1st Filming Practise
As preparation for filming our actual film, early on during a lesson we split into random groups (of 3-4) and practised coming up with an idea for a short silent black and white film (approx. 30 seconds) and filming it on our cameras. I was in a group with Adam Vincent and Olivia McCartney. Olivia filmed and Adam and I acted. We filmed outside the College entrance. We came up with the idea that Adam and I would walk past each other and bump into each other as we walked past. We would then get into an argument about it which we would show by using a lot of exaggerated hand gestures and waving about. Adam would then knock my hat off, and I would chase after him into the distance.
This involved 2 shots, and a couple of pans, which isn’t really authentic for Silent Film. Olivia edited at the time on iMovie on her phone, removing the sound and turning it into black and white. Just after we did it, Adam and I were transferred back into Group A from Group B, and Olivia stayed in Group B. I haven’t yet been able to see her to ask her for the footage, when I do, I will add it here.
Having done my research, and understood the qualities needed for an authentic Black and White Silent Film, I started trying to come up with ideas.
Before I had done my research, I had been thinking about a slapstick chase scene. However, I now realised that would be hard to film with one stationary camera – although I could have instructed my actors to run around the same room in shot, that would not have been very realistic and this it would not have been convincing as a concept, since anyone being chased will try to run away.
I also considered trying to develop and expand on the argument/fight scene that Adam and I had filmed with Olivia. However, I wasn’t convinced that the comedy element really stood up.
However, once I came up with idea of a game of Musical Chairs, I could see that could meet all my criteria that I had determined from my research For example, It could look good filmed with one shot by a stationary camera. It would look even more funny sped up a bit. I could keep the set simple There was verisimilitude – a phrase I learnt on my GCSE Film studies essentially meaning something that the audience can believe is consistent with what they know – the chase scene would not have had verisimilitude because the audience would be thinking “why haven’t they run away?”. Whereas they would be expecting contestants in a Musical Chairs competition to stay in the same area, going round and round. Also, I could have the “good” guy / “bad” guy scenario that I noted in my research by having the larger actor act threateningly to the smaller actor, and plenty of scope for a bit of over-acting. There isn’t much dialogue needed but there is a good reason for a couple of intertitles at the start to announce the game, and at the end to announce the winner. I was pleased with it as an idea.
I started working on Pre-production. I wrote a summary of my idea –
“My idea for my 30 second B&W silent film is to do a slapstick musical chairs final round where there are 2 people left fighting for the last chair left. At the start one person (Ellie) is carrying a chair out while the announcer (Charlie) says this is the last round and “play the music” which will be shown on a board thing on screen. Jack and Harley will be the last two fighting for the final chair. When the music ends Jack attempts to sit down on the chair and Harley grabs the chair from under jacks unsuspecting behind as jack then comically falls down and Harley succeeds as Charlie then walks back on and lifts one of Harley’s arms up as he won.”
I had planned on completing my Pre-production on Tuesday 6th October and filming on Wednesday 7th October due to the fact that we have a slot in our timetable that is 1hour and 30mins long on the Wednesday which would have given me and my friends plenty of time to film each of our 30 second long Black and White Silent films.
However, we got the opportunity to film during lessons on Tuesday 6th October, which seemed a good opportunity. It made more sense to film one film between the 6 of us and do our own editing to make it individual. We discussed our individual ideas, and my Musical Chairs plan came up as the preferred option.
We separated our group of 6 into 2 teams of 3. One team were the Technical Team, the other the Writing/Research Team. We discussed who should be in each team, and what their roles would be.
I was nominated as Team Leader of the Writing/Research team. This made sense since I had already done a lot of preparation for the Musical Chairs Idea. I was also nominated as Director. The others have commented that they think I am good at this, and it is what I love doing, that and setting up cinematography shots. Adam was nominated as Technical Team Leader, again a good choice since he is very strong technically. He was in charge of organising the equipment and ensuring it was being used properly. Each Team Leader was responsible for allocating roles in their team, and for ensuring safety rules were obeyed in their team (according to the Risk Assessment that we did, see below)
- Gareth (Team Leader, Director, Writer)
- Harley (Writer, Actor)
- Charlie (Writer, Actor)
- Adam (Team Leader, Lighting, Assistant Camera)
- Ellie (Acting, Props, Assistant Camera)
- Jack (Acting, Set design)
Adam’s team went to sort out the equipment. I explained my idea in more detail to Harley and Charlie, and between us we created the following “script” – I’m not sure if you call it a script, since there is only 2 lines of dialogue, the rest is describing what we want the actors to do, and in what manner.
I have explained in my Reflective Research the reasons behind the choice of camera set up and use of one single shot, so I explained this to the others too.
This is the script we wrote.
- Starts with long shot of the scene showing the floor so that Jack can be seen when he falls over.
- Scene starts with Jack and Harley staring each other down making threatening gestures.
- Ellie is carrying a chair off screen to the left at the start.
- Charlie is centre screen as he announces “This is the final round, Place your bets and start the music!”
- Charlie walks off screen to the right and then the music starts.
- Harley and Jack start walking around the last chair.
- A few seconds later the music stops and as Jack attempts to sit down Harley pulls the chair out from under Jacks unsuspecting buttocks and he falls over in a comical fashion.
- Harley sits down on the chair in a similar way as to Bethesda games.
- Next shot is a medium long shot of Harley as Charlie comes back and holds up Harleys hand as Charlie explains “WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!”
- Jack sits up in bottom corner of screen looking very upset.
- 2x chairs
- (Sony) camera
- Blue roll (decoration)
- White board (background décor)
- Door handle