Good Form Semester Reflection (assignment 5, part 3)

Originally I joined a team who wanted to make a web-series about a witch that sells potions like a pharmaceutical sales rep. Unfortunately this web-series would never see the light of day, because one of the media people dropped out and all those remaining were all split up to the other groups of our choosing. I chose “Tit’s up”, thinking it would be a lot of fun because of the concept behind it. The concept being that its an office where two characters, including Grace (the main) are both up for promotion, despite Grace being a smarter and harder worker. The office works with “clients” who are actually the recently deceased. The office is essentially purgatory.


Throughout the semester, there were many stages, both invigorating and aggravating, in our group’s attempt to create “Tit’s up”. One of the problems was the strange requirement by our writing team to not reveal our point of difference until the very end, in which the office actually is the waypoint between our life and that of the afterlife. Thus, instead of having an interesting web-series about the waypoint purgatory acting like an office, we have (for the most part), just a dull, boring office-sitcom. I still don’t understand why they wanted to keep this twist a secret for the entire season. On top of this, the place picked for shooting was a study area, which was going to get more and more crowded the closer we got to the due date and exam week. We also had trouble being able to shoot at night (for the pilot episode) and we eventually had to compromise and shoot it in the day.


As mentioned, shooting delays for the pilot were common, and we shot episodes 2 and 3 before the pilot. We also decided that due to consistent filming delays as a result of conflicting schedules by actors and media people (as well as final assignments for other classes and thus students using the study area more often), we would film and release the first 3 episodes of our series and then afterward film and release episodes 4 and 5. I was to direct episode 4, which includes a dream sequence. I thought that in order to help save time that I could make the dream sequence all poorly drawn paper doodles with voiceover done by our main character for everyone. The episode’s writer, Jules, who didn’t want anything like that for her episode, opposed my idea.


The most annoying and aggravating thing to occur was when I got to direct my episode. I spent loads of money on extra props, the area we needed for the dream sequence was noisy, one of the actors decided not to show up for personal reasons, the study area was crowded (meaning we couldn’t shoot anything there), and the final nail in the coffin was the writers deciding to just cancel production for the final two episodes. I was very annoyed that they decided to do this as we had essentially wasted an entire day of shooting and I had wasted a lot of money for a bunch of crazy props, all for an episode that would never be seen. I felt useless, pathetic, and greatly annoyed at my fellow group members. I felt even more useless because of the end of year presentation. All the roles and responsibilities were handled by a couple of people and each group only had to send some behind-the-scenes footage and a trailer for our series.


I wasn’t just sitting on the sidelines, however, waiting for my turn to direct. I was helping with lights and the boom-mike; I was finding simple and practical solutions to problems, such as when we wanted to do a backing-up shot, and I suggested instead of trying to walk backwards with the camera, to simply zoom-out. I was also unofficially tasked with getting permission to film at nights. I’m not sure why since it would have been the director’s responsibility to get this sort of paperwork weeks in advance, but I still went around trying to find everything I needed to get permission. This wasn’t an easy task since different members of security and faculty were all telling me different things, saying I needed a security access form to saying I didn’t need one to saying I needed a filming request form that said it needed 3 weeks notice but then the RMIT website saying I only needed 2 weeks and so one with things like that. We just decided that since we has already filmed a couple episodes already without permission or complaints from anybody, we could just start filming when and where we wanted to.


My understanding of production and the collaboration of varying professions in film before this course was that too many fingers can tarnish and ruin the finished product, and that the story should be left to the writer, the sets and how the camera is set up and how people do or say things is up to the director, and the producer brings them together and provides all the needed equipment after they have been informed of what is needed (anything within reason, of course). Now, it seems that when there are 5 media people, 4 writers (one of whom is one of the leads), and a bunch of conflicting ideas and schedules, everything goes bad very quickly. I guess my original understanding of “too many chefs in the kitchen spoil the broth” has been reinforced by this semester.



21st September 2016 Good form reflection

This week we made some great progress, as we filmed the entire 2nd episode of “Tits up”. I helped with the lights and the boom mike as per usual, but that was only from 2-4pm on the shoot day, and filming had begun at 11am. Thankfully the actors seemed to get through things quite quickly, so all we had to do was stand still and quiet before moving the camera for the next shot.

We would have filmed episode 1 or 3 at other points this week, but sadly a lot of us aren’t available at the right times, including our leading lady. We have to release our show soon in week 13 and our schedule is getting tighter and tighter. However, we are apparently ahead of most other groups and we do have plans for full-day shootings. Also for episode 4 we will not need to use the study area, which will give us a nice change in scenery.

