Unit 8: Venus | Evaluation

 

For this unit, we got given the opportunity to choose our own brief or be set one, I chose to set my own brief which I believe gave me the chance to further expand my creativity and skills with less boundaries. After careful thinking, I ended up choosing a short film because it’s something I want to become better at. The theme I picked was the different types of love according to the ancient Greeks, there are 8 of them but as time went by and I started the creative process I realised that making a short film for each type of love was too ambitious and even having a 1 minute scene for each ended up being too much of a challenge so soon 8 became 6 and 6 became 3 which when you add the beginning and ending it becomes a 5 part short film. My target audience was very broad as I believe this would target a wide range of age groups, I set my target to people born in the 80s and 90s, or “millennials” as after careful research I found put that the style of the film would appeal to my generation more than the others.

As shown in the images below, initially I had three ideas and I picked this one out of the three, the reason was because I wanted to make an artistic short film, I wanted to experiment and see where my skills would take me and I wanted to focus on developing those skills as well and experimenting was the way I found to do so. Another reason why I chose this idea was because at the time, my friend Roman offered to help me with the film as it’s exams time and most people are very busy so he volunteered; Roman is a trans guy and that got me thinking about how transgender representation in the media is so unrealistic and almost invisible. You rarely see on the films or tv shows a trans character with a normal life and happy ending, much less a love story where there is not emphasis on the fact that the character is trans.

 

 

So essentially I wanted that to happen, I wanted to make a simple film that happened to feature a trans character that was happy and living a normal life. Which brings us to research, of course I decided to research in depth about transgender representation in the media throughout time so I watched films like Boys don’t cry (1999) directed by Kimberly Peirce, 3 Generations (2015) by Gaby Dellal and many others. I also decided to research things like how the media view love and how romantic films have developed through time and I briefly even talked about LGBT+ in those romantic films. Between many things I researched, from camera techniques and films that would inspire me, I also researched arthouse films which is the genre that I was going to do this short film in. All of this helped me have a clearer idea of the market that I was putting my short film in, the topic and the issues that I would be dealing with or if it would be potentially controversial.

I used a range of different sources, from the internet to films as I mentioned before. Most of the research was made at the time that I was making the film which I think helped me every day of shooting make it better than the last, as in-between those days I would research another topic or watch a new film which inspired me.

I also researched, of course the types of love according to the ancient Greeks, as well as my target audience by carrying out questionnaires. To further my research process I also created mood boards (shown below) and took photos of the main actor, Roman as a way of setting the concept for the film.

 

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I do admit throughout this project there was some ups and downs when it comes to organisation, maybe it was the fact that it was so experimental that it didn’t even have a script or the lack of time but I still tried to have some structure, to help me achieve what I wanted and do things more effectively I always did notes of what I had to do and rough ideas on how I wanted the film to look like.

It did make things easier the fact that I did daily reflections and always get my notebook around me with all my ideas and to-do lists of what I had left to do. This definitely prevented things from going awfully wrong. Even though I managed to fit everything to the deadline and I managed my time as best as I could possibly, in the future I think I need to be way more organised so I don’t exceed the time that was given to me. Maybe instead of doing everything as I got, try to have a more clear structure of when I should do things (i.e. get all the pre-productions done before starting filming so I don’t have a lot of things to do at the same time and then it becomes easier to manage the time and get everything done by the deadline).

 

 

I started filming very early in this project, at the same that I was doing the pre-production so everything kind of intertwined but by the time I was done filming, I was also done with the pre-production side like research and other things. So when it came to post-production and editing I had my full attention on it and I still had a lot of time left before the deadline so I found myself changing so many things in the film. I changed the structure about 3 times and I was always going on youtube to research different editing techniques and effects to make it look better. The fact that I’m a perfectionist might have come in handy because I was never satisfied so I always tried to improve even the slightest bits.

