changes to film review

I have finally finished my film review, writing about yourself in the third person proved to be an extremely difficult task. Whilst I was writing I realised that I had included more criticism than praise for my short film, which I figured would be inevitable because I am writing about my self and I’m evidently going to have some criticisms for my own work. I origanlly gave my film four stars in the ‘verdict’ box at the bottom, but then I realised that I was probably writing too harshly to then give it a high rating, so I lowered the verdict to three stars and included a slight bit of criticism. I ensured that the quote “a witty short film” was the one I used on my film poster from Empire magazine.

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I also ensured to add in a small quip caption over the photo, as I understand that is a very conventional aspect of Empire’s persona as a magazine. I had a few witty comments in mind, mostly to do with the continous loitering the chav’s do, since it is such a common thing for a teenager to do. So I ended up going with “Surely all that loitering must get tedious boys. No? As you were then.”

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I wanted to make sure my review was rather informal to adhere to Empire’s general informality and typical conventions, I wanted to make it somewhat witty and very ‘easy-reading’ for perhaps a younger target audience. The image below shows the ending to my review, I aimed to keep it very light and comical.

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One large concern that I have for my review is some name confusion people may have . My brother starred as the alpha-male chav and read the script for me, obviously we have the same last name so ‘Proctor’ may refer to me but may also refer to my brother, I tried to make it clear so I mentioned the acting/voiceover/directorial skills soon afterwards to try and differenciate. I didn’t want to continously say ‘Tom Proctor’ or ‘Lucy Proctor’ as it wouldn’t really be conventional for magazines (especially Empire) to constantly state the full name, they usually just refer to them by their last name or by a nickname, it all ties in with the informality.

After making these changes I copy and pasted the entire review into Microsoft Word to ensure there were no spelling or grammatical errors which was so beneficial because InDesign doesn’t incorporate spell check into their programme, so just a simple spelling mistake could have gone completely unnoticed for me.


creating my film poster day #1

After much deliberation and experimenting on Photoshop I decided to go against using the landscape test photo.


I opted for this photo instead, this was mostly due to the fact that the background in the first photo was simply too ‘busy’ and I feel that it it would turn out to be a rather amateur looking film poster.


So, I have begun the editing process on Photoshop. I was slightly concerned about this as Photoshop is not my strongest skill in media, I knew that it would take alot of time for me to get the hang of it.

Firstly, I cropped the top of my photo off. This was because I felt it was too bright and my audience would not be able to see white font over the top of it, plus I wanted the audience to see a really dark, dingy looking alleyway. As this photo was taken in the middle of the day, this unwanted light was obviously unavoidable.

Next, I darkened my background image using the ‘Burn’ tool. To make it appear exceptionally dark and abandoned, plus, it would make the McDonald’s cup and cigarette stand out even more. Below you can see the difference it makes with the ‘burn’ tool, I feel there is now a more defined ‘look’ to the poster.


Now that my photo looked as dark as I wanted it to be, I then used the ‘blur’ tool to blur out any unwanted background ‘clutter’, in order to allow my overlaying text to be more vibrant on the page, I think it gives it a more professional feel.


Now that my background image was sorted, I was ready to add the text over the top. I ensured it was the same font as the title I used in my actual short film – for aspects of continuity and so my audience can relate the two together and straight away know that these media texts are linked. I am still experimenting with Photoshop at the minute, I am currently attempting to get a more 3D effect on my film poster test, as I feel it looks slightly dull at the moment.

phogiohr Picture 31

Here is what I have so far. I’m very pleased with the layout so far and the billing block especially. I moved the actor’s names around so they are now above the title, so I have lots of room underneath for a tagline and small quotes of reviews/star ratings.

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The billing block:


For my billing block, I researched what would typically be on there and the results I got were: the production companies, director, producer, the actors/actresses, screenplay, costume designer, make up and edited by etc.

For the font I downloaded a font from called ‘Movie Letters’ which already looks very similar to the fonts usually used for a billing block (if they were in capitals.)

movie letters

final edit completed!

I have finally finished and made all the changes necessary to hand in my final edit.

