Raised on the cold hard streets of Sydney, one media student rises up to overcome adversity, sleep for as many hours as possible, throw off the shackles of oppression, spend all her money on records and attempt tertiary education. Feel good hit of the summer. Three thumbs up.
In Group STeve our objective from the outset was to invert the script writing process through experimentation with genre. Rather than a focus on the finished product, we were concerned with our process. We completed everything in a very experimental and non-traditional manner. Initially we chose the basis of our storyline (four people living in a share-house, one of which is a housemate’s mother and landlord) and then instead of basing our work knowing what type of show Keeping Mum would be, we worked outside of convention and tried reinterpreting our premise through different genre codes.
We integrated our research, pre-production and post-production knowledge to create drastically different examples of how Keeping Mum would look by exemplifying different genre tropes.
Once we had conceptualised our project plan, we divided up various genres and each wrote two one-page scripts to shoot as rough exercises. For these informal shoots we used ourselves as actors, which ultimately became a crucial factor in our script writing process. After researching the catagorising codes of each genre, we were able to write and produce scenes which held true to these conventions. Using our skills gained through practical studio sessions we were able to edit our footage to typify our chosen pastiche. This is clear when viewing some of our experimentation shoots, including the trailer for Keeping Mum as a thriller/horror and a short scene of Keeping Mum as a sit-com.
Over the course of our research and experimentation, we came to the conclusion that mockumentary was our chosen genre. But despite ending this initial pre-production period of inverting writing traditions, we continued to tweak the standard scripting process in other ways. For once we had chosen mockumentary we then assigned each group member with the task of writing and acting for their character, and consequently created semi-improvised scenes. These scenes were very loosely scripted; we would plan a conflict or motive, a rough sketch for what action would take place, and then trial a few takes. Each would be adapted from the last and result in a scene that seems natural, loose, not over-scripted, and true to character. The scenes shot this way for our mockumentary format are:
Overall we achieved Group STeve’s objective, and throughout the entirety of creating “Keeping Mum” we moved away the traditional script writing process. Our prototype has been a product of experimentation and a labour of love.
I believe we in Group STeve made an excellent team, and that all group members contributed something different but essential to our overall product. Our varied skill-set meant our final product was of good quality, and I believe we all pulled our share of the weight in pre-production, group meetings, consultations, presentations, and submissions.
We had an egalitarian writing and pre-production process, which was easy to accomplish by assigning each member of STeve an amount of scripts to submit per week. By having open communication on our facebook page we were able to make plans with everyone involved, and could accommodate for absences in advance. Through being able to allocate certain tasks we could each complete what we needed to for the completion of our prototype. For example Kerry-Anne was excellent at organisation, Wei Yun attended the majority of our meetings while other members were working off-campus, she and Dylan also accounted for majority of the editing, while Raph and I did our share of the writing and planning, and I was vigilant with my documentation and blog posts which aided with those of the group.
All in all I’m very happy with the collaborative work undertaken by STeve, and would highly recommend all group members for future prospects. 10 out of 10. Five thumbs up.
Yay! I feel our presentation went really well, and that we gave a holistic overview of our practice and product. Even though we were the second last group to present and the studio were looking disinterested by this point, we spoke well and delivered a great pitch.
Dylan and I spoke about location, and overall we were all integrated throughout the 15 minutes and each contributed.
Because of time restraints we were not able to exhibit all of our final scene cuts for Keeping Mum. These were the scenes we filmed using minimal scripting and once we had decided mockumentary was our chosen genre. Therefore I believe they are the truest to our overall objective, to invert the traditional writing process through experimentation with genre. Unfortunately we couldn’t show all these scenes and also show our process/different genre scenes so these were left off the presentation.
These were the process scenes used to experiment with genre:
-talk about moving away from classic script/casting methods
-address why Wei Yun doesn’t come in-front of the camera
-why we chose the final genre
-cut the extended scene into trailer length
-embed the videos into our presentation slides
We’re now attempting to get our presentation in order for Thursday, including a slide presentation where we talk through our process and excerpts from our shoots.
