Final Major Project: The Sequal – Idea Generation

For the past two years, I have been training myself in pre-production, production and post-production skills that I can use to ensure everything goes to plan.

I’ve improved my writing skills, with more descriptive writing and general layout of the script. The main problem I had with last year’s FMP was writing massive blocks of text that were very hard to read. I learnt I need to break them up into categories like scenery, what the place looks like and feels, action, what my characters are doing, and the character’s appearance, what the characters look like and what they are wearing.

When breaking this down into different sections of the script, suddenly the massive amount of text is easy to read. I’ve also learnt about the different documents needed to make the film shoot go smoothly like storyboards and shot lists to get across to the actors what I want from them.

Communication was one of my weaknesses during the course, and in general life, I couldn’t talk about what was going on inside my head without thinking for a long time about what I was going to say and how I was going to say it. Putting my ideas across was hard and still is, but if I break down what I want and go through the script with my actors, I can get across what’s in my head.

In post-production, I improved my visual effects skills. During my FMP, I wanted to make realistic gun shots, and smoke particles in my Design to Sell project I had to figure out how to create an explosion and a cloud of smoke. I attempted the smoke in a couple of programs but ended up using Cinema 4d as 3ds Max, which needed an extra plugin, didn’t work for what I wanted.

Colour correction and colour grading were used a lot during my course and it’s safe to say that I’m now familiar with both. I used them in every shot in my last FMP and continually used them throughout the rest of the projects, and will be using them again in this FMP.

The main issue I had with my last FMP was the fact I went into it head first. I came up with the story on day one and didn’t do much planning before starting the script so my characters were just wandering through the story without much of a reason, events just happened. If I had developed the story further, then I wouldn’t have had to change it all together. I’m still pleased with the outcome but the path up to the end was messy and full of mistakes. If I put some thought into what I want to accomplish and what story I want to tell then I will have a smoother time planning, filming and editing.

I also regret not researching as much I wanted to, to prepare to set up the story and write characters. I said I took inspiration from video games such as Hitman, Metal Gear Solid and Halo. While writing, I didn’t take these resources into account so putting them in my Harvard helper was pointless because I didn’t turn to them if I was stuck and in need of inspiration. I did note down a few pieces of media: The Terminator, I Robot, Casino Royale, and the Netflix Original Daredevil. I took more inspiration from these but didn’t go back and watch them again, I only used my memory of them.

For this FMP, I’ll take more time to develop characters and come up with a decent story to play with. This will make the audience more intrigued in what is happening on screen and makes them carry on watching without switching off half way through. I will take more time to watch films and take inspiration from them to develop my story and characters and maybe take elements from the films like camera movements and the overall look of them. I have a few films already listed which include The Third Man, Maltese Falcon, Psycho, Tony Rome and The French Connection. I have also been given advice from my lecturer and a friend to watch Brick and The Untouchables. I do have a lot more, and probably won’t be able to watch all of them but I’ll watch and review as many as possible.

The concept of the story was the easiest thing to produce in pre-production, as I had already been working on the script during January of this year with a friend. When things didn’t line up we stopped writing and gave up but now the FMP is here, I decided to continue writing and make it for my FMP. The basic premise is:

A detective (Mike Bolt) is given the case named ‘The Moors Killer’ which has taken the lives of countless people including his parents. He travels down to Dartmoor, where the murders have taken place, to investigate the killings, to find out who (or what) the killer is and stop them for good.

This film will have a 50’s style to it, with a constant voiceover from Bolt’s point of view. This will challenge both my filming and writing skills because I’ll need to figure out what to film while he’s narrating without making the visuals boring, and I’ll need to use my language carefully when writing his thoughts as I don’t want to just spell out everything for the audience. I’m not going to narrate everything he sees but I’ll implement it when he’s either thinking for a while or when he’s alone.

The killer will be interesting, as I don’t want to give its identity away right off the bat. I want to make the audience wonder what the killer is and make them question it all the way up to the end, or not give it away at all.

There’s a lot of directions to go with this character but I’ll probably take the route that it’s just a man and he’s built up his persona of being an animal or The Devil to scare people off Dartmoor.

The evaluation process will consist of looking back at everything I’ve done, the good and the bad, and talk about how well certain aspects worked or didn’t work, and how I could improve on it. In my eyes, that’s success, looking at what you have done and critiquing it to reflect what you could have done instead. No film is perfect so seeing flaws in your own film is very useful and educational.

Also, each week I’ll be documenting what I do and learn in my weekly blogs, spanning from the week I started to when I hand everything in. Here, I’ll be putting down all my thoughts and decisions that I have made to see if they change over time. This will also allow my peers to see if I’m keeping up with my work and where I am in development at certain points during the project.

I had a lot of fun making my last FMP. I enjoyed working to my own schedule. Also, by learning from mistakes from the last FMP, this one should be even better, should…

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