Interpretation of the brief
From reading the brief, I need to create either a music video, documentary or a short film with the theme of hidden in plain sight and I have been hired by HIPS to create it. It is due on the 9th June 2023 and it will be posted on HIPS YouTube Channel and will be shown at the arts festival. My final portfolio will need to include detailed research, planning and development. I also need to produce promotional materials to promote my product. The target audience for this project is aspiring young creators. Before I create my final project, I will be creating test products in order to prepare for my FMP.
Research of music video semiotics
I researched music video semiotics so that I could think and plan what I'd need to input in my test music video product. I looked at elements such as camera movements, props, costumes and locations. I used the 'Green Green Dress' music video from the film 'Tick, Tick... Boom' as my market research.
Final edit of music video
What style music video did you select?
I chose to do a performance and montage styled music video. It's a montage of teenagers enjoying their school lives but I also included the students performing the song.
What inspired your music video style and choices?
I chose Tears For Fears' song "Everybody Wants To Rule The World." Since this song was released in the 1980s, I decided that it would be best to recreate that era's aesthetic for the music video. A recent trip to a 1980s vintage museum gave me the inspiration for this concept and got me to thinking about how a retro theme could produce a greatly themed video.
What technical details did you use in your music video?
As the video was supposed to look like it was filmed by teenagers, the technical details such as camera angles and movements didn't matter as much for this video. However, I did use movements, angles and shot sizes such as tracking, mid, close-ups, pull/zoom outs, two shots, pans and high angles.
How will what you have done for your music video help you develop your skills in the future?
I think that it will help me develop my creative thinking skills because when editing this video, I added a retro overlay which I think made the retro aesthetic come to life and I want to think of my creative ideas like this in the future. Producing this video also helped me develop my camera operating skills, I am proud that I have managed to maintain the lens' focus on all of the clips that I shot for this video and I am hoping that this will be the case for all my future videos and projects.
Would you like to do a music video for your FMP? Why or why not?
I would not like to do a music video for my FMP as I like to create stories and you don't have a lot of freedom to do this for a music video.
Evaluation of music video
I worked as the editor and camera operator on the music video for my group. It was my responsibility to make sure that the video was edited by the deadline and that all the shots were clear and in focus, and that none of the shots were shaky. However, I think that some of the shots were a little unstable even when using a tripod. Next time, I will make sure to review all the shots before moving onto shooting the next one so that I can review my mistakes. I believe that I managed to keep all the shots in focus, and I also trust that the final edit turned out well. The one thing I’d do differently is try to match the lip sync shots to the music.
The music video's theme was retro, so my group and I wanted it to seem as though it were a bunch of teenagers recording each other at school back in the 1980s. Since we used film overlays to give the video an older look and feel in the final version, I felt that my group and I were successful in capturing the idea. We settled on the Tears for Fears song "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" as it was released in the 1980s and perfectly suited our concept.
Since we wanted natural lighting for the video and only needed to add music in post-production, we didn’t hire any lighting or sound equipment for it. I believe that we should require lighting equipment next time because a number of our clips were overexposed and overly bright.
I believe it ended up being okay for our camera work, although the framing and composition still need improvement. The rule of thirds will be on my thoughts the next time I produce a video, and I'll make sure there isn't any dead space in the frames.
Documentary case study
Just like I did with the music video, I looked at a documentary to research before creating my own. I looked at BBC Three's documentary, "A Time of My Life That I Will Never Get Back." I looked at their use of B-Rolls from their documentary as I thought it would be an essential detail to add to my own documentary.
Final edit of documentary
What style of documentary did you select?
Me and my group chose to do an expository and interview styled documentary as it was more of a educational topic and these styles fit this theme.
What inspired your documentary style and choices?
Me and my group are big fans of the Spider-Man movies and since it is the 60th anniversary of Spider-Man, we thought it was a suitable topic for a documentary.
Explain the technical details of your documentary.
For this documentary, we didn't really need to play around with different camera movements, angles and shot sizes since it was just an interview and the B-Roll clips were just clips and pictures of comic books and films. For the interview, we also had our interviewees look into the camera as it shows that they are spilling information directly to the audience.
How will what you have done in your documentary help you develop your skills in the future?
Some skills I used when making the documentary was informing ideas, lighting and editing. For informing ideas, I had to research a lot of information about the Spider-Man films to include in the video and for lighting, I had to figure out how to set up the lights and this was a challenge for me since I haven't had a lot of experience with setting up lights. In the future, I will develop these skills by watching YouTube tutorials on how to set up certain lights and I will also make more mind maps and mood boards when informing ideas so then I can focus on my key ideas and keep adding to them.
Would you like to do documentaries for your FMP? Why or why not?
I would not like to do a documentary video for my FMP as I like fictional story telling and you cannot really do that in a documentary styled video.
My role on this documentary project was the editor and one of the interviewees in front of the camera. It was my obligation to complete the video by the deadline and to inform the audience about the specific topic (Spider-Man).
I think that we did well with adding an A and B-Roll to our video as these are essential for documentary styled videos and unlike in our music video, we booked out lighting equipment this time which made the lighting in the shots a little better. For the lighting, we could have improved massively if we used more shadows since our clips were too bright and adding shadows would’ve given it more depth. For the audio, we used an attachable microphone which we placed on top of our camera. Next time, I think that we should use a boom pole as you could hear a lot of background noise and it wasn’t pleasant quality.
The educational/news style of the video was noticeable to our audience, but they weren't really engaged since it felt scripted and was too long. For the next time, I'd like to try to limit the video to a maximum of one or two minutes.
Pre-production for short film
I created a script so then I could follow a structured plot for my film. There was no speaking in my film so I created an AV script so I could figure out what I visually wanted for each section of the film and what audio, sound effects and music I would want for each section too.
I created a risk assessment so then I could be aware of what risks what occur on set of our short film production.