We’ll need to add in our footage, cut down our extended preview to a bite-sized chunk (about two/three mins), practice our presentation all in time for Thursday, but so far this is the assignment I feel most confident about.
Concerning to our recent studio lesson with Paul (below) about advanced camera work, shooting on Monday worked in some of the things we were taught, and disregarded others. For example, knowing about aperture and adapting the camera for different light settings came in handy. Particularly when we shot the slasher scene, which was set at night but which we were filming in the daytime. We experimented with changing the aperture to let less light in and under expose the shot to make it look like nighttime, but in the end decided to darken the shots in post.
Children Of The Corn is the only horror movie think can of that is set in the daytime.
Children Of The Corn – God I hate this kid but I love this hat.
Also after dedicating so much in-class time to setting up the shots to look the most professional, we have ended up mostly subverting these to make the shots seem informal, low-grade and amateur. This is to exemplify our chosen mockumentary style, and knowing how to make our footage look as polished as possible was great because we could then adapt this understanding and inverting it to get the opposite effect.
FUBAR – inspiration for sub-par camera techniques and “shotgunning” beers
On Monday all the members of Team STeve came over to my house to start filming on location. I live at an establishment in Preston called The Bank, which literally was an old bank building. As such it has plenty of space for us to film, and I think all the shooting went really really well!
Studios inside, photo taken from the kitchen where we filmed most of ours scenes
In only a few hours we shot more mockumentary scenes, a drama scene and a slasher horror scene. I was acting in most of them which was awkward because I was wearing no makeup and in no way ready to be filmed. But it was a great day with great outcomes.
One of the best products was that we fully went to town with the mockumentary scenes, even though none of us had written anything more. So it became almost fully improvised – we would think of a conflict or point of action, allocate characters and then act it out without scripting.
I think this was the most exploratory we’ve gotten with our writing process and it felt like we’d crossed some kind of threshold. We filmed about four scenes for the mockumentary on Monday, pretty much enough footage to put into a proper half-hour TV pilot.
I think the location of the shoot was pretty perfect. It’s hard when it’s your own kitchen to see why other people think it would make a good set, but after looking at the footage it does work really well.
my backyard from the roof
Here is one of the scenes from Monday, the drama sequence that Dylan wrote and edited:
Today in class I WAS ACTUALLY EARLY.
This is literally the first and only time this has happened and we’re in like week 11 or something. Still, I was really proud of myself. Also I drank to much coffee so started to have a bad time, shaky hands, rapid heart beat, feeling nauseous. So even though I was early I wasn’t much use to anyone. Awesome.
Paul talked us through some details of working with cameras and the correct process for setting up a shot. These included adjusting the tripod, attaching the camera, making sure to prevent any mishaps and securing the safety of the equipment and the people using them, and framing the shot before action.
Here are my notes from today:
We had some time at the end of our class, and although we had sketchy plans to do some shooting it was looking less and less likely that we’d get enough. Also there were vague intentions to do a shoot or something like it after class, but everyone had other things on, so we rescheduled for a shoot outside of school hours. We used that last bit of class time to make plans for our shoot on Monday, plans which look like this:
This past week I enjoyed a brief sojourn up to the Hunter Valley in NSW to see my parents. It was a really lovely time away but I missed two crucial meetings for my group so now have to catch up. But meanwhile here’s a picture of some stuff I did up there like opals, peacocks and vineyards.
I’ve felt really good after starting the process of filming. It’s taken a while for us to get ourselves together so this step forward is really encouraging, and has already wielded some good progress.
We’ve so far done trial shoots (where we are not in costume, just using the writers as actors in place of casting) for mockumentary and sitcom. They’ve been a great asset in fleshing out our scripts and really exemplifying the genre disparities. It’s really brought to the forefront the theoretical question which began our assessment; which genre works the best for us, and in going through all these activities we’re actually assessing this.
Here are some of the shoots we’ve been doing on and off campus.
And mockumentary. For this one (my favourite genre of them all) we wanted to communicate that is was someone shooting the video who was bored of listening to the mother’s bitching and also someone who doesn’t really know what makes a good shot, so they fool around a little too much. I think it comes across as okay, could be better..