Thursday, 10 August 2017

Industry Interview #31 - John Anderson

John Anderson has kindly taken some time to answer a few questions about working within the industry.
John is a very talented actor, working on television shows such as MacGyver, Being Mary Jane, and Tyler Perry's Too Close to Home. 
As well as this, John has also worked on a variety of films including Diary of a Wimpy Kid and is known for his various roles for Marvel films including - Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. 

Interview

Can you please share some background about how you became interested in working within the industry?

Wasn't ever planning on this. Always been the class clown and jokester. Answered a cookie ad on Facebook one night about two years ago looking for tall, skinny ugly, guys with crooked teeth. I'm all those things so I answered it. Went to several auditions and after 5 months or so I find out its for Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Who knew?

What advice would you give to performers trying to break into the acting industry?

Always keep a day job. Some actors say don't have a plan B but they are full of crap! You have to eat and I love what I do on sets but it doesn't pay that well usually. About 1% in my estimation of actors are supporting themselves acting and those who say they do have spouses or significant others to help support them financially. So until that 6 figure paycheck comes in...don't quit your day job! I don't work it very often these days but I still have one during the slow weeks and those happen frequently in this business.

What tips would you give to actors to follow while working on a production? 
John's character 'Ravager' from
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Stay alert. Always be mindful of others on set. Don't bother principal actors on set. Generally I don't speak to them unless they engage me in conversations, they are working to. Never ask for autographs or photos it will certainly get you fired (unless they offer it to you). Be courteous, humble, and always be the hardest working man in the room.

When looking at your impressive resume, one role I wanted to speak about was ‘Ravager’ from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Can you talk about how you came to work on the production and how you have become a regular for Marvel?

I acted professionally and kept my mouth shut about productions until they were released. Which is the biggest part. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars on these things and supply thousands of people with jobs, leaked info about movies or TV can cost them thousands of dollars and nobody wants anything spoiled before the movie. My rule of thumb is I don't even acknowledge the production exists until its released on TV or theatre. It never happened. Nope. Don't know of this film in which you speak? Marvel? Is this a movie of some sort?

Can you talk us through an average day on-set of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and what it would take each time to transform you into your character?

Hurry up and wait.  Set life is typically very boring most of the time. You spend 2/3 of the day waiting for lighting and smoke and rehearsals etc. Take a book or a magazine. Make friends or play cards. Quietly! Average big budget films can cost over a hundred grand an hour or more to film. There's no time to horse around so be ready to go when they need you and again stay alert at all times. I made some amazing friends on sets. I see most of them working on other sets and made a weird little film family with other background and crew members. You never know when you'll run into them again down the road going back to the polite and humble part. Average day for me on Guardians was show up at 2 am for makeup which took a few hours then to wardrobe then breakfast. Then move to a holding area for instructions on the scenes that day and finally the waiting game. Again "hurry up and wait!" A lot of down time in a 12-15 hour day. Don't get me wrong its still more fun than flipping burgers and it was the best time of my life. I highly recommend it.

Can you please talk a little about working alongside director James Gunn? 

James Gunn is a genius. The little bits of interaction I had with him I could tell he was a great guy and a pleasure to be around. Getting direction from a guy of his ability and stature was an honour and I learned a lot from watching him work.

John in full make-up as 'Ravager' at
San Diego Comic alongside a fellow
Ravager and directer James Gunn.
As part of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 cast you attended San Diego Comic Con. Can you talk a little about this experience and how it was for you? 

SDCC was a strange experience. Had no idea I'd get to be apart of it. I was done on the film for weeks and had moved on when I got the call. I thought they were joking or someone was trying to hose me with a joke. Turns out they weren't. Ha! This usually doesn't happen with background actors so again it was an honour to be picked to go with them to the show. I'm a big comic nerd so I was in orbit the whole time, not to mention nervous as hell because I didn't want to screw up. It was a great time though. I always said you couldn't get me to go to that show unless you paid me an chauffeured me around...and then they did haha! Careful what you wish for. Too many people there nothing against the con but its a week long madhouse. The crowd going insane when the ravagers came in through the croud was intense. It was the only time I understood what rock stars feel like at those big shows. It was bonkers. If it never happens again I'll always remember that night. So very blessed to be apart of it.

Do you have any interesting or funny stories from your time on the productions you've worked on?

