The feedback for the film has been hugely positive, and most importantly the NSCP have approved the content of the piece. Over the coming week we’ll all arrange to meet up and work on the next version of the edit. I know as we are approaching the final edit I would much prefer some additional sets of eyes to ensure the final product is to the highest standard it can be.
Following feedback from the previous session I have re-edited the film in Adobe Premier. Hannah (Animator) sent me the new version of the animation to substitute in, and Liz (Film) was happy with the suggested changes we discussed for me to go ahead and work on the new draft.
The main focus on this edit was reworking the narrative to clearly portray the meaning of the piece throughout. I achieved this by introducing additional titles as a form of narration throughout, also intercutting the film and animation elements. The narrative follows Ben as he progressively shares more and more information online, as a result (in the animation) it proves that you don’t actually know who you are talking to online. Portraying an overall message of ‘be careful what you do online as you don’t know who can actually see it’, almost justifying how the stranger met him on the football field towards the end.
Having secured a new narrative order I worked on heightening it through basic visual and sound effects. Starting with an overall increase in sound levels I then dubbed over sounds that can be associated with good and bad things (sourcing game show style sound effects). I also found a great library of cartoon effects that are free to use from ‘Crude Animation’. Starting with basic thumbs up and thumbs down I also discovered a version of the ‘like’ button, building perfectly into selected skits.
I have now replied via email to Nick and all participants confirming the next version of the edit. I have uploaded it to YouTube for ease of sharing, meeting the deadline for delivery by Thursday. Once I’ve received feedback on this I can hopefully work towards the final version of the edit and make fine adjustments, at this stage it wasn’t worth delving too far into fine tuning until the various organisations had approved it.
Yesterday I was able to string together the first version of the BBC Sharpshotz short, today taking it to BBC Bristol with Liz for feedback. It was generally a good response all around, the content was strong and enjoyable, it is mostly the case of structure and some amendments to the animation. The following is the first version of the short.
I strung this together very roughly as the main purpose was to see if it is going along the right lines. I experimented with subtitles and know the audio levels need to be adjusted, both commented in various feedbacks. Unfortunately the students couldn’t make it today so we couldn’t get their opinions, we are hoping to visit their school over the coming weeks when we start to reach a final form of the film.
The animation was generally perceived as too heavy, liking baby pictures made it very awkward and too hard hitting. The idea is to make it more subtle not to come across strong straight away, perhaps talking about football in order to get the protagonist into the park? The conversation needs to be cut back further as the viewer struggles to keep up with the fast flowing text, I have already mentioned these points to Hannah (Animator) and she is happy to make the relevant changes.
Clarity in the films structure is also required, the idea of slicing together the documentary and animation elements would work to achieve this, potentially warping the sound in the animation elements to build tension for the antagonists reveal. I suggested starting with “Do you want to be my friend?” then cutting to the title and animation, straight away establishing the theme of the film.
This was further built upon with our feedback from the BBC News editor putting emphasise on the ‘hook’. Cutting in title graphics provoking questions could help to actively engage the audience so they start thinking about the content of the piece rather than waiting until the end of the entire film. For example; Tom is keen to meet new friends, he has an usual way of doing it, and he shares a lot of information with people.” Other than that the editor really enjoyed the content, shots and style of the piece, also noting the fast paced nature of the humour.
Generally very good feedback, now its the case of changing the edit and making amendments for the animation. Once the structure is strong I can fine tune the audio levels and add sound effects that can connote to Facebook. Come next week our team will assemble the next pass of the edit to send off to the sponsoring organisations for their approval for the signed off version of the edit.
Positive feedback regarding the production day yesterday, also outlining the future dates for the project. Liz will continue to be our teams main point of contact. Now I have the footage I will look into transcoding and shaping an edit ready for the post production day on April 14th. I am aiming to edit with Adobe Premier.
The initial plan for today was to train the students how to use the film equipment and plan a day for filming. However for our school (John Cabot) this was not the case as it would have been difficult to arrange times for future filming periods. Instead we were thrown straight into the deep end as we had to quickly pull everything together and shoot the same day. Thankfully the nature of the idea was something fun, quick and easy to film so we were able to embrace the time limit.
