Studio 3 Production Diary: Week 5.

This week was dedicated to castings. We spent two days casting the actors who applied to our casting call on Mixfame, and it was quite a hard thing to do. Apparently, it is incredibly hard to find someone with a proper English accent as most of the people who wanted to come were either from Europe or the Middle East. Fortunately, our story is set in Dubai and we show it vividly, so it should not be a big issue. We found our Parker and bartender Wyatt; however, we are still in doubts regarding Isabella. We will hold extra auditions next week to make sure we find someone exactly suitable for the role, even though we quite liked one of the ladies who came this week.

Anyway, the trimester continues to be really hectic as we need to manage a lot of processes at the same time. Yazan showed us how to use the production scheduling and script breakdown software which is actually pretty convenient. The most important drawback is that we can access it only at SAE so we cannot work on it at home which makes everything much more complicated. We worked on script breakdown as a whole group, but I want to sit with Mera next week to break down the rest of the script and fix everything that was done not properly.

Locations are still next week, so we all hope that they will be actually suitable for our shoots. Personally, I find scheduling the most concerning as there are a lot of different sets needed so I am afraid we will not be able to finish everything on time. From my previous experience, it is crucial to have a perfect plan because plans never work, and if your plan is so-so then the final result will be a total disaster.

Hope next week will clarify locations. Also, we start rehearsing next week. Week 8 is so close.

 

Studio 3 Production Diary: Week 4.

This week we had our project presentation which I, unfortunately, missed because of the shoot. For it, I prepared a draft of the script breakdown to get a proper idea of what are we going to need for the shoot. Apart from that, as a part of the art department team, I searched for references for each location we need for the production.

I was told by our team that the script needs to be changed a lot, so Faizaan and Shahbano started working on it. As a result, the concept of the film has changed a lot, several elements have been added to the film. Right now, the scrip looks much more consistent and the story is more logical and understandable for the audience, and in general makes much more sense. However, some changes still need to be applied, so by the end of week 4 we still don’t have the final draft of our script which makes working on the film a bit more difficult. However, we try to go through all the pre-production processes we can. For instance, our producers posted a casting call on Mixfame and quite a lot of people applied for it. We shortlisted the most suitable candidates, and next week we are having the auditions with them.

Also, we found some suitable and accessible locations which we are going to go see soon. With the new script, I have a better understanding how to schedule the production which is a great relief because before I was actually concerned how we are going to fit all the locations into 4 shooting days. I’m not going to create a new script breakdown before the scrip is locked (or at least reaches the stage of the last draft). All of us are very busy with other shoots, so we need to understand how to manage all the projects and keep up with our Studio 3 film. I hope, by the end of next week the scrip will be locked and we can finalize all we need for this production and start actively working on it.

Studio 3 Production Diary: Week 3.

Today we had a short class during which the directors and DOPs pitched for their roles. I decided not to pitch for the director for two reasons: firstly, I want to focus on directing the major project; secondly, I’m not really into thriller genre and kind of don’t feel like directing such a film. However, I’m really interested in being the first AD for this production as \ I’m excited to be a part of such a project, and the fact that it’s not really my style makes it even more fascinating. Apart from that, I’m a part of the art department for this film which is also quite challenging as we need to create this neo-noir style in the movie, and art department plays a big role in it as well as other departments.

Unlike the other group, we almost didn’t have any competition in terms or crew roles as everyone is pretty sure about what they want to do. This week we will be meeting to make a presentation for next Sunday when everyone has to pitch for the roles they picked. The first draft of the script needs to be done by Wednesday morning max. Even though Faizaan is responsible for scriptwriting, we are all helping him out to brainstorm the ideas and structure it. Personally, I find writing a script for a 15-20 minute film in three days really challenging, you can’t really put much thought in what you are writing, especially because we are quite loaded with work this trimester. However, it’s just the first draft so I believe that we will be able to perfect it later on.

For the pitch, I’m going to work on part of the script breakdown and find references for the location we want to use. Even though it’s just the first draft, I believe it won’t be too difficult to change the script breakdown in accordance with future changes. Breaking down the script is “ separating and numbering each scene in a script, and then highlighting and listing the elements in each scene as written” (Dellario, 2017). It helps all the departments to get a clear idea of what is needed for each scene. It includes cast, extras, props, locations, wardrobe, special effects, stunts, sound effects, music, vehicles, animals, makeup, hair, and special equipment (Brubaker, 2014). For now, we will make a simplified version of script breakdown as the script is not finalized yet.

Unfortunately, I won’t be present for the next class as I have a shoot with other SAE students for the final project of one of them, however, I will work on the presentation together with my team and present later.

References:

Brubaker, J. (2014, October 9). Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling. Retrieved March 3, 2019, from https://www.filmmakingstuff.com/filmmaking-lesson-9-break-down-and-schedule/

Dellario, F. (2017, July 11). How To Breakdown A Script. Retrieved March3, 2019 from https://pixelvalleystudio.com/pmf-articles//the-script-breakdown

Studio 3 Production Diary: Week 2.

