Section 5: Film Reviews

5.1 

Three Brothers is a British short film directed by Aleem Khan released in 2014 funded by the British Film Institute. The story is about three brothers who have an absentee father, with the focus on Hamid, the eldest and protector of the brothers. While he has a tough and criminal persona (including being expelled from school), he incubates three chicken eggs, showing that Hamid is a character who can be two-faced. While the filming style is not the most remarkable, Hamid is a fascinating and developed character. His two sides are entirely contrasting, one who cares for his brothers and chickens and one who is prepared to be rough.

Technically, the film is straightforward. The editing style is mainly cuts rather than actual unique edits. However, before the film’s title is revealed, there is an exciting scene where it is shot through a home video camera showing a happier time before transitioning to a dark and bleak world. The short film is filmed and set in Medway Towns, Kent, which is made to look gloomy and from my perspective, this short film has a faint tint. The main camera techniques used are the rule of thirds and close-ups, which shows that Khan has given thought to where the camera should be placed. Something that blockbuster and mainstream Hollywood directors forget these days. The decision not to use music and rely entirely on diegetic sounds is a good one, it adds to the disheartening atmosphere.

The best part of the film is the story, something simple yet something that could make someone cry because of the ending. As the film progresses, the viewer learns that the reason for the brothers’ father absence is due to a secret wedding which means that the brothers will perhaps have to grow up alone without their father and there is no hope that they won’t see their mother again. The film has metaphors such as a fox killing one of the chickens and Hamid protecting his brothers, representing an unknown loss that the brothers are going through. Hamid losing two of his three eggs but yet one survives, appearing in the end credits, giving hope for the viewers that the brothers will prevail through their troubles.

Three Brothers is a good starting point and should be aimed at young adults since it deals with the theme of familial relations in a troubled family. I hope that Aleem Khan does not stop making films and it will be interesting to see where he will take his career and this is a project to look back on with pride for him.

5.2 

Please post a review of a feature film production of your choice (British or World cinema). Make sure to comment on the narrative structure, as well as sound, camera, lighting and editing choices.

BreathlessPoster

Breathless or A bout de Souffle is one of the defining films of the French New Wave, French cinema and masterpiece cinema. Breathless is frequently called a masterpiece by critics. It has a simple but emotional story about Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo), a gangster who seems to be misunderstood by the outside world, turning his life into a mess by killing a police officer. He seeks refuge in Paris with his American girlfriend Patrica (Jean Seberg). The reason why this film is a masterpiece is that this is a film that broke the unwritten rules of film.

When I take a step back and think about the story of Breathless, especially as an aspiring writer, I realise it has a simple narrative and story. It can be a romance, a man in love with a woman. Or it can be a crime film, a young man escaping the law and trying to get out of the country. However, this is a film which comments on the freedom of youth and that is a focal point of Breathless. Michel seems to be a troubled young man rather than a murderer, he does things that try to make him free. Michel uses aliases such as László Kovács, he looks up to one of the coolest men of Hollywood Humphrey Bogart, the sight of Michel guiding his thumb around his mouth is a visual motif showing his admiration for Bogart and his love of jazz. He dislikes classical music, a genre of the old intellectuals (Patrica has a fondness for Bach and Mozart) but loves jazz music, arguably the classical music of the 20th century and a genre associated with those in the 1950s, who enjoyed rebellion and going against the establishment. His girlfriend Patrica seems to be his opposite, an American, innocent, knows what their ambitions are and stays away from crime. As well as having an iconic look, Patrica is blissfully unaware of her boyfriend’s exploits in the crime world and tries to be good. Michel and Patrica are the most interesting characters in the film and are part of what makes it a classic.