Unfortunately, despite us being ahead of all the other groups, many of the writers and some of the producers are worried that we don’t have enough time to shoot 2 of the episodes, and that we may have to cut episodes 4 and 5 from production (I’m directing episode 4). This would be hard as some of the media people will not be able to get a directors note for this series, which would hinder our marks.

I suggested that for episode 4, seeing as its a dream sequence, of having it done entirely as poorly-drawn doodles by Helen and having everyone in the sequence voiced by Helen. This could cut shooting time in half and ease shooting timetables and schedules. However, many of the group said that this wouldn’t fit the continuity and would make the episode look ridiculous. It’s being kept as a final option, which I have dubbed “operation unthinkable”.

Good form reflection 7th September 2016

This week we prepared for our pitches and (for the media people) the proposals. For our pitch, us in the “Tits up!” group gave each other different sections to write and say, with Jeremy making (in addition to his section) a short film of the different clips we had together.

I did the points of difference, where I highlighted having one of our writers play the antagonist and the leads having no romantic inclinations for each other at any point.

All in all, I think our pitch did very well. The proposal isn’t due until this Friday, on the 9th, but most of it (for my part) is done. Our personal bios, CVs, EPOC, scripts, and some people’s Linkdin profiles are done (one can do the profile or do a personal bio and CV). All we need to do is fill the rest (including our cover letter) then put that folder into a shared google drive before 5pm.

Good form reflection 22nd August 2016

We had a series of table-reads for our current scripts. We decided that our script had some problems. The tension was odd, the characters were not believable, and some of the script progression seemed forced and out-of-nowhere. Some re-editing is needed, but not majorly. The writers are also going to discuss synopsis’s for future episodes.

For the final half-hour the media people (including myself, of course), we practiced setting up light panels. We looked at lighting positions and theories and techniques for different shots, such as “3-point lighting”.

Good form reflection 15th August 2016

First we had a guest lecturer, Evan Smith. He talked about his work in his production company, which he describes as “fun corporate stuff”. He also talked about his studying life from before, his interests in filming, and how he came to where he is now.They also showed a couple of clips from a web series, “A Little More Oliver Clark”, starring a musical comedian named Oliver Clark (coincidentally my name as well). He also showed us other web series he has worked on, including “playground politics”.

Evan also gave us some advise about production and filming, needing multiple takes to deal with camera movements and lighting, and also gave a good tip about having the person’s lines underneath the camera to help them remember.

After Evan’s lecture, our groups were told to meet together to discuss script deadlines, locations, back-up locations, casting call dates and outlining key characters, and getting started on our 200 word personal bios. However, we only had 30 minutes left of class so little was accomplished. Luckily we also had an out-of-class meeting to think through these things.


Good form assignment 2 part 2: reflection

“The Katering Show” is an excellent parody of your average how-to shows, as Lenny Ann Low (2016) has said. The show is about “The journey of a food intolerant, and an intolerable foodie” as they go about teaching their audience about how to cook fructose-free dishes mixed in with whatever food-fads exist, from paleo-eating to eating a lasagna made from their own placenta to, in season 1 episode 2, ethical eating.

Low (2016) goes on about how Kate McCartney’s uninterested; staring-into-space attitude is hilarious, especially when working off of Kate McLennan’s overly enthusiastic performance. As such, they perfectly show the incredible cheeriness of the cooking show genre, while making fun of it every step of the way. They swear, insult people, answer lewd fan mail that includes “I want to f*** you in the face”, and makes repeated fun of the very food fad they are attempting to replicate. In the “ethical eating” episode, the Kate’s say something along the lines of “for those of us who can’t afford to have principles…” which is quite amusing. They also in the same episode claim they will eat kangaroo rather than wallaby or possum due to the cuteness of the latter two animals, which is a nice little joke on what specific animals we are okay with eating as a culture.

Williams, D (2012) claims that a comedy webs series usually becomes successful because of how different they are to traditional television programs, using mediocre equipment, choppy editing, all alongside over-the-top acting. While “The Katering Show” certainly has over-the-top acting (especially from Kate McLennan), it definitely has a fairly decent production value. Its cinematography is good, and its editing is done similarly to a normal cooking show so as to emphasize its parody of the genre.

Speaking of the editing, there is a strong use of close-ups on the food, the various ingredients, and cooking utensils. Usually there is a non-diegetic narration by one of the Kate’s during these shots. John Rosenberg (2011) claims that this editing can help create a set-up and punch line for jokes. He goes on to say how the use of “coverage” gives the editor the ability to cut away to other characters (or, in the case of “The Katering Show”, the other Kate) or to arrive quicker to a particular punch line. As I mentioned earlier about the web-series, the editing is done with the intention of giving focus to what the characters are saying and doing so as to look more like a typical cooking show. The set-ups are generally what they will cook with or how they are cooking it, and the punchline is usually the reaction they have when talking about it (an example being “the highest source of iron is human blood, but we will be using meat”).

