Fiction: Task 6

Reflective Learning Journal

Reflective Learning Journal:

For this task we were required to create a reflective learning journal that documents the task of filming from start to finish. I chose to write my RLJ on my Truman Show recreation project, I plan to write a short paragraph of what happened at the end of each day whilst it’s still fresh in memory. The journal should include any difficulties faced from day to day and how you overcame problems, along with a detailed reflection on the finished project. Our tutor recommended looking at Gibbs Reflective Cycle for guidance on how to critically reflect on our videos. Gibbs Cycle on Reflection is pictured below:

Gibbs Cycle of Reflection

Day 1 – Today we were all assigned a classic film scene from well known pictures and given the task of recreating it. I was assigned a scene from the 1998 Peter Weir film, The Truman Show which I was very pleased with because this film is a personal favourite of mine. The scene I would be recreating is the final scene where Truman, our protagonist finally talks with ‘the creator’ character. Shown Below



We were told that we would be working with the Performing Arts department and would be responsible for everything from pre-production and casting to the final edit. How we filmed our recreation is completely up to us, meaning we could either copy it word for word and shot for shot, or try to add some creative changes in scenario. The only restriction was that we could not change the script in any way. So at the end of the day, I went away to plan what I wanted to do with my recreation.

Day 2:

On day two of this task, the first thing I did was look online and see if there was a script I could download and fortunately there was so I downloaded the script and printed off a few copies for myself, crew and actors.

I realised early on that I wouldn’t be able to recreate the scene shot for shot as the original is shot on a boat in the middle of the ocean. So I set about thinking of alternate scenarios. I read through the script a few times to see if anything came to mind. In the end I decided to film suing a single lightly lit door that could represent the end of the earth as it does in Truman’s world. Fortunately the studio would be the ideal place to film this because lighting can be easily controlled and the black walls would highlight the door nicely. I’m pleased I have an idea in mind because tomorrow we would be talking with the actors and auditioning.

Day 3:

Today we were auditioning the actors for our scenes. And in the morning I realised that I hadn’t actually thought about how many characters I would need and who I’d want because I was concentrating on the story too much. But after I spoke to the performing arts students I decided that I would only need two actors and for the sake of diversity I would try to use one male and one female, the male to play the Truman character and the female to play the role of ‘creator’.

Day 3 Afternoon – After explaining my scene to the actors, I was based in C19 for auditions and I was pleased to have a good turn out of actors. We had a camera set up in the room and asked the students to read through the script as I read the other character. This process went very well and we had the chance to look at the audition tapes again to decide who we wanted. As the actors left I noted their names and phone numbers so I could let them know if I wanted them to come back.  By the time we auditioned all the actors and packed away the camera equipment it was the end of the day so I went home and looked over the tapes myself.

Day 4 –

Today I went through all the tapes again with a few friends to get a second opinion on actors and we all agreed who would suit the role so I looked through the forms the actors had filled out and got the phone numbers of who I wanted. I sent a text to Jordon Gunn who auditioned for the role of Truman and Sinead who auditioned for the Creator role. They both said they’d like to be involved so that was the casting done.

Day 5 –

On day 5 of this project I was having some doubts about the actors I had chosen, not because of them but after I watched the scene again I felt that both characters should be played by male actors, I just thought it suited the characters better. So I spoke to Sinead and told her what I thought, she understood and didn’t mind because she had another project she could work on. So now I had to find another male actor to play the role of the creator and fortunately Jordon’s friend Josh said he would happily work with us, and after he read through the script we were both happy to proceed.

Day 6:

No that I had all the actors I needed; I wanted to decide exactly how to film the scene. So today I looked around the film studio to see if we could film everything we need in there. It would make the entire filming process a lot easier if we could, because we could control lighting easily, the actors and crew wouldn’t have to travel anywhere and logistically, it would be the easiest place to get all our equipment. After looking around, we decided that we could film Jordon’s bit in one corner and Josh’s in another and film simultaneously.

Day 7 (Filming):

Today was the only day that all of the actors were available at the same time so we had to film it all in one day, the day before the deadline. But I managed to get some help from Jon Baines and Tom Wallbanks from the year above who offered to help me out with sound recording and camera operating. I booked out the studio the day before so had all day to set up so I began to set up everything first thing in the morning, giving us plenty of time to film in the afternoon. After we set up everything, I text Jordon and Josh and they arrived in the early afternoon. Setting up everything took longer than I expected so we were already quite pressed for time. But we got straight into it and tried filming the scene simultaneously but I didn’t think this worked well because I could keep track of how everything looked. So I said to concentrate on Jordon’s bit first and then we’d film Josh’s scene separately. I think this worked much better. We lit Jordon’s scene using white lights to try and portray an innocent character who just wanted to escape and to juxtapose this we lit Josh’s scene with red lighting, giving him a sinister, ‘bad guy’ look.

We faced a few technical problems during filming, not enough space on memory cards etc but nothing that wasn’t swiftly dealt with. The main problem we had was with recording, because were recording audio with the Zoom mic, we were picking up a lot of noise from a room crowded with people. So I politely asked everybody except the Jon Baines, who was recording sound, and the actors to leave so we could record without any interruptions. The recording sounded much better and before long we had everything we needed. I thanked everybody involved and began to pack away the equipment.

After packing away everything it was late afternoon but I decided to get on with the edit whilst everything was still fresh in memory and Tom agreed to help me out. We based ourselves in C20 and I got on with labelling the footage and deleting anything we didn’t need. Eventually we had a good EDL and could begin the edit. A couple of hours later I had rough edit in place, I just had to add the audio. When it came to adding the audio, I noticed there was a lot of noise and a slight hiss in the background so Tom helped me to get rid of that by adding effects and denoisers. After we applied these effects to all the audio clips it all sounded much clearer and made the whole edit better. We rendered out the edit and watched it through. There were a few areas that needed slight changes where the audio didn’t quite synch up but that didn’t take long to fix. So we finally had an edit in place but before we exported it and uploaded it, we wanted to get some feedback, so I got a few friends to watch it with me to see what they thought; I also got Jordon and Josh to watch it to see if they were pleased. Everybody who watched it seemed to like it and by this time it was gone 5pm and people had to leave so I exported it and uploaded it before I left.

When I got home I watched the final edit and was really pleased with it. It was a really good day’s work and I was pleased with the outcome.

Critical reflection:

I feel the project went really well overall and I was very pleased with the end result. It was good to work with new people and I definitely made some good contacts who I hope to work with again. It enjoyed experimenting with creative lighting to try and portray character and I think we pulled it off well. We did have a few technical problems as I mentioned but the way everybody dealt with them was great to see. Toward the end of the shoot I think everybody was getting a bit restless and eager to leave so I probably should have had a few short breaks to keep everyone focused but I think I was too in to filming at the time to realise. This is something I’ll definitely keep in mind for future projects, keeping cast and crew motivated and on task makes a big difference to the outcome of the project. Early on in the shoot everybody was working well together and communicating well but as time went on communications broke down which caused delays and problems with filming so I should have dealt with that better but on the whole, I still consider this project a success.