Rationale (approx. 100 words)
My learning journey in Creative Media.
Throughout last year and this year, I have picked up many skills and have made many mistakes, from which I have reflected and learnt from. During this year I have learnt many fascinating theories from tutors and have learnt many other things due to independent studying. These are things that I can now use for practice. I have learnt more about (Editing, color correction, camera angles, lighting techniques, framing, audiences, semiotics and visual storytelling techniques) ones from which I can now use to create an effective told story on screen. Unlike my other projects, (Music video) this one, I will be aiming at telling a deeper effective story. While I was doing my music video, I was very disappointed as there was no story; now that I can do a personal project, I wanted to use this project as a way to challenge myself on storytelling.
Project Concept (approx. 200 words)
What I want to do for my final project?
For my Creative Media course, we were given multiple choices for our final project, Documentary, music video, etc, ones from which we had to create in 2-mins. I have decided that I want to create a short drama film (Trial Of Ascension), for The College Of West Anglia.
Synopsis: Trial Of Ascension is a story about loss and the ascension of a human spirit; how a young man lifts himself up from the heavy burden he is carrying.
Where did the idea come from?
Thinking about my life and what I have witnessed in others, I wanted to tell a story which means something to me. Something that I question myself a lot, is what keeps us holding on and pacing forward, when we have hit misfortunate times in life. What I have seen and what I feel is that it’s our goals/passions and visions to what we want and where we want to go. I spoke to a friend of mine and came up with an idea for a story and a quick simple narrative structure. I then started to strip down and consider what I can do with what I have. I started limiting down locations, actors equipment etc.
Why I want to do this?
To me filmmaking is an art, like any form of art, it’s a creative and expressive process, from which we as the artists use our voice to communicate a message to our audience.
I am creating this short film because there is something I feel strongly about and I want to communicate that in this piece.
My audiences and anticipation
I want my audiences to relate to this piece on an emotional level; to set the first half of the story up with a dark dismal tone, then by the end, bring an uplifting conclusion.
Narrative: To tell the story in 2 mins and to get what I wanted to say out quicker, I decided to tell the story in a non-linear way. (Jumping from different timelines.) Breaking the story into 3 parts, each with there own tone to them.
Beginning: I want to set the story up, showing us the character going through a greiving process; how during his stage of loss, he has also lost his self-respect.
Middle: This is where we see that the character is starting to self-reflect, as he looks at his unfinished roll up and throws it, taking the rest of the screen time to breath the air and relax.
Ending: We see at the final part that the character has found some peace of mind, as he takes a walk in the field with his guitar, indicating that the character is finding his passion and drive again.
Broken: Metaphorically speaking, it’s about a persons broken spirit.
Discovery: A story about discovering a part inside you that will help you get through your struggles.
Spirituality: The idea that as people, we need something to believe in to give us faith.
Primary research: Due to knowing someone close, who is suffering from loss, I studied him, not only it helped in terms of the symptoms he is suffering, but also studying and knowing that his goals and motivation is what keeps him moving. This inspired me for the message I wanted to convey, which is following that part inside you; your passion and drive, that will give you a purpose to keep moving forward.
- Camera: I want to shoot this film on a dslr; this is to achieve depth of field
- Voice over: I will be using the soundbooth to record voice over dialog
- Risk assessments: I will need risk assessments before shooting, to ensure my cast and crew are safe on location.
- Steadycam: I will be using a steadycam for tracking shots.
Evaluation (approx. 100 words)
Today I wrote the monologue for my short film, I want the monologue to match with the structure of the story and what we will see on screen.
Editing the footage: I have decided that I wanted to shot this piece on my 1200d DSLR Canon. This was for depth of field and to give it more of a cinematic look. Over the weekend, I filmed all the scenes; shooting this one handheld. I decided to shoot the scene handheld, to provoke the emotions of the characters unsteady/unstable world. Today I have started to edit my short film, using Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
Semiotics: When I finished shooting the scene where the character is self-reflecting, I took a moment to look at the birds and thought that I could use footage of a bird flying for the ending scene. I felt that it was necessary as this will emphesise and signify the idea that the character has found some peace of mind.
