From Pilot to Production

Weeks 7 & 8 – Olivia

Between the filming of our pilot and the end of week 8, a lot of brainstorming was done and many decisions made. We received feedback from the writers on Tuesday of week 7, mainly focusing on the actor portraying Duncan. They didn’t think he was energetic enough. With this feedback and more, we started to prepare our presentation for the Friday. We decided that we would shoot the remainder of the pilot (which we had shortened), before moving on to creating a more polished episode 2. We received some good feedback from our guests, both in relation to our plan going ahead and the pilot itself. Our group focused on a few remarks in particular, surrounding our use of “handheld cam” and the “dated” zooms. While we appreciate all feedback, these stylistic choices were made with purpose and we thought they all added to the story and episode. The next week we received some more specific and technical feedback from Robin, and settled our roles for the next shoot.  However, on Friday, everything changed and we decided we will reshoot the first episode in entirety, so we could incorporate all the feedback we recieved, improve on our mistakes and make it more cohesive (than filming two separate artefacts and merging them together). Now we are working towards this reshoot, with more thorough pre-production than last time.

Week 6 – Group 2


The first part of Week 6 for our group was mostly centred around pre-production tasks. This included organising crew roles, and deciding on whether to cast external actors for the pilot or to simply use members of our group as the actors. Ultimately, we went with the latter, primarily to speed up production and ensure we could get shooting during Friday’s class, rather than having to delay the initial shoot to find a suitable cast.

Unfortunately, this short timeframe meant that our shoots were a little disorganised, but after location scouting on the Friday morning, we dove deep into production on set, and managed to successfully film about half of our script on that day. We decided that it would be best to shoot the remainder during our week off, to ensure that the product we produced was of the highest quality possible, instead of cramming all the filming into one day. The second day of shooting, which fell on the following Tuesday, ran relatively smoothly, leaving the remainder of the week for members to get stuck into the post-production process.

Week 6 – Group 1

During Week 6 we worked towards shooting a pilot or test episode.


For my group, Week 6 was a time for pre-production. During the first class of this week, we allocated production roles, cast our actors, sourced props and scouted for a location where we could film. The second class of the week was set aside for the technical crew to learn and familiarise themselves with the equipment we would be using on the day of production. During this time, the director, producer and first AD tweaked the script (with permission from the writers) in order for us to be able to film it all in the allocated time while still having a coherent narrative. Given that my group spent the entire week on pre-production, our decided time to film was during the mid-semester break – a convenient time for all of us because we would all be available for at least a whole day. Due to our thorough planning in Week 6, the day of filming went smoothly. We were all able to experience being on set as well as experience working with actors.

A Sleeper, but not Sleeping

Our studio hasn’t yet broadcast its activities and achievements in detail.  But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been fully engaged.  Ours is, perhaps, a sleeper studio, but none of its members have been sleeping.  Here’s a summary of Weeks 1 – 5.

Week 1/2 – Hazel

To kickstart the This Is Serial studio, our first week of classes was dedicated to screenwriting workshops with Australian Film & TV Director/Screenwriter, Ana Kokkinos. We were taught the basic elements of a good script and common mistakes made in a bad script. And through analysing excerpts from scripts, we looked into the differences between scripts with more dialogue than action, and those with more action than dialogue. From here, we were given a task to adapt a short story into a script with the screenwriters writing the adapted script and the media students creating a mood board for the given scripts. Since we didn’t have the time to adapt the scripts into short films, the mood boards compensated for this in a way as they gave visual inspiration as to how the scripts would be adapted into film if given the chance.


In our second week, we gathered as a Media collective and completed a basic film exercise. Using a script that was created from the previous week, the class split into two groups and filmed the same scene. Before filming, as a whole we read the script together out loud like a table read and chose the scene which we would adapt. We then discussed possible shots we might use before breaking off into our respective groups. In our group, we planned the shots that we would use and the order we would film them, and then allocated ourselves roles in production. And to end the week, we discussed what a web series is and the characteristics that make them differ from regular series on TV. We were later joined by the screenwriters to brainstorm possible narratives and the direction we wanted to go in.


Week 3 – Josie

Week 3 consisted of our first creation of visual dialogue with the writers. Our class had been split into three groups, and Robin had given each groups a topic to film: action, dialogue and place. These groups had no connection with one another when creating these pieces. The idea of creating this visual dialogue was to help inspire and have some sort of influence in the writer’s creative process as they came up with the premise for the collaborative web serial. The ‘action’ video contained a girl, determined, and walking through a revolving door and then around a pillar. The ‘dialogue’ piece was that of mystery and intrigue in a conversation about murder. The final video for ‘place’, which the writer’s picked as their main source of inspiration, involved various locations and interior ideas filmed around RMIT.


Week 4 – Aine

This week we received character profiles from the writers, at first it seemed a little out there for the characters to consist of vampires, clones and crazy mother-hating feminists, but when we sat down and discussed them as a class, ideas started falling into place. We decided from the profiles that the web series the writers were going for was some kind of comedy, we thought that perhaps it could be like The Office, with interviews and situational comedy. The two different tables started brainstorming ideas and to plan a little video, to send to the writers to prompt them in the direction we thought was best to go in. Both groups came up with drastically different ideas – but the direction and type of humour was quite clear from both.  It was now up to the writers to see where they would take the scripts for episode one’s first draft – whether that be a completely different direction or a continuation of what we’d already done.


Week 5 – Brooke

This week we got to meet with the writers again, and finally read/listened to the scripts that they had written us. After listening to all of the scripts, the class split in half and we discussed our thoughts and visions with the writers. With the writers in our group, we all decided on a first script we were going to produce, as well as how/when etc we would be producing it. We discussed some logistics regarding what roles we would all have, and some ideas on where we could possibly do the filming. As well as planning the filming, we also organised our ways of communication with everyone in our group, which for both groups ended up being via a Facebook group chat/page. It was now our job to leave class and organise with our group a set plan on how we would go about filming.