Firstly, I shortened a lot of my clips with the script as it was too long. I shortened the actual film to about 4 minutes and 55 seconds, making sure I got rid of perhaps the more irrelevant scenes. I added on some simple credits at the end, leaving the total at just over 5 minutes. I ensured the credits were done in the same font as my title, having an element of continuity and general appearance of my film.

Other big changes that have took place include the onscreen text I had in my first edit.

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My teacher stated that these were ‘messily positioned’ for a documentary, which I agree with. I was suggested to have a black screen with the text on instead. So I have ultimately got rid of some ‘boring’ looking scenes and placed the definitions on a black screen inbetween the action. which I feel looks much better.

Here are some screenshots of the black texts.



I also added some simple, conventional credits to credit the main actors and the director, ensuring they were the same font as my title screen and film poster to add a level of continuity to these tasks.


photos for film poster

Today I took some potential photos for my film poster. These are my items that will be in the foreground of the photo, a Mcdonald’s cup and a cigarette, as I have been told these are typical  items a teenager may associate with.


I have a few photos taken in a somewhat dingy surrounding, which is what I was aiming for, however I was not happy with them.

1. P1250738

Here is the first photo I took, it is in the same place as the test shot I took above, however just rotated the camera portrait to make it more similar to an actual film poster. I am not entirely happy with it because of the background. There is too much going on and too many different colours. This would force me to have the font at the top over the sky in black and the billing card at the bottom in white. In my opinion, it could look really untidy. Also, although I was aiming for a dingy background, I am really not keen on this one.

2. P1250741

This was my second position for photos. Again, I am not going to use this photo because of the poor background, if the font was one colour (white) it would be seen in some parts and practically invisible against the sky. I didn’t really like the look of the pavement either, I wanted it to look really grubby. All of the photos I took in this position do not have the right angle I was going for, I was hoping for a more low angle shot.

3. P1250762 

This was my third and final position for taking photos. I liked the alleyway idea but I would perhaps have to darken the background slightly and experiment with Photoshop. As I took it with my film poster in mind, I’m confident I have left enough space for a title, tagline, star rating, billing card and actor’s/director’s names. 

4. P1250732 

This was merely a test shot for my blog to portray what would be in the foreground of the shot. The more I look at it I can see it being potentially a successful film poster, although it’s landscape I think there is still enough space for all the conventional film poster items. The depth and quality of the foreground is what drew me to this image in particular, I love how you can see the smoke still rising from the cigarette. Although the focus is predominantly on the cup and the cigarette, I would most likely further blur out the slightly untidy background to allow the text to stand out more.

As I am still undecided between #3 and #4, I will perhaps have to create a mock film poster for both of them on Photoshop and see what photo is more successful.

planning/writing my film review (day 3)

I have recently been introduced to a programme called InDesign on the Mac, which I haven’t used before. Since I’m not that informed about Photoshop anyway, I thought it was worth a try to test out a new alternative. Luckily it is so easy to use and I am well underway with making my film review.


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Here is what I have got so far, it has got the potential to look really similar to how I designed it. Luckily, InDesign has already got the conventional layout of a film review/magazine article set so it is relatively easy to type in the columns, keeping them an equal distance from each other. So far I have added the image with title, the ‘fact box’ and added extras at the top of the page to make it seem more conventional to Empire magazine’s layout (short film special etc.)

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I am really pleased with how it’s turning out so far. Although, there is one issue that is bothering me. I was really keen to have the title in a white, bold, sans-serif font, but it is not as clear as I pictured it (due to parts of the background being a light colour.) I have tried outlining the text with a thin black outline to make it stand out, however it merely appears amateur-ish and somewhat ‘tacky’ looking.

I also feel like I do not really need a tagline under the title as I already have the ‘chav. noun’ embedded onto the image and more white writing may look slightly over the top and confusing for the audience. I am aiming for an informal, easy-reading and witty article.

planning/writing my film review (day 2)

Writing a seemingly professional film review with no experience is proving to be a challenge, and it something that must be done with extensive research. It’s the first sentence that must entice your audience to carry on reading the rest of the article.

