Pre-Production

I created the storyboards and notes for these poem at relatively the same time, because I know that pre-production is vital to having a well conceived film and idea, and an efficient and easy-as-can-be shoot.

With all of my poems I started off by hand writing the poem into a notebook. I found that handwriting the poem and physically writing down the poem and my ideas helped me picture them more clearly in my head as opposed to just typing it all up into a word document. After I had written the poem I read it a few times to gage the meaning and my understanding and what I took from the poem. For some poems, for example Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye, I could conceive a proper story with an easy to follow narrative. However, for other, for example The Trembling of the Veil by Allen Ginsberg, I couldn’t so much picture a linear narrative as much as a series of shots that would be up to the viewers interpretation as to what they mean, but they’re all symbolic to what I took away from the poem.

After having an idea, I began to string certain shot ideas to certain lines of the poem, writing them on the next page. With a bright highlighter (so it was easy to see) I connected the shot with the corresponding poem line. Some shots were easier to come up with than others, but eventually I would have a conceptualised idea in my head and on paper of the shots I wanted to film for each poem. There were a lot of shots so I knew I had my work cut out for me, but I knew that I could manage it. I also knew that it was likely that a lot of these shots would end up on the cutting room floor during the editing stages, so I allowed myself the flexibility of not getting too attached to one particular shot that I wouldn’t be able to let go of even if needed be.

After writing these shot ideas into a notebook, I transferred them onto a storyboard. Realistically, I knew that I could manage without a storyboard because of the clear image in my head of each shot I wanted in my film. However, because the notes were made only for my eyes, and they were very messy, I knew I needed to have a story board as well, to make sure that I have a clear representation of what I want in my film. It’s good industry practice, because if I work in a company, I won’t be the only one working on the film, like I am for this project, so all the shots and ideas will need to be clear so that everyone can understand what’s going on and what shots are needed.

Poem #1 – The Trembling of the Veil by Allen Ginsberg

For this poem I wrote notes and created a storyboard. Although I didn’t end up using this poem in my final production for time constraint reasons, I’m still glad I put some practice into the art of storyboarding because, although I personally find it quite tedious, I think it’s a good skill to have, as it’s vital to the film-making process.

trembling notes

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Poem #2 – City Dusk by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Again, for this poem I wrote down notes in a notebook regarding my shot ideas, and then created a storyboard. I did end up using these ideas and this poem in my final production, and I found the storyboard vital to my filming and editing process. If I had just had the notes and no storyboard (and also a shot list), I would have found shooting this poem very difficult, as my notes were quite scribbled and messy. And if I couldn’t understand them easily, it would have been practically impossible for someone else who obviously isn’t in my own head swimming around with my own ideas to take on the shooting task. Having the storyboard also helped me in editing, because the shots were not filmed chronologically – as is normal in a filming setting, for efficiency and for convenience – really helped me figure out which shots had to go wear, and when I had to cut them etc. Again, if I hadn’t had the storyboard I would have struggled a lot more, and the editing process would have been a lot longer, maybe doubly so.

city dusk notes 1.jpg

city dusk notes 2.jpg

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Poem #3 – Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye

This was the only poem I shot that I had not written a storyboard for. This was partly down to me having a clear image in my head of what I wanted to shoot. Since this poem has a stronger narrative that’s I’ve created film wise, it was easier for me to be able to string shots together in filming without the aid of a storyboard. However, a lot of the lack of storyboard was down to time management issues. I was originally planning on creating a storyboard after filming, because although I didn’t need one to help me film I thought it would be a good idea to have one to show for pre-production. However, I found that I just didn’t have enough time, so I sacrificed creating a storyboard for this poem to make time for more (in my opinion) pressuring and prioritised aspects of the projects that I still needed to finish – such as important blog posts, film logs, and editing. However, I did write up clear notes for this poem in the same way as the previous two.

dnsamgaw notes.jpg

Poem #4 – Heart To Heart by Rita Dove

This poem suffered the same problem as the Frye poem, not enough time. If I were to go back and re do this project, and to keep in mind for the next project, I would make sure I had completed all, if not most of, the storyboarding before the filming dates, to avoid running out of time. However, this poem was quite a simple concept, although it was more complicated as first conceived, but when I changed the idea it was simple enough for me to feel like it didn’t warrant an urgent storyboard and that aspect could be put to the back whilst other important elements of my project were completed. Again, however, I did write down notes for my first idea, but not for my second one as I didn’t have enough time, and the idea was very simple anyway.

heart to heart notes 1heart to heart notes 2

 