It was essential for me and my group to create an equipment form since we needed to book equipment out for our shoot.
I created a shooting schedule so that I can plan ahead and manage my time for shooting and editing the short film.
I created a shot list so then I could have a better idea of what I wanted to happen in each shot and it gave me the chance to think about what camera movement and sizes I needed for each section.
Final edit of short film
What genre did you select for your short film?
I selected to do a horror/murder story for my short film.
What inspired your short film story and genre?
Since I created this short film around Halloween, I was inspired to create a short horror film in honour of the holiday.
What technical details did you use in your short film?
I used experimented with different technical skills such as panning, tracking and jump cuts. In post-production I also played around with text, transitions, music, sound effects and colour grading to put the film together.
How will what you have done for your short film help you develop your skills in the future?
I would like to use the skills I developed during the post-production process from my short film in the future as I would like to use these techniques in my future career.
Would you like to do a short film for your FMP? Why or why not?
I would like to do a short film as I would love the chance to create a longer story and I would like to work on films in the future.
Evaluation of short film
For this short film, my roles were the talent, editor and director. It was my responsibility to direct the other talent/myself, put the film together and to perform in front of the camera. I think that I did well with organising the production process as I booked out the equipment and location for myself and the other crew members/cast. I think that we did much better with things such as lighting and audio compared to the music video and documentary projects. Our lighting was still a little bright at times but I think that if we added more shadows in the lighting next time, it will be much better as we will be able to add more depth. For audio, we didn't end up using the h4n zoom recorder a lot as the batteries kept dying but in the door shaking shot, we managed to use it and the audio quality was far better than when we used the attached rode microphone in the documentary. Next time, I will make sure to do more planning for the shoot and research on equipment before the production.
Deciding on my next project
I ranked my projects so then I could reflect on what I liked/disliked and what technical skills went well on each video project.
I would like to create a short film for my test product as I enjoy creating a story based video and in the future, I would like to have a career in post-production for films so I feel like this would be good practice for me and it will look good on my portfolio compared to music videos and documentaries. From this project, I would like to improve my editing and composition techniques and I would like to achieve a distinction grade from this as well. I would also like to increase my confidence with using lighting equipment.
Creating a test product
I wrote down my idea and attached a mood board so that I could pitch it to my group.
I created an infographic for the role of an Assistant Director (AD) because I wanted to learn more about my role for this project.
Pitch for full length version
Pitch - peer feedback
I believe our pitch team did an excellent job of explaining our concept to the audience. Our audience could easily understand our slides, and we had a solid visual presentation. For instance, we linked our idea and development to the survey responses. Due to one of our presenters swearing and another arriving late to the pitch, we didn't do as well in terms of organisation and professionalism. Additionally, we failed to organize the pitch slides correctly. Furthermore, we should have developed on our proposal by providing additional details about the storyline, characters, and locations. To improve for next time, our group should practice presenting our pitch beforehand so then we would be aware if any of our slides were in the wrong place. I also think that we should try and avoid reading of the slides next time and try and use more eye contact towards our audience. I agree with the feedback we received as they made excellent points on how we should have explained our idea further.
From the feedback we received, we realised that we were struggling for locations and because of this issue, we had to switch to a different idea as we were running out of time to get our chosen locations. We will now be creating a music video to the song 'Beauty and a Beat' by Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj and which will be shot at college and it will be a performance piece.
Pre-production documents for my final test product
I created a kit list so that I would be aware of what kit would be needed for the shoot.
I also created a prop/costume list as well as a kit list because it would also make me aware of what I would need to bring along to the production shoot and what the cast would need to wear on the day.
I created a shot list so that I could visualise the shots for the performance music video and know what types of shots I would like to include or try out in my final piece.
Edit of full-length product
Full-length product peer feedback
From our peer feedback we received, we discovered that our transitions, camera movements, angles, editing, engagement, use of locations and colours were what went well in our music video. Our transitions were clean, and our camera movements/angles were very creative according to our peer's responses to the video. We used a few settings such as a classroom and the TV studio and our audience liked the set up we used in each location. We used a lot of colours by using colour grading and flashing lights which was what our audience were engaged by. For next time, we should improve on adding shadows in our lighting to give it more depth, we should add more fixed shots as we have a lot of clips where the camera is moving around. I feel like we could've done better with matching the lip sync to the music and we also could have included a flash warning. Overall, I think we did a good job on our final music video and I think that it is engaging for our target audience (teenagers) and the music fits the style of the video well.
Full-length product evaluation
I believe that this project was a success and that I did well on this project. When me and my group were planning to do a murder mystery one take short film at the beginning of this project, as the assistant director, it was my job to make sure I knew what kit, props and costumes were needed and I also made sure everyone had a job to do every week and I managed to achieve this by writing down weekly checklists. I also took on the responsibility of trying to find a possible location. I didn't achieve a lot from this task as every location that I contacted didn't respond, so that's when me and my group decided to switch to a performance music video. Although we decided to switch our idea last minute, our video still did pretty well. We experimented with different coloured lights to fit the performance theme and it was a success. Our transitions in-between each shot gave an upbeat vibe to our video which was also really effective. Apart from the fact that we changed our idea just before we had to shoot, I think we could've improved on our pre-production as we did plan well with locations, costumes and props.
I recreated the final scene from the film "Inglorious Basterds." I was the producer on this project.
I created a promotion video for the art department at Gloucestershire College. I was the editor for this product.
What are codes and conventions?
Codes represent and create the meaning in a film. They represent the many ways that equipment is used in sharing a story in film. For example, the technical codes would include the camera work, the acting, the setting, the editing, etc... Conventions may include acceptable ways of understanding something or of presenting something. Conventions are often in our everyday life and we don’t even realise their impact or presence in our lives.
How can they be used in your format typically?