Lots of stories but most are to long to type. Some good some funny. The key here is learning something about the business every time I go to work. Makes you a more valuable player and a better actor for sure. Production doesn't let anything go unnoticed and they know everybody on that set. EVERYBODY! and again you never know when you'll cross paths with these people somewhere down the line on a different production so stay on your toes and be grateful you're there. Mind your manners and have a great time!

Have you got any projects or convention appearances coming up you can share?

Lots of con appearances coming up. Cant talk about things I'm working on as they have people constantly listening and watching. They will find out if you leak info or say something you shouldn't be talking about and they are damn good at it. I've seen it happen to actors many, many times. If you cant keep a secret this is not the business for you. If you wanna keep working keep your mouth shut. Nobody likes a snitch anyway. I get to do some really dope stuff and I don't even tell my own mother about it. Not worth it. I take pride in what I get to do. It may not be a starring role but I can appreciate being able to do these things and I don't ever wanna stop. Acting is my drug of choice and I don't want to get cut off . I'm having the time of my life and have found where I belong in life. An entertainer.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

Hope that helps you out. I leave you with this quote I live by. "Be safe, stay humble, and always be the hardest worker in the room."



Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Industry Interview #30 - Rory Healy

Rory Healy has kindly taken some time to answer a few questions about working within the industry.
Rory is a very talented actor, working on television shows with some of his best known roles being 'Agent' from Stranger Things season 1 & 2 and 'Psycho in Group Session' from Constantine. 
As well as this, Rory has also worked on a variety of films with some of his best known roles including 'Monster' from Goosebumps and his various roles for Marvel films including Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. 

Interview

Can you please share some background about how you became interested in working within the industry?

Always living for the joke and being spontaneous, I started doing plays in the 5th grade and even being only 10 years of age, I was exposed to a lot of comedians growing up in Upstate NY. Performance was always swimming around my head or coming up with some gag to make people laugh. After high school, started doing a little stand up, local plays and taking theatre classes classes at SUNY at Albany and doing plays there. Invaluable lessons and inspiration gathered while schooling.

What advice would you give to performers trying to break into the acting industry?

I believe with any art form or medium, learning the history of that medium. No sense of history cuts out such a wide range of development  influences every artist can benefit or be influenced by or just learn a new technique .
Another bit if advice - be early and pay attention. The meter's running and wasting time is a budget killer.
Relaxation is another one of those universal "arty" things that is so important oi finding you base get neutral and let it flow..
Remember that TV/film plays big and overacting is the symptom of lacking discipline and stillness.

Rory's character 'Monster' from
Goosebumps
What tips would you give to actors to follow while working on a production?

Whether it's speaking or non-speaking, create your off-screen character's life and all the particulars that would shape his life.

If you can, in wardrobe get in front of a mirror to know what you look like as you travels in this space(set).

When looking at your impressive resume, one role I wanted to speak about was ‘Monster’ in Goosebumps. Can you talk us through an average day on-set and what it would take each time to transform you into your character? 

After getting my head cast with Steve Prouty and Andre, it was a little while before filming, had fittings for wardrobe and lenses(never used), we finally made it to the picture test. Worked briefly with choreographer. This was the first time in full makeup and wardrobe.

When we filmed, my process was to get a T-shirt on and then eat dinner, then makeup trailer, where for the next 3 hrs I was transformed into The Monster #13 and back to wardrobe where pants shoes,shirt ascot and jacket got added to the makeup.

I did alot of stretching waiting for darkness to set in. We filmed several  nights and some days over an etended period of time. I also did quite a bit of research on Nosferatu and Goosebumps "Vampire Breath" injecting Romanian and German phrases in my Omni-speak. So fun and made the character a bit more mysterious and creepy.

Could you please talk a little about what it was like working alongside Jack Black? 

A true pro and very quick witted with great physical comedy skills. Jack is very intense about having fun and always being on his toes. What I enjoyed about what I saw on set and what ended up in the film was not very many Jack-isms and worked on his sinister "R L"
Rory in full make-up as 'Monster'
at San Diego Comic Con 2014

As part of the Goosebumps cast you attended San Diego Comic Con, the largest Comic Con in the world. Can you talk a little about what your trip entailed and how the experience was for you? 

Spectacular and odd all at once.
We were in the Hilton, not at the convention centre and while the panel was part of SDCC, we
had no access or badge allowing us into SDCC. No souvenirs to buy on the streets or in stores. The organizers know how to keep demand up and keep people wanting more.

