For my proposal I stated that I wanted to create an anthology of three or four of my favourite poems. I stated that I would take my own interpretation of the meaning of the poems and create three or four short films corresponding with the poems. These films would be inspired by works such as video art, and other films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir. Wes Anderson), and Victoria (dir. Sebastian Schipper). Personally, I think that I have achieved the majority of what I had to do. It’s true that I created films based on poems (in particular City Dusk by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye) that took my own interpretation and translated the written works on screen, and they were inspired both in mise-en-scene and cinematography by existing films (The Way He Looks (dir. Daniel Ribeiro) and Victoria (dir. Sebastian Schipper).
The only difference to the proposal is the fact that I didn’t create three to four films, only two. I was originally aiming for the whole four, and I had four poems in mind (the other two being The Trembling of the Veil by Allen Ginsberg, and Heart To Heart by Rita Dove). I completed all the relevant research for both of these poems, the same as I did for the two that I used in my FMP, however, I set myself too much work for the time limit, and was concerned about overworking myself, so I cut the amount of poems down to two. I was concerned that forcing myself to complete, essentially, four short films, would cause the quality of these films to suffer, and I was more concerned about quality over quantity. If I were to go back, and for future projects, I will definitely be more conscious about having less complicated ideas and setting myself an amount of work that I know I can complete. I’d rather have an idea I can work on without worry of overworking myself and creating something lower in quality than I’m satisfied with, and then building on that idea when there is more time to spare, to have a really polished production.
In this project, I have learnt that creating (filming, conceptualising, editing etc.) a larger production is very tiring. At first, I think I wasn’t too fussed, because in class we’d done projects which required us creating our own projects individually (the filmic journey project, for example) and I didn’t realise how much these smaller projects would differ from a much larger project. Having to complete a series of research posts was both interesting and tiring, as well as having to take on several roles that would be taken by different individuals in an actual film production. One place where I felt I was lacking was communicating with my peers and classmates, and asking for help. I’m quite a shy person by nature, and that definitely did me no favours in this project. I think I was more concerned with not impeding on their projects, that I made myself take on all of the work myself that other people would have gladly helped with. For example, at my filming date, I took on all camera duties myself, which led to some precarious situations – such as having to hold both the camera in a figrig, and my iPhone torch that I was using as a makeshift lighting apparatus because there were no lights in the resource centre available to be booked out. Looking back on my project, it was in these moments during my filming date that I wished I had someone else on the course there to help me with filming. In the reality of full scale film and TV productions, there are multiple camera operators and assistants, and although this wasn’t a full scale film production, I wish I had had someone there. I could have asked my friends who were acting in my film to help, which I did at times ask to help move or hold my iPhone torch for lighting assistance, but they are less experienced in camera work because they’re not doing a creative media course like I am, so having someone who was on the course with me to help would have been better. For the next project, I’ll definitely have to remember to be a bit bolder in asking for help when I really need it, and not feeling guilty for asking, and knowing that these people will be happy to help, and in turn helping them in return.
Another issue I battled on this project, was time management. As I mentioned before, as the time progressed in my project, I found it harder and harder to believe in my ability to shoot all four films for all four poems. I also was battling with my own dissatisfaction for the footage I had shot for the fourth poem I was going to use, which was Heart To Heart by Rita Dove. I had already done a reshoot, because the footage I had initially shot I thought was lacking in quality, and I didn’t like the colours or composition of the shots, so I had reshot, taking it in a completely different direction, with a completely different idea. However, after reviewing my footage for the reshoot, I again found that I wasn’t satisfied with what I had shot. I think this was largely because I didn’t have a firm enough idea of what I wanted to do for this poem’s film. For the other three films I had very strong concepts of what I wanted to do, and I could easily picture in my head what I wanted the films to look like. However, I really struggled to come across a strong enough idea for the fourth film for Heart To Heart. I think I had forced myself to decide to do the poem to fill my preconceived quota of four films for four poems. However, I felt very dissatisfied, and that impacted how much motivation I had to polish my other films, so it was causing my other films to suffer. I think that I was reluctant to let go of the idea that I could create four films, because I knew that I had put it in my proposal, and I didn’t want it to seem like I was lacking, only doing two films instead of four. For the next project, I definitely now realise that changing your ideas, for whatever reason, whether that be mental or physical health, time constraints, or lack of resources, perfectly fine. It’s better to have a very short film where the quality is excellent, than a longer film where the quality suffers because of how much work you had to accomplish. In the broader sense of the film industry, ideas are changed all the time, and it’s devastating for a production company to put lots of money into an aspect of the film, and to have that aspect fail and have to change, loosing them lots of money. For example, just recently Ghostbusters actor Dan Aykroyd criticised director Paul Feig for going way over budget, saying that the production company told him to cut back on costs, but he didn’t listen and ended up staging expensive reshoots which cost $40 million – just for reshoots. Although Sony has backed Feig, Aykroyd vented his frustration, and claimed this was likely the reason the film wasn’t likely to get a sequel, as it hadn’t made back double it’s budget (which is the standard in Hollywood for a good prophet), as it was supposed to have. This makes me feel slightly better about changing my ideas, because if big studios in Hollywood can do it and, for the most part, pull through, so can I.
For this film, I researched a total of nine films, four for music inspiration, two for costume inspiration, and three for cinematography inspiration. For music inspiration I used the films Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins), Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince (dir. David Yates), Kill Your Darlings (dir. John Krokidas), and Victoria (dir. Sebastian Schipper). Music in film and television has always been an interest of mine. Music has been one of my favourite subjects in school, and for a while I thought I would take my career in that direction, studying music in university and eventually becoming a composer for film, television, and video games. I originally wanted to compose the music myself, but found that I didn’t have time to compose four separate tracks, and decided to opt for using royalty free music instead. The research into the soundtracks of these four films really helped me with my project, because I could use them to isolate what instruments I wanted to hear in the music for my project, as well as the tone and atmosphere of the music. Eventually, I think I ended up choosing music that really fit the themes of the poems I was using for my final production, and that was helped by the research I had done.
For costume inspiration I used the films Picnic At Hanging Rock (dir. Peter Weir), and Breathe (dir. Melanie Laurent). I studied the costumes of each of these films and how they corresponded with the film’s tone and story. Then using these as inspiration, I chose my own costumes that I felt would fit with the theme of my films.
For cinematography and mise-en-scene inspiration, I used the films Victoria (dir. Sebastian Schipper), The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson), and The Way He Looks (dir. Daniel Ribeiro). In these research posts, I analysed the cinematography of several of my favourite shots of the film. I really enjoy analysing cinematography, so I enjoyed writing these posts quite a lot, as I love to pick apart a shot and try to figure out what a director was trying to portray through aspects such as composition, costume design, facial expressions & body language, colours, and space & lines. After analysing these shots, I then applied the knowledge I had learned from them, and wrote about how I could use these aspects and components in my own film. Overall, it was a very useful experience because I learnt a lot more about things like shot composition, where to place actors, and how to portray a significant idea or emotion through a film shot.
Overall, although there are definitely things that I would revise and change about this project if I had the chance, I’m very happy with how it all turned out. Honestly, there were points during this project where I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish all that was required, let alone to a high enough standard, so I’m very happy that I completed everything and I’m on the most part very proud and satisfied with my end production.