In my FMP short film, I will use codes and conventions such as camera movements/angles, shot sizes, editing, lighting, themes, direction and story. For example, for camera movements, if I wanted to make it look like my character is looking up at something, I would use a high angle shot. For editing, I will elements such as transitions, text, sound effects and music. I will make sure to plan out what lighting I would like in each shot/scene and I will make sure to film at the right time of day (if outside). I will ensure that my film has a understandable and easy story to follow and that my directions towards the actors will help portray the story and/or theme.
Discuss the technical elements of your chosen video (camera, lighting, editing, colours, set design, costumes, themes, direction and story).
In the video which I selected, some technical elements which I spotted was that the film used a variety of camera movements, shot sizes and angles, including a close-up, point of view angle, wide shot and trucking. The lighting in the film is bright apart from the beginning as I believe this is to portray the sadness of the character. The editing of this short film is well paced and keeps the audience engaged. The colour grading also helps portray the feeling of the environment and characters. For example, on the pier, the colours are bright which shows that the characters are feeling bright. The costumes and set design also helps the audience to have a feel for the characters or setting. In the coffee shop, the main character wears a white turtleneck. The setting and costume in this particular scene gives a cosy and happy feeling to the scene. As I said before, the story and direction in this film is well paced. There are a decent amount of settings, costumes, props and characters for this short film.
How is this video going to help you develop your own ideas/video? How has it informed your ideas or inspired your decision making process?
I believe that this film is going to help me develop my ideas as the film's pace has been put together really well, they don't have a lot of characters and extra's which is useful for me as I won't be able to gain a lot of cast and the editing of this film was really smooth and it's similar to what I would like my final short film to be like.
In this short film, they use many different shot sizes, angles and camera movements to portray a message. For example, it has a close-up shot on a picture as it is the key topic/message of the film and they use a POV angle when the character looks through the telescope to show the audience what he can see through his eyes. The lighting at the beginning of this film was darker compared to the end of the film, which shows that the story gets happier towards the end.
Audience focus group
Before creating my mind map of ideas, I asked my target audience what they think Hidden in Plain Sight makes them think of. I received numerous answers such as mental health, sexuality, illnesses, confidence and relationships. I circled the ones which I have gone through which will help me relate my short film to my personal issues.
Mind map of initial ideas
I created a mind map with four ideas which relate to hidden in plain sight. I wrote down locations that I'll possibly use for each idea, what genre it is, the description of the short film idea, what effects I would like to use, my influences and how it relates to hidden in plain sight.
Pros and cons infographics
Before obtaining feedback, I decided to list the positives and negatives on each of my ideas. This helped me narrow down what the production process would be like for each idea. For example, my budget would be easy to manage on my first idea compared to my third idea and the locations would be easy to get to for my first project compared to my second project.
Mood board of HIPS ideas
I created a mood board for each of my ideas as it helped me visualise the specific idea into more detail. Such as the emotions, genres, settings, characters, costumes and props.
I equally love all of my ideas from my mind map, however, in terms of cast/crew, ideas two and four will be the easiest to recruit. Since my first idea is a romance film, I believe that it could be quite hard to find actors willing to take on the role. Also, for the third idea, I would need a lot of extras as it needs a party setting and I would also need a lot of colourful lights. I feel that my fourth idea would be the best for the theme of Hidden in Plain Sight, and it relates to my life so it will be an easier short film to write and direct and it would be a more meaningful and personal project to create. I also think that my second idea would give me the opportunity to use creative elements in my final piece. Such as a loop, using the same shot at the beginning and the end of the short film.
From the feedback I received from my peers, they also believe that the second and fourth ideas are my best and they would love to see these concepts become reality. For my fourth idea, me and my peers think that incorporating dance into a film would be a very creative concept and including it as an escape from reality from mental health issues is very relatable for a lot of viewers. It's also linked to Hidden in Plain Sight. The one negative element to this idea that my peers mentioned is that it could be triggering for some viewers as it includes eating disorders and bullying. For my second idea, my peers suggested that this idea would be the hardest to make but also the most interesting idea out of all my initial ideas. A few of my peers were also confused about whether it relates to Hidden in Plain Sight though so if I were to include this idea, I would make sure that I have a clear message in my film. My peers liked my other ideas too however they think that idea one is a little confusing and doesn't relate to Hidden in Plain Sight at all and the third idea might be triggering for some viewers however they did explain that would spread awareness on drugs and alcohol.
Overall, I really like all of my ideas and I obtained really helpful feedback but I would like to do my fourth option as my final major project because I can spread awareness on mental health, eating disorders and bullying and it will give me the chance to show off my favourite hobby (dance) and incorporate that into my film piece. It's also easy for locations, budgeting, costumes, props and timing. I can also be very creative with the dance shots, colour grading, quick shots and jump cuts.
I created a research schedule so that I could plan when to complete my idea research.
FMP idea and target audience survey
From my audience survey results, my audience believes that my idea meets the requirements of the brief as it relates to Hidden in Plain Sight. They also mentioned that my idea is very creative as it hasn't been done before and they would love to see it be turned into a film. My peers from the survey explained that my target audience would be entered around teenage girls, however, from this film I would like my audience to be towards both genders as both struggle with eating disorders. They also suggested that people who have either struggled or are still struggling with eating disorders would be my target audience. I also hope that people who like to dance will enjoy the film as a lot of my films will be about that topic as well. Luckily, most of my audience prefer to watch short films rather than a music video or documentary. This will help my audience grow as it is their preferred video format. My peers also stated that their favourite platforms to watch films on are Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube.
What do the target audience think/feel about my chosen topic/issue?
They think that my idea is creative, and they are excited to see me incorporate dance into this film. My audience also thinks that my chosen topic of eating disorders is a great option as I can spread awareness about them, and it'll let my viewers see the character's point of view on what it is like to have an eating disorder.
How are they inspired by media products?
