Final piece evaluation

We have four cuts of our final task. There is not much difference between them, just mild tweaks with some shots and audio. Here are the four cuts.




I will be talking mainly about the fourth edit as it is the final cut. We have come a long way since our first cut. Our first version was not good at all, and you can really see the improvements. Overall it is a more competently made sequence. We have improved almost everything since our first draft. We have improved the camera, sound and editing. All of it was quite sloppy to begin with. The camera would shake sometimes and it just looked very unprofessional. In this version, it all looks a lot nicer and smooth and well made. We have also improved our sound. In the first draft we had very basic sound, just music and sometimes sound effects would be there and sometimes a shot would be silent. It was quite bad. However, we have now added more layers of sound, including music, diegetic sound and a kind of voice over. This is a vast improvement from the very basic and very poorly done sound in our first attempt. The editing is also a lot more smooth. The shots flow better and we have improved the pace. In our original version there would be quick cuts and then a 10 second zoom shot and it did not flow very well. We improved upon this by making the pace more consistent and making it flow better. We also improved the mise-en-scene. In the first draft we received praise for our mise-en-scene, but we still wanted to improve upon it. Some of the props carried over from the first version to this version, but we removed the ‘murder board’ to simplify it a bit and make it less cheesy. We think it took away from our original version as it was cliché, so we decided to focus more on the aesthetic of the girls bedroom. We think this is a big improvement from the original.

There are a couple of flaws which are hard to notice. One shot goes out of focus a bit at the end which was intentional but in my opinion doesn’t go well. But other than that I am very happy with the way that our task came out.

Update on sound in our opening title sequence

There have been a few changes made to the sound that we will use in our title sequence. To start with, the music that is being used in our most recent edit is not by Goodbye Gravity, but instead some royalty free music off a website. This music has been used as it fit the tone and complimented the video very well. The use of this music for the final product is not set in stone, however, we may end up using it in our official cut. Also, we did not use the handheld audio recorder when filming. We have decided that any sound effects that need to be added will be recorded and added at a later date. There will be a larger focus on non-diegetic sound as well, so the sound will not be created by things within the scene. Instead they will be used to create a certain effect on the audience.

Final task rough cut

Around a month ago we completed our rough cut of our final task. Since then we have re-filmed, and re-filmed again. None of us were extremely happy with our rough cut of the final piece which is why we chose to film it again, and in the most recent filming we changed the idea. Here is our first cut:

There are a lot of issues with this cut. First of all, it is not long enough. It is 20 seconds too short. We aimed to make our title sequence around 2 minutes long, and this is barely 1 minute 40. There are also a lot of issues with the audio, with the music starting weirdly and some sound effects sometimes being there and sometimes not. The dialogue was also missing from the end. In a different cut of this there was no audio at all. We needed to improve this in later cuts, however in our latest cut I was told to add different sound effects and some sort of voice over to the footage.

There is also some editing issues. We did not have enough footage to make it 2 minutes, so a lot of the shots linger for longer than they should. We aimed to make it faster paced than this version is, however due to our lack of footage this was not possible. However, having just changed the idea around a bit we do not require the faster paced editing. Our idea has allowed some shots to breathe a bit more.

Our lighting was also not what it needed to be. There were a few inconsistencies in the lighting, as well as it being too bright for a lot of it. This, however, has changed in the newest filming session as it was decided that we will be using high key lighting as there have been some theme changes.

 

To conclude, I think this cut was a decent starting point, however there was a lot of room to improve and I believe in our latest cut we have done this. There are some fine ideas in this version, some of which have been carried to our latest cut.

Logan review – Independent

I saw Logan the day it came out (the 1st of March). 2 days later I saw again. But did I like it?

Yes I saw it twice in 3 days. Of course I liked it. What, did you think I didn’t like it? Why would I pay to see it twice if I didn’t like it. Jeez, think before you jump to conclusions.

Logan is the 10th film in the X-men franchise, 9 of which have featured Wolverine, 7 of which he was the main character. Logan is the best of them. The first two are pretty great, so are First Class and Days of Future Past. I liked The Wolverine a lot too. The rest, meh. But Logan is amazing. Just. Oh my god.

Logan was directed by James Mangold and stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen. I will start by saying all the negatives before I talk about the positives. I think the first half an hour was shot weirdly. Maybe just 20 minutes. It looks like a TV show until Charles first seizure. I also would have liked them to flesh out Logan and Laura’s relationship a bit more. More bonding time between the pair. Other than that, this movie is perfect (in my humble opinion). I think not knowing about the plot will add to the experience, so skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know. The film is set in 2029 and involves Logan and Charles Xavier having to take a little girl across the country. I will say no more for now. Go watch it.