We definitely wowed the crowd when all 17 or 18 monsters walked on stage and surrounded Jack, director.  Letterman and Slappy (who directed us to 'get Jack and haul him off stage').
Being the first day of SDCC and going on early was great planning 'cuz the fans had not seen much up to this point. We returned 2 floors away after the panel to have lunch where before taking a bite, the Alien, Professor Shock, me and Jack got shuttled to the Hard Rock Hotel to do a junket of interviews with ET, Entertainment Weekly and a couple others and watch JB field the same questions and still keep it funny and interesting. When we got on the freight elevator at Hilton, the greatest surprise occurred. On the elevator, in a wheelchair was William Shatner coming from the Lefend Series Panel and Jack gets photographed putting Shatner's phone # in his phone. Precious.

Flew back early the next morning and the whole trip was 2 days and dreamlike.

Another example of an impressive series of credits to your resume was your work with Marvel on both Ant-Man and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2. Can you talk about how you came to work on Ant-Man and how you have become a regular for Marvel? 

The Marvel projects were very special.

"Ant-Man" was my first time working for New Life Casting after 2 years trying to get on with them. Chosen as an 'Investor' the time on set with Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lily and Corey Stohl was as good as one could imagine as their comfort level increased the more days we all worked together. I did work on Guardians 2 as a Ravager and got to be part of 4 scenes with 4 different sets. Magnificent set builders and honoured to be part of these blockbusters. That was the last Marvel I did. Spidey "Homecoming" not many roles my age and "Black Panther" had fewer Caucasian roles. That's OK, they're filming "the Avengers" next 2 flicks here.

Rory's character 'Agent' from
Stranger Things.
Your final role I wanted to touch upon was your character from Stranger Things. When working on the show did you ever expect it to become the phenomena it did? 

Stranger Things was predicted to be a hit before it's release as expressed in the trades. The return of Winona Ryder was an eye grabber and I think the kids popularity surprised many.
A proud moment was winning "Ensemble cast award for a TV show. Very rewarding and flattered to be asked to return for season 2. 
I've been lucky enough to wind up in hit productions that are popular to many binge watcher's and superhero/fantasy/horror fans. A little luck and determination goes a long way.

Do you have any interesting or funny stories from your time on the productions you've worked on? 

It doesn't take much on set to bring laughs, but I thought having dinner with full monster makeup on "Goosebumps" was unique and funny in it's own way.

We spent more time in makeup/wardrobe than we did as ourselves and a bit out of the ordinary. Just the way I like it and every pun, joke or bard was explored.

Have you got any projects or convention appearances coming up you can share?

I appreciate your interest in some past performances and projects I've been involved in and hope this gives you a little insight into my world.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Industry Interview #29 - Casey Wagner

Casey Wagner has kindly taken some time to answer a few questions about working within the industry.
Casey is a very talented actor, working on many productions with some of his best known roles being a recurring Savior from The Walking Dead and 3D Printer Guy from Office Christmas Party.
As well as this, Casey has also written & directed a variety of independent films including: Made Equal, Diary of a Hitman 1 & 2 and Bullseye B##ches!!!!

Can you please share some background about how you became interested in working within the industry?

As far back as I can remember, I've always taken pride in being able to entertain an audience, not necessarily be the life of the party, but to be that person that people say "Yeah, it was good, but that one guy, he was something else." Plus I was fascinated with behind the scenes stories of my favorite films and shows. Learning the trials, tribulations, and the often creative solutions they came up with in order to get this thing to the screen. And I've been fortunate that when ever my interest in the field peaked, the stars always seemed to align in my favor.

What advice would you give to performers trying to break into the acting industry?

Enjoy the ride and check your ego at the door, I've seen far too many promising talents get that one little taste of fame, suddenly think they're spoiled Hollywood royalty, and get themselves utterly blacklisted because no one has the patience to deal with that nonsense.

This business is a revolving door, anyone can be replaced and no one is untouchable. Be professional and humble. The fruits of your labor will reflect that.

BTS photograph from Casey's film
Bullseye B##ches!!!! 
What traits/skills would you say were most important in performing for film and TV?

Be open-minded and dedicated. There are going to be long and tiring hours on set, but you have to maintain the same energy throughout.

