THE TREE, A Short Film

 

This is the final project for my Introduction to Media Arts class, but hopefully with effort, not the last post I make for my blog. This project was a challenge, the kind that pushed me and I had some success with this project because of lessons I learned from my first project, and there were also some mishaps and new lessons to learn from this time around too. Overall I was able to convey a fun little story that I enjoyed making and I hope, makes sense.

I’m sitting down in class and the teacher, Teresa Hughes, puts a three page guideline for making a film on the desk. Add that to the list, I think. I had several projects in various stages going on for all of my classes, and since I’m in the Media Arts program, there’s no big test at the end of the semester or mid-terms but sizable creative projects. While juggling these projects I was dealing with a problem, What am I going to work on first? After a week or two of thinking about it and that not working, I set a timer to come up with as many ideas as possible for this project, then a timer to write on each idea to find the most workable story. With the best ideas I set a timer to flesh out each of the couple of good ideas I had. Out of that short process I had a story to work with.

Pre Production was demanding, I hadn’t written a story in several years because I didn’t think I’d know how to. I used one of the Production work days in class to come up with a storyboard, using ideas and feedback gained from another class to make my storyboarding process more fruitful. The class was called “Concepts of Visual Literacy”. What I did differently in storyboarding here versus my first film was give the characters more facetime and setup, action and reaction shots, where we see the character look at someone or something, look through their eyes to what they do or are looking at and then see their face again to see what we are supposed to feel. With the subject of my film containing a sense of urgency, it was very important to capture the feeling of each character and look into their emotional experience.

Since I put off writing the story so long, I also had to work very quickly to find talented actors and fortunately I was able to work with family friends young Emily and Andrew and a couple of adult classmates Melia and Malakhai, everyone did excellently beyond my expectations! Thank you.

Behind the scenes were lots of laughs and funny moments because most of us were new to either being in front or behind the camera. Other important pre production aspects to keep my mind on was keeping the people who helped me happy to work with me. I bought food, tried my best to keep them warm and give as clear directions as possible as well as have as clear of an idea of who their characters were supposed to be and the story as possible so my actors were not performing blindly. Nevertheless, some of the best moments were from unexpected improvisation in the way they decided to convey the emotion or reaction I was looking for.

There is so much more I want to say about finding the location and losing wallets and finding unexpected surprises we found on the set at the river, or how I forgot my SD card at home and had to borrow one from the young actors’ dad. Thank you. But here is a little bit on my post production process:

From feedback on my first film from a panel of film critics I learned that sound is very important, if not more important than what you see on the camera. Stitching the shots together was a fairly straightforward and quick process compared to finding royalty-free sound effects and music, and then cutting these sounds together to make sense with what was happening on the screen. I’m grateful to the artists and nameless faces out there that created these clips for people doing creative work to use in their product. I’m no pro but the audio in this film is a step up from what I’ve done before. I learned a lot about basic audio from Mel Stark, my “Time-based Tools” professor and audio engineer and Teresa.

I’m looking forward to experiment with another film project soon, it won’t be my first time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *