the information to the scenario (setting, mood, character relations, known knowledge). 4. Write a rough version of the scene, super rough, before writing the actual scene. 5. Step it up. 6.
"Film Lighting Techniques and Tips: With Pretty Pictures!" Free Online Film School: Learn Filmmaking. N.p., 30 Apr. 2010. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.
There were a few takeaways from this source, all revolving around lighting. Without lighting, your imagery will look flat and uninteresting. You can bring in many different moods and looks through the use of lighting techniques. A technique I will definitely attempt is the shadowy look from a soft front, heavy backlight. I hadn’t realised how important lighting was. It is required for essentially every scene you would shoot, even in circumstances with a lot of natural light. Color correction cannot help with everything. I will attempt these lighting techniques, and I will make a focus in my storyboarding on the effects I can achieve with light. This is from a director’s blog.
Helmy, David K. "Adobe Premiere Pro CC." How to Edit Videos with Premiere Pro. Adobe, n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.
Premiere is my editing tool, and this source goes over how to use it. It is similar to Final Cut in many ways, but there are a few key differences, especially when it comes to detailed selection of my clips. It is important for me to be able to use Premiere effectively, as I will have limited time to work with it. This resource has given me the ability to efficiently edit my footage. I can further use this resource to delve deeper into the uses and techniques I can pull off. This source comes from the official Adobe site.
Howell, John M. Homicide Investigation Standard Operating Procedures. N.p.: Policeforum.org, 1999. Print.
This pdf details police procedure for crime scenes, circa 1999. The investigator goes in to survey the scene of the crime. They must document every essential piece of information. You begin by taking the time, weather conditions, and receiving information from and questioning the first officer. Make sure every officer at the scene has done their job, and that all loose ends are covered. You talk to and tend to the needs of the witnesses, if there are any. I used this source to give me an idea of what type of work my protagonist would be used to. How does one go about investigating a crime scene?
"Introduction to Three-Point Lighting & Other Video Lighting Techniques." 3-Point Lighting. Nikon, n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.
I am really trying to step up my lighting game for this project, as lighting is extremely useful for setting mood and tone in film. This source is an educational tool for three point lighting, a method which, because of the use of only 3 lights, I have the ability to pull off. Light reflectors are also important, as they can help bring the dark parts of my subject into view. The video goes over the use of LED lights, which are what I have access to. The main takeaway is that you can set the lights up in such a way that you are able to fully illuminate your subject with a minimal amount of light sources. This source is from Nikon.
"Mass Murder, Shooting Sprees and Rampage Violence: Research Roundup - Journalist's Resource." Journalists Resource. N.p., 01 Oct. 2015. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.
My film, even though it is wrapped up in the supernatural, wants to look at what creates violence, and how violence moves through society. This is a compilation of research and analysis of violent crime statistics, used as a resource for reporters. US has a much higher (6.9% higher), crime rate than other countries at its socio-economic level. My piece has to do with a teen who murders a group of their friends. This research tries to examine the causes of mass murder. However, the causes for these events are constantly left to debate, and new research methods are necessary for better analysis.
Mott, Parker. "Suspense Film Editing | Art of the Guillotine." The Art of the Guillotine. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.
For making suspense in your visuals: Have your camera or a character have a voyeuristic, observational feel. Distant, spaced, watching. When showing the room, cut in close ups of objects that are of importance to the plot. Hint at them, giving audience a “what purpose will they have” feeling. When not zoomed, give pannings of the room, wide looks. Montage can be used to good effect, allowing you to show what all is happening, without actually revealing it entirely, which ruins suspense. Humour can make suspense even lighter, showing that the characters don’t know what you know about the situation. Have multiple things happen at once. Thumbs up for plot twists. This is from a writer, director, editor.
Sakula, Dora Ash. "How to Create Suspense in a Screenplay - Raindance." Raindance. Raindance Film Festival, 23 July 2015. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.
“Suspense is the anticipation of action, it’s not action itself. The moment you have action, your suspense is gone.” Suspense is about keeping the audience wondering what will happen, how something transpired. You are meant to feel as if you are empathizing with the character, so that you feel like you are in danger with them. I am planning on making my film very suspenseful, and this is a succinct definition of what suspense is, surrounded by a very good example of how it can work. Suspense can work with any event that a character is put into, that becomes dangerous or goes against their wishes. Source is from a film fest seminar.
Sullivan, Jack. "'Hitchcock's Music' Scores Big on Suspense." NPR. NPR, 10 Feb. 2007. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.
An important part of suspenseful film is the soundtrack. This NPR article discusses different pieces of music and how they build suspense. You want to match the speed of your music to the speed of your imagery. By having music over silence, you are able to make things less “stark”, and give them emotion. The music you place gives the emotion of the scene. However, music can become overused, making it less impactful, and detracting from the feeling of the scenes. The amount of sound layered in the music has to do with the level of importance or emotion. More instrumentation, more emotion.
Urry, Allen B. "Modern Police Interrogation Techniques Use Subtle Psychological Manipulation." Everest.edu. Everest Universities, 8 June 2008. Web. 4 Feb. 2016.
How does one go about suspect interrogation? This is a very important part of my piece, as the middle segment of my film focusses on/ is structured by an interrogation. THis article focusses on the Reid technique of interrogation. It features nine steps: 1. Lay out the evidence. 2. Give the suspect a setup where other people put them into the situation. 3. Don’t let the suspect speak, assault them with the many ways in which they are to blame. 4. Turn whatever objections they make onto them. 5. Play good cop. 6. Voice several different ideas, looking for unique reactions. 7. Give them two scenarios, and look to see if the suspect chooses the safer option. 8. Get them to repeat the confession. 9. Document. From Everest Universities.