And the second fastest way to kill your career is to stand up and say "That doesn't work for me, brother." And then not have an idea of what to do different. Maybe you don't want to perform the scene as intended for moral or religious reasons, or your just afraid it will negatively impact your image (even though it's all pretend) But when you object, you hold up production and threaten the shooting schedule. And as I said before, anyone can be replaced. So don't be afraid to try something new, or at the very least, work with the crew to tweak the scene so it retains the intention but is more comfortable for you to perform.

What tips would you give to actors to follow while working on a production?

Know your character, don't just read the lines or actions, understand why they're saying and doing these things. Use that understanding to make the role you're own, and be memorable but don't distract from the scene.

Most directors love input from their actors, but despise when the try to hijack to scene for their selfish benefit.

Casey's character '3D Printer Guy'
from Office Christmas Party
When looking at your impressive career, one interesting role I wanted to talk about was your part in Office Christmas Party. Can you talk about the casting process you went through for the role?

Well, at first it was very by the numbers, the casting company put out their typical email "We're doing this movie now, send us your info if you want in." Then just before shooting began, there was a second email, offering increased pay for folks willing to... put their goods on display. Well I don't have much shame to begin with, and I think true test of an actor is a willingness to go outside your comfort zone, plus i like getting more money. So I said "Hell Yeah!"

When we got to set, the Casting Director (A sweet woman by the name of Tammy Smith) took us one at a time into the bathroom to get full body production photos that left nothing to the imagination so the directors would know what they had to work with. I'd known Tammy for a couple of years by then so I maybe had a little too much fun with the situation and might have left her more embarrassed than I was supposed to be. By now I think it's safe to say I made the cut.

During Office Christmas Party you had your first ‘nude scene’ – Can you talk to us about the experience of shooting these kinds of scenes and the atmosphere on-set? 

It was different to say the least. Imagine you, a buddy, and two gals who were a legit lesbian couple that you met that day, walking into a room filled with film crew, a couple of day players (Actors who get a single day's work) and several background actors, and then the director says "alright guys, clothes off!" At that point, it can be really awkward or you can shrug and dedicate yourself to having fun with it... I chose the latter. We had people on standby to give us bathrobes between takes. But mine was extra thick it was hot as crap, so after a while I just decided "I don't need it, everybody here knows the secret by now." So I can't vouch for everyone involved, but I had fun. As for the part with the 3D printer, they had actually had another guy do that scene, but after a couple of takes, they stepped him out and put me in. I did one take and the director said that was all he needed. I figured they just wanted some variety to choose from, but it wasn't until the DVD came out that I learned I was put in because the director of photography needed someone bigger...
And that kind of became the scene the movie is known for, in fact before IMDb took down their message boards, there was actually a debate over whether or not I used a prosthetic. I didn't.
Then following weeks of its release led to many friends saying "nice butt" or "I can't believe I'm saying this, but I've seen your junk." But it's all been positive praise for having the guts to do that.

If I had any regrets it's that I didn't get credited for it and they cut out the payoff, we had filmed a scene where the printer actually exploded and sent 3D printed whatnot's flying into the party, giving folks some unique props to play with. Plus one of the girls in there with me, who has since become a good friend was a little miffed that they dubbed in an atrocious laugh that sounded nothing like her in the extended cut.

Casey's character 'Savior' in
The Walking Dead
Another impressive role is your work on The Walking Dead as a Savior, appearing in pivotal moments such as the execution of Abraham and Glenn as well as Negan's first visit to Alexandria. Can you talk about the atmosphere on-set during these intense scenes? 

If you saw the episodes, you already have a good idea of the atmosphere on set. I mainly just remember freezing my butt off, we filmed during the coldest recorded nights of the year. And Alexandria was freaking hot. There was no middle ground when it came to temperatures on those shoots.

With the Saviors some seem to follow Negan out of choice and genuine desire/respect, whereas others seem to want to escape his lead and are instead forced into his clan, like Dwight. Where do you feel your character would fall on this spectrum and how do you believe he ended up one of the Saviors?

That's a question for the writers, they could decide to keep around until series finale or kill me off in the next episode. I'd be content either way.

That being said I did scribble down a little backstory to help me performance-wise. Let's just say past failures and necessity were major factors.

Do you have any interesting or funny stories from your time on the productions you've worked on?

Way to many, some standouts would be on Guardians of the Galaxy 2, I was talking to my friend and Michael Rooker came up to give us advice on how to properly scratch our crotches.