As the team had left their notes behind we all racked through concept ideas to create a range of sketches that we could cut into the film. There are a few more than we actually need but I felt it was best to overshoot so we have plenty of opportunities in the edit. We came up with the following and I helped narrow down the approach to filming each sketch:
- Sign with personal info
Prop – Sign, Walking down corridor saying “My name is…”
- Showing people photos
Random people, Follow with camera
- Tagging locations
Staged, cover door with note marking name and walk out
- Shouting out posts
Walk into canteen and shout, film wide to catch reactions
- Commenting on food
Random people, Follow with camera
- “I Like That”
Random people, Walk up and point to item then walk off
- Share a video
Barge into edit room, Staged, Bring up video on screen
In addition the approach to meeting the character grooming in the animation we chose to not show them in the film incase it raises bad publicity for whoever stars as them. Instead we now feature the protagonist waving and walking straight into the lens blacking out the frame, that way Hannah (Animator) can continue fading from black.
Prior to heading out filming Liz and I were able to go through the techniques of filming and booming shots. With a variety of film kit at our disposal Liz ended up going through narrative techniques whilst I went over physical operation. The crew were happy with their roles and were eager to go out to film following lunch.
The students were eager to get filming, we approached each shot and had a short discussion as to the best methods to film it before letting them go ahead for the take. I felt this was an effective teaching method as it gave opportunities for active discussions/learning. The first few takes faced some issues with sound as the microphone input was incorrect, but once resolve filming continued as planned.
The students were really happy with the footage and I think it was a great learning experience for them. It was nice to go out and film something just for fun without having to worry about so many cinematic techniques. I feel confident in how we all taught them and how involved everyone was with the process. I now have copies of the rushes and will start to assemble an edit over the next few weeks.
Nick Bentley has recently sent out an email to remind everyone of the production day taking place Thursday 12th March 10:00 – 14:00. Our groups original plan was to go and film on the following day, Nick has mentioned after speaking to the schools headteacher this is now an option. He has also sent me through the following message:
Hi to you both
In case you did not meet on the finals day. Hannah is the team’s teacher, and head of Media at John Cabot, and Josh is the Production Manager for their film.
I was hoping Josh that you could provide Hannah with an overview of the Team’s idea, particulalrly the doc element and the plan for the filming, as this has ramifications as it is difficult for them to get out of school.
Just as a side, I will have my car on the 12th so could ferry people if it is required from UWE to College Green
All the best
I have since sent the following response concerning production:
Hi Hannah,The plan for filming the documentary element of the film is to go and act out various skits about Facebook at College Green and the surrounding area. The concept is how things we do on Facebook are deemed acceptable online but in the real world it is not suitable. For example running around shouting your feelings (like posting a status) or sticking labels onto buildings (like tagging your location). It is a fun idea to act out and very much feeds off the response from the general public.The students were excited to act out the variety of concepts we had listed, providing opportunities to be both in front and behind the camera. I can hire out some more specialist camera equipment to give them a more of a sense of the professional equipment used in the industry, some of the operations they can carry out alone (i.e. holding boom poles), some working with us (i.e. handheld camera), and a few elements we would control ourselves under their direction (i.e. Steadicam grips).Filming should take around 3 hours maximum. As long as we have all of the props gathered and ready to go it should be a quick process of filming each 10 second skit back to back in the surrounding area.I will have to relay the information to the rest of the UWE production team to ensure a date we can all put down in our calendars, for us its having to juggling around our busy shooting schedules for various final year projects as part of our degree, hence the request to film on a weekday.I hope the proposed filming works for you and the production team. I will get back to you over the next few days with a list of proposed filming dates. Any queries please let me know, we will try and work our schedules for a weekend as best as possible.Best Wishes,Joshua
I have relayed the information onto the rest of the production team and hopefully we can choose a date. The actual shoot shouldn’t be too difficult, it is just the case of ensuring all of the props and equipment is gathered and ready to go. Once I know the dates I will continue making arrangements with Hannah.
