Test Footage – Stylusboy

For my test footage which can be seen in my 360MC pitch presentation, I filmed stylusboy at his show on Wednesday 18th January at Taylor John’s House, Coventry during their wednesday acoustic night.

The reason for me choosing to use this for my test footage was because I wanted to get a realistic gig lighting effect in order to see how my filming should accomidate it. I booked out a 5D from the loan shop but unfortuantly there was a late return so I had to settle for a Nikon D90 for this shoot. At the shoot itself it seemed to go well but I was unhappy with the lighting on the camera, this has shown me that if I were to record a similar  shoot for my project I would need lighting much more suited to my film, I also decided that I would need to run at least a two camera set up one for a safety shot and one for more experimental shots, or risk facing a ridicolously long shoot and having somebody on red alert for continuity mistakes. Aswell as getting footage for my test shoot, I have promised stylusboy that a decent edit of one of the tracks will be online soon and I also made contacts with some photographers and video makers there that work within the coventry community, hopefully more on that one later.

 

Interim Proposal (OneUP)

This is my proposal form I created for OneUP which I later decided not to go with becuase I couldn’t focus on the idea enough and did not feel I could confidently produce due to my lack of comedic background.

Title and Pitch
A clear, brief title – which can be modified at a later date if necessary – but which gives clear idea of the nature of the project
1up (One Up)

Pitch
Sum up your idea in 2 lines. Include the genre, format, duration, usp (unique selling point) and intended audience.

Series of short 3-5 minute web based comedy shorts intended at tech-savy/gaming culture young adults

Rationale
A brief description of the main issue/subject which your project will examine and the approach you intend to take.

This series would be a series of small sketches which would parody certian parts of gaming culture or the games themseleves, this would also but up an eposodic narrative.

Context
What question/s does your PROJECT answer or what new idea does it offer? Where does your PROJECT fit in the current Media environment? Give evidence of the research and opinion that support your claims.

This project would ask questions about the culture which an increasing number of people find themselves in, It would question the importance of the internet for this culture to exisit and it would also challenge the impression that the ‘nerd’ must always be the bullied rather than the bully. I have been looking into research from famous people in this field including ‘MovieBob’, ‘Film Critic Hulk’ and ‘the team from extra credits’

Distrubtion
Where do you think your PROJECT is going to play/reach an audience? Show evidence of your research into LIKELY sources of distribution.

This piece would likely be spread online at a monthly rate over the internet, I would aim to get this series on a site where gamers already go to such as the escapist magazine or screw attack.

Budget + Skills Audit
Give a realistic budget breakdown of your project and make sure you can afford to make it. Also explain here why you are the right person to be making this project – what skills, knowledge and experience will you be capitalizing on?

I believe I am the right person for this job as I have the skills in order to make this work and I have a huge interest in gaming culture, I know enough in this area to be able to focus on it’s strengths and flaws and hopefully will be able to use that to comedic gain.

I believe this project would be fairly cheap to make and will set aside £300 to cover the costs of acting and locations if needed.

Research into changing media habits.

For this film if I am going to be making my character discover that the music world has changed from what he would expect, I need to personally understand how it all works myself and how the character of Nate is always doomed to fail in his attempts to achieve his dream. Some of my research has stemmed across form My Project Mixtape idea I had during the last term and this got me to consider how old mediums and ways of creating content had all but died and how their could be a gap in the market for things from the past.