Anthony Mackie joking with us constantly on Captain America: Civil War, which also where we encountered the recently cast Tom Holland, we were in line for lunch and he just appeared behind us so we were like "Holy crap it's Spider-Man." We offered to let him skip ahead of the line but he said "I've been in my trailer watching movies all day, you guys have been working. Go on ahead." In my eyes he could do no wrong after that.

Your talents also extend behind the camera with several short films you have written and directed including; Made Equal, Diary of a Hitman 1 & 2 and Bullseye B##ches!!!! Can you talk about how your experience as an actor has helped you with the writing and directing of your own projects?

I believe the best directors are the ones who started as actors, you have a better understanding of what the folks in front of the camera have to deal with, and that goes a long way toward informing your direction, so well as helping to write dialog. Every actor has at least one horror story of a script with the kind of dialog that makes them wonder if the writer's ever had a conversation in their lives.

Casey's character Bullseye from
Bullseye B##ches!!!! 
Can you talk about some of the influences and research that went into writing Bullseye B##ches and how writing to already established characters differs to characters you create yourself?

Bullseye was one of those spur of the moment deals that just rapidly came together. I'm a life long Marvel Comics guy, so that's always been an influence. Anyway I was originally cast as a goon in a Deadpool fan film but unforeseen circumstances with the lead actor, who was also the director, led to filming being suspended for several months. During that down time, I figured why not do my own comic book fan film? Plus my friend, who was like the big sister I never had, was pregnant at the time and thus not in high demand for film shoots, so I wanted to give her something. My first instinct was to do the Punisher, I love the character and happened to have the outfit. But I found that character was over saturated with fan films, most of them pretty awful, and there was no way I could top the one Tom Jane did a couple years prior. On my favorites list, after Punisher comes Daredevil and that was my eureka moment, I'm already bald, and if i swap the skull shirt with a tank top, I got Bullseye! He was actually not too hard to get into, I'd been reading the character for years and saw him as a man with no remorse and enjoys his job way to much. I normally play really stoic, psychotic, or comedic everyman, so this gave me an opportunity to combine all of those. And it's still my best received work at this point.

And once we were done filming, the Deadpool film was about to start up again, in the books, deadpool and bullseye are best buds so I passed along a suggestion to the director who loved it and added an additional scene for Bullseye to appear. And that led to a guest appearance on Eric Green's uncanny X-men Webseries as well as a short film about Domino. So I guess I did a good job with the portrayal.

Have you got any projects or convention appearances coming up you can share?

I'm currently working on a film called dark wasteland, a post apocalyptic action film being headed by a father/son duo.
Exploring possibilities for what my own next film will be.
And while I can't give details at this time, I can say I'm involved in a major production that is the epedemy of childhood dream realized.

I don't really have anything planned when it comes to conventions but if anyone's reading this, wants to book me, and my schedule allows it. Let's do it.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Unit 15: Developing A Small Business - Task 1