Today those who wanted to write a script pitched their stories. All in all, three stories were pitched, by Faizaan, Josh, and Abdullah. All class voted and we chose the ones by Faizaan for our group and for Josh for another one. As I already mentioned in the previous blog, Faizaan’s story is thriller/neo-noir, it is about a hitman who gets a job to kill a woman, but it turns out that he killed her son a while ago it is her who organized everything to kill the hitman and become one herself. Personally, I think that we will need to work on it and elaborate it a little. Apart from that, the story has to be Dubai-centered meaning that we will have to add some elements to it which will link it to Dubai.

I’m a little bit concerned about the neo-part now. It seemed like a great idea, especially because I really love this style, but the more I think about the more I find it difficult to actually make it neo-noir. First, because the whole story is mostly set in daytime meaning that it will be hard to work with lighting in outside scenes. Also, the hitman comes to the boy’s funeral (not the actual one, she organized it to make him come to her) which is also not the best occasion for neo-noir style. I will discuss it with the team during the meeting or in class.

On Sunday we will pitch for the director’s role and I’m still thinking about it. As I plan to stick with directing department and plan to be a director in general I kind of should go for directing but at the same time I don’t feel like directing a fiction film because I’m really into documentaries and that’s what I’m doing for my final project, so I probably won’t go for directing for this project. I really want to be the first AD but we’ll see how it goes.

Studio 3 Production Diary: Week 1 (technically 2, but the first for these blogs)

During today’s class at SAE Dubai we have been briefed with our project for our Studio 3 unit. Our objective is to shoot a 15-20 minute short film in one of the following genres: horror, comedy, thriller or noir/neo-noir. We have been divided into two groups, 7 people each, and started working on the idea for the project. For this production, I aim to stick with the directing department as by the fifth trimester I have decided that directing is what I should actually do.

Faizaan, one of our team members, has a couple of interesting ideas for the script which we might use for the film. Apart from that, Nadia has also an idea, but we don’t know what is it about yet. Anyway, on Thursday everybody will pitch their ideas so we can choose the best one. One of Faizaan’s ideas is a thriller short film. According to Danny Draven, a thriller is “a work of fiction or drama designed to hold the interest by the use of a high degree of intrigue, adventure, or suspense” (Draven, 2013). As we were discussing this idea, we came to understanding that neo-noir would also be a good option to stylize this film, especially because, as stated in a book “Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts”, noir/neo-noir films can be in some respects called thrillers as this genre is quite broad (Hayward, 2017). Another option Faizaan has is a dark comedy which is also pretty interesting.

Anyway, I’m waiting until Thursday when all the ideas will be presented to us so we can start developing the one we will choose, finalize our roles, etc. This trimester seems to be more demanding comparing to the previous ones, but I like it because I really want to work hard and make good stuff so I hope it will be challenging and interesting.

Draven, D. (2013). Genre filmmaking : A visual guide to shots and style for genre films. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Hayward, S. (2017). Cinema studies : The key concepts. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Meet Nikolay

Nikolay is a Russian businessman working in Dubai, He moved to Dubai approximately 6 years ago to work for a waste management company. Now, he still works in the environmental sphere – he is a part of a team launching an ecological fund. About one year ago he started to explore an absolutely new topic – cryptocurrencies. He says, that working with new technologies he previously never really understood motivates him to learn something new which is never easy but very interesting.

Nikolay likes to maintain an active lifestyle – he enjoys swimming for hours in the sea during the season and in the swimming pools when the summer is terribly hot. From time to time he goes camping to neighbor Oman or just other emirates in UAE. When I asked Nikolay about some specific skills he has, at first he didn’t know what to say, but after a couple of minutes of the conversation I found out that he knows many languages including English, French, German, Portuguese (Brazilian). Some of them he learned just in a couple of days during his trip to some new place – that’s how it worked out with German, for example. The reason for that is not only that he likes languages but also the fact that he got a chance to work in different countries. Nikolay got used to working in UAE, that’s why now he is pretty confident here, however, he wouldn’t mind trying something new as well.

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Meet Liza

Liza is from the Philippines and she has been working in Dubai as a house helper for 13 years already. She used to work in an Iranian family before she got to a Russian house. Liza misses her home a lot, but stays optimistic and does her job with a positive attitude. She loves cooking and gardening and grows vegetables and plants which she uses in her cooking later on. In Dubai, her best friend is a little dog called Shanya. They spend a lot of time together and are very close to each other. Even though Shanya was originally the dog of the owners of the house where Liza works, but now she literally has become only Liza’s dog. Shanya misses Liza a lot when she goes out or goes to the Philippines for vacation. Whatever Liza does in the house, whether it is cooking, cleaning or getting some rest, Shanya is always next to her, and Liza loves her a lot.

In the Philippines, Liza left her family, including her mother and her sister, and she tries to help them as much as she can. Her mother needs a lot of support and she is not a young woman anymore, but it is hard for Liza to help her while she is in Dubai. Anyway, she travels home every year to see her family, and during the working months she collects different things in Dubai and sends them to the Philippines. Not long ago she and her family bought a new land and a house in her home country, and after a couple of years Liza plans to leave her Dubai job and go back to the Philippines to live a family life and have children.
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