My audience is inspired by media products by watching/using certain content/products, such as films, music videos, documentaries, video games and music.
What keeps them engaged when watching short films?
What keeps my audience engaged when watching short films is the pacing. Short films need to quickly set the scene/story to keep my audience engaged with them. They also explained that the film can fit a lot in a short space of time. I will take these points into consideration when writing my screenplay as I would like to fit as much as I can in the space of a five-to-ten-minute film.
What platforms do they use to watch short films?
Most of my audience use Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube to watch short films and a couple others like to use Amazon Prime.
What inspired them to pursue creative media?
They wanted to learn how to create different types of content. Such as short films, music videos, photos and documentaries.
What similar media products have performed well in the industry?
I have looked at similar media products that use similar topics and themes to the one I am trying to produce. I looked at Netflix’s film “To the Bone” which is about a young girl with an eating disorder who is on a journey to self-discovery. There is also another character in the film who has an eating disorder and is trying to recover so they can dance again, which was great to see portrayed so that I could take inspiration from it. I also looked at two short films on YouTube, which both use the theme of dance. The first one I looked at was “I Wish I Was a Dancer” which is about a young girl wanting to be a dancer. Unlike my idea, mine is about a guy or girl who is already a dancer but is fighting to become healthier in order to carry on with their passion, but with the theme of “wanting to be dancer” it is linked to mine. The other dance short film I looked at was “Unsteady” which is a narrative music video but the camera movements they use are like ones I would like to try to use in my product and the song is like the story of my film as having an eating disorder can make you feel unsteady.
What quantitative data can you collate to prove their success? e.g. likes, views, shares, box office figures.
“To the Bone” is a popular film on Netflix which was also played at a film festival before it was put onto Netflix. This shows how successful the film really was. “I Wish I Was a Dancer” has over 150,000 views and over 5,000 likes and “Unsteady” has over 300,000 views and over 17,000 likes. Considering these were on YouTube, which isn’t your typical platform to find short films, I’d say these were very successful videos.
What qualitative data can you collate to prove their success? e.g. comments on social media, reviews
Some comments that have been made about the short film “I Wish I Was a Dancer” were either from dancers or people who dream to dance. One comment from a dancer stated, “I’ve been dancing since I was 3, I’m 14 now, and I absolutely feel and love this.” This shows that this certain person highly relates to this chosen film, and I hope to inspire other dancers through mine, because all dancers have their struggles which they can overcome. Some comments that have been made about the short film/music video “Unsteady” were from people who either love to dance or watch dances. One of them stated, “When he let go of the bar... my heart stopped. This is one of the most emotional videos I have ever watched.” This shows that dance can tell a story and showcase emotions, which once again, I would like to display in my short film product. I also looked at film reviews for the Netflix film “To the Bone.” From these reviews I could see that most of the people who wrote a review were either suffering from an eating disorder or know someone who is suffering. One review I spotted which caught my attention stated, “This movie was very touching to watch. I believe it gave so many insights into what eating disorders are and how they can be addressed. Every character did a great job doing their part. I watched this repeatedly and it’s such an important film. I would recommend to parents/friends who know people who are going through an illness like this.” This was such a great response to the movie which I agree with, and I hope to spread the same message in my product.
How does the target audience respond to similar media products that have been produced?
The target audience responded very positively to similar media products. I think that these responses are exactly how I’d like my target audience to respond to my short film.
I created an audience profile because it helped me reflect on who I wanted to aim my film towards, which will also be beneficial for the pre-production stages of this assignment.
Video Title: Chance to Dance
Theme of the Short Film:
The theme for my short film is Hidden in Plain Sight which means I need to show an everyday topic which is in front of people but isn’t obvious at first. I chose the topics of eating disorders and having a passion for dance which are both Hidden in Plain Sight as you never know what someone’s hobby or passion is and eating disorders are a hidden illness, unless you get to know that certain person.
An 18-year-old dancer struggling with ARFID must face challenges to follow her passion towards dancing on stage. Whilst still taking dance lessons and dreaming of becoming a dance star, she decides to keep her eating disorder a secret and goes through a not so easy eating recovery. Will she recover? Will she manage to keep this secret, and will she still have the chance to continue dancing?
13–25-year-old girls (however, I do encourage all ages and genders to watch).
Length of Video:
We have been asked to make a product for the HIPS YouTube channel, this can be either a music video, documentary or short film. This must be completed by 6th June 2023
The film starts with Blake (the lead role) dancing in the studio. She dances to some calm/upbeat music and then eventually looks at the time on her phone and she takes her dance bag and leaves. She exits the building and wonders down the city streets taking the bus home.
She gets off the bus and receives a call from her mum. Her mum asks her if she has eaten the protein bar she put in her bag, and she realises she forgot to eat it and went to the nearest bench to eat it before she went home. Her friend, Morgan is on a dog walk and bumps into her whilst she is eating on the bench. As she says hello to Blake, she puts her protein bar away as she doesn’t like people watching her eat. They both chat for a bit and before Blake’s friend takes off, she asks if she wants to hang out with her the next day which she agrees to.
It then cuts to Blake getting home and she goes upstairs to her room. She throughs her dance bag on the chair and grabs some pyjamas. Cuts to shots of the shower turning on, Blake grabbing her toothbrush and brushing her teeth. She goes back to her room, dries her hair and then watches dance videos on her laptop.
After she had enough of watching videos, she gets into her bed. She turns off the light, and she rolls to the side and shuts her eyes. However, as she opens her eyes, she is lying on the floor in the middle of a stage. Sad toned music starts playing and an audience starts applauding, the spotlight appears on her, and she starts dancing. When the music stops and the audience cheers, she bows and picks up flowers from the stage which the audience had thrown. As she takes the final bow, she exits the stage and it cuts back to her in bed.