UFilms (Formerly known as SRC Infinity Productions) was started as an enterprise business within Stockton Riverside College. Originally we offered services including; photography & design, editing and filming -  However after discovering that lack of demand for our photography & design department, as well as the scaling down of our business with employees, we started to focus our resources on one organized front as we expanded into the general public with our rebrand from SRC Infinity Productions to UFilms.
As UFilms we focused on the planning, capturing of footage, editing and then depending on the scale/client distribution serving as a company capable of offering all stages of the production process.
There are eleven members of the team that make up UFilms, some have more general roles serving in the areas of planning or practical work (filming/editing) depending on what they specialize in.
Some have more specific managerial roles such as Danniella Cooper who serves as the operations manager.
Danniella would overlook all operations of UFilms, ensuring all were completed to a high standard and on-time for clients. She would often organize meetings and ensure communication between all production areas was going smoothly.
Another more specific role belonged to our accountant Jess Bramfitt.
Jess managed all our incoming and outgoing money, chasing up debts when needed. She created all of our invoices and issued them to our clients, clearly outlining the price they would have to pay for the services we were offering and when it would be needed to be paid buy.
Finally when looking at my own role, that was more specifically focused on a particular area also. (Although I often helped out in both pre-production and filming on occasions - As well as managing my own project which I will discuss in more depth later)
As part of UFilms I was manager of Human Resources and also served as Wellbeing Manager as part of this role.
My duties included ensuring that all members of the team remained upbeat, productive and positive to ensure they are happy and more engaging with their work.
To do this I created a weekly group exercise which I entitled 'Feel Good Thursday'.
The idea of 'Feel Good Thursday' was that every week we would gather and each member of the team would get their own designated Thursday i.e. the first week was dedicated to Taylor Henderson so it became his day.
The group would then gather with their pre-written messages explaining all the positive things they like about the person and the memories/times they have shared.
This became very successful and I was told by many of the participants that they felt happier and more motivated to work afterwards.
All of our profits are taken in cash from our customers and our current charging rates are £8 per hour per camera for filming and then £8 per hour of editing.
These prices were chosen as they were much cheaper than any competition we could find and due to our business being run on a student level we may lack the professional standards whether that be due to experience or available resources such as equipment and editing software.
The first income we gained was from a college based initiative with external clients donating money and supporting students and their up and coming business ventures.
We had to pitch our business to a panel of judges in a 'Dragon's Den' style setting, they would then listen to competing business for a large total of £100 to be given to them.
The team of myself, Danniella Cooper, Taylor Henderson and Kane Smith were successful in our attempt and gained the grand total (We are still currently chasing £30 of the total due to tight college policies and poor communication on their part)
Other projects we completed following this and gained a consistent income flow for included; the filming of performing arts shows, promotional content for Stockton Riverside College and working on promotional content and the filming of shows for loyal clients at Page2Stage.
When looking at our promotion and how our business is marketed itself, we use many social media platforms to promote our business and its services including; Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
I primarily ran our Facebook page which proved to have the biggest reach when compared to our other social media platforms, with 334 likes and posts gaining reaches as high as 2000+ views.
Another asset of our business is our resources. We are equipped with all appropriate equipment needed to capture the content requested from our clients including a variety of cameras, tripods, booms, cranes, tracks as well as editing software to piece together our footage into a final project.
All of this equipment is provided to us by Stockton Riverside College free of charge and can be used as and when we wish as part of the Creative Media - Film & TV course.
It is stored within a Green Room studio (With its own Green Screen wall) which again we have access to and has been used in the past for numerous UFilms projects including a music video for Cherry Head, Cherry Heart - Road to Rome and festive Christmas themed photos for the staff and students  of the college.
UFilms has had many successful ventures including the previously mentioned Dragon's Den pitch.
Other ventures that ended with similar success included another Stockton Riverside College run exercise focused around Equality & Diversity. We had strong competition from many other parties participating but overall we won with our educational video entitled 'Educating Grandad'.
It focused on the grandfather of a family and his 'old fashioned views' and ultimately ended with the Grandad understanding the error of his ways thanks to his more accepting and educated family explaining the issues with the comments he was making.
Another competition we were successful in winning the public vote of was run by an external group named CUTFilms.
We created a social action piece focusing on the negative effects of smoking simply named 'Smoking Kills'
We showed a character go outside to smoke, he opened a box of cigarettes but instead of cigarettes inside it was filled with bullets.
The character then takes the bullet, loads it into a gun and puts the gun in his mouth and then pulls the trigger.
The gun clicks several times with the messages 'Every time you smoke you risk your life' before ultimately there is a gunshot sound.
This powerful piece was received very well and with strong promoting on our social media and support from sources such as Stockton Riverside College and The Newcastle Film Festival we were successful in gaining the most votes.
When looking at the failures of UFilms I don't believe we have failed to provide a client with a product ever but we have had our downfalls and issues which have caused major issues to occur sometimes resulting in delays.
Our main downfalls which have caused such issues is the lack communication and enthusiasm of team members.
This lack of enthusiasm from certain members has made the work-load for others much heavier, adding in some cases more time before the product can be completed.
Communication is also a big issue as sometimes UFilms members have struggled to work as a large team and ensuring that everyone is on the 'same page' with information.
An example would be the filming of a wedding video.
A member of UFilms was in charge of communicating with the client however due to mis-communication, the team planned to arrive on the venue a day later than the wedding was actually occurring.
Thankfully on the morning of the wedding this mistake was noticed and resolved without the clients awareness but it was a very near miss to something that could have been a major failure to UFilms.
Despite these issues, we all began UFilms with little to no experience and have gained much more knowledge and experience in the field we hope to soon work.
I personally feel as though I have improved my own communication skills within the team and have learnt to 'find my voice' as a team member and to express things I believe to be important.
I have also learnt much more the financial and business side of the industry, understanding more so the importance of budgeting, credit control, invoices and similar necessitates which I had little knowledge about prior to beginning the business.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Unit 06: Critical Approach - Downton Abbey

