Posts Tagged ‘Practice’

I want to take some time on Monday afternoon to confirm what you are submitting on Wednesday at 4.30pm. I want you to be completely sure about what I am expecting: mainly due to the “rabbit in the headlights” looks I normally get when I ask what you are going to submit…

So, I am expecting:-

The Blog
Well, I  don’t directly mark this to be honest. I expect to be able to read a record of what you did in this unit: kind of accounting for the 200 hrs you have spent on it! There should be references to theory (Books, journals, articles and websites) you have read and you reflecting on the meaning and how you can use it. So, while I don’t directly mark it (which means we don’t need to worry about the word count) it does have a huge influence on the rest of the grades. So, make sure I have that URL.

Blog Highlights
Only 10% of the grades, but it really demonstrates your understanding of the process. This should be 1000 words referencing your blog – so, you are pretty much pointing out the important stuff you learned. This should be a summary of your blog, with reflection of what this meant to you with citations back to your blog.

A Report
I think we have covered this – but just in case… Those journals, books, articles and Websites you mention on your blog? Well, the report is all about pulling those together. What happens in professional practice? How does it happen in the industry? Why Prove it! Cite it! List those books! 2000 words for 30% of the total grade.

2 products – edits, plus planning (depending on role). That’s it. For 60%. Remember, this is the time I look back over your blog, so no cheating. One of the artefacts should be your own inception, the other you can just be on the crew. You need to show how you have worked on them, and include a link to the product – don’t rely on anyone else to have submitted your work! And don’t forget the planning. If you were on the crew, you should still have been given a Call sheet and a shooting script (for example). If you were the main maker, well – you should have everything!

As a group, we will identify what you need to do, and negotiate what you are doing in this session. Consider the following questions:

  • What can you do on site?
  • What can you do in LRC?
  • What can you do at home?
  • What do you need guidance with?
  • What do you need me looking over your shoulder  with?

In other words, how can you best use you time? Some things can only be done on site  – I would assume everyone can write their reports at home, but I may be wrong. So, once we set out the tasks you need to do, we will identify what you are doing in the afternoon and set you off on an active session.

Once you are all on doing what you need to do to get your submissions in, I want to take 15 minutes with each of you to check over what you have and what you are doing ready for the Wednesday deadline. This includes viewing rough cuts and draft reports, as well as identifying the blog highlights. I have left time to go back and have a look at a few extra things if we need to.

I am expecting both Myself and you to stick to the times!

  • 1.50 – 2.05 – Sam
  • 2.05 – 2.20 – James
  • 2.20 – 2.35 – Kylie
  • 2.35 – 2.50 – Abi
  • 2.50 – 3.05 – Sian
  • 3.05 – 3.20 – Jake
  • 4.00 – back in the room

At 4, we will reconvene to check progress and set overnight targets.


Location Practice Report

Posted: February 19, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 12_14
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So, now you are all on with productions – or have completed loads of location work, including paid work for the BBC, you will all have lots to reflect upon. You need to write up what you did for any shooting on your blog, and reflect upon it – what did you learn? What did you do? How did your react and why?

A further point to realise is you also need to be reading on professional practice (interviews, case studies, industry guidance etc) and reflecting on how you can incorporate this into your own practice.

Location Practice

In class we quickly mind mapped the issues to consider around location practice. Since most are the same as any other production, you want to focus on the issues specific to Location – theories about the weight of a location, the cost, the uncontrollability, Legal and ethical considerations… and how you need to consider all this in your planning and production.

You can literally find a theory and explain it for your report. You can then reflect on whether or not you already do it within your blog. But the most important thing? Be reading!

Application of Theory

Posted: January 29, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 12_14
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Alexander Mackendrick‘s book, “On Film-making” (2004) is proving to be very insightful. It is pretty much exploring his approach to teaching as a director, and covers his film-making approach. One quote that really struck me was:-

“Creativity’ will always look after itself if you are prolific in production, which means starting off by turning out masses of work that is relatively unoriginal, derivative and imitative. When productivity has become second nature, you will find you have acquired a freedom in which your particular and personal individuality emerges of its own accord. One of the things I find frequently missing in students … is not imagination itself, rather the knack of making a disciplined effort in the development of a fertile imagination.

Intelligent and critical students are all too apt to use ‘thinking’ as a substitute for the much harder work of ‘imagining’ at the intuitive, emotional and sensory levels. People who talk about things instead of doing them tend to use analysis as a substitute for creativity. But a . statement about the kind of effect you want to achieve is never a substitute for the often exhausting labours that must go into actually creating that effect. Work is the only real training.

So, doing is learning. The ability to make films is more important than the ability to think of doing. So, any theory is only useful for how it can be used. So keep making films. And making films.

A film-maker makes films. It’s simple. It’s in the title.

The whole point of this course is to reflect on theory and apply it – so, not a million miles away from Mackendricks opinion. We need to constantly discover theories, and apply them to our practical work.

Or, to put this theory into practice,

  • Pick a location or a prop.
  • Make a film
  • That tells a story
  • with no Dialogue
  • Using any available technology
  • You have 3 hours to complete it and get it uploaded.

The more you do this, the better you will be at film-making!

Location Projects

Posted: January 7, 2013 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 12_14
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We have now started Location Practice, and the first thing we are doing is identifying and presenting on one aspect of your research. This should include photocopies / printouts of the information, plus a short summary of what it means to you and how it can be used.

This will be presented in an informal seminar – so be prepared to talk about the subject, and be prepared to listen to other people and challenge their findings – this may well help your final report.

This leaves us with the practical aspect of the course. We need you to identify what you are planning to do. In the first instance, this is how you will meet the brief – so, what format are you working in? What skills are you using? How will you achieve this? This could be shooting a script, making a music video or location interview for the radio show. You will need what your role will be – are you doing it as a camera-person, and editor, a director, producer, sound designer / recordist…?

