Preliminary coursework task

The initial project of our media studies course was the task of creating a short film depicting an interrogation. A reasonably simple task but one that was ripe with possibility, it’s at this point that we agreed to make a film that gripped the audience and pulled them into a fiction world full of excitement and drama, a world were things the audience wouldn’t see very often come to life.

After gathering some friends who were interested in helping me make this film, we sat down and began to brainstorm ideas that revolved around the theme of interrogation, what genre the film was going to be categorised under, and what the audience of our film was going to be. After some discussion it was agreed that the film’s genre should be something that is easy for the audience to relate to, and as we had identified our audience as teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 this allowed us to identify the genre as either a teen film, drama or thriller etc. (We went with all three) Keeping this in mind we began to think of stereotypes that surround teens, these included being disrespectful towards others, anti establishment, drug fuelled and sex crazed. Of course these stereotypes are slightly extreme but nether the less I thought we should use this to our advantage and make a film that absorbed every stereotype that surrounds teens and produce something that reflects all of the above. Then we finally decided to make our short film about a gang in the greater cheddar area, and so Boyz n the estate was born.

After coming up with the idea, we then had to create a script and storyboard. This was a tasking section of the production process, the script less so as this film focuses more on what you could see rather than what you could hear. No it was the story board that gave us some trouble, this was because we had to make cheddar look like the drugged up, blood stained back streets of downtown LA (the hood for short). This meant lots of forced perspective and close up shots when the camera was shooting outside. Naturally, we couldn’t have low riders and gang members holding guns out in the streets because A. We haven’t got that much money and B. We would probably get arrested. So we decided that close up shots of the characters in the less desirable parts of cheddar would be fine. For the interior shots we decided to storyboard a bleak and miserable house, something that reflects the owner, who in my mind has spent all his money on drugs, guns and alcohol.

a few pages of script and storybaording of boyz n the estate

Now, after coming up with the genre audience and most importantly the idea, it was finally time to crack on. After holding some auditions with a few close and not so close friends I finally chose who was going to play who in our street fairytale. I cast Guy Locke in the role of “the dealer” and Ben Smith in the role of “the buyer” with other background roles being filled by Andy Martin and Ben Walker. This now allowed us to move on to the filming portion of the production and naturally my favourite part. For the filming of this production I used a canon rebel T3 with a 18-55mm lens. I also used other equipment to create specific camera movements, the most popular was my DSLR slider as illustrated below, this allowed me to slide the camera from left to right and vice versa which gave the film a bit more of a cinematic edge.

The DSLR slider with my canon rebel T3 attached

Finally, after all the commotion of the shoot we had made it to post production. To edit Boyz in the estate I used two editing systems, the first was iMovie and the second was final cut. I initially used iMovie to piece the clips from our film together and alter specific parts of it, after completing this, I then exported the film to a .mov file on my desktop, I them out this into final cut and edited the music into it and placed the jump cuts to the beat. And so finally the film was ready to be released and screened.

In conclusion, I feel that the entire production process of the instant classic Boyz n the estate was slick and easy, the final product was good at times but there was room for improvement and I will be sure to build on this in my next project.

Until we meet again, Big M

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