The evaluation stage is the best stage to talk about my weaknesses, strengths and all the things I have learnt throughout this project.
Back in March, week 4 of the FMP, I finished my proposal where I discussed the things I wanted to accomplish and what I wanted my film to be about. 14 weeks later, I’ll be going through my proposal to see if I met all the targets I set myself.
The review section of the proposal was about what I have learnt on the course, and what I can use to help me with my FMP. I mentioned a film I made in December 2015 called Skinner ‘n’ Quinn which was a comedy detective film, and I said I wanted to expand on that genre. Looking at my film now, I think I have accomplished that goal, adding techniques to make the film look authentic to older films.
I also said I wanted to do more VFX work, to push my boundaries on what I could accomplish with VFX. With the selective colour effect and other small things, I feel like my skill set has increased, as it took a few days to figure out how I’d be able to pull off the main effect.
A lot of the things I wrote for the project concept part, I’ve used. I kept ‘The Hounds of the Baskervilles’ feel to my film, along with the main plot points. I also kept the idea of using flashbacks. The main story stayed the same as well. A lot of the changes I made came after the proposal, while writing and editing the film, but I kept my word when it came to the storyline.
At the very beginning, I made a big mistake by starting the script without watching any films or thinking about any of my characters. This was a stupid thing to do because I hadn’t established what my characters personality and attributes were before starting, so some of the lines I wrote didn’t fit with the characters’ personality once I figured it out. When I realised this, I began to watch, and take note of, different films, to gain inspiration from them.
I did change a few things on my script, including deleting a few scenes which slowed the pacing down or were irrelevant to the story. I had a scene where Mike Bolt was given the case and had a small chat with the inspector, but it seemed out of place because we know he was given the case by the inspector through the text he gets.
In another scene Mike Bolt was talking to people about the killer. I really wanted to include this scene, but due to the time, I had to cut it, which was unfortunate because we could have seen a lot more of Mike’s character come out in his anger. The last big thing I removed was Mike waking up after the nighttime scene, which I turned into an internal monologue while unconscious. This one took way too much time out of the film and the pacing slowed down as he walked through the house while recovering.
My research consisted of reviewing different detective/noir films as that was the style I was trying to capture. I was only going to watch three films: The Third Man, Seven and Chinatown. I watched them while writing so if there was anything I wanted to use as inspiration in those films, I could write it down. When I made the decision to use selective colour, I added Sin City to that list to see how they achieved the look. It was hard to find the time to review them as I had so much going on, which is why they were released late.
All the films were useful in different ways; Sin City for its style, The Third Man for its camerawork, Seven with its unsettling nature and cinematography, and Chinatown with its use of dialog. All these films inspired me in different ways and I think that shows in the final piece. Looking at what I got out of them, these were the best films to choose for my research. I could have reviewed more, but I got everything I needed out of these four.
The main thing I learnt from this project is how to control a group of people. It is hard when you have to control 5 people that need to concentrate but don’t. I needed to have control over all of them to get what I wanted in the shot. I started to talk to each person individually, to get them ready for the scene. There were moments I had to raise my voice to get people’s attention, but other than that, everyone was very willing when told to do something.
Now that I have experienced this type of leadership with a small group, I can build up and work with bigger groups which is very important because I want to make bigger films. If I get a chance to make a feature, I’m going to have control of 250-300 people which is a very scary thought. But if I start off slow with a small group, like this one, I can get more confident with larger groups.
I’ve also made improvements on my VFX skills by testing and failing with the selective colour effect. One big thing I learnt is to use multiple masks when masking around something. If it’s a person to mask out, I would normally mask all the way round but after dealing with masks in this project, I’d mask out different parts of his body which is a lot easier and, surprisingly, quicker.
If I had another chance to make this project again, would I do it differently?
I feel like the progression of my idea was perfected and changed for the better. The film that came out at the end was the best I could have done, and although there are a few things that can be improved like the VFX and sound design, that’s not changing it. I really like my idea, and I really like how I showed it so I wouldn’t change anything.
I have had a few people say I should submit it into film festivals, which I have considered, and have done some research to find one that’s the best fit for my film. I have put it up on my YouTube channel with my other films and it will stay up there until I hopefully find some attention. I’m basically building up my portfolio with my YouTube channel and maybe sometime soon, something will come out of it.
Now that I’ve finished everything, it’s time to move on, hopefully, I’ll get the grade I need to carry on and get a degree in film which will then carry me on to bigger and better things.