Birds chirping sounds fade in as shots of outside her house in the morning appear, it cuts to Blake at the breakfast table eating some cereal. Before she eats it, the camera cuts to multiple close-up shots of the food, showing off the textures and colours. It jump cuts from Blake back to the food, with the camera getting closer and closer each time, showing all her senses (smell, sight, touch). She decides to throw it away and she grabs her beach stuff and leaves the house which cuts after she gets into her car and switches it on.
It cuts to shots of a beach and fun fair with upbeat music. Blake meets Morgan right outside the beach town and hug before walking towards the town together. Upbeat music continues as it shows a montage of them at the beach together. They run around the beach, chase seagulls, dip in the sea, build sandcastles and go on rides. After the montage they sit on the wall together and Morgan eats some food and asks if Blake is ok with just having a drink which she responds “yes” to.
It then cuts to Blake walking through her front door and after cuts to her playing with her food at the dining room table. She has a flashback from the day she just had with Morgan when she said that she should eat. She gets throw backs to when she was in a classroom a year before. She was with Ashley Clair, her mean classmate and she judges the way she eats, which is why she can’t eat in front of others anymore. It cuts back to her playing with her food and taking a bite slowly and covering her mouth. It cuts to her in her bedroom. She looks at her window and sees it's light outside, she then looks at her phone and realises it's the afternoon. She gets a notification from her friend, Katie asking if she wants to go out to eat.
Cuts to Blake in a diner with her friend Katie. They are looking through the menus and deciding what to get. They chat and order their food. Blake decides to order a vanilla milkshake and Katie decides to ask the waitress about their specials. She responds saying that cakes are half price so Katie decides to order one. Katie and Blake continue talking until the waitress comes with their food and drink.
It cuts to her sitting at a table on her 18th birthday, in front of her birthday cake with candles. Her friends and family are around her singing happy birthday. Blake blows out her birthday candles and one of her friends cuts her a slice of cake. It then cuts to her in the living room eating her slice of cake alone and starts choking on it. It cuts to her back in bed, heavily breathing. She gets her phone out and texts the studio owner if the studio is free, which they reply yes to. Blake grabs her dance bag and leaves her house.
Blake is pacing to the studio and when she arrives, she throws her bag down and puts music on. She starts dancing with the sad music. The scene shows a montage of her struggling to dance and struggling with food. It cuts from her dancing to her crying back to her in the studio and then back and forth to the bad food moments. At the end of the montage, she stands still in the studio.
She walks through the city streets and bumps into Ashley, her old classmate that used to bully her. Ashley recognises her and notices her dance bag. She asks what’s in her bag and she explains that she is a dancer. They make small talk and Ashley apologises for the way she treated her.
Blake walks through the forest. It cuts to different sections of the forest with her still walking through it. She comes across a water stream and attempts to skid rocks and sticks. She picks them up one by one until she comes across a painted one. She looks closely at it and sees the quote written on it (“everything is hard before it’s easy”). She looks at it with thought and thinks about what she is going to do to make her current struggles disappear.
She knocks at her friend, Morgan’s door. When she answers, Blake says that she needs help. As she walks through the door and it close behind her, it cuts to them both sitting on the floor in Morgan’s living room. They talk about Blake’s eating disorder and Morgan asks her what her dream is and that she should take baby steps to recover so that she can chase those dreams.
Blake finds an ED therapist online at home and she decides to take a baby step and call them to see if they can help.
It cuts back to Blake in the forest. She looks at the ground and then at her painted rock. She places her painted rock on the ground with the quote “chance to dance.” The film fades to black and credits.
Legal and Ethical Issues:
I will need to ensure that the background music, sound effects and themes are copyright free. For example, I will use bensound.com and the YouTube audio library for copyright free music and I will need to ensure that all costumes, props and backgrounds won’t be copyrighted, for instance, I can’t use a t-shirt which includes another film on it. I will also be filling out risk assessments to keep myself and other cast/crew safe whilst on the production set. Finally, I need to make sure that my film will not trigger anyone. I will make sure to add text at the beginning and/or end of my film, sharing trigger warnings and sites where you can find help.
Main character (Blake Taylor) - the lead role is an 18-year-old girl with ARFID, and she has a dream to become a dancer on a big stage, but she must face the challenges of her eating disorder as well as her dance training. I will need someone between the ages of 17-20 to play her and I’d need to find someone who has a good amount of dancing abilities.
Secondary character 1 (Blake’s mum) - this is an audio role only. In the beginning of the film, Blake (the lead role) is on the phone to her mum, and I will need someone around the age of 30-50 to voice her.
Secondary character 2 (Morgan Brooks) - she is Blake’s friend. She is an 18-year-old girl who doesn’t know about Blake’s eating disorder however; she is very supportive. Just like the lead role, I will need someone around the ages of 17-20 to play Morgan.
Secondary character 3 (Ashley Clair) - she bullies Blake in the classroom flashback scene. She judges the way Blake eats and has a couple of lines.
Secondary character 4 (Katie Johnson) - Blake's friend who meets up with her at diner.
Extras – background actors will be needed for the birthday party flashback scene – these can be any age.
I will need 1-2 crew members minimum for this film. Some scenes won’t need audio so only one crew member may only be needed for them, but the others will require two to hold the microphone and/or set up light equipment.
Crew - Christine Wakerley, Matt Wakerley, Rebecca Wakerley, Susannah Wakerley, Imogen Ward, Oliver Dancer (it will also be choreographed by Dakeney Fox Dance).
The equipment I will use on this film are...
Canon EOS RP
LED light boxes and wands
SD card (128GB)
The following locations are the places I am currently planning to use for this film...
Hometown streets – Bream, Gloucestershire
Bench in Sydney Harbour
A stage – college or local theatre (if not possible, I will try to make the TV studio look like a stage)
Birthday party setting – at home
Forest of Dean – pathway in the forest
These are the props I will possibly need for this film...
