draft of Joshua's Evaluation
1. When I came to do the thriller project I new exactly what sort of film I wanted to be. I wanted it to be one of this new wave of gritty realistic dare I say more ‘intelligent’, though perhaps that’s not fair action/thrillers. The best example being the Bourne films, but also the re-booted Bond films with Daniel Craig. This is why I definitely wanted it to be set, out in cambridge rather than in Long Road because it would have lost any sense of reality and grittyness if it’d just been a bunch of people running around Long Road. I also drew on other films which I love in various places. The most obvious example of this is the use of the briefcase as a macguffin, as famously used in Pulp Fiction. (A MacGuffin being an item which drives the plot, without the details of it being necessary to the plot e.g you never find out what’s In the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Also the titles I think are slightly Tarantino-esque with he straight blocks of colour and the names in simple bold print. All credit should go to Ashley for them, he was always our chief artist for the project.
2. There is an argument that runs along the lines of “ baddies are always the lower class people”(of course I’m paraphrasing), whether this is merely upper class snoberry or something just sub-consciously ingrained on people of that class as well as perhaps the snootier of the middle class. To a certain extent one could argue that there is a ligcal line of thought that you can follow to reach this conclusion, that those who are of a working class background are more likely to have less money than other people so are more likely to need to commit crime as a form of income thus making them more likely to become ‘baddies’. And it is interesting that without really thinking about it, we dressed the ‘hero’ of the chase in a smart suit whereas the pursuers are dressed more casually perhaps suggestintg that they are of a lower class. This is the idea of a James Bond figure suavely beating the more ruffian adversary. More often that not these villains tend to be russians, in other films as well as James Bond, and I did make of the fact that Luke does look a bit like a Russian. This may have been my intention without fully realising it when I asked him to where his coat to the shoot. However regardless of whether it was planned it is very appropriate, to that idea of what a baddie should be, whether this is a far representarion or not is another matter. What really pleases me about the opening is it’s ambiguity, you could quite easily see it as Jamie is the baddy and the pursuers are actually trying to reclaim a piece of stolen property. This turns the idea on it’s head and portrays now the person higher on the social ladder is the villain and the ‘working class’ people are now trying to honestly reclaim what had been stolen from them, perhaps symbolic of capitalism itself: that idea that the rich have everything (symbolized in the suit) and yet they still will steal from the poorer people (or perhaps just the russians). It is open to interpretation.
3. When it comes to the distribution of films there are normally two or three ways to go the first and most obvious is a cinema release, this can be to as many theatres as the distributor thinks is economically sensible, they will weigh up how much money they want to make and the likely appeal of the film i.e how many people will go and see it and how much money the film will get because of this. It’s a fine balance because if they don’t put it into enough cinemas they won’t get enough returns but put it into too many and they’ll lose money because of the cost of creating the reels and then actually distributing them. This is why films get pulled from the cinemas if the company thinks that not enough people are going to see it to make it econmically viable. The other way is a Tv movie or straight to DVD. Straight dvd is really for those films which either no one will distribute in cinemas or are aimed at a different market, for example small children. This is also true of TV movies, a company will often put a film on the TV if it’s aimed at small children who aren’t as likely to go to the cinema and then get their returns through merchandising and similar, a good example of this is the first High School Musical film. Straight to tv or DVD are almost always much lower budget affairs that can’t afford too go into cinema. Bigger budget movies needs the return that they’ll get from cinemas, it’s an upwards spiral often: bigger budget, more predicted viewsings, bigger distribution, possibility of more money, so next time bigger budget. However this is not always true some films have very high budgets and don’t make returns. As this is the opening to a action/political thriller movie, it’s the kind of film that is almost certainly likely to be distributed in a cinema as it will have wide appeal to audiences meaning that lots of people will go and see it. This is because everyone likes action/adventure movie type things. It would also be the kind of movie which probably had money put into so would want a cinema distribution to get that money back.