Throughout the clip taken from ITV’s Downton Abbey a representation of class and status is constructed throughout using a variety of different techniques.
Firstly when looking at the opening shot; Daisy is present and knocks on the door of the other maids room loudly to wake those inside, calling out whilst she does so.
Throughout this sequence the focus remains on the door rather than the character knocking, Daisy is completely out of focus as she walks towards the door and when she knocks and calls out only her hand becomes the focus of the shot.
From a filming point of view this may have simply been to show that Daisy was not an important role to the narrative in this scene, however analysing from a semiotic point of view this may have been done in order to show that the maids around Downton Abbey were mostly faceless and unimportant due to their lower class and status within the household.
This happens throughout the tracking shot also when Daisy is walking through the rooms of the upper level of the building, almost all of the maids doing their daily duties are not in focus and very few faces are actually seen on camera, again suggesting their low importance and their expendability as they are all portrayed as the same and a very hard to distinguish from one another.
Another aspect which makes the maids difficult to define is their uniforms as they are all dressed the same suggesting very little individuality and again makes all the maids seem very unimportant due to their lower class.
Focusing again on the waking of the maid’s scene, it suggests a lot about their status and how the staff fall on the hierarchy of the home that they are awoken.
One of the ladies that wakes after the knock states "Awh, just once in my life I'd like to sleep until I woke up natural", suggesting that this rude awakening occurs often and that the staff are in need of more sleep (Possibly suggesting long and strenuous working hours – As later portrayed by the duties we seem them carrying out throughout the home and the long list of duties given to Daisy in the kitchen)
This rest interruption is portrayed once again when the staff and gathered eating their breakfasts and the bells for food begin to ring. The fact that their well-being is taken much less importantly than that of the owners of Downton Abbey shows the difference in status very clearly. 
This awakening contrasted massively to that of Lady Mary in her bedroom as she gracefully awoke herself undisturbed, so much so that she returns to her bed and calls for service. This subsequently portrays Lady Mary as living the fantasy of the maid from the previous scenes and shows how the maid aspires to be in the same class and status of her superior.
Analysing the scene of Lady Mary's awakening further, as she wonders to her window and looks out of it she spots Paperboy. 
A deeper reading of this scene would be that Lady Mary is looking out of her window and down at Paperboy, suggesting that she is more powerful and possibly representing in a literal form how she is 'higher' in class than the boy below her. 
This technique of representing a character and how they fall on the hierarchy of Downton Abbey through their physical level is used numerous times throughout including; when Daisy is receiving her list of chores from Mrs Patmore, when Daisy is receiving criticism on the fire from Mrs Hughes and when Paperboy first arrives at Downton Abbey and how the building towers over him. 
Levels are used again in a similar technique very notably with the introduction of Robert Crawley as he slowly descends the stairs, beginning at the top of the home.  
He is physically above everyone member of staff at this point although none are present in the room (All are below in their quavers/the kitchen). 
The fact that no other character is present in the home as this peaceful scene occurs is also very significant as it differs massively to the typical manically busy scenes of the staff of Downton Abbey as they all prepared for the awakening of the owners of the home. 
The tranquil music playing is massively different to the erratic paced music played within the kitchen scenes featuring Mrs Patmore and Daisy speak about chores.
Looking more at sound, the scenes with Robert travelling down the stairs is all but silent so much so you can hear each step he takes as he travels down the stairs, whereas comparing to the kitchen scene again, there was much more talking, the cluttering of pots and pans and other noise pollution. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

Unit 23: Multi-Camera Techniques - Task 1

What is Multi-Camera?:

Multi-Camera production means that more than one single camera is used when capturing footage, this is used both on-location/sets such as television and film productions or live events such as football matches, cricket games, etc.
The main purpose and benefit of this technique is to have the ability to capture an event from more than one angle at once - crucial for one-take moments. 