This lead me on to consider the future of the music industry and to the outsider eye, it certinanly seems that Streaming services such as Spotify are the way the industry is headed with it’s ease of use and the users ability to access Millions of albums and compilations from an on-line database instantly as well as instant access to their own music collection, but this got me thinking about how much said artists make from services such as spotify, Record label contracts are noutriously complex and difficult to understand but according to Infomationisbeautiful.Net an artist on a high-end record deal can expect to see 10% of a sale of any album, this would be £1 for every album retailing at £10 (which is getting increasingly more unlikely) this may seem bad but when we move into online territories things appear even worse. Albums sold from iTunes will likely see a 9% cut going to the artists involved (all of these statistics are assuming the artists write their own music the percentages is lower when songwriters need royalties)  but in this modern age people are more than likely to just buy a single online rather than a whole album  for that artists would receive also a receive a 9% cut but remember that the average song on iTunes costs 79p so this would equate to just 7.9p per song download to the original artist. With this in mind an artist would need to sell 12,399 singles via iTunes to reach the US minimum wage of $1,160 (£758.27) but this is going on the legal downloading route which of course is very popular but streaming services are also taking away alot of this market and also a lot of people away from radio. Looking into how much money an artist would make from a service like this must be quite depressing as a musician, It emerged in 2009 that Lady gaga had only been paid $167 for plays of her hit ‘Poker Face’ this song had reached 1 million plays on the relatively new service. (link) because the music on spotify is marketed like a radio rather than owning the song it is marketed and financed very differently to a service like iTunes, however i’d imagine that many would be shocked that in 2010 the value to the artist of a song per play was valued at £0.0012p

The data in this research may be slightly outdated, at the point of this data coming out Last.FM allowed radio and streaming to all users now it is a subscriber only option (£3pm) and spotify claims that the amount the give to rights holders has changed since the release of this data. although it still doesn’t seem to be enough for some as artists such as Mercury award nominated Jon Hopkins receive what they consider less than satisfactory rates. (He received £8 for 90,000 plays made via the service and claims he receives £50 for each play he gets on radio 1) this has again raised the debate of spotify and it’s value to independent musicians especially as an alternative to piracy. [Guardian Article]

All of this data has been very interesting in setting up the ‘world’ my character will be trying to get into, further research will be taken during the pre-production stage of the 361MC module. I’d be looking into researching how much money spotify makes as a business and how viable the model is in the long-term and if it is a good alternative to piracy.

The full data table can be found here and although services such as spotify have updated their artist shares it makes for some very interesting reading in how much a song is actually worth online https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aqe2P9sYhZ2ndE9iZHhWc0pMcDlCdmxNdmFRQXRPY3c&hl=en_GB#gid=0 there is also a handy graphic version covering the main points below

Proposal Form

Title

I am giving this piece the provisional title of ‘shattered dreams’

Pitch

A short film approximately 15 minutes in length aimed primarily at 18-35 year olds that sees an idealistic musician aiming to live his dream by getting his band a record deal, but will his friends and family share and support his vision as he increasingly drifts away from the reality of the life he already has?

Rationale

The story of this film follows the life of 24 year old singer Nate as he feels he finally has to get an album out and get a publishing deal while he still can in order to achieve his ‘dream’ But throughout the film he will realise that his perceived dream just doesn’t exist, The issues that this film will look into will be the cult of the celebrity, the changing world of the media in particular music consumption and how people need to be adaptable in this world.

Context

This film will raise questions about the value of the craft of an artist, It will also inform the audience how the media industry is changing as everything has moved towards the internet and user attention spans are now much lower raising the value of the single or the first impression. Research into artists shares of modern distribution services such as iTunes and Spotify, as well as documentaries looking into changing media culture such as PressPausePlay. It will hopefully get the audience to question their own media habits.

This will also question the impact of shows like the ‘X Factor’ and how many of us aspire to be famous without ever considering how that would affect us as people.

Distribution

I aim to show the final cut of this film at Bafta during the Media production 3rd year degree show. It will also hopefully get a screening at the similar even in Coventry. As well as this I feel that this project could reach interest a wide audience, To further the idea of an ever changing media environment I would consider offering screenings online at select times using secure streaming websites. This would be heavily advertised and sponsorship would be needed for this to happen.

I would also plan on showing this at Film festivals. Some that I have in mind include.

Brief Encounters film festival (Bristol)

Raindance Film Festival (London) (as part of it’s shorts programme.)

