14/1/15 – Production Log 4

Again it has been a while since I last updated my project and this production log. When I last posted I had finished filming some filler shots, such as, blowing bubbles towards the camera and floating leaves. This was because I needed to carry on working on the project whilst planning and organising the filming of my interviews.

This has now been done! I travelled to Leeds, my nearest town, to film members of the public answering my questions on dreams and aspirations, however, it didn’t go at all to plan. Leeds wasn’t very busy on that particular day, which made it all the more difficult to film but also having asked a few people I soon realised that no one was willing to answer my questions on camera so I quickly had to change my plan on the spot.

I decided that I would stage my interviews using family members and friends of the specific age ranges I was looking to interview because this way I can be in control of the situation and can make arrangements to film when convenient for both parties.

I have already filmed myself, my sister and parents and I plan to film more in the not too distant future so that I can have a full and varied set of interviews for my project.

This week I have put this current footage into my timeline on final cut and have continued to build on what is already in place, such as, adding other downloaded music tracks, editing footage to fit the music and placing effects to transition shots.

I hope to continue in this same vein for the next few weeks, by bringing more footage to the table and continuing to edit, to allow the project to expand and develop further.

18/11/14 – Production Log 3

It has been a while since I last made progress on my Extended Project Qualification but recently I have started to make head way again and intend to have the majority of the footage in place by Christmas 2014.

The last time I wrote a production log I said I would attempt to record myself singing ‘Pie Jesu’ to use as the underlying soundtrack for the film, however, having attempted several times to record this song and others I found it wasn’t going to work. The quality of the recording was poor and it had a lot of background noise that could be heard when played back and there were parts of each recording that sounded good. I don’t have the facilities to record in a professional studio and the software to piece the best parts of each recording together, so I have decided to download the original soundtrack from the internet in order to keep my film as professional has possible.

Today I filmed a few more shots to place in between the interviews to create and build the story, such as, a static shot of the girl in the film jumping in the air, a shot of me pointing to myself and a shot of the girl blowing bubbles into the camera.

The bubble shot worked to a degree but the bubble maker wasn’t quite as efficient as I had hoped and it only made a few bubbles at a time, which was disappointing. However, I made sure I took a lot of shots to pick the best one and I have one particular shot in mind that stood out to me that wasn’t what I had originally planned but that looked in keeping with my theme and story.

Also I tried to film another shot of a leaf floating down gradually to the floor, however, there wasn’t much wind during filming and the leaf was very wet, which meant that it didn’t really float, it just dropped and I couldn’t obtain an effective shot that portrayed what I was hoping for. So I am going to dry off some leaves and wait for a windier day before filming, in the hope I can get the shot I imagined.

Next I will place these shots into my timeline on Final Cut Pro and edit them into my story. By the end of this next week I will hopefully have the majority of my film in place and can start to edit to my downloaded music track so I can create some ebb and flow to the documentary.

24/9/14 – Production Log 2

Having filmed throughout this last week, I have now got my story card linking footage in place, which now gives the film more structure and story outline.

I am really pleased with how filming went, I knew exactly what vision I wanted to create, which was just a simple background with fairly static shots of the girl holding the story cards. This was really quick and easy to film and was simply to implement into the footage from last week.

I also had another idea that I am going to try and implement in the next week or so, which could add another dimension to my documentary. Instead of downloading songs from Youtube to place under my footage, I plan to record myself singing the song Pie Jesu, which is quite haunting and creates the right kind of mood for my documentary. Also by recording it myself, it means that I have showcased another element of my work.

Looking forward to the next week, I am going to record the song in the studio and try to film a few shots that can be done without any other help, such as, the money piling on the table or the writing on cardboard in a rubbish pile. This way I can continue the process of filming and editing at a steady process, whilst continuing planning for my interview process.

17/09/14 – Production Log 1

Having just got back from my Europe Inter-Railing trip, in which I filmed a lot of shots for ‘The Beauty of Dreams’ documentary, I have started to sift through the footage and start to plot an outline of the structure into Final Cut Pro.

A lot of the footage I gained whilst in Europe was filler footage, such as, shots of general people walking around, or establishing shots, because this was easy to do when in tourist areas.

I also gained some specific story related shots, like the imagery of the bubble floating away or imagery of people enjoying themselves, for example, jumping into water fountains or dancing etc. I deliberately set out to films shots, such as these, but didn’t stage or set them up; it was just a case of watching people and the surroundings around you, which I like because the shots are home footage like making the documentary more relaxed and effortless.