Following pre-production yesterday those who are still helping out with the Sharpshotz scheme have been allocated teams to collaborate with. Thankfully I am still able to work with my original team with John Cabot, it is great to have the chance to see the entire production through alongside the students. Liz and Hannah are now working as part of the team, both have been fantastic to collaborate with to date and I’m certain we will make something great.
Looking ahead we have established Facebook as a good method of contact as it allows multimedia messages to keep track of the production processes. Liz is the main point of contact between the organisers and our team so I will rely any information through her regarding the film. So far it has been a nice break from all of my productions and a worthwhile cause, approaching the production period I can only see things going from strength to strength.
The final three teams continued their pre-production phase today at the BBC. I was stationed with the same team building upon their social media idea. Paired up with an animator and another filmmaker first we finalised the animation concept. The animator is still toying between 2D and CGI, but is happy to create the suggested idea. We have decided on the exact characters the shapeshifter will turn into, opting for a range of gender and ages to suggest everyone could be a potential danger. We opted away from stereotypes to further support this ideology.
The documentary idea was already strong from last time. We fine tuned precise filming schedules and locations, along with introducing the resolution of the film. At the end the protagonist will then change their privacy settings, shown through the animated screen and acts out in the real world with private discussions about photos.
We are aiming to film at College Green on Friday 13th March. The proposed kit is list is:
- Sony FS700
- Steadicam (operated by myself)
- ProMic Kit – Boom for interviews, lapel for staged elements
- Boom Pole
- Shoulder Mount
All of this equipment has been booked under my name. The pupils will receive training around March 12th. This will be the next date we will all meet, the teachers have all of our contact details so we can make casual arrangements ready for the BBC editing day on April 14th. I anticipate needing a few props – sign with personal details, post-it notes, photos, identical clothing, extras – but all can be discussed on our next meeting.
I am really looking forward to getting into production with this film. It is a really fun project and should be even more fun to film judging by our concept. I hope I can continue to pass on my filmmaking skills to these pupils, especially as I start delving into my specialist fields.
BBC Bristol have been putting on the ‘sharpshotz’ programme that in works with various schools across the community to create short pieces of work addressing social issues. This year I was invited to participate as the programme partners with the University of the West of England. Along with a group of filmmaking and animation students our aim is to help the selected projects to build upon their ideas in order to produce a 3 minute film – 2 minutes documentary, 30 seconds animation, 30 seconds titles.
Six teams from Fairfield School & John Cabots Academy came to the university campus for a couple of hours working on their ideas before pitching in front of industry professionals. Those six would then be narrowed down to three to go into production.
I was working with a group of 4 male students (13-15) from John Cabots Academy whose idea that got them to this stage was a 30 second animation between two people talking online as one continues to shape shift. The idea behind this was you never know who you are talking to on the internet, highlighting their theme of the risks and dangers of the internet.
Working with the group my main advice was Show it, don’t say it. I was encouraging to avoid the stereotypical idea of documentary being constructed around interviews. Documentary can be based on solid facts and become something experimental and fictional in a sense. Our idea developed into asking questions about social media, in particular Facebook, the zeitgeist of today.
Rather than simply ask questions I got all of the students to write down questions revolving around how you act on social media. From this we then started constructing the idea about how certain things are acceptable online but not in real life. This soon became the strongest idea cutting in and out of the animation, demonstrating Facebook behaviour in real life and getting the audience to question whether it is acceptable.
How Many Friends Do You Have On Facebook?
How Many Do You Actually Know?
Suggested ideas to act out in documentary:
- Showing people photographs
- Shouting out feelings/status
- Tagging places where you’ve been with post-it note
- Walking up to people who say they’re fake and walk away (spam)
- Billboard with all your personal info on
- Loads of people following one, all dressed identical
- Following and comment on someone else’s food
The above diagram outlines the narrative structure. The story follows Jake as he acts out various Facebook items in real life, leading to him making a new friend. The next part is animated where he is talking with this shape shifter online as they get more aggressive as they groom. He closes his laptop to end the conversation and get himself away from the danger. Both the live action and animated elements will run alongside one another interchanging through the film.