Examples of Multi-Camera in Action:

Live Show Production #1 - 
The following set-up is of a live performance being captured for television.
As it will be broadcast to an audience watching from their screens, it is important to capture the show from many angles to ensure the artist is always in shot and to have the ability to transition to different shots throughout to keep it interesting.
The largest camera shown at the back of the audience with the widest of reaches would be a moving camera, most likely on a crane, to get a far shot of the performing talent (possibly to introduce the show) as well as audience reactions.
These are featured as cutaways to show the audience engaging positively to the talent, whether that be laughing at a comedian's joke, singing along to an artist, etc.
The camera to centre, left and right of the stage would capture all of the talent on stage closer to the actual performance; they can zoom and vary between long shots and mid-shots.
Similar shots of the following mentioned above can be seen below;
Establishing Shot of Talent (Taken from Jack Whitehall Live At The Apollo)
Cutaway of Audience (Taken from Jack Whitehall Live At The Apollo)
Long Shot of Talent (Taken from Jack Whitehall Live At The Apollo)
Mid-Shot of Talent (Taken from Jack Whitehall Live At The Apollo)
Studio Production #1 - 

The following set-up is similar to that of a studio based show, whether that be a comedy show with the a host and two sets of panellists or a game show with two different teams of contestants.
I have added lines to the diagram to show the footage that each camera would be capturing, the two to the left and right of the host would focus on the tables of guests.
They would most likely remain static in position (Depending if the guests move from behind their desk - If so then these cameras would be able to move and follow) capturing mid-shots, but would zoom in to gain close-ups of guests if an individual person was interacting to the host for example. This is to avoid the same shots being overly used and becoming dull to the viewers, and to also ensure that the other guest not speaking is not caught in-frame uncomfortably in silence.
The camera pointed directly at the host would also most likely stay static, and would most likely capture mid-shots of the host as he spoke from behind his desk.
Similar shots of the following mentioned above can be seen below;
Mid-Shot of Host (Taken from The Late Late Show with James Corden)
Mid-Shot of Contestants (Taken from The Chase)

Close-up of Contestant (Taken from The Chase)

Studio Production #2 - 
The following set-up is similar to that of a studio based television production such as a soap opera.
I have added lines to the diagram to show the footage that each camera would be capturing, I have then gone on to colour code each camera in order to distinguish the lines from one another.
Firstly, both the blue and orange cameras will be capturing the characters featured around the counter. The blue camera will be used primarily as a mid-shot of the two characters sitting down, it can also be used for close-ups as and when appropriate.
The orange camera captures a master-shot of the entire scene, and would be used in order to establish the scene and when the character behind the counter is interacted with (cutaways of mid-shots and close-ups may then follow as dialogue begins)  
Looking to the other side of the room, there are four characters sat in one of the booths.
The green camera would capture the pair on the further side and the purple would capture the closer side, meaning both are capturing the characters on the opposite sides.
The shots would typically be mid-shots and used as cutaways as dialogue between characters occur, the shot could also be changed to close-ups depending on the context of the dialogue and if both characters need to be featured.
The master shot would then be captured by the red camera to establish who is present at the table and to cut into as editing begins.
The variety of shots are important to make the content more exciting rather than having the same static shots throughout.
It is important to use multi-camera in this situation as it saves time on the production and reduces the risk of continuity issues as new takes occur.

Live Action Production #2 - 
The following set-up is of a live cricket match being captured for television.
As it will be broadcast to an audience watching from their screens, it is important to capture the game from many angles to ensure that all the players and their actions are always in shot, the field also has to be covered to ensure the ball is in shot. Another reason is to have the ability to transition to different shots throughout to keep it interesting.
The two cameras to the side of the pitch are focusing on the cricketers as they run down the crease, then the other ones either side are to get over the shoulder shots of the bowler throwing the ball and then the batter hitting it and the rest of the cameras are to monitor the field in case the ball travels in that direction.
The stumps and empires both have cameras attached in order to monitor them and an aerial camera tracks the ball as it travels in the air.

Advantages & Disadvantages:

Advantages:
  • Multiple angles are captured allowing for more interesting/engaging viewership when edited together.
  • Time is saved during production as instead of needing multiple takes and set-ups, footage can be captured from multiple angles in a single take.
  • Live television can be captured and still have editing decisions by cutting from one camera broadcasting to another.
  • Events can be captured in their full entirety with every action captured; i.e. within a football match every goal scored would be captured, every kick made, etc.
Disadvantages:
  • Due to multiple cameras being essential in multi-camera filming, the equipment will be more expensive.
  • As multiple cameras are being set-up, every scene will have longer initial set-up times as more cameras are being set-up. (This does not takeaway from the huge time-saving advantage of capturing the scene from multiple angles once the initial set-up has occurred)
  • With the multi-camera  method of filming being used it can sometimes be difficult to avoid capturing a camera within the shot of another camera.
  • Not enough space/Awkward sets/Changes