Adobe Audition: Today I recorded myself doing a voice over in the soundbooth. I delivered each line multiple times, to get the tone I was looking for. I wanted the tone of the voice over to sound more like a soft whisper. I used quiet sound effects of rain falling, to bring a part of us in that scene and the characters mood. I also found a suitable soundtrack, which I used for the ending scene.
Colour correct and colour grading: I tried to use Adobe Speedgrade but it was running to slow, so I corrected the colours and grading on Premiere Pro. Using a RGB parade monitor, this is to help me correct when adjusting whites and blacks, also for white balancing as I couldn’t correct it on my camera on the day of shoot. This choice of color is to bring out the emotions of the characters inner mood. (Dismal, depressing.)
Sound editing: Being new to Adobe Audition, I found it complex and difficult to grasp how to sound edit. Due to time running out, I exported the tracks I found were necessary and editing them on Premeire Pro (Increasing bass.)
What I would do different?
Now that I have finished my short film, I am now reflecting over my work and am thinking about what I should have done and would do on my next project.
- Record my own soundtrack
- More thought behind narrative structure
- Use casting call pro to audition actors/actress
- Knowledge of sound editing
- More thought and meaning behind cinematography
To me I feel that the piece that I have created is just an experiment, preparing me for my next project. I know that each piece I create in the future, I am only going to get better by all the mistakes I make and by all that I will learn.
What areas of weaknesses I have faced?
I feel that my biggest weakness, is communicating, which is very important in all aspects of work, especially when directing and that’s why I directed my final project, to be able to use this opportunity to gain confidence and overcome barriers for future projects.
Project Action Plan and Timetable
Location still: A still of the chapel we used to shoot a scene.
My independent study:
I have been studying multiple research resources that have helped me improve my work.
Rule Of Thirds: Refreshing my knowledge, I was looking up the rule of thirds, This is so I can put thought and consideration into how I frame my shots.
Colour correction and grading: Over my time of studying, I have been watching tutorials on how to colour grade and correct. I have been using what I have learnt on my own short film. I have learnt how to read the RGB parade monitor while adjusting the blacks and whites and adjusting white balance, if not manually corrected on day of shoot.
Proposed Research Sources
Inspirations: Researching independent filmmaker Eliot Rausch, I have seen many of his work and I feel that a part of his films/documentaries have played a part in my piece. I was extremely inspired by how he tells stories and always brings a unique emotional quality to every piece he creates. How he uses music to truly emphasise emotions that are happening on screen and how he conveys the message across.
The video is a piece from Eliot Rausch. I had taken inspiration from how he uses a poem and creates his own intrepretation from it into a film.
Secondary Research: Using google books, I found a book called. Hidden Grace: Growing Through Loss and Grief. Reading this I started looking up the symptoms of what grief does to a person, emotionally and physically. I applied my research through to my actor, as I wanted him to understand and portray the physical part of what grief does to the human body and mind, how it destroys you, yet helps you.
How this helped with my idea?
I always believe that the struggles we go through in life, make us grow as a person and when I read this book, it inspired me on the idea that the trials of our suffering is like a gift given to us in life; looking at it in an optimistic viewpoint, it gives us the opportunity to learn about ourselves and to grow as a person.
How my research effects my audience?
My research has affected my piece, as I wanted to tell a story about faith and self-discovery through the stages of loss, how we rise as a person and how we discover ourselves more when we are facing stages of pain loneliness and grief. Due to research, It helped a lot in terms of writing the dialog, as I wanted my piece to question my audience on life and themselves.
Killswitch Engage-Embrace The Journey… Upraised
Reading multiple song lyrics that related to the themes of the story, gave me inspiration and certain visual imagery that I applied through my film, it also inspired me in terms of writing the dialog for the piece. The lyrics below helped with the idea that as we face torment in life, we cling onto faith and belief to help guide us, while we are still searching for some sense of clarity.
(My soul searches beyond the aether as I still believe)
I am not religious but I wanted to use religion as a representation of faith and gratitude. I wanted to show that you need something to believe in to help guide you. By researching the uses of holy water, I decided to apply the idea that the character in the piece uses holy water, to show that the character has found something to help guide him. I wanted the audience to acknowledge the idea that the piece was saying, while also trying to be careful for not making it seem as though I am preaching religion.