Non-slip dance pads
Plate with toast
Food (park and dining room scenes)
Crisps (classroom scene)
Notebooks and pens
Birthday cake with candles
Painted rock with the quote “everything’s hard before it’s easy”
Painted rock with the quote “chance to dance”
These are the type of costumes I will need my characters to wear...
Dance outfit (for the dance scenes – black clothing – leggings/joggers with a black top – for the lead role, Blake, only).
Pyjamas – there is one scene where Blake gets ready for bed so she will need pyjamas to wear.
Dance costume – a dance dress will be needed for the scene where Blake dreams of being on the dance stage.
Birthday party outfit – a colourful dress, possibly with a birthday hat, badge or birthday sashe.
Casual baggy outfits (for every other scene and character – any clothes will be fine for these scenes as I don’t need a specific outfit theme).
This product will be posted on the HIPS YouTube channel, and it will also be on my personal website and YouTube channel. I will promote this on my media accounts which are on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.
Legal and ethical issues
For legal issues, I will need to consider copyright. Whether it is music, sound effects or something that is in the camera frame that may be copyrighted (such as a branded product), I need to be careful about what I include and need to ensure that I have the right to use it. For instance, for music, I will either use the website “Bensound” or the YouTube audio library since they include copyright free songs on these platforms. I must also complete a risk assessment for every location I decide to shoot at. These must be done before shooting as I need to be aware of the hazards of each setting and I need to keep myself and the other crew and cast safe. For instance, before shooting in the dance studio, I will create a risk assessment and one of the risks that may appear are tripping hazards, due to the equipment. I will also need to gather permission for shooting on certain locations. I will need to email the owner of the location before shooting at that certain place. For example, I will need the college dance studio for a few scenes for my film and before shooting there, I will need to ask the owner if I can book it out and I’ll need to ask when it will be free for me to use.
For ethical issues, I will need to consider if my film will be offensive towards my viewers or not. Since the topic of my film is a more serious theme, I will need to ensure that the topic I am spreading awareness on and portraying in my film, won’t trigger my audience. I will try to avoid these problems by carefully planning my story and trying to put myself into my viewer’s shoes, I will look through a couple of eating disorder websites to help me understand the different types of disorders more. I’ll also join groups on Facebook and post surveys on there so people with eating disorders can state their opinions on it. At the beginning of my film, I will include a warning as some people may not be able to watch it without getting triggered by the story. At the end of my film, I will place text with different websites so my viewers will know where to get help if they need it. Another ethical issues I may come across is my cast and crew being offended by not getting credited or getting posted on social media. When gathering cast and crew, I will make sure they sign a form saying that I have their permission to post them on social media and I will also ensure that everyone who helped with the film is credited at the end. This includes cast, crew, brand collaborations and locations.
As a student filmmaker, there are many limitations that I have which I have identified. Firstly, I will either have a low budget or no budget at all on this project. This means that I will have restricted access to props, costumes, few locations and equipment. I will also have limited creativity since my budget is on the lower side. This also means that my film will be lower quality than a high budget film as I am using a one grand camera instead of the cinema quality ones. To fix this limitation, I will use what I have at home for props and costumes and if I need to gather more props/costumes, I will go to cheap shops such as charity shops. Luckily, I do have access to equipment at college, but I would need to book it out in advance as other students will need equipment for their projects as well. I am lucky to have my own camera however, I will need to acquire sound and lighting. Another issue is that I have limited cast and crew. Thankfully, I am friends with a couple of people from the college’s performing arts department, however a lot of my class will be busy working on their own projects and so that means that gaining crew members will be a challenge. I also cannot drive and there aren’t any transport options from where I live, this will make finding locations harder as it needs to be accessible to everyone working on the film. Transport can also be a lot of money and if someone cannot afford it, I need to be able to give them the money towards transport. This also fits into the limitation of reliability. My cast need to be able to make the time for the film and if they mention that they can shoot on a certain and at a certain time, they need to make the effort to be there. Another issue there is for the production is scheduling. Everyone in the production, including myself needs to balance the production, college, work, extra-curricular activities and personal life. This will make shooting a lot more challenging so I will need to ensure that shooting will be outside college times and/or on weekends. I also do not have a lot of technical knowledge so there’s a big possibility that there will be kit and technical failures on set and in post-production. I hope that if I do a couple of test shots before-hand, my skills on set will be a lot easier to manage. The final limitation that I’ve considered is that if I were to shoot outside, I’d need to check the weather forecast as I may need a particular weather for the shoot.
I created a shot list which I can follow when shooting my product, this will keep me organised and stay on track during production and post-production stages.
I created a script so that I could follows the actions, dialogue, locations and time of each scene.
Crew and cast list
I created a crew and cast list so I would have their contact information and I would know when they're available.
I created a production schedule so that I can get everything done by the project deadline.
I created a storyboard so that I could visualise my shots.
Risk assessments + Location Recces
For each location, I completed a risk assessment and location recce before shooting. It was essential that I completed a risk assessment beforehand so that me and my other crew/cast members would be safe on set and that I'd be aware of the risks that could occur. It was also important for me to complete location recce documents so then I would know when the location would be avaliable and it would make me consider important things such as transport/getting to the location, when it's available and would I need permission to film in that certain place.
I created and presented a pitch so that I could explain my idea to my audience and to showcase the planning stages of the short film.
Short film trailer
I created a trailer so that my viewers/audience could learn more about the plot of my film and make them more excited to watch it. It will also help me gain more viewers.
I created a film poster for my short film because it gives my audience a glimpse of the plot of my film and it'll let my audience know the visual aesthetic of my film. I wanted to use one of the shots from my theatre scene as in my opinion, it had the best cinematography from the film and it gives the audience the best visuals of the film, which will make them be more drawn towards watching it.
