Film Making: The Key Process

Filmmaking takes place in many places throughout the world in a range of social, political and economic contexts, and using a variety of filmic techniques and technologies. Typically, it involves a huge number of crew members and can take a few months to several months or years to complete. I have experience working as an associate director in two feature films in India.

I wish to discuss the development stage first; It is a vague, amorphous, and painful period in which the movie’s conception takes form, and the fundamental elements get sorted. Development mainly consists of the building of the story, treatment, script, plot points and structure. In the initial development phase the main plot is developed, here the screenwriter has a personal style of developing a story. However, anyone who takes the three-act structure will determine the plot’s  structure as a matter of significance. During development, the screenwriter decides the boundaries between the three acts, also the inciting incidents, conflicts and the midpoint of the second act. After developing the basic story, for most screenwriters, the next step involves writing a scene by scene outline of the full movie. Most of them use an index card for each scene to arrange and re-arrange the scene.

Next, I would like to discuss the Location. Finding appropriate place would be a real pain. From my experience, the best way to get a good deal on places is to contact an honest film location agent and explains the situation. Depending on the movie budget, location scouts, as like casting directors are worth every denomination if one can afford them. They do exactly what their name proposes; they go with our specifications and cast candidates for our location, and in any case, they already have wide-ranging libraries of location.

How do I write reflectively?

I spent a great deal of my time thinking about stories and scripts in my life. When I reflect on a story first, I start with building a character and make a story based on character. Initially, during my bachelor’s degree, I use to think of a story and add characters and incidents to it. Later when I worked under a director, he asked me to build a character and then brainstorm to make sub characters and conflicts that the character could face.

After reading reflective reading, I realised that what he asked me to do was a similar idea. I use to think about what people have said, and I always try to include it in my stories. Most my character’s characteristics are same as my real world friends or colleagues. I would say, reflection is a personal response to new ideas, information, situation, or experiences. It is a phase of processing where learning and thinking would take place. In my opinion, there is no particular style or format of reflective thinking; there are only questions to be explored and answered. Studying other people is an opportunity to gain self-knowledge, and also a way to achieve clarity and a better understanding of what we are learning.

I would like to discuss the strategies for enhancing learning from surrounding experience. We should also think about the different perspectives on what we read or experience, i.e., alternative interpretations I would like to call. We should be able to answer few questions like, why it is inspiring, confusing, challenging or exciting. We should be able to explore what comes next after thoughts and actions. Later at the end, we should think about, how we solved the problem, reached a conclusion and attained the point of understanding.

Melbourne Noir: Shelter in the shadows

YouTube Link:

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Earlier I have done five short films in black and white tone, however here the challenge was bit different because the challenge was to narrate a story with four images and two videos. Film noir go beyond genre to have an objective reality as a body of movie described by their predicted change of mood and scepticism. Noir is my favourite theme because it should have a stark, high contrast, sharp visuals, and angular shadows. My aim was to introduce a rustic feel to the modern city Melbourne. The main characteristic of my story was the interaction between the photographer and light. When I was thinking about the narrative theme ambiguity and violent death came to my mind.

The biggest problem I faced during the shoot was the lack of sufficient light and unwanted noise in the image. Adequate lighting can bring vibrant and high contrast black shadows to the frame. It is the constant opposition of areas of light and dark that characterises film noir cinematography, stated by Janey Place and Lowell Peterson. As I shot the video with the Mobile phone, the depth of field doesn’t play a significant role in the photos and videos. One of my classmate, Christina Stenseth’s issue, was with the lighting. Most of the scenes shot at night with subtle lighting and with shadows. Street lights are the only source of light and the main action set in the dark street. The characters and the location often give sufficient lighting emphasis. The antagonist hid in the realistic tableau of the city at night, and most of the time his face is blacked out by shadow as he follows. Due to insufficient lighting, the arrangement of space inside the frame was irregular, because of that establishing long shot and the personalised shots were tough.

The Oscar winner Janusz Kaminski, for the film Schindler’s List, he faced a similar lighting issue, and the film was his first feature film directed by Steven Spielberg. Kaminski shot most of the movies in the black and white emulsion; he uses light as symbolism, and it represents quickly. He is a lover of soft lighting and seen throughout the movie. With the help of natural light, he tries to get a soft diffused look, and he ended up in getting a highlight blooming. Detailed study of Kaminski’s lighting style, helped me to realise the mistakes I have made during the framing process. Using natural light and street lights is a better way to get a soft and contrasting look for the objects in the frame.

References:

1. Naremore, James. More than any Night: Film Noir in its Contexts. Berkley and Los Angeles. University of California Press,  1998.

2. J. Walker, Sheldon. “Schindler’s List (1993) – DP: Janusz Kaminski”. Sheldon J. Walker | Cinematographer. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

3. Tsutsumi, Cindy. “Film Noir | Film Noir: Characteristics.” Cindytsutsumi.com, 2017. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

4. Christopher, Nicholas. Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City. New York: The Free Press, Division of Simon & Schuster, 1997

WE ARE ALWAYS TRACKED

I recently became aware of the extent online media can get into our personal interest and identities. When a person creates a page or an account on social media, he or she has to put their personal information into the platform. These details are then set as our online identity. This profile details will be tracked by the web services and used to target us with various contents, which will interest us.

For example, when we post or browse about our favourite football club and later when we browse, the ads or news regarding the football club will be displayed in the advertisement column, this is because the web services maintain our browsing history and the user profile. Thus, comes the partial identity which is said as the secondary characteristics of the main character. For example, when we plan to buy a gadget online we may browse and add it to shopping site’s wish list or cart, and this data will be your partial identity.

The Identifier is a code that identifies a person or an object uniquely. The identifiers may include the MAC address of our computer’s network adapter, E-mail, Mobile number and even the location through GPS. The rate of information gets increased based on our online browsing pattern. For instance, a search you conducted for “discount shoes” or a list of websites visited. Your profile may also be based on inference data. For example, a service provider has a certain number of data points; they will use those as the basis to infer other things about you

An advertiser can track a user’s movements between Web sites because the first banner advertisement presented can set a cookie containing a unique identifier. Whenever we are browsing online the online web services drop a specific code into our system which we used to navigate, this system includes the data about the browsing and its pattern. This system is utilised by the sites to target us in later browsing. When we enter into a site, and suddenly we find an advertisement based on our previous day’s browse data. For instance, we checked the price of an apple laptop online, and on the next day, we would be able to find advertisements about the suggested laptops with low price, this is done by the web services by dropping the cookies inside our system. For example, Ebay.com sets a cookie to identify users when they log in; this allows users to download content from Ebay.com without having to re-enter a password.

I can conclude that we are always tracked one way or the other, even our present location is monitored by an unknown person on the other side.

References

  1. Wood, Andrew F, and Matthew J Smith. “Online Communication”. Google Books. N.p., 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  2. Shull, Mark, William Bohlman, and Elisa Cooper. “Patent US20060230039 – Online Identity Tracking”. Google Books. N.p., 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.