Blog The Week 5

29/05/2017 – 02/06/2017

Monday

This week was half term, and me and my family were departing for a holiday in Barcelona, so I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to get much work done. However, before the holiday I had decided that I was going to film some scenic shots of the city and whatever I found aesthetically pleasing to possibly include in my film. I did this because I was quite anxious that, after combing through and scrutinising my footage for each poem and perhaps deciding to not use some footage, I wouldn’t have enough footage. Ultimately, my aim was to have a piece of footage for each line of the poems, and each piece would correspond with whatever line was being voiced over, in some symbolic fashion. However, upon looking through my footage I found that I wouldn’t have enough footage for each line. I had a choice: either I kept footage I wasn’t happy with in the film so that there would be enough, or I shot new footage. By this point, I knew reshoots were out of the question, because they would take too much time (if I had had a free half term, I’m sure that reshoots would have occured), so I decided that I would take advantage of being in such a beautiful city as Barcelona for the first time, and film some things I found aesthetically pleasing to put in my film. I didn’t know exactly whether this footage was going to be used, but it was reassuring to know that I had extra footage to use if I ever needed it. It turned out that I did end up using almost all of my Barcelona footage so I’m glad I did this.

Tuesday

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Wednesday 

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Thursday

Again, today consisted of me occasionally taking out my camera and filming parts of the city that caught my attention that I think would fit into my film. I made sure to only film parts of the city that would fit into either the general narrative or tone of the poem, so that the footage I filmed in Barcelona wouldn’t be very detached and too strong a contrast with the footage shot in England.

Friday

N/A

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep is a poem written in 1932 by poet Mary Elizabeth Frye. It’s a very famous poem (and Frye’s only surviving work), that most people will know or recognise if mentioned or recited to them. It was scribbled on a plastic bag in a moment of spontaneous inspiration, to comfort a friend of Frye’s who has recently had their mother pass away. Originally, no one knew where the poem originated from, or who wrote it. It was only in 1998 when journalist Abigail Van Buren confirmed it was in fact, after research and investigation, Frye who had penned the poem. The poem is written from the perspective of someone who has passed, talking to a lover, friend, or family member, about how they shouldn’t miss them because they are in fact not dead, and their soul has transferred to watch over them. “I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow.”

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

This poem is very simple, and not particularly filled with extravagant language. It’s a very simple poem for a complicated, yet calming and peaceful, concept – the existence of a human soul after their body has perished. The language used in the poem is very simple and peaceful; soft language used in a poem meant to serve as a reassurance, a shoulder to lay your head on. This is the only poem I’m using which consistently rhymes the whole way throughout. The other three poems either are not rhyming poems, or rhyme inconsistently – some sections rhyming in couplets or otherwise, but overall not having a rhyming rhythm. This poem rhymes predominately in couplets, as in, every two lines rhyming. This serves as a comforting pace to the poem, one with soothes the reader and eases them through a poem that, without rhyme or erratic rhyming patterns, would feel much more bittersweet.

I decided to choose this poem because I really liked the way it flowed, and the imagery it conjures up in the reader’s mind. It’s also a very comforting read, one that makes you feel warm and happy, despite the subject being a loved one lost. This poem was perhaps the easiest to translate into film out of the four, because it has a very clear story behind it which can be transferred from page to the screen and still have the same effect.

Sources

En.wikipedia.org. [2017]. Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep. [online]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_Not_Stand_at_My_Grave_and_Weep [Accessed 4 June 2017].

Heart To Heart

Heart to Heart is a poem written by American contemporary poet Rita Dove. The poem’s premise is simple and harkens back to the title; it’s all about the poet’s heart. Dove paints an intricate picture of her own heart for the reader. “It doesn’t have a tip to spin on,”. She uses metaphors and symbolism to describe her heart and how it works, and how the sensations resonating from the clump of muscle in her chest affect her. “it isn’t even shapely— just a thick clutch of muscle, lopsided, mute”.

It’s neither red
nor sweet.
It doesn’t melt
or turn over,
break or harden,
so it can’t feel
pain,
yearning,
regret.
It doesn’t have
a tip to spin on,
it isn’t even
shapely—
just a thick clutch
of muscle,
lopsided,
mute. Still,
I feel it inside
its cage sounding
a dull tattoo:
I want, I want
but I can’t open it:
there’s no key.
I can’t wear it
on my sleeve,
or tell you from
the bottom of it
how I feel. Here,
it’s all yours, now—
but you’ll have
to take me,
too.