In terms of three aspects of film: camera, lighting and sound. Breathless is not unique in the grand scheme of cinema but have certain techniques which stand out. The use of a camera is simple, the main two reasons for this are shot types and type of camera used at the time. There are two shot types prevalent in Breathless, a medium shot and a close-up, which are two types that are often used in the French New Wave, it keeps things simple and gives an unparalleled look. While there are shots on tripods, a revolutionary aspect of Breathless is the use of a handheld camera. Often following the characters around Paris. There is a distinct absence of artificial lighting and usage of natural lighting, there only one scene shot at night and that uses the lights from surrounding businesses. The sound is distinctive for its jazz soundtrack, representing the rebelliousness of youth and another notable aspect is the dialogue and specifically the conversations between Michel and Patrica, they often are all over the place covering a variety of topics from the meaning of life to who they are sleeping with.

A main selling point of the film is its editing, the rapid cuts define this film, often there are overt jump cuts which critics have called visual jazz and even anarchy acting against the establishment. I understand that this is a rebellion against continuity editing, but rather than disregarding a story, for me the jump cut represents how Michel is losing control over his life and how life can go past you by when you lack control.

Breathless is a masterpiece that defines a generation and a culture. It’s impressive to think that this film was Jean-Luc Goddard’s debut film and that it would be so remarkable for its time and Breathless is a film that has aged well and I found it enjoyable as a viewer from the 21st century. This is a perfect introduction to the French New Wave and one of the greatest films of all time.

giphy-downsized-large

Advertisements

Section 4: Technical Skills

4.1 

What are the resources required for your film production (think about equipment, props, actors, location etc) 

During the first meeting of the crew, it was important that we made sure what we would need for the film shoot.  Since the original title of the short film was Spaghetti and it was mentioned in the script at various points. It was imperative that we had bowls of spaghetti ready for the shoot because there were multiple takes. The film academy already had a kitchen set which was required for the film along with a microwave, that doesn’t mean work. Which meant that I would have to add the noises for the microwave in post-production.  Cutlery was needed, as well as cookbooks. First, they will be used for a shot to indicate that time has passed. Second, one was used as a plot device of bringing back the couple together in the film. The actors required were male and female to portray the couple. The male actor wore an office suit while the female actress wore a red coat and a black dress. 

4.2 

What is your key role and what are the skills and equipment required to fulfil it?

I was a sound mixer on the short film Good Food. As a sound mixer, you need to have excellent focus and awareness, since sound in film can be dynamic and you don’t want the unfortunate responsibility of ruining the film. You need many cables, understanding where they need to be plugged in. As a sound mixer, you need to know how to use a sound mixer. Making sure the microphone is on the right channel and that the sound is not over a certain level. In fact, my biggest area of improvement is figuring out how to make sure something is not too loud or quiet. Apart from that, I enjoyed the experience in a role that I had never considered.

What is your supporting role and what are the skills and equipment required to fulfil it?

I was the behind the scenes videographer for The End. All I needed was a DSLR camera, a battery and a memory card. For this role, one has to be willing to turn on the camera and film the crew at work. I had a lot of fun and it was great being able to capture my fellow academy alumni working well as a crew.

4.3 

How do you feel you performed your roles on set? What were your strengths and what were any challenges you faced? 

I was surprised at my tutor’s positive comments at how I had performed in my role. I don’t think sound is for me, but I enjoyed the experience and when watching the rushes, I was surprised at the quality of the sound. I honestly imagined the worst and that it would come out terribly, it instead felt professional. I want this help me to develop into a professional in another role such as a writer, director or a producer. 

4.4

How do you think your skills and knowledge developed in this role? Give examples 

The main skills and knowledge that I have developed are involved with technical skills in using sound mixers and editing software. I consider my main strengths to be in more artistic roles such as writing but I wanted to try out something technical. It made me realise how much work is needed to get the perfect sound and important yet small things such as making sure that the sound is on the right channel. Other small things such as knowing which cables to use and supporting the person operating the boom mic. It has also given me a fuller appreciation of sound in film.

4.5 

Following completion of the Film Academy, please give examples of film production skills that you would like to develop. Did you have any particular strengths or weaknesses on the course? 

I think my biggest strengths were quick learning and professionalism, there were still gaps in sound that I didn’t know and was worried that I was going to screw up in the worst possible way possible. However, I learnt quickly and adapted. Leading to me feeling like I knew what I was doing and could follow what my tutor wanted me to do. I also enjoyed the professionalism on set and felt like the real work environment. I would like to explore forming skills for direction and learning more about writing because that’s my biggest specialism. I also have an interest in being a producer. This is because, in the future, I would love to be a director, writer and producer on my own film projects.

