Without doubt, the production of our single camera drama has been the biggest learning curve of the year. Mostly, it was a very enjoyable experience, and it was the first chance I was given to be director. Being production manager or producer is well within my comfort zone but the role of director was a big stretch for me. It meant I had to learn to make my ideas come to life.

Each member’s roles within the group were as follows:

  • Myself – Director, Script Writer and Lead Camera Operator (aswell as some editing)
  • George – Producer
  • Kiesha – Producer and Editor
  • Aniel – A.D and Behind the scenes.

The first obstacle we faced in this process was the quite bland locations we used in and around BOA. Luckily, the whole of our team was very helpful when it came to bringing in props. We were able, with a lot of prior research, to achieve the exact we were going for. For inspiration we looked to award winning teen drama, Skins. We looked on the show’s website to see how it’s sets looked without the cast. We followed suit transforming the TV green room into both the bedroom and the living room. It is the set dressing that I am probably most proud of ,from this production along, with it being my first experience being director and lead camera operator.

We were very happy with the set we created for the main party scene. It is amazing how far an armchair, rug and couple of tables can go in creating a totally different dynamic for the room. We had to cover up all the plug sockets on the wall with strategically placed posters and balloons.

This is the ‘Bedroom’ set, which was in fact our TV Studio Green Room which under normal circumstances has plain white walls and minimalistic furniture. We achieved this look with an inflatable air bed – duvet, posters and piece of MDF. We got the warmness of the image using a floodlight one of the team members brought in. Without it, the shot wouldn’t have looked as homely at all!

We were also lucky enough to collaborate with some of BOA’s talented Music Tech students. Dre’2ce and Immortal Ravi each made us a track. Which came to be invaluable to editing. We don’t know what we would have done without them and we are very grateful.

During the production, we also learnt a lesson in the importance of Mise-en-Scene.

This was the original setting we chose for the post -abduction scene. However it looks more like he’s having a pleasant day dream in a field than a scene in a horror film so when I spotted a patch with cinders a little further down we knew we had to try to film there…
…The darker colours and the stone like feel makes the shot far more effective and it ties into the scenario more than a bright, grassy field.

We decided to work with fellow BOA students from the acting pathway, however this came with disadvantages as well as advantages. They already had prior commitments such as assessments and performances, which had to take priority. Although we had quite tight time restrictions they were worsened by this.  It also lead to a last minute recasting one of our female leads dropped out the day before shooting. We  therefore had to brief one of the actors that she was going to be taking over her part. The time restrictions also meant the actors were unable to become fully familiar with the script, so there was a lot of improv. on the day. This had its benefits but whilst dialogue felt a lot more natural, editing was little more difficult. The biggest disappointment was the fact we had to cut a pivotal scene from the short, because we were unable to get one of the actors for filming on the second day.

On a more positive note however, working with BOA students meant we had a very talented cast. I am so proud of every single actor involved with the production, they each gave it their all and we couldn’t have asked for more.They were very cooperative and willing to push their boundaries to get the product required. The cast were respectful of each other and the crew and whilst on set we were able to keep the situation controlled.

At first, I found it particularly difficult giving direction but it became easier as the production went on. For future productions, if I assume the role of director, I must try to be more self-assured when giving directions to cast and crew members. For my first try at directing I am pretty pleased with my efforts, and my confidence as director has progressed in leaps and bounds.

On the whole, our group worked very well together, despite a few minor problems we faced along the way. In pre-production one of the tasks we had to do was assign job roles. We didn’t really stick rigidly to the assigned roles, meaning some people had to pick up the slack. One member of our group decided that right before filming one of the main parts of the short film, to help someone with something else. With hindsight it is not just this person I blame for this. I feel I should have taken more initiative and told that we needed him.

I felt that at times I was left on my own to film when I needed the rest of my crew. When making a horror film, having somebody who cannot stand the sight of blood can be  problematic and the reason we had one man down. Nosebleeds struck another member of our group meaning he was too busy fussing around with real blood to help the with the production’s fake blood but in terms of keeping friendly with each other and respecting each other’s ideas I believe we did a pretty good job.

One thing I could have done better is delegation. In the future I need to assign roles more and not assume too many jobs myself.


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