Zero Film festival (London) (an independent film festival for self financed film makers)

Exposures film festival (Manchester) (student festival accepting entries of less than 30 minutes in length)

Budget and Skills Audit

This project will likely be shot over 2/3 days these days would be simultaneous to try and lower the costs. As this will be mainly self-funded I will be keeping costs to a minimum. I will need £700 for the film. This will cover:

Actors. I am aiming to get my supporting actors for as little money as possible (hopefully only covering expenses) but I feel I will need to pay for quality with my two main characters (Nate and Jess) with this in mind I would aim to spend around £175 to offer a payment of £35 per day for each of these two characters. (3 days for Nate, 2 for Jess)

Crew. I would be looking at getting 2nd and 3rd Year students to crew this film and as such unfortunately I am unlikely to offer payment.

Hotel. I would need to put up my actors for the night of any actors needed for more than one day. I aim only to have my two main characters for more than one day of the shoot, but may need to put up two of my secondary characters for one night. With this in mind I would be looking at around £125 to cover this expense (based on Britannia Royal Court Hotel, Coventry being £25 a night if booked in advance)

Transport I’d be looking at using public transport to cover crew and kit

Equipment Hire: I am hoping to hire the equipment via the media loan shop. HOWEVER I am fully aware that my camera of choice (Canon 5D) will likely be booked out during this time. Because of this I am looking into hiring out a 5D from Pannyhire.co.uk This would likely cost £210 if hired out for three days of shooting.

Location Hire: I would be aiming to hire my locations for free as well in exchange for advertising in the film, but as the film will require 5 different locations, I expect I will probably need to pay for some of these so will be keeping £200 of my own money set aside if needed and will look to adding more through fund-raising, if this does not suffice.

 

Although at this stage I am working on this project alone I am currently looking to put together a crew to help out. I will be looking into acquiring, 1x Camera Operator 1x Sound Person (possibly 2x for introductory scene) 1x Lighting and an assistant director/DOP. As mentioned above I would be unlikely to offer payment so would be hopefully getting this crew by offering my services out to the crews own future projects,

During last years short film, I learnt a lot of lessons about how important the quality of actors is. I would be looking into contacts and advertisements to get good quality actors to make the most out of this project, I would also be looking into getting decent musicians.

This film will be a new and exciting challenge as I will be working in areas that I have little experience with at the moment, including potentially recording a live music event, although there will be challenges for me in this project, I believe I have proven skills in a lot of areas to cover most of the scenes, as shown in previous short films and outsider work for my professional experience and will be taking tutorials and/or getting help off people with the specialist knowledge required to get the shots right.

The research is also a very important stage of this film that must be perfected for this film, as well as doing traditional research I will be aiming to get interviews with aspiring and semi-professional musicians, I will also be getting help on the research side of things from a friend of mine called Adam who is a 3rd year music events management student from Bucks New University

In terms of post-production I feel I have enough skills to get a decent rough cut of the edit done but would be looking into getting someone to help me out with fine-tuning the edit, I will be unlikely to use many effects beyond the title design but to make this as good as I like I will be practising further with After Effects to improve my skills in this area.

Plan & Schedule of Work

As shown throughout this blog the story of the short film has changed numerous times throughout the pre-production stage of this project, My original idea was based around a nerd themed comedy but I realised that I couldn’t get the full idea or script right.

I have been set on doing something around the inner world of media particularly music since the end of last term, the way I have decided to portray this has changed however since I first envisioned this project, as I hit stumbling blocks on how to develop the characters. The idea itself developed from a research I used whilst making my ‘Project Mixtape’ video during CW1

The script is not yet complete and is priority no.1 I fully expect to have this finished by early February, I will be heading to Germany to film an unrelated project from the 8th so that will be my set goal to reach. While this is going on I will also be looking into finalising location, crew, actors and music. I will be setting up accounts on CastingCall and other websites to get the actors as soon as possible and also posting advertisements to get music sorted. It would be ideal if the actors involved (with the exception of Jess) are also skilled musicians. Location ideas will be considered with the crew once I have a rough one set up and I shall be looking into getting the locations booked at least a month in advance of filming.

I aim to film this piece around Mid-March and have it edited by mid-april at latest.

 Supporting Creative Artefact

TBC

Conclusion

  • Skills: Although there are areas of this project where I realise I will have to go into new territory for myself I am confident that I am the right person to get this project done, By leaving the initial planning stage and research as a solo job for the moment I have been able to focus clearly on an independent view that will hopefully come out in this piece, This will also improve my management and directorial skills before leaving university which will help me in my future career.