Section 3: Working Relationships

3.1 

Why is teamwork important when working on a film production?

Teamwork is crucial to a film production because without teamwork, a film can completely fall apart or a miss an important deadline to finish the film production. The whole experience makes me want to get people to help me to work on personal film projects in production. With teamwork, it is easier to coordinate what to do, especially for our film shoot which had a lot of shots to get through and it was imperative that we shot everything on schedule. I could also sense that a trust developed between the crew that we were starting to know what to do and we were easing into our roles, making the teamwork successful.

How did you develop good working relationships with your crew members? Give examples

 I believe that I developed good relations with each member of the key department, with direction and the first AD, they were the first lines of information in what shots we are doing. It was good knowing when cinematography was ready for me and there were no disputes between the departments. It also helped that outside of the shoot, we all get along well as a group.

Were there any problems you needed to overcome? Give examples

I learnt quickly that we shouldn’t bombard the director with questions because they are under a lot of pressure. That doesn’t mean that a crewperson should not ask a question to the director, but there is a right time to ask them. The tight time schedule was the biggest problem for the entire crew, I am amazed how we got done and effective planning is definitely a skill that we all have improved on.

3.2 

What qualities are needed to work well with others on a film production?

An aspect that is not mentioned enough is friendliness, we were lucky because we had four weeks to get to know each other but in other crews, a person may not know anyone. Professionalism must be kept but having good relations can make a better environment and have the confidence that the crew want to make the best project possible like the main roles on set. Have a common understanding of what the script is saying and what the director wants, you can suggest an idea but only if you think it is going to be a fundamental problem. Have an effective plan that all the crew can follow, otherwise, it can be chaos and the director will be surrounded by a million questions.

Section 2: Professional Development

2.1 

Please upload or summarise the crew test you did with Rupert

 

 

2.2

Describe the structure and interrelationships of the production department. You can use a diagram or similar if you wish 

The most basic and famous relationship is a director and an actor since while this relationship may seem simple at its core, this can in many directions depending on the personality types of those involved.

All heads of departments: director, production manager, 1st AD,  sound mixer and editor all connect like a large branch, with the director on top. The director may be head of filming but a director is not going to know every aspect of the filming process, so it is important that they have experts who can handle specific matters and help to achieve what the director wants.

Each of these heads has their own specific workers such as boom operator or script supervisor to help out the head, in order to help out the director.

2.3 

Describe at least 2 potential progression routes into the film industry (e.g. university, apprenticeships, entry-level work, film festivals etc)

University is the most common way in which people work their way into the film industry, some of my favourite directors studied a bachelor’s that involved art or literature or something completely different, then transitioning into a master’s in film. However, nowadays, I believe that more young people are being encouraged to take film as a bachelor’s like me. Once finished, a person can continue with their studies, or find a job in the industry depending on which job. A person aspiring to become a director may start as a runner and work their way up. While a write just needs their script to accepted by a film company.

Film festivals are an excellent way of getting noticed by the film industry, thus boosting your film career. The more prestigious the film festival is, the more prestige your film can receive. This is definitely the case for film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin or Venice. If you study film at university, your student film could have potential to compete in at a student film festival or be in competition for student film awards.

 

What do you plan to do when the academy is finished?

I plan to apply for the NFTS BFI Film Academy Craft Residential, to get more experience of being on set, I enjoyed working on set and want to explore working in a different role. If I don’t get onto it, I will plan to focus on my studies, in order to get into university where I will study film.

 

Briefly, describe the job of one of your tutors, and what they have done in their career

Carine Koleilat was my sound tutor on the course. She studied at the Lebanese American University Beirut where she received a BA in radio, tv and film. Later, she studied at the London Film Academy where she received her diploma and discovered her passion for sound. She directed a short film while at LFA called Cold Shoulder and is currently developing her first feature. She also has a sound company called Blue Fox.

http://carinekoleilat.wixsite.com/portfolio/bio

 

2.4 

What is the wider creative media sector? (think about music, costume, advertising, animation, theatre, games etc)

Film is part of the wider creative sector which includes TV, animation, gaming, VFX, advertising, fashion, photography, publishing and radio.