The way this poem is set out differs from the other poems I have used in this project. It is the shortest of the bunch, although appears to be longer because of the choppy way the lines are set out. The poem consists of two short stanzas, and possesses a very staccato feeling, each line stopping mid sentence and proceeding and finishing in the line below. The language Dove uses can, at first glance, seem quite simple and possibly even a little flat. However, she relies not on entangled words and detailed description with vastly varied language, she instead relies on the use of symbolism, comparing her own heart to various inanimate objects which at first seem to have nothing to do with the human heart, but as the poem continues, every comparison makes more and more sense, like piece fitting together in a jigsaw puzzle.

I decided to use this poem because the other three poems I was using were all classical literature, and I thought that I needed to take a break from that and inject something more modern into the mix. I originally was stuck for ideas on what this poem was to be, but after some research on various poetry websites and databases, I stumbled across this poem, which I instantly fell in love with. I liked how the poem was short and sweet, but also portrayed a clear message and gave me an insight to the poet’s own feelings on love, romance, and desire. I also really liked how this poem managed to take inanimate objects (which shouldn’t be romantic) and turned them into metaphors and symbols for the complicated emotions of love and fondness in the human heart. The poem starts off very matter-of-fact, with the poet stating the similarities in her heart to actions inanimate objects perform, and ends on a very heartfelt, yet quite sad line. “Here, it’s all yours, now— but you’ll have to take me, too.” It’s a line that reads as quite melancholy, as if the poet has come across problems and love-loss in regards to these circumstances before.

Blog the Week 3

15/05/2017 – 20/05/2017

Monday

Although I wasn’t in college today, I still continued with my work at home. Today I was still planning what I would be doing for my Heart to Heart poem sequence. I also took at look at the Roger Deakins website, the website dedicated to the famous Torquay cinematographer.

Tuesday

Today I completed my music research post for the poem The Trembling of the Veil by Allen Ginsberg. I also decided today that I wasn’t going to compose my own music for my films. I think I underestimated how much work that would be. For the previous project in which we had to create a short film entirely directed by eight year old kids, I took on the task of composing the music for the film. This turned out to be a much harder task than anticipated, and I ended up composing one track instead of four that I was originally planning. Professional film score composers have a much longer time to compose full albums for films, and of course they don’t have to do everything else in terms of production either – storyboarding, scripting, cinematography, directing etc. Therefore I decided that it was just too much to expect myself to be able to compose the music for the film. I’ve already set myself a tonne of work so that I can be as thorough in my research as possible, so to add composing four music tracks would just be far too much. I’d rather focus more on getting a really in depth, polished project than to waste all my time on music and have other parts of my project fall short. Instead of composing my own music, I’m going to be using music from the website FreeMusicArchive, which is a website where independent music artists put up their tracks for free download. While not all of these tracks can be used in video, there are good portion that only require no commercial use, and a handful of tracks that just require credit to the original composer.

I also started to research inspirations for the music of my third poem, Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye. I decided to use the music of Moonlight and [insert other inspiration here] as my inspiration for this film.

After completing this I began to research which music from FreeMusicArchive I wanted to use. I wanted to use music from this site because I can get quality music in a wide range of styles, all for free, and all I need to do is make sure I’m not making any money from the video I’m using the music in, and I credit the artist. It’s a huge database of music that’s easily accessible.

Wednesday

Today I continued to plan what I would do for the film of my fourth and final poem, Heart to Heart by Rita Dove. Originally, I had planned to do overhead shots with different objects being interacted with that tied in with similies and metaphors Dove uses to describe her heart in the poem. However, I ultimately decided that I was satisfied with the idea or quality of the filming I had down, I just decided to scrap the whole idea. I kept the footage however, because it’s handy to keep it around, I never know when I might need it.

My second idea came to me while I was doing my makeup in the morning. I suddenly started to think about the famous scene in American Psycho (dir. Mary Harron) where the main character Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) does his skincare routine, going into great detail about what his routine is and what products he uses. I think that scene is very interesting, and also subverts some stereotypes as to how men are portrayed as not being supposed to care about wearing makeup or moisturising and taking care of their skin. I decided that I would emulate this scene, because I knew that I could tie it into the theme of Heart to Heart. The skin is a metaphor for the heart, and the careful routine that taking care of your skin is a metaphor for how the poet takes care of her heart.