I created some merchandise for my film. I waited until I had finished shooting my film as I wanted a silhouette of the character dancing on the merch. The silhouette is from the same shot as the poster as I think it is the most memorable shot of the film. I also created some merch with the brand logo on.
Evaluation of the shoot
For my dance and theatre scenes. I decided to shoot the dance multiple times from different angles/places and some using movements. I used the lights from the stage to create a realistic theatre light and I used a couple of LED box lights in the dance studio shots. I liked the lighting in these scenes the most as they were the most reasonable for those particular settings, I also liked the camera roll shots I did in the studio. One thing I found challenging about the lighting in the dance studio was that there was too much light coming from the windows, to solve this issue as much as I could, I shut the blinds. I also used a few close-up shots in the film to showcase how important something is. For example, when my character was researching her illness, I made sure to have the camera close to her search on the computer as it makes it clear to the audience what she is doing and that it's an important segment of the film. Something I didn't particularly like about my shots were the shakiness. I bought a handle to put underneath my camera to make it easier to hold during camera movements but it still made the shots shaky. I used a gimbal in the studio scenes, however I couldn't set it up myself and it was a challenge trying to use and work it out. I made sure to use a tripod during the fixed shots so that I could have a shot without the shakiness. I also booked out a boom microphone pole at first, however it didn't work and thankfully I had access to my own Rode microphone which could be attached to the top of my camera which was my backup option which I ended up using, unfortunately the sound will not be as good as I hoped for but I'm glad to have found an alternative so that I could still have a clear sound. I also forgot to turn the microphone on in a couple of shots so I had to look through all of my footage before finishing each shoot to ensure that all of them included audio. I feel like on set, I struggled with figuring out what shots to do, I created a storyboard, however I did not manage to complete every scene beforehand, next time, I will make sure to plan more ahead of time. I also didn't manage to complete my shoot until the 28th May as one of my actresses was busy. I luckily had contingency days so that I could find a slot where both of us were free so we could get the shoot complete, however it gave me less time to complete the final edit, next time, I will ensure that my contingency days are further away from the deadline so I could give myself more time to finish. Contingency's I had in place for my shoot were backup days so that I could re-shoot and complete more scenes if I had not done so yet, backup locations so for example if I could not book a theatre out, I would have booked out the college theatre or TV studio instead, and backup equipment so as I mentioned earlier, I couldn't use the microphone pole which wasn't working so I used my own microphone instead. I also struggled with the change of emotion in my film. As my film is about both dance (positive topic) and eating disorders (a more negative topic), it was hard to structure the film and shoot with different emotions/tones, as I needed to consider which emotion would be most appropriate for each scene. I feel like this make the editing stages a little more challenging so I'll have to search how to smoothly change from a happier to a more emotional scene. Throughout the shoot I made sure to look over my script, shot lists, storyboards, etc... As director of the film, I had to make changes during the shoot as which included changing some of the dialogue and actions, such as in the scene where Ashley bullies Blake I changed the lines up a bit as some of the lines didn't sound right. I also had to cut some scenes and shots, such as scene 2 was supposed to be a character sitting on a bus but I had to cut this particular scene as it was too difficult to shoot. Overall, I believe that my shoot went well, I managed to find cast, crew, equipment, locations, etc... and I got most of the scenes shot in good time and I managed to experiment with different lighting, angles, movements and shot sizes.
Here is the first draft to my short film.
1 - I firstly added all of my clips to the timeline, this made it easier to edit the film as it had everything in the order I needed it to be in.
2 - I then colour graded my clips, I made sure it fit the mood and atmosphere of the scene. For example, for the park scene, I used greens and yellows as the location was mostly natural things (like plants, flowers, trees) and it was a happy scene, and I used blue colour grading for the scene where the character goes to the studio after having a traumatic flashback as it suited how she was feeling during that time (sad and down).
3 - For certain scenes, I had to unlink the audio and videos as I only needed music rather than audio. For instance, in the first dance studio scene, the theatre dream scene and the final dance studio scene required music only. I also needed to do this for the park scene and I used markers to mark where the beats were so I could change to a different shot on every beat.
4 - Whenever I had to cut to a different audio, sometimes it sound a bit choppy, to fix this, I used the constant gain tool so I could smoothly transition into the next audio which is needed.
5 - I used a dissolve transition in a couple of scenes as I believe it smoothly transitions to the next scene.
6 - I included a similar transition for the theatre scene. I used this at I thought it was a good way to show that it is a dream.
7 - I used a few screen overlays on the final dance scene as I feel that the audience will get a clear message to what the character is going through. In this scene, the character is confused and deep in her thoughts, with all these effects on top of one another, it showcases to the viewers exactly how she is feeling.
8 - I had a couple of scenes where characters are on the phone, I used the high pass effect to make it sound like it's a real telephone conversation.
9/10 - I used a black video to create a typewriting effect for the text message scenes. I also included a sound effect for the typing and message notification, I also downloaded a message sticker overlay for the text messages.
Peer feedback and evaluation of my first draft
From my peer feedback, they explained that I included a clear dialogue throughout the film, especially in the phone scenes. They also shared that they liked how I used establishing shots in the scenes where it is at my house. As well as those elements, my peers liked the camera movements, pops ups (the text message effects), match cuts, music and transition effects as they believe that it all flows really nicely together. My peers shared some things that could have been better in my film such as the shot where the character is on the phone next to the computer at the end of the film as the computer screen is in focus, next time I will make sure to make the subject the main focus, especially around bright lights. They also think I should have established the rocks sooner in the film to make it mean something when she finds the rock and also I need to ensure that the rock's words are readable next time. They also think I should have added more text, such as in the flashbacks, which is what I will include in my final edit. My peers also mentioned that the story gets better as it goes on and the development is good and the sound effect on the crisp chewing should be louder next time.
My final short film edit
My final edit for my short film.