 

Explain how film production connects to the wider creative media sector

Film production connects with TV because there can similar roles needed on each creative industry such as directors, writers or runners. Animation ties in because sometimes a film director wants an animated section in a film or a film company wants to make an animated film. Gaming can connect if a crew is needed to make a live-action trailer for a gaming product. A VFX company is used when a film scene needs special effects such as CGI. Advertising is utilised when the film needs promotion, which ties in with TV and radio. Fashion can be involved with costume design. Photography is needed to get shots for the posters if needed or take promotional stills or take shots of behind the scenes.

***you might find the following link helpful for completing this section:

http://creativeskillset.org/creative_industries 

Section 1: Film Industry

This is the post excerpt.

1.1

What is it like working in the film industry?

 This question is subjective since this question can have different answers for each different role in the film industry. However, there is a general feeling that it is a competitive industry and everyone is searching for success. A runner may have a slog starting out because their job may seem so menial at times, but if they are successful and have a good agent, they can become directors but not everyone will take the same route.

 

Give 10 examples of qualities you need to work in the film industry

  • Passion
  • Creativity
  • Smart in their work
  • Don’t take anything personally. You’re just not what they’re looking for right now. Move on.
  • Always be on time
  • Try not to miss deadlines
  • Ask questions
  • Authority. This is subjective
  • Earn respect
  • Take 10 at lunch

 

1.2 

Why is time management important in the film industry? 

Time management is one of the most important skills in any job, but especially in the film industry. Depending on what you’re shooting, it’s going to take time, one must plan accordingly in order to get all that they want to shoot. A director will probably change things and an editor will cut scenes out, but nevertheless, time is needed to get every important scene.

 

Give at least 4 examples of good time management skills

  • Having a good timetable
  • Being communicative with the crew
  • Not spending too long on unnecessary shots
  • Being aware of time

***please upload the call sheets for your two shoots, and any other production documentation (schedules etc)

BFI Academy CALLSHEET Spaghetti 29 Oct[4701]

BFI Academy CALLSHEET The End 26 Oct[4702]

 

1.3 

Describe the key aspects of health and safety when working on film productions 

  • Being careful with anything sharp or electrical
  • Going over and making sure no one will get hurt during a stunt

 

Describe at least 3 health and safety considerations for your own film

  • Use of cutlery
  • Allergies of the lead actor
  • Cooking food

***please upload the risk assessment for your primary shoot

BFI Academy Risk Assessment THE END 26 Oct[4705]

BFI Academy Risk Assessment SPAGHETTI 29 Oct[4704]

1.4 & 1.5 

 

***please summarise or upload the copyright information you learned in your first editing class with Tom

 

Why does copyright law exist?

To protect creative properties. Every film ever made has copyright attached to it so that works are not stolen and that the top people who worked on the creative project are receiving compensation for their work being used in another project. For example, it is expected that music in a film unless it was public domain, is paid for by the film’s production company otherwise there can be legal trouble if the music was used without permission. 

What kind of work is covered by copyright?

 Works covered by copyright include literary works such as books or song lyrics, dramatic works such as plays and dance compositions, music, artistic works such as photographs or a painting or a logo and etc.,  magazines, other types of sound recordings and films. 

What might happen if you were to use copyrighted material in your film?

Material that is not in public domain, cannot simply be taken and put into a film. A production company must ask for permission to use the copyrighted material. This has consequences because it is illegal to copy, rent, perform or adapt without having consent first, leads to legal troubles which could prevent profit from going to the film. 

How can you make sure not to infringe copyright law in your film?

A crew must make sure that every creative property used has permission to be used and that using music in a film can be easy by using music that has been made free to use. 

How has copyright law affected your film production?

For my film production, the biggest problem that copyright law has posed, is the use of music, the director chose copyright-free music which was in the public domain.