CAUGHT IN A LIE – Katherine Okih
What are the resources required for your film production (think about equipment, props, actors, location etc)
Depending on the film, in project, some things are required more than others. In a typical live action film, The most important component that helps to shoot your film is the camera. It is the gateway lens for people to actually see your ideas expressed in a realistic medium. For example, when I was on set to shoot ‘The worst kind of people’ The camera shots, being a wide or a close-up, we were able to see the ideas of the director’s to create a specific atmosphere for the audience (i.e developed suspense). Though, without the camera, wide shots may have not been taken and we not be able to see the creativity of the team. If this were to apply to an animated film, the computer would be the key component, as it is where you receive the software to create artistic pictures for your audience to see and understand the major aesthetic. A Tim Burton film (e.g corpse bride) and a Hayao Miyazaki (e.g My neighbour Totoro) have different styles (obviously due to different artists) but the artwork can help give the audience a specific feel when watching the film.
In terms of acting, we would require actors, to an extent. If the film is a story line that consists of certain characters, then actors are obviously required. We would need to see the emphasis of the dialogue (if present) and how that may change our perception based on the genre, but also the appearance. Would two children in a film, with a truly deep topic, be intercepted as innocent? For example, the film ‘the boy in the striped pyjamas’ the two main characters were 8 year old boys, one who was not aware of the unjustifiable treatment of the Ashkenazim Jewish people , or Jewish people in general. The audience, may see the boy, as someone who been locked away from reality and so is very pure. If this same plot were to take place with two adult men, they audience would perceive the ignorant man, as an imbecile, because, many people would believe that the man should have more real world knowledge and should not require the anecdotal experience of his friend to immediately change his perception. In an animation, the rule of actors also applies. If it is a silent animation, no actors would be required , as it clearly based on the artwork to draw an atmosphere.
I would say, that wrong location can result in a detrimental domino effect. I will use an example. A stereotypical horror film that could have been shot on Halloween night, in Romania (a prime location for stereotypical horror) at 21:00, is located to be shot on July 10th , at 12:00, located at Venice beach, California. If the audience were to see the latter, it would not give the sense of stereotypical horror. Of course, I could argue that horror films, do not require typecasting and can happen anywhere, as long as the true message is expressed, If the film is advertised to be more suspenseful than it actually is, critics, may rate the film very low and the net profit may be lower than the budget. Location does help emphasise the plot of the film, as it connects us more to the character’s motives and actions and so, from there we can draw out more interpretations. Though, location is one of the requirements that both parties, of the film crew (the direction team and the location scouts) have to agree on, to maximise the film’s potential.
What is your key role and what are the skills and equipment required to fulfil it?
My key role, was really the stretch out of my comfort zone. I was assigned to become a production manager for one of the shoots (i.e spaghetti). It required a lot of skills, including the figuration of buying the suitable props and equipment required for each scene, to follow the prop list, to provide edibles for the crew. Though, one skill that is crucial is to stay within budget, as there are so many chances to overspend in correlation to satisfy the crew and maximise the potential of the scenes that make up the film. The budget was 30 pounds, which is not easy to reach with the prop list that we had. 4 cookbooks already would have reached a minimum of 20 pounds, two-thirds of the said budget. Luckily, we used the skills of compromising, for other members of the team to provide props that were available in the house. This reduced the potential of the budget, which meant that I had the ability to buy products and make products (i.e labels) to be in use for the filming. With this, we were able to buy snacks with over half of the money. One thing that I would have improved on, is to try and not spend on all the budget. If it were a feature film and the box office only gained 30 pounds, no profit would have been gained. This means money would not been gained in the process. I should try to minimise on the use of the budget, to maximise profitability.
What is your supporting role and what are the skills and equipment required to fulfil it?
When it came to shooting, I played two contrasting roles, depending on the shoot. On the first shoot (i.e The worst kind of People), I played the key role of being a focus puller/1st Assistant Camera. Focuses are quite important and create the most minimal difference in how the characters are portrayed. To receive the right focus, can create the biggest difference to the audience. This is due to that fact that low quality visuals can only give negative opinions to a film. This shows us that the focus must usually be sharp, to increase the quality and to truly show the performance. With this, the focus puller must have the sight to be able to notice the most suitable sharpness, using the manual focus, especially in wide shots. If the focus, is too blurry and very soft, in this type of sharp, no matter the resolution of the camera, it will not be seen as a suitable shot. This is due to the fact that you can not see the actors. When it comes to extreme close ups, Sharpness is still very much crucial, though the dilution of the focus, has to be quite soft. This enables the actors of the characters to not appeal flawed (in their skin). The general factor in a good focus puller, does not always depend on the camera, but on how clear the observation of the focus puller is on terms of accuracy.
Post-production role: Second Cut editor: Spaghetti – Cut 2
How do you feel you performed your roles on set? What were your strengths and what were any challenges you faced?
I think that my roles on both films, could have been preformed much better. I saw my roles on set as an learning experience, to acknowledge my weaknesses, if I were to work on these roles and even others, if I decide to work in the film industry. On ‘the worst kind of people’ I was a focus puller. The head of the day, mentioned that ‘I relied numerously on the monitor to make sure that shots were in focus , and was not actually focusing shots on camera.’ Although, the 1st Camera Operator, was completely capable of focus pulling, I could have assisted better, in case the camera automatically went out of focus. If it was on a wider production scale, my job may have been more useful, but it is important to not transfer the same skills.
In my contrasted role, as project manager, I personally did not do a bad job, in my opinion, though I do wish that I received feedback. The main thing I would highlight, is working with my team more. I was able to complete tasks, without going over budget and also provided all the required equipment, with the help of others. Though, I took production, as a singular project, as I was the only person on production. If it were on a wider screen, where the film is to be projected to a wider audience, I would have to be able to co-operate on my team, more evenly to bring the best creative side, possible.
Following completion of the Film Academy, please give examples of film production skills that you would like to develop. Did you have any particular strengths or weaknesses on the course?
My main weakness, is to work on teams. I prefer independence and to be behind the scenes, but the film industry truly values teamwork. In a film, there are so many building blocks that make the house of the film. If no one is able to work in a team, it causes unnecessary conflict and so, it may cause the film to not continue to work in production. Hence, a bust.
I think that it is important to evaluate your weaknesses and work on them. The only things we can do with strength is refine them, so we become stronger.
A strength, I tend to possess, is my honesty. Honesty in the film industry is a skill that some may overlook, but has value. The reason is, it helps to enlighten ideas and objectively rationalise them, in case it may not fully work in the future editing of the film. If the actors could act the role more genuinely, that is something important to address, as it may help film production and also means that actors, may be casted more roles,if full potential is being shown. Each component of the film has to be open to opinion, as opinions can aspire to refine and improve on subjects that are being acted upon ; an opinion would not cause harm, but it will help cause improvements.