Then you can work on a proposal in the creative sense – this will focus on the overall final product, eg as a short film, scene, music video, radio package, etc.

Studio Report

Posted: November 25, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 12_14
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Monday we will be working through your report –  a crash course, if you will.

So today, have a read around based on some ideas in this post ready for tomorrow, where I will take you through a proposed structure and touch on some suggested themes.

In general, when writing a report or an essay (the main difference being a use of arguments), you need to open with an introduction that defines what you are talking about. One way, is to use a dictionary definition to get you started. So, open by answering the question – what is studio production?

You can then always fall back on a bit of history. This is an easy thing to research, and all you need to do is pull out the relevant bits. Equipment was big and bulky (fond a reference, add a quote, maybe an example) so production required a studio [ref needed] – maybe a quick visit to any book about the birth of American cinema will tell you about Edison controlling most of the filming in America in the early 20th Century, which happened in New York [ref needed]. This meant a lot of people were very unhappy at having to pay him to use the camera’s he had invented. So they looked at alternatives, and had to move production to California – eventually establishing Hollywoodland [ref needed].

This example of history also gives rise to the reference to Studio as a funding body – cinema as mass production and industry, following the phonographic industry model. So now we have a Financial model (ownership of means of production, funding) to go alongside our technological model (size of equipment, limitations of technology)

So, having established what you are going to talk about, and established a short historical context of why studios exist, now you need to talk about why anyone would choose to use a studio. Equipment has become more light weight, more portable – why lock yourself in a room and build a set when you can go to a location?

The Italian Neorealists (think of them as an early reportage movement) talked about the weight of a location [ref needed] – they also said a lot of things that are very useful to documentary – so a location has more of an air of realism than a set. OK, fine – so explain how ‘Rear Window’ (Hitchcock, 1954) still looks so real.

Film, video, TV, Cinema – all are mediated realities. Now we need to look at Post-modernism to help explain this, and maybe some of Baudrillard’s Hyper-reality [ref needed] to look at the nature of this. The job of a film maker is to fool the audience and provide them with an alternative reality which will captivate them – so, we need to add an aesthetic model – and possible a spiritual model – to examine why we choose to use a studio.

As you delve through this information, you will discover a lot of information to help you with your Location report next – try not to compare them too much in this report, as you will have to define Location to do it, using up you word count!

[References will be filled in, using books, in class – live!]

Studio Practice – The Story So far…

Posted: November 5, 2012 by Alan Hardcastle in FdA 12_14
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We are at the turning point in the unit now. You have been led through a few projects – we have a regular working Radio Show, we have made a Game Show and have Forward Motion coming soon. To pass the unit, you need to have worked on at least 2 studio productions. So, so far – so good.

It is now time to start pushing your own ideas froward. There are a lot of possibilities – some people are involved in filming at the Digital Arts Festival, you may want to do more work on setting up the Radio Station and producing more programmes for that. You may feel the urge to write & direct a piece of fiction in the studio, or just continue being involved in as many productions as you can be involved in.

For each production, I need to see record of what you did. There are 2 ways that this happens. Firstly, blog all your experiences. Tell me what happened. What did you want to do? What did you do? Why did you do it that way? What should you have done? etc. This is your understanding of the event; I judge your understanding by your description of what you believe to have been important.

Secondly, the Planning and Pre-Production. OK, we focus a bit more on this in the next unit, but the logistics of choosing equipment, developing content, and generally setting up the studio are all important. Plus, it shows your intentionality.

All of the above evidence is of your personal practice – 2 practical productions, with blogs explaining what you did and Pre production to show your practical approach to the production process – all show how you approach Studio Production.

Then come the hard part – what happens in the industry? You also need to write a 2,000 word report exploring professional practice. But what does this mean?

It could be a historical overview of why Studios exist. This could cover studios as the physical building, with equipment to serve a specific purpose (the development of the radio, TV or Film Studio) or the Studio System as a business, the rise of vertical ownership within media, meaning that companies produce and distribute their own content, linked with Horizontal ownership whereby the radio station owned by the company play the song they own which is the theme to the film they also own and want to promote.

A few more ideas:

  • Operation of a Radio Studio – Development of content and technical delivery.
  • Studio Film production – Set, lighting and cinematography to fool the audience.
  • Studio Formats – Why some shows are logistically suited for the Studio shoot

You will have been developing your study skills as part of Critical Studies. Now, you need to put them into practice – you need to read books! Select the information that is relevant to what you want to say, and Organise your work into a report.

So – Step 1 – what are you interested in? Decide what you actually want to look at. Enjoy Radio? keep it radio focussed. Want to write your own scripts? Look at the limitations of the studio etc.

Step 2 – Find some information. What do other people say about this subject? Look around for information. Documentaries. Videos. Books. Internet. Even, dare I say it, Wikipedia.

Step 3 – Store the information! Read/watch it. Listen to it. Make notes about what is relevant in that source. Keep those notes safe (in a book, a word document, evernote, blog, etc.) and keep a record of the source (Zotero, etc)

Step 4 – Find the links between the information. This way you can start to structure your report. You need to take me on a journey somehow – whether that be you setting out to make a short play using experimental lighting, or setting up a radio station. Build on information, don’t just repeat a fact and then move on to the next random fact.

Step 5 – redraft it. Read it, and make sure it makes sense. Re write it until it flows – reads well and informs us.

Step 6 – redraft it. Again.

So, you have a busy month. Develop at least on idea, make sure you have planning & pre production for at least 2 ideas, blog about your production work and write a 2,000 word essay. Easy.

Just get me the first draft (500 words is fine) by next week!