My group did extremely well pitching, I had them rehearse time after time to ensure they got it correct, also asking them any questions that could come up. The outline for the pitch:
- Poke judges – explain how its not acceptable in real life but it is acceptable online.
- Ask how many facebook friends they actually know.
- Explain film: highlights the dangers of social media, make people think before they post online.
- Explain influence and animated element.
- Explain documentary.
- Clear narrative outline.
- End with spoken out Facebook update.
The panel really liked the pitch and loved the fact the group broke the fourth wall by interacting with them, instantly engaging and drawing their attention. They loved the idea of acting out Facebook in real life and how it will be thought provoking. They did query whether the animated and filmed elements were slightly disjointed as they tackled similar but separate issues at the same time.
The Next Step
The team made it through to the finals and will be heading into production! I am extremely proud of my team and feel great pride in helping them to achieve this feat. I will see them at the BBC for the next step of developing ideas. Having spoken to Alistair Oldham (UWE) following the event he is happy to have me act as the lead on the group I assisted, I am really eager to get this idea created.
It has been great to pass on my knowledge to younger students and help them in their filmmaking pursuits. I am eager to help them in the following stages of the production. I have definitely appreciated the opportunity to help out someone else’s project rather than worrying about the seven I am currently working on in my final semesters.
The BBC is one of the most prestigious names in British broadcasting, they are highly regarded around the world for high quality programming. I always see the BBC as one of few places you can get a long term job (debating the term ‘job for life’) with thanks to their team ensuring employees are ready to jump on board with another project once their contract runs out on the current production. I have had the opportunity to work with BBC Bristol in the past and loved the entire experiment, thankfully I have also gained a few contacts in the company so they could potentially prove extremely useful.
The problem I have found with BBC Bristol is the difficulty in dealing with them directly to find out information on jobs and experience opportunities. The majority of the information can be found online through the BBC website (http://careerssearch.bbc.co.uk/) which houses a search engine for jobs across the country with the company.
Having researched into potential roles at the BBC I have discovered a profile service that the recruitment team uses called ‘BBC Careers Hub’. The careers profile is similar to an online CV or LinkedIn profile, it includes details of my skills, experiences, work history and contact details. I will be composing a profile on the hub to keep me in the loop with opportunities, also if I wish to contact the BBC about potential jobs it will demonstrate the enthusiastic and active approach I already have for gaining employment or experience with them.
Some notable programmes produced from BBC Bristol include Antiques Roadshow, Countryfile, The Food Programme, Flog It!, along with Points West and the famous National History Unit (e.g. Springwatch).
I currently have a friend who works as a runner with the BBC on ‘DIY SOS’ and he has told me what it is like to work on contracted work. There are few members of the crew who remain the same, they are often hiring for shoots from freelancers within the company. Once again it comes back to getting known and securing your first contract, once you have that I am firmly under the impression the BBC help you to find newer contracts within the company to keep work rolling in.
A lot of the roles currently advertised for Bristol and the surrounding areas are research and producer based activities. As this is the BBC it is something I would still be interested in as it could act as my way into further production roles or I may even discover a love for it. I know BBC Bristol would be a great job, from previous work (e.g. Digital Bristol Week 2013) I know it’s a great environment that I would want to be part of.
BBC Careers Hub
The BBC Careers Hub gives you an option to create a profile from scratch or use your social media account to speed up the process. As I have an existed professional account in the formed of LinkedIn (whereas Facebook is more personal) this seems like the obvious option when registering for the career service from BBC. This uses the information from your profile to start filling out the required information for your BBC profile.
The information stored on the Career Hub is almost identical to LinkedIn, so most of this was easily transferable. There are still areas that need tweaking, but for now I have added an online presence for the BBC.
Part of me feels like the weight of the name ‘BBC’ is a great asset for a CV and experience, but whether it is the best career path is another question. At this moment in time it is worth keeping my ears open as much as possible, you never know what opportunities can arise, hopefully SharpShotz can be one of them.