However, I did encounter some issues with the plan of filming I had drawn up for the holiday, such as, filming some interviews with people from around the world. This would have been really affective, making the film take on a wider perspective but not many people were willing to answer the types of questions I needed to ask and didn’t want to be on camera. The biggest problem, however, was the language barrier, as many of the people we met didn’t speak a lot of English and would have struggled to understand and give the in depth answers I need for my documentary to be affective.

So I am going to organise a day in which, I will go into Leeds city centre and set up my camera and ask individuals on the street. This way it is more accessible for me and I will not have the issue of language, as everyone will speak English. I still hope to gain some interesting stories and meet individual and unique people but I may be slightly limited unlike when I was in Europe.

Over the next week, I will be filming the story card shots with my sister in order to get some more structure to the current shots in Final Cut Pro. By my next production log, I hope to have these into place so I can focus on beginning my edits whilst planning my Leeds interviews on the side.

31/10/13 – Diary entry #5

Dear Diary,

‘Captain Phillips’ 2013 is the true story of a US cargo ship hijacked by Somali Pirates and them holding Captain Richard Phillips for ransom. It is a gripping and nail-biting story of how the US army tried to settle the situation and retrieve Captain Phillips safely from the Somalis.

Watching the film in the cinema yesterday, having not known much about the real Captain Phillips, I was heartbroken at the ordeal he had to go through. Played by ‘Tom Hanks’, Captain Phillips was targeted by the group of Somalis when they took the cargo ship he was delivering to Mombasa, Kenya. Muse (Barkhad Abdi) took a particular interest in Phillips and took him away from his ship and held him for ransom without his crew.

The one thing I couldn’t understand when watching the film was, why the US navy involved themselves for one lonely Captain. The cargo ship was saved and escorted to Mombasa by militants and unfortunately, however cruel it may be, the cost of bringing out the US navy or paying the ransom is more than the worth of one life. It wasn’t until researching the film later that I discovered that this was the first American cargo ship hijacked in two hundred years. So they probably pulled out all the stops to retrieve Phillips and to tell the Somalis not to try hijacking again.

The Somali pirate issue hasn’t been great until very recently. After this incident in 2009, the US and the UK, along with other navies decided to defend the international waters surrounding Somalia with the agreement that they would aid any country’s ship that came under attack. Now that the Somalis know that the navies are there they are targeting smaller ships that fall through the radar and that are less likely to alert the navies.

It still isn’t right though and we, as a nation, shouldn’t have to deploy our navy into international waters because international waters should be open for everyone to use. We shouldn’t be scared to use that route for our ships or to not travel near the shores of Somali for fear of being hijacked. We also shouldn’t have to pick which is worth saving more, the ransom money or the crews involved in the ordeal. Surely we should do whatever we can to help the poor people held to ransom, just like the US navy did for Captain Phillips, and not just leave them under the pretext of saving money or resolving the situation peacefully.

The piracy issue in Somalia isn’t a war we get involved in because it isn’t our war to fight. They haven’t had a coherent government in the country for more than twenty years and we don’t attempt to help form one because it isn’t in our best interests as a nation. We have also taken steps to ensure our people and others, less capable of defending themselves on such a big scale, are safer in the waters surrounding Somalia so the problem is contained within the country itself.

But is that right? Should we have to go to such lengths to make sure the Somalis hurt no one but themselves? Or should we deploy our navies in places that need them more and find another route that doesn’t involve ‘Somali Waters’? Is that admitting defeat?

The case of Captain Phillips was a warning not just to Somali pirates from the navy but to any captain and crew using those waters and creating a film about it only spreads the awareness further. Watching a film can be enjoyable, which ‘Captain Phillips’ was, but you can also take a lot more away with you than just a good night at the cinema.

Love Emma

06/10/13 – Diary entry #4

Dear Diary,

‘Friends with Benefits’ by Will Gluck, staring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, add sex to their friendship without the label of an official relationship but soon find it becomes quite complicated.

The film starts with the two characters being dumped by their respective partners, using all of the typical clichés like, ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ and ‘let’s stay friends’. The characters then cross paths when Dylan (JT) is head-hunted by Jamie (Mila) for a job in New York.

Watching the film was a fun and light-hearted way to spend my evening but I did think a lot about the idea of the film, as I always do, once it was over.