In my research I have come across a review from Empire as an example, for the film Contagion, which you can probably guess is about some sort of deadly virus that spreads rapidly across the world. The article starts with the question “how many times a day do you touch your face?”, which may seem an odd question to be asking your audience, but the author somehow relates it back to the film stating “what if Gwyneth Paltrow left a surface-transmitted pig-bat virus teeming invisibly on every single thing she touched?” – drawing the audience in relating back to the content of the film, also sneakily name dropping a major Hollywood actress as well. Casual.


planning my film review (day 1)

As we are now well underway with the stages of post-production in between the first edit and the final edit deadline, the ancillary tasks can begin to take shape. I’m starting with the review, I’m set on the layout I want to have (image below), which arguably is very similar to the typical Empire layout, however I feel it could be very conventional to the kind of audience I wish to appeal to (large image to perhaps draw in a younger, more somewhat informal audience.) I have chosen to go with: a large image (a screenshot from my film) taking up about a third of the page, a ‘fact box’ (directors, actors, running time etc), the review in columns and a star rating/verdict to finish.


I’m also rather keen to have a screenshot of the action as opposed to a posed photo, as I am really pleased with the actual quality of my footage – I personally think it could look rather picturesque. Here are a few potential screenshots I’m considering: (which could change if I alter these shots slightly for the final edit – e.g. positioning of text)

1. Picture 36  

I was drawn to this screenshot purely because of the ‘chav. noun’, as it states the nature of my film, with also a hint of parody as you wouldn’t usually come across a programme documenting a chav. The problem with this scene is that without the text present it could be considered as a rather boring shot, as the mise-en-scene isn’t visually appealing and not much action is happening in the shot – it is merely reliant on the overlaying text to be more interesting, which could be a problem as this may not exactly draw people into the review if they see that the mise-en-scene is a tad dreary.

2.Picture 37

I love the iChav screenshot, purely because of the comedic element and the good quality of the shot. However, this does not say much about the film altogether, it potentially could draw a young adult audience in from the joke relating to the iPhone. I perhaps need to ask some teenagers what they think this image would relate to to find out if it would be a successful image to choose.

3.Picture 38

This last image is in the midst of the conflict between the chav and goth, where the chavs are giving a deathly stare to assert their power. I do like this shot because it is supposed to be mocking a chav’s typical blunt facial expression to perhaps scare off other teenagers. Again, similar to the previous screenshot, it doesn’t exactly make a statement about what the film is really about.

In summary for the image. I’m more inclined to go with the the ‘chav. noun’ screenshot (#3) as it could say the most about what kind of statement I want my film to make. I could also change the colour scheme/filters to at least make it seem slightly more visually appealing.

from the first to the final edit…

After receiving 1-1 peer assessment feedback and 1-1 teacher feedback I have worked out what I am going to change:

  1. Add in more text definitions for the goth (similar to the chav – latin, known for etc)
  2. Double check dialogue to ensure it matches the visuals at all times
  3. Double check/shorten scene where the chav clenches his fist with anger
  4. The ‘chav’ captions should all appear in the same place. My teacher suggested having ‘chav:noun’ come up and then a second or so later having the Latin term appear underneath, then a second or so later have the characteristics appear underneath – as at the moment it is messily positioned which is unconventional for a documentary
  5. There is an unintentional jump cut after one of the boy’s shouts “oi oi”
  6. Shorten it! It’s roughly 20 seconds over
  7. My teacher has stated that we see the same shot of the chavs on the bench far too many times, which I definitely agree with. As in terms of shot type and technical skill it isn’t exactly showcasing my skills and wouldn’t get me many marks on cinematography. As without the voiceover the visuals could be considered rather bland. Following this point it was also suggested to add in another sub-group, perhaps a ‘hipster’, which I originally got rid of at the start as I was worried about time. I am concerned that if I remove a range of the chav and goth scenes and replace them it will appear rushed and I’m totally unsure of what bits of the script to get rid of.I am extremely worried about the time-scales of this as well. As if I re-film on a weekend when I am not working, re-write and re-record more of the script and edit it in. I’m concerned my final edit will not be complete in time for the deadline on the 9/12/13.

peer assessment of first edit

Today we peer assessed our first edits, which was really helpful, as I gathered a range of strengths and targets in order to improve before my final edit is submitted.