The beginning was definitely challenging as I had so much footage and I had to try and shorten everything and try to fit it in 5 to 10 minutes, that was definitely a challenge but eventually it became easier as I got my head around what I wanted to do and how I wanted things to look like. I spent the first day just trying to select what clips I would be using and once that was done I started to think about things I could do to make it look more interesting, like the song choice, voice over, the title which had a clip in each letter, etc.

One thing I thought about through the whole process was the look of the film, since the start I had an idea of what it was going to look like and I wanted it to be as artistic as possible so the visual side of the film I felt was more important than anything else. So I focused a lot on colour and trying to make everything look together, I focused a lot in using the best shots, specially the close ups that I filmed which were the most beautiful shots I had. I found myself focusing on the smallest details, like putting widescreen black bars and then adjusting each individual clip to make the best of it, I was constantly watching tutorials and looking back at my notes and moodboards, as well as the films/videos that inspired me.  So there was definitely a lot of thought that went into the visual aspect of the film, as well as the audio which I chose to have a mix between voice messages and music throughout the film to help the viewer understand the story better.

 

All of this couldn’t be possible without certain skills I developed from previous units, like Units 5 and 6 where I did my short film “Inside the Box”, I made a lot of mistakes on that one, with lighting and the camera shots weren’t the best so I learned from that and tried to be better this time, it also helped that in those units as well as the previous units I learned how to use Premiere, so I had a base to work from, in those same units I also learned the basics of how to carry out a project and what is necessary to complete those projects fully. With the help of this final major project, I just developed those skills I had acquired in previous units, compared to the very first video I made you wouldn’t even think it was made by the same person. Another thing I believed I devoted in this unit was attention to detail, I learned to pay even more attention to the little things and become even more of a perfectionist.

While editing my video, I noticed there was so much footage that I did not use in the video so when I needed a break from working in the film, I would take some time to do experiments with that footage so I did teasers for my youtube channels and some experimental videos even.

In the end, I decided to divide the film in different chapters/sections because I felt that they looked better as separate pieces of work rather than together, even though they come together as one, essentially they are different pieces of work.

 

Overall I believe I have achieved what I wanted to achieve, despise the ups and downs and bad organisation on my part, I managed to complete everything that I had planned and achieve all the goals that I had set out. The brief said to do a creative project and I chose to make an artistic film and I did exactly that, even though I changed it more times then I can remember the core idea remained the same throughout and I even think it was a good idea to not do the 8 types of love and doing the ending as ambiguous as I did because now I have the opportunity to do so many things with it, in the future I could even continue this project and make it even better because I only did 3 types of love out of 8.

 

The best part of this project was actually filming it, which wasn’t the easiest but it was definitely the best, and also editing it was my favourite part of the whole project because I got to learn so much and experiment and that definitely made me acquire more skills and develop the ones I had.

The hardest part and also the worst was the time management aspect, because we had a short space of time to do all of this and sadly, we also had the Manchester Arena incident which put the whole city in pause for a couple of days, transport wouldn’t work so that definitely didn’t make things easier. But the way I worked around it was I tried to work at home as much as I could, which also was not easy as I work nearly full time, but I managed to do everything even on my breaks so I could finish this. I would also try to us much time as much as I could and even thought it’s not ideal it helped that I started filming so early on meanwhile I was doing the pre-production.

Meanwhile I was editing, like I mentioned before, I uploaded some teasers and experimental videos on my youtube channel to promote it and also get people excited for my short film, and I would share it all over social media and the responses I got are very good, I had people getting excited and wondering when the film was going to get finally uploaded and many people loved it and loved how visually pleasing it was.

If I had to do the same project again, there is many things that I would change, I would write a script from the start and have a clearer idea of what I’m going to do and focus more on the audio aspect because that is another thing that the film is lacking, conversations between the characters, etc. I would also try to be more focused and organised.

While working on this project, I learned many things about not only technical skills but also how the media and film industry works. From the research that I did, I learned how important visibility and representation is and how much that can affect a whole generation or group of people. I also learned a lot about marketing and how to get people  to watch your videos or films.

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