Many people, just like Dylan and Jamie, have had bad relationships and have found themselves with lots of ‘emotional baggage’, which then makes it harder and harder to find a relationship to accommodate the ‘excess’. So because people are so a versed to having partners with baggage, we then have to find new ways to satisfy our needs, hence friends with benefits.

The idea is great on paper; no strings or emotional attachment, no labels of a relationship, no commitment, just sex. But does it actually work? Is it possible to have no emotional relationship with someone you are with physically?

For most of us, the answer is probably no. For two people to have a physical relationship there has to be some emotion there. That emotion might just be lust but it is still an emotion, which negates the whole ‘no emotional strings’ thing. And when two people are so intimate, it usually ends up with one or both people developing feelings, which again negates the entire concept.

It becomes especially difficult when the two people are friends, like Dylan and Jamie. When things went badly in the ‘relationship’, their friendship was the first thing to suffer. They didn’t speak and when they did they argued and were no longer there for each other, all because of sex with no strings.

However, the two characters found a way to make it work for a short period of time and even parted as friends when they decided to date again, so it is possible for some of us. But how do you decide if you are one of those people?

My advice would be, don’t enter into a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship unless you are both emotionally strong and are both just up for a bit of fun. Do not have one for the wrong reasons, such as, you really like the person and it is the only way to be with them. It will only end in tears, not like the film, in which, the two characters realise they love each other. (That only happens very occasionally)

The idea of ‘Friends with Benefits’ is intriguing and if you can handle it, can be a fun and stress free way to have someone in your life. But as a long term solution to your ‘emotional baggage’ problems, it isn’t great.

There are people out there that are willing to have a relationship with you and your ‘baggage’; you maybe just have to look a tiny bit harder to find them.

Love Emma

22/09/13 – Diary entry #3

Dear Diary,

Over the years ‘Hollyoaks’ by Phil Redmond (Channel 4), has dealt with a number of storylines based upon serious issues, such as, Drug Addiction, Murder, Homophobia and Child Abuse. However, they are usually very dramatically told, sometimes blown wildly out of proportion to make gripping TV but they are based on very real issues nether the less. This week was no exception.

I usually get very involved with ‘Hollyoaks’, sometimes too involved but this week any woman of any age couldn’t help but be affected by such a traumatic storyline. For any of you who don’t watch ‘Hollyoaks’, this week’s storyline centred around four months pregnant Lindsey (Sophie Austin) being hit by a car and then proceeding to lose the baby.

I’ll be the first to admit it was all very dramatic and pregnant women don’t often get hit by cars in real life, however, there was a very real and very deep issue running through the underlying story. Losing a baby is one of the worst possible things for a woman to have to go through. Even an eighteen year old girl, like me, can empathize with Lindsey. It was heart breaking to watch her being told that there was no heartbeat or to watch her take the pills that would take that baby away. You could see the light dim in her eyes and cloudy hazes replace them.

Miscarriage is a lot more common than you may think, with the NHS estimating that more than 1 in 7 pregnancies end in miscarriage and it isn’t widely talked about either. I know of quite a few members of my family have had one or more miscarriages, over the years, when trying to conceive, but because it is a very personal and upsetting situation, many just shut it away and don’t talk about it.

What became more apparent when watching this week’s ‘Hollyoaks’ was the after affect it has on women. Lindsey had a very moving speech in the aftermath, expressing that she couldn’t try for another baby because she couldn’t put herself through it all again and I imagine that thought runs through every woman’s head after such an awful ordeal. How do you pick yourself back up from something like that and try again knowing full well it may happen again?

I was really pleasantly surprised though, to see how the directors had shown the effect on Lindsey’s fiancé, Joe (Ayden Callaghan). In such a distressing situation, all thoughts go out to the woman and rarely do you see the damage it has caused to the partner. It was perhaps worse to see a man, especially such a manly man like Joe, collapse and break before your eyes. To see how he had to remain strong for Lindsey and then when her back was turned, a completely different Joe emerged. A Joe that the audience could sympathize and connect with.

I think we, as a society, should talk about this issue a lot more. It should be talked about at the very first doctor’s appointment of the pregnancy. It should also be integrated into the Sex Education classes at school, so younger teenagers are at least aware and it isn’t left to a television programme, such as ‘Hollyoaks’, to open a young person’s eyes to the trauma of miscarriages.  

Love Emma