For my final edit, I decided to add text so that my audience know when it is a flashback, for example, in the classroom bully scene, I added "8 months ago" so that my viewers will know that they are going back to the past and how long ago we are going back. I also added some echo voice overs to show what is going on in the character's head and to showcase how chaotic these thoughts are. I also like how it gave the scene a dramatic effect and it really put the scene together. I also made some of the audio louder
We were asked by HIPS Media to create a music video, documentary or short film relating to the topic of hidden in plain sight. We were also told that our target audience were aimed towards aspiring content creators. I feel that I responded to these requirements well as I think my film would inspire young creators to create their own product and it clearly relates to hidden in plain sight. I made sure to keep looking back at the brief's requirements throughout the assignment to ensure that I was sticking to the brief. I believe that completing market research was very essential research for my final product. I looked at a few other products that related to mine for inspiration such as Netflix's 'To The Bone' as I believe that the ending to my film is fairly similar to that as I took inspiration from it. I also believe that creating a survey really helped with my audience research as I could understand them more and find out what keeps them engaged when watching a short film. Before developing my ideas, I created an audience focus group to gain some hidden in plain sight topic ideas, which is where I thought of my topic ideas. This helped me create my mind map of initial ideas. During pre-production I created a shot list, storyboard, script and production schedule. Developing a shot list and storyboard was essential for me to produce as it made the production stages a lot easier as I knew what shots I would need in certain scenes, which saved a lot of time. Before making those documents, I made a script so I would know what happens in order of the short film. I created a production schedule so that I could meet the briefs requirements by getting the assignment done by the deadline as the schedule assured that I managed my time throughout the production/post-production stages. Likewise, I produced a research schedule so that I could plan out when I would do certain parts of my research. Some of the challenges I faced during the planning stages of this project was booking out locations and creating location recces. I was originally going to make my picnic scene a scene at a diner however, the only diner close to me never responded to my film location request and I didn't want to drop the scene completely so I compromised and decided to make it a picnic instead as it still involves a similar scenario and to make it even better for myself, I didn't have to travel anywhere as I could create a picnic setting in my garden at home. Some specific technical skills I used during the production stages of my short film was lighting, sound, camera operating, directing and decision making. I found camera operating and sound to be the easiest skills I used during the production stages of my shoot as I have used cameras and microphones more frequently and considering that I have made previous projects such as podcast and music videos, this would probably explain why. However, I did face one challenge with the microphone at one point, when I booked out a H4N Zoom Recorder, Boom Pole and Rode microphone, it was easy to set up but it was broken so I had to used my backup plan and used a camera attachable Rode microphone instead, which I think worked out well in the end result of short film. For lights, I mainly used LED light boxes and wands attached to light stands, which was easy to set up and put away so it wasn't much of a difficulty. I think my most challenging skill area was directing and decision making as it involves thinking on the spot. An example for when I had to make a decision as director was when I was shooting my classroom scene and I made the decision to change up some of the lines as they didn't sound right and I wanted the conversation to sound more natural. A challenge I faced with technical kit was when I had to use a gimbal for the dance studio scenes, I couldn't figure out how to set it up or use it so to overcome this difficulty, I asked someone to show me how to set it up and use it. In the post-production stages of this project, I used skills such as storytelling and visual effects. I needed to use storytelling skills during the post-production stages since I was creating a story in my film, I needed to be able to tell that story by being able to display different emotions, moods and atmospheres. I managed to portray these elements in my film by using different colour grading in different scenes. For instance, in the birthday flashback scene, you can see a difference in the colour grading from when the character is blowing out candles on her cake (yellow and pink tones) compared to when she is eating cake and starts choking (blue tones). For visual effects I added a screen overlay effect in the final dance studio scene, the effect makes the viewer feel a little confused to what is going on which is the kind of affect I was going for as it showcases how the character is feeling at that given moment (confused and deep in thought, almost like a daydream). Some of the editing tools and effects I used in post-production was the 'constant gain' tool, 'high pass' effect and 'additive dissolve' transition. I used the 'constant gain' tool because it helped smoothly transition an audio out or into a new audio. For example, at the end of the park scene, I used this tool to fade it out and then I used it again to fade into the new audio. I used the 'high pass' effect on the clips that had someone on the other side of the phone. So when the character, Ashley calls the character, Blake, whenever Ashley was speaking but it was Blake on screen, I'd use this effect as it sounds like a real phone call. I used a lot of 'additive dissolve' transitions throughout the film as I feel that it is one the best transitions to use to fade into a new scene as it makes it clear to the viewers that it's a new scene. One challenge I faced through these editing stages was the fact that the software kept crashing. I edited the theatre scene first, considering I shot that scene a while before the others and as I used too many effects on the clips, Premiere-Pro kept crashing. To solve this issue, I downloaded the clip, although I wasn't finished with editing and imported it onto a new Premiere file. Another challenge I faced and overcame was when I was editing the park scene, I couldn't match the clips with the beat, so to overcome this, I came across the marker tool and I used it which helped with marking the beats and matching them to the video. In conclusion, I believe that my final product definitely meets the brief as hobbies and eating disorders are hidden in plain sight, as you never know what someone's hobby is when you meet them and you never what an individual is going through, just by looking at them and I feel that the target audience will particularly enjoy this film. My intended message for this film is that eating disorder recovery is possible and I wanted to give others hope, and I believe I managed to communicate this intended message successfully. I believe that the most successful elements of my final work was my script and final film as I think the story that I have created is moving and the script flows well. Next time, I would like to improve some of the technical elements such as sounds and focusing the camera. On one of the shots, the computer screen was in focus and it distracts the audience away from the subject. For sound, I wish I could have figured out how to fix the H4N Zoom Recorder, but I am glad I had a backup and the audio is clear however, I would have prefered to have a better quality microphone. Next time, I will check the equipment before taking it to location.