While only one of the resources actually talks about “The Katering Show” in-depth, the other readings were somewhat useful in looking at what a web-series generally does and looks like. “The Katering Show”, however, seems to not follow a typical web-series format, with its good cinematography, editing, and being informative when it comes to cooking. It does, though, have the amusing over-the-top acting that seems prevalent in a web-series.


  1. Williams, D 2012, Web TV Series: How to Make and Market them. “Utilising the Web.” Harpenden: Creative Essentials, Kamera Books. P29
  2. Low, Ann Lenny 2016, “TV Review: The Katering show – a new recipe for comedy”, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10th June, viewed 4th August 2016,–a-new-recipe-for-comedy-20160607-gpd9od.html
  3. Rosenberg, John. Chapter 7 – Genre Editing Styles II. “The Healthy Edit.” Focal Press, Boston 201 p.69

Good form blog post 10th August 2016 (collaboration with Daleen)

Today we looked at 2 different types of cameras. The first is a basic, easy-to-use camera (the MC50) and the second was the x200, a newer model that was hard to grasp but once in use was very good.

When using the MC50 we did some basic establishing shots and close-ups similar to a “Jake and Amir” episode. It was, as stated earlier, just easier to use. However, it was not great quality. It would have been uploaded here but the video exceeded the amount I could upload onto the site. Below are some photos of us using the MC50:

13931603_285965928428516_210542440_o 13950858_285965911761851_975800469_o MC50 camera in use

Both cameras need good lighting and sound, and the MC50 lapel was too sensitive. Obviously we were not given any lighting devices so that made things a bit more difficult when looking for quality films.

The x200 was very difficult to use. Thankfully an instruction manual was uploaded onto the media site, a hard copy handed to us, and even Mr. Bowtell, our tutor, gave us a hand (as shown in the picture below):

Photo on 10-8-16 at 12.15 PM

Again, no footage to show due to media size, but the quality was better than the MC50, which is probably why we are encouraged to practice with the x200. Even the sound was more balanced. Chances are that the x200 will be in heavy use for the next couple of months during shooting.


Good form reflection 8th August 2016

Today, thanks to one of the media people dropping out, the remainder of the “Get hexed” writing and production crew (including myself) have been re-assigned to other group projects. I have been put onto “Tits up”, about a woman who works in an office environment who deals with general sexism in the workplace as well as dealing with the recently departed. She is also up for promotion as the current Grim Reaper is stepping down.

In this group we decided to meet every Monday after the studio tutorials at 4:30 and every Tuesday after 3:30. The writing group are collaborating in a google docs and the entirety is on a facebook group. Aside from constant discussions about what we all want to do and how we want to it, there’s not much to say. We didn’t even really get a full scope of what we are doing, but we did set goals.

Group Goals:

  • The writing students will collaborate on the scripts for each episode
  • Each media student will direct an episode of the series
  • Have an online and promotional presence before the release of the series
  • Create a continuous story arc across the five episode series
  • Have a consistency across the episode scripts and cinematography


Good form reflection 1st August 2016

We had a lecture from an experienced screenwriter (Robyn Winslow) who told us about how difficult it is for a screenwriter to get work after graduating. She informed us that we should have some other work other script-writing, like script doctoring or translating.

We were then handed copies of a segment of her 1st draft of a script from when she didn’t know what to write. It was called “Minding Gavin”, a comedy. While she sets up the style of the area very well with lots of little visual touches of graffiti, the dialogue isn’t funny. There are no jokes, and seems more like an indie low-budget drama piece. Its very sad.

The quality of story isn’t the point of this, though. The point was the need to proof-read and get script-doctors to find plotholes and things that make no sense, such as having a pizza appear in it, and Winslow’s script-doctor asked when the pizza arrived. Again, this was only a first draft.

We were then handed a 2nd draft of a different segment of “Minding Gavin”. Again, its very sad and there are no jokes, but there is more dialogue. I started thinking that this may not have been intended as a comedy.

We then saw a 3rd draft segment, which looked at one of the scripts themes, which was the euthanizing of small towns. This segment is very dialogue-heavy. It is a re-do of a previous segment, and has more plot being shown.

Afterwards, we were then handed a statistics report of the 3rd draft and a line breakdown of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd drafts. It is definitely for an Australian audience due to its focus on a small country town. The differences between the drafts is very high, which just shows how difficult it is to write a half-decent script, even with a script-doctor.

Robyn Winslow says that the driving force of a script is the characters, or even just one character. A story is told through them, and it can change or evolve because of them, too. When shooting and directing whatever project I choose to be a part of, chances are that creative differences with the writer will mean at least a couple of drafts, or at least a number of re-writes.