4. Action/thriller type movie generally have quite a broad audience, because exciting films are usually enjoyed by lots of people. Both males and females definitely. However I think it probably wouldn’t be the sort of films for young children, almost certainly a 15 or 18. This is to prevent a problem which can be created when you try and cater to everyone. In this instance if you made it an action thriller but had very little violence or swearing etc., small children could go and see it but probably wouldn’t anyway and older people teenagers and aldults who like really intense action films owuldn’t want to go and see it either cos they’d consider it stupid and kiddy. So by trying to appeal to everyone you’d actually end up distancing the majority of your best chance at a large audience (in this case older teenagers and adults).And, instead of getting a very borad range of audience you’d probably only get a very narrow one: in this example probably tweens, those who would want to go and see the more violent grown up actioners but couldn’t due to their age. However on a separate not this is a very successful age group to aim yourself at (again see High School Musical). But the target audience for this film would be predominantly male (men seem to like these sort of films more, this may seem sexist but is seemingly true) but also female older teenagers and adults. Probably not older people because they again tend not to like too violent or ‘unpleasant’ films.
5. Without trying to offend said target audience I think it is fair to say that the huge majority of people who go to see actiony/thrillery films are not after much when they go and see a film, you can see evidence of this in the slew of mediocre actions films around that still manage to make money despite pretty average at best, see Bangkok Dangerous. So to attract this audience I would make sure all your usual action film ingredients, gunfights, fight, chase sequences, car chases, explosions etc. However the likes of the Bourne films have shown that if you put the effort into making an action film really good and more importantly really clever you get rewarded with returns. Also it is infinitely more satisfying to produce a really good film than just to make a substandard one to make money, it the people who do that that are destroying the souls of films and the film industry. This is why I’d try and make it an action trhiller that was very clever in turns of plot, and the way it tells the plot. A really good action/thriller will tell the plot through the action, this is what I’d try and achieve.
6. Whenever you create anything like this that you haven’t done before you always learn a huge amount this is only natural. From simples things like I’m now completely confident with the basic handling of the editing software and was able to edit, quite precisely, exactly what I wanted in the opening (the huge majority of the time) something I just wasn’t able to do. A confidence that grew throughout the project, and came in handy in the last lesson of frantic editing. Actually going out into the ‘real world’ and having to shoot the footage also taught me a lot of things, for instance there are a lot of places which you may think are public spaces and you’re allowed to film there are actally privately owned and the people in charge will stop you from filming there. This is exactly what happened in Lion Yard, I just wasn’t aware that a single company could own a shopping centre, I always presumed they’d be a council run thing and would be lenient toward student groups filming: the wonderful of corporisation proved me wrong. This experience also taught that when you’re out shooting a film, things can go not according to plan and quite often do. This meant that we had to on the spot change what out thriller was going to be, something which I’m very proud we pulled off effectively as the alternative footage was able to be edited together almost seamlessly. Also due to the equipment we did, or more accurately didn’t have, I learnt that perhaps some of the more ambition shots I would have like to do don’t work exactly as they do in my head. The prime example is the slight wobbly hand-held camera shots where in a perfect world we would have used a dolly to create a smooth track, but perhaps another time we might be able to recquisition one of make one ourselves. Finally within the editing software, we created titles for the first time, but mostly it was just getting a lot better at everything to do with the editing software, especially really fine editing down to parts of seconds. The best example of an innovation that we thought up and then worked up how to do, was the creation of the freeze frames. We did this by getting the footage in the viewer to exactly the right moment we wanted, turning this into an image and the putting it back into the timeline and then just making it as long as we needed, thus creating the freeze frame.
7. I think the biggest progression I made from before to the present is just how naïve I was before I did this project. I’d always had lots of ideas about filming stuff but never put them into practice. I learnt so much about the realities of actually filming stuff about how when it actually comes to the nitty gritty of filming and how easily and often things don’t go to plan. How you might really want to do a shot but you just don’t get time or you can’t for whatever reason. The best example of this I can think of is me thinking we’d be able to film inside Lion Yard, something I now know we can’t. I also have more general experience of being out and about, the best ways to run a shoot, and how YOU should always get the footage if you don’t have anymore days to shoot because it’s better to have the shot which is not perfect then to have no shot at all. The best thing is everything I’ve learnt between the preliminary task and the finish of this thriller project I can use in the next project, plus I’ll learn the same amount or more next time probably.
um maybe a bit too long? :\
tell me what you think and then I'll stick on a powerpoint
Labels: By Josh