Reflective Evaluation

I am pleased with how this project went.

I feel that although I spent a long time on my Reflective Research, doing it, reflecting on it and writing it up, it was time well spent as it allowed me to make much more informed decisions about this project than I would have been able to do otherwise. I do find the writing up of research to be challenging, I would much rather just absorb myself in loads of films and looking things up, and I find I work best when I can do this and really absorb what I find out into my brain, rather than necessarily having to document it, but I find learning about film really fascinating.

I’m pleased that I had done my brainstorming as part of my Pre-Planning since it meant that I had an already clearly thought out and planned idea to suggest to the group, and thus was able to film my idea. We were able to take advantage of the early filming opportunity presented to us. Being flexible is a very important quality in the Film/TV Industry. Trying to think one step ahead is helpful, but also so is being prepared to take opportunities as they arise.

For the Production, filming working as a team of 6 worked well. I am glad that I was chosen to direct since this is the role that I would eventually like do in Industry, although I know I have a long road ahead to get there. We worked well as a team. We were able to have the actors that we needed for the plot without needing to bring anyone else in to act. Splitting into a technical team and a script writing/planning team worked well too, we were able to get more work done more quickly. We all concentrated and acted in a professional manner, which helped since we were on a tight schedule.

One thing I would have done differently is to dress the actors in more era appropriate clothing. I had just started thinking about that and was going to ask the others to bring certain types of clothes into College for the following day, when we got this good opportunity to film. I think that we did well with what we had, having both Jack and Harley in different toned jackets so that they were easily distinguishable from each other. And although I had envisaged the film looking like it had been made in the Black and White Silent Film era, the subject matter of a game of Musical Chairs is in fact timeless, so it doesn’t look as out of place as it could have done had we been filming a more era specific topic. This also reflects on being prepared in the Film/TV Industry to take opportunities as they arise, since you do still need to know where you can compromise and where you simply cannot. In this case we could compromise on costumes. There may be other occasions where the compromise would change the whole nature and intention of the film. We are learning to tell the difference.

As I have explained in my research section, I was very pleased that I was successful in explaining to my actors how I wanted them to act and behave, for example with their body movements in relation to each other, and also that this was successful in creating the atmosphere and story that I was after.

One other thing that is not ideal is that you can’t actually see Jack and Harley’s facial expressions due to their masks but given the pandemic they preferred to wear masks and I was wearing one too. I still believe they are the best actors for those roles, and masks are just a part of life at the moment.

In Post-Production I’m glad I made the decision to not change the aspect ratio to 1.33:1, since I had a little play around and actually found I wasn’t happy with what had to be cropped out.

The title stops juddering for about half a second near the start. I didn’t notice this at the time, but I noticed it after I had already handed it in before half term. This happened because to save time I created all the keyframes in one clip and then copy and pasted that clip multiple times and changed the text so I didn’t have to make all the keyframes for each clip. The reason why the juddering stops for half a second is because I extended the length of the title by about half a second and didn’t extend the keyframes to match so it just stops moving for half a second. Now I know to keep an eye out for this kind of thing in the future.

Other than that, I am pleased with my editing and my editing choices, I feel I have successfully created the film the way I originally saw it in my mind during my Reflective Research.

Our group of 5 have been working together for a year now and have created a really good team showing good teamwork. Charlie G also fitted in really well and I am pleased he joined us.

I am pleased with my finished film. I have acquired more useful knowledge, skills and practise which has helped me develop and will help me in future film projects. 

A final thought

This weekend I was watching Star Trek Discovery Season 3 Episode 4 “Forget Me Not”. About halfway through, the ship’s computer suggests to the Discovery’s ship captain, whose name is Saru, that the crew should be given the night off with a movie night, in an effort to cheer the crew up. The ship’s computer makes the comment that “Among many sentient beings, laughter is both healing and meaningful. 20th Century comedians such as Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin are communal unifiers without the burden of language.”


I found this comment really interesting and insightful. I agree that comedy can be “healing” since it is pretty universally agreed that laughing produces good and healing hormones in humans. I also agree that it is “meaningful” since we usually feel that we have something in common with someone who we can laugh with, and feelings in common are better than divisive feelings. And in particular I agree with the final part about the 2 huge stars of the silent film era being “communal unifiers without the burden of language“. Comedy can unify people, and hence nations, who do not share the same languages. I saw this for myself last summer, having been selected to attend the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, USA, where there were 45,000 scouts from more countries than compete in the Olympics – way too many languages for us all to be able to communicate with language, but smiles and humour were a large part of what allowed us to still communicate in a very positive and meaningful way, even without language. As I said earlier, although there are intertitles in films they are not the main means of communication. For example, the actions and the facial expressions of the actors, the music choice and the choice of shots are much more important in portraying the humour. Just as language can be an integral part of certain comedy, it can also be a “burden” when modifying the film for an audience who speak a different language, since spoken words either need to be fully subtitled, which splits where the audience needs to watch, thus potentially losing the comedic moment for them, or the films need to be dubbed, and care taken as to whether jokes translate well or not. Only the Intertitles need to be translated which is easier since they are short and to the point, and would appear on the screen whatever the language is.


Which is why I think we still see many principles from the old silent movies days being applied in post “silent film”  movies, such as slapstick moments in “Singing in the Rain” when Donald O’Connor is singing “Make ‘Em Laugh”, and in even more modern films too.


Since I am aiming, eventually, to be a fiction film/tv director, this project has opened my eyes to the importance of looking at why different genres were successful in their time, and what elements of them are still useful in modern times. It is not a given that, just because certain principles worked when they first came out, they ae still useful today, since our society and culture is constantly changing, and some comedy principles are certainly not valid now. However, I feel that being aware of creating comedy without words is still a useful principle, and as a (hopefully) future director I should be aware of this not just from the point of view of creating good films, but also because I would like to feel (in common with many directors I am sure) that films that I direct could be inclusive and bring people together.

As a final note, Saru (captain) does indeed organise a movie night, and the final scene is of the crew laughing together at images of Buster Keaton in a holographic film projection. I take my hat off to the writers of this Star Trek Discovery episode Alan McElroy, Chris Silvestri and Anthony Maranville, and to the Director Hanelle M. Culpepper, for this fun but meaningful reference.