Thursday

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Friday 

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Blog The Week 4

22/05/2017 – 26/05/2017

Monday

Today I wasn’t able to come into college, but I spent the day planning and continuing some blog posts to be research for my project. I’m finding, as this project goes on, that I am creating many different blog posts at once, and having a bunch of drafts, because for some posts I need other posts to be created in a certain order, so I can add links and connections that make sense etc. This isn’t a bad thing, but I think definitely for my future projects I am going to have to create more solid schedules of in what order I want to post my blog posts, so as not to get confused.

Tuesday

Today we had an OFSTED inspector coming to conduct an inspection of the college, therefore the structure of our day and the activities we were doing changed. We had a much more lecture based day today, with specific tasks that we needed to complete for the end of the day; much different to many of the previous days, where we have been getting on with our own work, the lecturers trusting us to be mindful of our own work and time management. This break from the stress of the final project was a nice touch, although I was anxious because I needed to get a lot done, however I did manage to find times in the day where I had finished the assigned work for the day so I could continue with my project.

Today we did work from Unit 9, a mini unit that ties in with our final project and bridges the gap to next year. The work today mainly revolved around logos, and the beginning steps to building a brand of our own. Our first task was to, in groups, create a logo for a fictional company. In a group with four other classmates, we were given the fictional fashion brand Richter & Mäler. From there we had to think about the values of our fictional brand, and how to incorporate these values into the logo we were designing. The post on the importance of logo design and what we did for this task can be found here.

Our next task was to create our own logo for our own production company. I decided to call my production company Mon Ange (French for my angel) and created a logo that I think would work if this was actually a production company I owned. The post with the logo creating process and my final production company logo can be found here.

After completing these two activities, I decided to quickly write a to do list of everything I needed to complete before the end of the project. The list, much to my horror, was quite long. I split the list into four sections: priority (things that needed to be done as soon as possible, for example, filming and editing); research (blog posts that I needed to complete); pre-production (shot lists and storyboards); and filming (filming diaries and recounts). Overall this left me with 29 things to do, which sounds a lot but I’m confident I can get this all done. The blog posts I can complete at home, so that isn’t an issue, it’s the filming and editing I really need to watch out for.

After doing all of this, I needed to film my fourth poem Heart to Heart. I had originally planned to film on Wednesday, because I knew that today we would be doing lots of other things unrelated to our individual final projects. However, Billy informed me that the lighting studio wasn’t able to worked in on a Wednesday, and so I decided that I’d get my filming done in the afternoon. I enlisted the help of my friend Drew and we went to film the poem in the lighting studio in the afternoon. The filming diary for this filming date can be found here.

Wednesday

Today we had another day that strayed from what are used to the days’ activities being during this project. Today we learnt about politics, since the general election is coming up at the beginning of June, in a couple of weeks. I’m not yet old enough to vote unfortunately, but there are a large number of students in class who are 18 and over are eligible to vote. I’m glad the college takes time to teach us about the different policies of the five major parties (those being Conservative, Labour, UKIP, Liberal Democrats, and Green) because there isn’t enough information being taught to young students who will be the next generation able to exercise their democratic right to vote.

Personally, I am a supporter of the Labour party, because although I don’t agree with everything Jeremy Corbyn stands for and question whether he can deliver on a lot of the promises he’s made, I really don’t want another five years of Conservative government. However, the tutors were able to provide us with unbiased information regarding all the five major parties.

First we had a look at all the promises (more better referred to as ‘pledges’) the parties had made. These weren’t their manifestos, we would be looking at those later, but instead policies they had that would later be expanded upon in their manifestos. The ones that stood out to me most of all were pledges by both the Labour and Green parties to reduce the voting age to 16 (although this won’t affect me personally if they get the government, I’m passionate about how 16 and 17 year olds should have the right to vote, because I know I wish I had), and the scrapping of university tuition fees. As someone who wants to go to university, and who’s time to enroll is approaching rapidly, the great cost of attending a university is very concerning. These policies really stood out to me, and made me question whether I wanted to vote Labour or Green, although I think Labour is the best option to get the Tories out, which is what I would ultimately like.

Thursday

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Friday

Today I knew I needed to complete some blog posts for the research portion of this project. There are a lot of posts I have to do, and I knew that I would need to get most, if not all, of them done during this half term because then the last few days of the project could be dedicated solely to editing. I started first on writing about my music influences for the fourth poem I am going to use, Heart To Heart by Rita Dove, and the post can be found here. Then I completed the post about my music influences for my third poem, Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye, and the post can be found here. Then I set about creating posts for analysing the poems I have chosen. I analysed The Trembling of the Veil by Allen Ginsberg, and City Dusk by F.Scott Fitzgerald. They can be found here and here.