The action is the best action in any X-men film, and it is not even the focus of the film. Films like X-men apocalypse are more about the action (and that is why it is bad maybe?) however this film focuses on the story and characters. The story is nothing amazingly new, but it works. Especially because of the world building that the film does. It is established that all other mutants are almost all gone. It is set in a semi dystopian future, and you really feel it. This is definitely not a ‘fun time’. It is incredibly stressful and dark. By the end of the film you feel exhausted. These characters are put through so much in this film. Every time they get 5 minutes to breathe, they are in danger again. This film is also incredibly emotional. There are great character moments throughout the film as well. Logan and Charles’ relationship is incredible within this film. Charles was always the one looking out for Logan through a lot of the X-men films, however this turns that on its head. Wolverine has to care for Charles as he has become incredibly unwell. This leads me on to my next point. The sequence in the Casino. Oh my god. I could not breathe. It was amazing. I shall say no more.

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have these characters nailed at this point so I don’t need to tell you how good they are. They have been doing it for 17 years. However, I will mention Boyd Holbrook and Dafne Keen. I thought they were fantastic. I hated Boyd’s character even though he had that sweet southern charm. Boyd Holbrook knocked it out of the metaphorical park. As did Dafne Keen. I really hope she goes on to do more things because she was amazing. Richard E. Grant was not so good. He was boring and annoying. However, he is barely in the film so it does not matter that much.

This film is great. I saw it a 3rd time and it is still one of the best cinematic experiences I have ever had. An amazing X-men film. An amazing superhero film. An amazing film. Rule of threes.

1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000/10

Update on planning documents 

Our group has decided that we want to change our idea a bit. We have decided that instead of this more generic plain title sequence we would add a more unique spin to it. We chose to change our idea so that the girl is suffering from a mental health disorder. This will allow for some new interesting ideas in our final piece. We got a lot of feedback from our original draft which was not very positive so instead of reshooting all of it again we decided to make it different. The idea about the mental illness was the first idea we had however we decided to change it to what we had in our first draft but are now going back to it. Here are our planning documents:

This is our script. This shows everything that will happen on screen with some direction. It will help the actor know what they are doing. 

This is our shot list. It is a list of all the shots for me and the other dop to follow when filming the sequence. It goes into more detail about exactly what shots to use and describes what will be happening in the shots and the effect it will have. 

Finally, this is our story board. This is a visual representation of what will occur on screen in the final product. It outlines some of the main ideas of the shots with a description of them above the image. We used images from other things that inspired us e.g. Se7en to give a better idea of what we want to create. 

Gotham City Sirens independent post

I am sure no one cares about me writing this. I’m sure no one cares about the subject and definitely not my opinion on the subject, however I am going to write it anyway.

David Ayer is going to direct another DC movie called ‘Gotham City Sirens’. I am fearful. The comic of the same name is about Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Catwoman and they do criminal stuff together. Now, I don’t know if these are the characters that will be present within the movie adaptation. Margot Robbie is confirmed to return as Harley Quinn. Fine. Sure. She was okay. I just hope she has some good dialogue. However I have many concerns. I was not a fan of Suicide Squad. If you read my review of it you will know this. I think it was awful. However, if you read it you would also know that I am a fan of David Ayer. I know he has it in him to make an excellent movie as I have seen it. That being said, I am fearful of this film. It was written by Christina Hodson. She wrote a film called ‘Shut in’ which came out in 2016. Now, I have not seen this film so I can not judge it, however I am going to judge it anyway. It has a 3% on Rotten Tomatoes. I know you shouldn’t always trust critics but 3% is a bad sign. I have also heard a couple of critics on YouTube talk about it. These are people who I respect the opinion of and find to be similar to mine, and they have said it is awful. Now, having not read the script I do not know if the script was the issue. The issue could have been with the direction. But this is still not a good sign. Also not a good sign is that she is writing Transformers 6 and what looks like a Transformers spin-off. But anyway back to Gotham City Sirens. I hope this is good. I really really do. Margot Robbie is a good actor. David Ayer is a good director. But Warner Bros has no clue what the hell they are doing (or so it seems). I have some concerns and some ideas of where I hope they go in this film.

An issue with Suicide Squad, which I don’t think I mentioned in my review, was a lack of focus. It seemed like they did not know who the main character was. I still don’t know whether it was Harley or Deadshot. None of them felt like supporting characters. Maybe Killer Croc, but he didn’t do much supporting. So with this film, I hope that there is focus on one character and one story. The main character should be clear. Perhaps Harley Quinn as she is already established. Maybe Catwoman. She is an interesting character to me. I don’t think Poison Ivy could carry the movie, but maybe if done right she could. Also by this point, the DC extended cinematic universe will be well established, so I hope they don’t focus on setting up the universe as much as they have in previous films, as it may already be set up. Another thing is the plot. Suicide squad suffered a lot from the plot. They missed a lot of opportunities. They could have had a more simple movie. Perhaps where the suicide squad stop a group of terrorists. That would make more sense based off the characters that were in the squad, but instead they chose to go with a supernatural villain with poor motivation. I hope they do not make this mistake again with Gotham City Sirens. I hope they do something simple. IMDb has the synopsis of ‘Following three of Gotham City’s most notorious female criminals on one of their most dangerous missions yet.’ The word ‘missions’ scares me. Why can it not be job. Mission makes me think it is like suicide squad again. If it was a job I would be more excited as it makes me think that perhaps these criminals are doing something criminal, but mission tells me that it might be just making suicide squad again with different characters and a new name. Again, I am worried about the writing. I would perhaps forgive suicide squad for the plot (but not the editing) if the dialogue was good. But it isn’t. It is awful. I hope that this one is written better.