     

  • Audience: I feel that this project could appeal to a large audience, partly because the characters ambitions are highly relate-able as a lot of people will certainly be able to relate to having a dream or a long-term goal which they found out later on is unachievable. The ever-changing media world is also a subject that could interest a wide audience.
  • Will and Passion: although as I’ve said before, this project will create some challenges, I’ve always been one to rise above them and do not plan on taking any shortcuts in the production of this piece, There will be a number of sleepless nights in the making of this project I am sure, but the reward at the end should prove the stress to be worth it.

Potential Influences on my short film

Although my film has only recently taken a form that I am happy to move forward with I have been looking into how I would like the movie to ‘look’ like and how certian pieces I have seen before will have an influence on my film, be it in the style of the production or in some of the narrative themes. below is a list of a few pieces and how they will hopefully influence my final piece.

Black Mirror: 15 Million merits

This piece was a major influence on the initial idea of my proposed film, It’s running theme of the cult of celebrity, The impact of modern technology and advertising was for me very well executed. The style of filming is something way beyond my expertise and budget unfortunately, but I felt that narratively I could take a lot from this piece, It was obviously very well researched but also had a very strong view on the types of shows it was parodying (TV talent shows such as X Factor and Light entertainment shows such as Total Wipeout) this film presented a very dark vision of a dystopian future where image is everything and if you don’t fit into societies norms then you are effectively cast out. Although very extreme in it’s execution it’s underlying themes are certianly relate-able to the route I wish to go with my short film piece.

Cemetery Junction

This film although a comedy is quite an interesting film to consider in relation to this piece as it follows a character similar to how I see nate will end up, In this film the main character Freddie seems to have got everything settled at the start of the film, he’s an apprentice in a job he could see himself doing for a long time and he feels that he has made it in his chosen profession, however as the film goes on, he discovers that not only is this having a massive effect on the company he keeps around due partly to their lack of success but also because of his changing attitude, but it is also not the job that he really expected, he realises that he really doesn’t want to grow old selling insurance to people that don’t need it and get little to no recognition for it. His love interest in this film Julie harbours a strong love for photography and wishes to make a career out of it, against her fathers wishes (who also happens to be Freddie’s boss) This film I feel is relevant to my short as it themes heavily on the idea of teenage/ young adult dreams, the main characters despite all there problems aim to keep idealistic and let their heart rule their mind in the end. It also has a strong theme of escapism and how no matter what happens you can always get a train straight out of there, but it also helps you to appreciate what you had before leaving it all behind.

All of this is relevant to the character of Nate in this film, although he would be much older than the protagonists of this film I feel that the character traits of Freddie and a little bit of Julie have helped to inform me of how this character could be done.

Modern Life Is Rubbish

Daniel Jerome Gill

http://www.bbc.co.uk/filmnetwork/films/p00g6n0y

This is a film that has been described as a breakup story for the ipod generation, which follows a recently seperated couple that go about splitting their music collection. The title takes it’s name from an album by Brit-pop act ‘Blur’. At 13 minutes in length this is very close to the timeframe I would be aiming for with my piece and this film has taught me a great deal about how I could develop my two main characters within that timeframe. The little subtle movements and emotions really make this film and really make you care for the characters despite the short amount time we have to get used to them. The male lead in this piece is also interesting in my character development as he refuses to live in the present he is happy and the past and quite frankly scared of how the present day works, He holds onto CD’s and refuses to listen to ‘drag and drop’ playlists and very much against piracy. The film moves quite slow considering how short it is and only features one location, but this is ok due to a fantastic script.

Again this piece asks the audience to question the value of an artist and music but also how this has an affect on us as human beings, The ending with the passing on of the Radiohead CD is a highly symbolic move in this film that speaks volumes about the characters. This is a much slower built film than the one I would aim to make, but it is certainly an important one for me to watch when it comes to how I plan to develop characters and also how a lack of dialogue can say a lot more than words at times.