Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The 2nd Draft

Yesterday, I wrote about the first draft of a script that I'm working on for a short film for the BFI Film Academy. Today, I'm writing about the second draft that I wrote. With the second draft I attempted to cut out all of the confusing bits, or at least cut them down a little. I added in a structure that was a bit more interesting for the viewer, and I tried to give Dawn, the main character, a bit more of a personality.

You can read it here:

However, after a discussion with one of the professional writers that came in to the Academy, I decided it still wasn't up to scratch. And so, work on the third draft has begun. But I'll talk about that another time.

How I plan on improving my script

Sunday, 24 November 2013

BFI Film Academy - November 23rd 2013

Today we met next door, in the Sheffield Live building. We met here because they had a room full of computers and it was The Day of Learning to Edit. Vanessa, who we knew from the previous days, spoke to us about editing, and taught us some of the principles of editing. These included editing in motion, and minor visual effects i.e. grading. We then started to try out editing with a partner, on some footage of Vanessa running for a bus. We decided to change the story through editing, and made it that Vanessa was running away from the bus, and the bus was running away from her. It was pretty deep.

After this, Rebecca sat down and went through all of the scripts with us, and gave us some feedback. This was my 2nd draft, which I was relatively happy with. I'm glad Rebecca went through them with us, because looking back, if this had been the finished version it would have been pretty poor. After she'd spoke to us about the scripts with us for a bit, we went to lunch. I sacrificed my lunch (And my weekly cake!), in order to improve my script as much as possible. I added a lot of annotations to the script so that I could go through it at home and make it better.

Towards the end of the day, the director Will and I went to look at the location that I'd got for us. It wasn't quite how I'd written it, so we had to quickly come up with a story that fit the location. It was, however, a pretty top notch location.

I learnt a lot about editing, but I don't think it was for me. It didn't hold my interest very much. I found the best part of the day was talking about the script and trying to make it better.

BFI Film Academy Sheffield

SO. It's been well over a year, I've changed the career that I'd like to pursue, and I've decided that I prefer The Dark Knight to The Dark Knight Rises.

So what else is new? I recently started at the BFI Film Academy in Sheffield, and I'm currently working towards my Silver Award, which involves creating a blog. This is that blog.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

BFI Film Academy - November 16th 2013

Day 2, and this day was about shooting.

Firstly, we had a workshop with cinematographer Daren Eagles, who spoke to us about lighting, focussing, zooming, and a load of other cinematography-related things. He gave us a few tips too, such as using a big white board to reflect light. That turned out to be very handy! There were some incredibly interesting techniques that I'd never even considered before, such as moving the camera away from the subject and zooming in simultaneously. That created a really cool effect!

Each group then got given a camera, and were allowed to experiment. Our group ended up making a few things, including one particularly terrible video about an earthquake, which just involved me shaking the camera and the others looking slightly surprised. I was slowly getting to grips with the camera though!

Next, was a sound engineer who gave us a talk on recording sound. I hadn't really realised how important sound was in film before this (I can't stop noticing it now!), but he showed us a lot of examples. He also spoke to us about using a boom mic, foley sound, and getting a "room sound" as he called it for editing. 

They were both very interesting talks, and they gave us a lot of knowledge. I had finished a first draft by this of the script by this point, but I wasn't overly happy with it. The group gave me a hefty amount of feedback, which was really helpful, and I set to work on improving it that night. I continued to discuss the script with them through Facebook, as we'd created a group. It all helped me out a lot.

BFI Film Academy - November 9th 2013

This was our first proper day, and it was early. I bravely soldiered on through the train station however, and got there. Which was a good thing, because this was a particularly interesting day!

Firstly, there was a Sheffield Hallam Film Studies lecturer who gave us a talk about the history of cinema. I was a bit gutted that he didn't mention George Melies, but there we go. It was really interesting, and really emphasised how quickly and how far cinema has developed, and not just visually; in the earliest films we were shown, they hadn't even considered adding a plot!

We took a break, ate some cake, tried to shake ourselves awake (Did I mention how early it was?), and then went back to meet Rebecca Mark-Lawson, who was the former coordinator of the Virgin Media Shorts competition, as well as a producer and script editor. She showed us a film that had previously won the Virgin Media Shorts competition called 2:20 by Jason Wingard that we'd been given a script before. It was very interesting how different the final product was from the script.

Towards the end of the day Meabh took out the sheets that we'd previously filled in, and put us into groups based on our chosen areas. I was put into a group with Will (Director), Bright (Producer), Angela (Editor), and I was the writer and cinematographer. I somehow ended up with 2 roles! But they were two roles that I was very interested in. I was very happy with the group, and in one brainstorming session we ended up with a fairly decent idea! I just had to work it into a coherent story. I love writing, and I was really excited about writing a script. I was less sure about being the cinematographer on the project, however!

Monday, 18 November 2013

BFI Film Academy - November 6th 2013

It was the first day of the BFI Film Academy, and it was a Wednesday. I went on the train straight from Sixth Form to The Showroom in Sheffield, where I met the other 'students' and the Academy co-ordinators.

We went through what we would do with the Academy and making our short films, and a man from the NFTS (National Film & Television School), who spoke to us about a 2 week residential with them. It soon transpired that I'd missed the deadline for screenwriting, which was a bit of a downer, but it happens every year so I shall apply in 2015! We also spoke to the programmer for the Showroom, who chooses which films go on. She told us about her role, and what she has to do for it. She mentioned that she watches around 1000 films a year.

We also had to talk about ourselves, and discuss what we liked and disliked with the others. Then we had to write down what role we wanted to have when making the short film. I put down WRITING in big capital letters. And then added every other role in smaller letters, just in case.

At the end we were given free cinema tickets (Score!), which I plan on using for Gravity ASAP. Next meeting was the Saturday after.