Image result for gotham city sirens

WHAT WOULD I LIKE TO SEE?!?!?!?!?!

Again, you probably do not care what I would like to see. But again I am going to tell you anyway. Now, you might not know this but I am not a screenwriter. I have no clue how to write a good story, so this is not that. This is just an idea of what I think might work.

DO SOMETHING SIMPLE!

These characters are criminals. So don’t have them go on a ‘mission’. Have one job which they do. Maybe something small in the beginning, but the main second and third act should be one job. Maybe in the first act we could see them do something small. Maybe one of them starts in prison and the other two break her out. For example perhaps Poison Ivy is in a prison. Harley Quinn sometimes has a relationship with Poison Ivy. This could work as her motivation to break her out. Perhaps she asks Catwoman to help. There is no need to over complicate things. Obviously there would be other stuff mixed in with this, but this could be a decent way to introduce the characters and their motivations. It would also establish Harley as the main protagonist. Her motivation in the beginning could be Poison Ivy, and Poison Ivy’s could be Harley Quinn. Harley could offer Catwoman money, which is her motivation, as it always is. As a group they could form a bond, which could be why they do the main job together. The main job, again does not have to be anything complicated. Just have them rob a bank or steal something from the government. A heist film. Just do a heist film. One example of what might get them to do this heist (although probably a bad idea but it is the easiest one I could come up with) is to finish what Poison Ivy started. Maybe she was doing this heist and she got caught. Now this might not work as Poison Ivy isn’t really a thief but who cares. Maybe she was trying to steal something from the government so they don’t have dirt on her. This links back to the motivation. Characters need motivation. Ivy’s would be to get this thing from the government and Harley would just want to help her. They could convince Selena Kyle (Catwoman) to join them by a monetary reward as well as the fact that they may have bonded in the beginning. I know this isn’t the best idea, I am not a writer but it is just what I think may work. The heist could go down in the third act. The second act could just be used for planning the heist. I always find this to be very interesting in heist movies. If done right it keeps the audience entertained throughout the entirety of the second act. It could involve some good action set pieces as well, as they would need to maybe obtain some items which will help them in their heist. Finally when the heist goes down we would be able to see the individuality of these characters and how they work together. We could see Catwoman being stealthy. We could see Harley Quinn go nuts and do the complete opposite. And Poison Ivy could do… plant things. I also think that this would be a way to show these characters in a better way than they have been portrayed previously. These characters are often overly sexualized. This should be avoided in this film. There were some moments in Suicide Squad which I feel almost over sexualized Harley Quinn. The film should focus on these characters being strong and complex characters. I find David Ayer to be good at portraying good characters. I love the characters in Fury and End of Watch. These characters, especially in Fury, are flawed characters but they are really good characters. You understand these characters. Ayer is also good at creating excellent character moments. He shows banter between the characters in an excellent way. There are a lot of funny scenes between the characters in Fury and End of Watch and it really makes you care for them. This could benefit this movie.

Anyway that was a rant that no one will care about but I wrote it anyway because I am bored and want to rant about something. Cool. At least it had something to do with media. Why am I justifying this to myself.

How have the movie reviews helped me with my task?

Reviewing thriller movies has helped me obtain a wider understanding of the genre. It has also helped me identify flaws in the genre and specific movies, as well as the genre clichés. Having reviewed a lot of films in the thriller genre I feel like I am good at noticing what is good about the movie and what is bad. Hopefully this will help me with my task as I will be able to avoid the issues that I had with thriller movies. Another thing that I think will be useful when completing my task is that I reviewed the movie as a whole as well as title sequences. This has given me the opportunity to think about the overarching story of the title sequence that I create instead of just the titles. I believe that it is important to have an idea of the story as a whole. If we just looked at title sequences then I think my groups idea would not have been as good as instead of story we would focus on visuals. I made sure that up until this point I had seen all of the films that I was analysing so that context was added to the title sequences for me. So now as a group we have all have an idea of what the story as a whole is about to give us a better idea of what we want to do in our title sequence as well as why.

To conclude, I think that reviewing thriller movies has definitely helped me with my final task of the opening title sequence to a thriller film. I hope that doing the reviews was worthwhile and my final piece reflects all the work that I have put into the reviews.

How have the textual analysis’ helped with my task?

Over the last few months I have been looking at and analysing many title sequences of thriller films (as well as a couple of other genres). I did this to get a better understanding of what goes into creating these title sequences and the effect that they create. It has allowed me to get a wider understanding of the genre and the tropes of title sequences. For example, it has come to my attention that a lot of these title sequences use close-ups. This helps them build tension as it removes everything else from the frame and leaves the audience wondering. It is also a way of obscuring objects and pushing the idea that the character may have a distorted view on life. This technique was used on sequences like ‘Dexter’ and ‘Se7en’.

I believe that having this knowledge will help me when creating our opening title sequence. It has been extremely beneficial to me and I hope that this will be reflected in our title sequence.