The feedback was divided into five different catergories: cinematography, mise-en-scene, editing, sound and additional comments. These were each given a mark out of 4. 1 being minimal, 2 = basic, 3 = proficient and 4 = excellent. We also had the chance to add three seperate catergories that could be as specific as possible, so mine asked about the following:

Do I need music? I specified that this would only be subtle background music (perhaps strings), just to add more elements of a documentary in there

Is it too boring? A conversation with my teacher made me realise that people could actually find it rather boring, seeing as there isn’t that much action involving the chavs.

Do the script and visuals go together? I was worried that people wouldn’t exactly ‘get’ that I was trying to parody Planet Earth. My concern was that people just wouldn’t understand the kind of message I was trying to convey in this short film, it is supposed to be playfully poking fun at existing texts, not completely mocking them.  I really do not wish to offend anyone.

Now to get on to the actual feedback.

Cinematography: (e.g. framing and variety of shot types for specific effects)

I was worried about cinematography because I do not exactly have a variety of shots and this genre wouldn’t exactly sh0w off any filming/camera skills, it purely relies on the content. It wouldn’t be conventional to constantly have different angles in a documentary.

Strengths: “Love the documentary style, especially the beginning time lapse scenes, which are similar to most documentaries”

Suggested changes/improvements/developments: “More match on action?”

I was worried people were going to say this, because I don’t want to try and squeeze in all of the continuity rules for marks when it wouldn’t really be conventional for a documentary to focus on the camera work entirely, rather than the content of the film.

Mark for cinematography: 4

Mise-en-scene: (e.g. how suitable are the choices made, considering genre, audience and narrative?)

Strengths: “The stereotypical chavs match to what the narrator is saying”, “iChav is very funny!”

Suggested changes/improvements/developments: “Make the goth look more.. gothier?”, “Is there any way the iChav text can look more professional?”

If I were to transform the goth’s look now it would mean re-filming the majority of my short film again… plus I would also need the chavs to re-film the conflict scene. I’m not sure of the capabilities of this as it would look extremely noticeable that I have re-filmed, especially as it happened to be raining at the time I filmed the first time. As for the iChav text, I quite like that it looks abit amateur-ish, I think it adds to the comedic element of the chav’s image, hoever I suppose I could try and have an experiment on FinalCut or LiveType to attempt to make the text look more professional.

Mark for mise-en-scene: 4

Editing: (e.g. is meaning clear to the audience? Have transitions, captions etc been used appropriately and effectively?)

Strengths: “The editing is good, no lack of continuity”, “The text used is very funny, ‘chavius TK-maxximus’ is gold!” 

Suggested changes/improvements/developments: “Speed up or cut the part where the chav is clenching his fist”, “Add some text/definitions for the goth”, “Add a different transition for the title”

I’m not too sure why this person wants me to cut the clenching of the chav’s fist, I’ll have to double check it to see if it is too long. I definitely think adding additional text over the goth scenes is a good idea also.

Mark for editing: 3

Sound: (e.g. music/dialogue/ambient sound/voiceovers – are these recorded and edited appropriately?)

Strengths: “The voiceover is really good, the content is very well written and the voice very much suits the role  v. David Attenborough”

Suggested changes/improvements/developments: “Just double check all of the dialogue, sometimes it misses out the beginning of words”, “Theres a part where the dialogue comes from the actors, (OIOI!) could you perhaps get them to re-record it in a quiet room?”

I understand that I need to go over the dialogue to make sure it is as good as it can be. I didn’t think about possibly re-recording the “oioi” mating call, which was silly as it potentially could sound 10x better, as it would get rid of all of the diegetic sound from the town.

Mark for sound: 3.5

Additional questions:

Do I need music? “I think you need some quiet music at the beginning, a sort of theme song during the title”

Is it too boring? Please be honest. “No way!”

Do the script and visuals go together? “Definitely suit eachother! If possible, be as descriptive on the goth as you were on the chavs?”

first edit

Above is my finished first edit. I’m not hugely pleased with it, however there’s roughly 2 weeks left for improvement.

Hopefully this can be done through 1-1 peer assessments and by conducting audience feedback, which I am planning to do through a small focus group. I will show them my first edit in full to see their reactions and ask follow-up questions for any improvements/changes I can make and targets I can set myself for 2 weeks time.