Production Packet

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Greta Gerwig directs Timothee Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan on the set of “Ladybird”

For your production to be successful, you need to plan the whole production, as well as each shoot. The more questions you answer before you start, the more organized and efficient you will be. For example, do you know exactly what equipment you need? Can all of your crew members and actors make it to your shoot dates? Do you have all important props or costume items with you for each shoot? Which scenes and which shots do you need to get on which days? By writing it all down, you, your crew, and your teacher will be confident that your production will go as well as it possibly can. 

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Writer/Director Greta Gerwig working with her cinematographer on the set of “Ladybird”

The film’s Producer turns in bulk of the the information listed below, and is in charge of gathering and writing up all the production information in it. The Writer/Director turns in the treatment and screenplay. The Director of Photography turns in the shot list (written in collaboration with the Director) and storyboard. All of these elements are combined to create the production packet. 

The packet must be bound in a binder or organized in a folder. The production packet itself needs to be typed, clean and professional. 

Your production packet should include:

  • Treatment: a paragraph or two describing your film from start to end. Your treatment should describe the theme, subjects (and their motivations), the story (place, time frame, events), and style. *

  • The most current draft of your screenplay. *
  • List of locations (with any relevant information: transportation to and from, hours you can shoot there, permissions needed or granted, and so on)

  • List of actors (cast, and to be cast)

  • List of props and costumes (be as specific as possible)

  • Equipment list (be as specific as possible–camera, sound, camera mounts, special rigs)

  • Shooting schedule (which scenes are you shooting when; start by breaking down your script into scenes–each new location is a scene)

  • Contact information for all cast and crew; also include their availability (ie “Abby, Director of Photography, available all weekends except first weekend in March, no after school”)

  • Complete shot list for each scene. *

  • Storyboards for at least three scenes (choose the scenes that are the most complex visually and show the style of the film).*

* The writer can add the treatment and current draft of the screenplay to the packet on the due date. The DP  can add the shot list and storyboard to the packet on the due date.

Wes Anderson directing Moonage Kingdom
Writer / Director Wes Anderson shooting a scene from “Moonrise Kingdom”

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Film Analysis

 

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Essential Question: What makes a movie “good?” What are the pieces of a “good” movie?

Directions: 

  1. Choose one or two 3-5 minute clips from a movie, TV show, or short film –something you feel the class needs to see. Think carefully about which film and which clip(s) you choose to show. Th clip(s) should represent the film you are showing (ie give us a good idea of the style of the film, and what the filmmaker is doing. You will be encouraged to choose something the majority of the students in class have not seen. Look for something classic or independent.
  2. Write a short paragraph (3-5 sentences) about each of the elements of cinema, below. This is one of two parts to this assignment, which you will turn in on our Google Classroom.
  3. You have two options as to how you want to present your analysis:
    • Create a montage explaining your clip. You may make this in Adobe Premiere or a google slideshow (see example). Put your clip in context of the longer movie (etc) that it comes from–where does it fit? Overall, tell us why you chose this piece of media and why WE should see it too. OR…
    • Present the film clip to class. Plan, rehearse and deliver your thoughts on the clip. Delivering your presentation, you have some choices:
      1. You may choose to introduce the film to put the clip into context for the class, then let the clip show in it’s entirely before delivering your analysis.
      2. You can talk while your clip is playing, starting and stopping at times to point things out to us.
      3. After your introduction, you can play the clip through once, then play it through a second time, pointing out elements of the film you want us to notice (this works better with a shorter clip, say 3 minutes).

Analyze the following elements of cinema in your presentation:

  • Storytelling (The Script / Writing: Plot, Beginning / middle/end – structure; Dialog; Characters; the IDEA)
  • Acting & Directing
  • Mise En Scene (‘What you see’ – Locations; props, costumes; makeup)
  • Cinematography (Shots: Composition, Lighting, Viewpoint / Perspective / Angle; Movement)
  • Soundtrack (Music score; Mix; Compliments visuals and story;
  • Editing (Tells the story; special effects; continuity; pacing)

The Voiceover Project

I wish Morgan Freeman could narrate my life...
I wish Morgan Freeman could narrate my life…

Essential Questions:

  • What are the possible ways words and images can interact to tell a story?
  • How can voice over narration be used as a storytelling device in film?
  • What mode of voiceover narration best fits a particular character and plot?

Objectives:

  • Complete a 3 – 6 minute narrative short film by the end of the quarter
  • Produce a film with advanced sound and picture quality
  • Work with Colonial Sound to record original foley effects and a narrative voiceover; if inclined, produce and original music score.
  • Work with a crew of 2-4

Steps: (with your crew)

  1. Identify crew positions (and duties) for pre-production, production (shooting) and post production (editing).
  2. Write a voiceover script or a screenplay (in screenplay format)
  3. Draw a storyboard to go with the script
  4. Pre-produce the film:
    1. Cast actors
    2. Find locations
    3. Schedule voiceover session and shoot dates
  5. Record a voiceover (in Colonial Sound)
  6. Edit the film to the voiceover track (adding music and other sound)
  7. Plan and record foley sound effects (in Colonial Sound) and music (optional)
  8. Add special effects (as needed) in post production.
  9. Add titles and credits
  10. Screen your film in class for critique

Options… This project can take many forms:

  • Internal monologue (the character we see on screen narrates the world around them, as it’s happening, in the first person; could include more than one character)
  • Retelling the past (Character narrates a past experience, which we are seeing)
  • Dream (can be looser, more abstract, or seem very real)
  • Poem (narrate a poem you wrote, or by someone else; bring it to life with moving images)
  • Non-fiction (record a real person or group of people, rather than an actor reading a script; create images to enhance what they say)

Storyboarding!

You will want to draw storyboards for all your film projects, so that you can pre-visualize how your script will turn into images (and sounds) on the screen. Each shot should be represented by a storyboard frame (think of thumbnails on your computer which stand for video clips.) You can show everything from the proximity of characters to each other, the angle of the shot, how wide or close up it is, movement (of actors and/or camera), and so on. You can write in notes on the shot (what the camera is doing), as well as character actions or dialog/voiceover. Your storyboard becomes your shot list on location–like a grocery list or shopping list, you can check off your shots as you shoot them. A storyboard is an invaluable tool for the creative filmmaker!

Watch this funny and informative video on storyboarding–

“Storyboarding for People Who Can’t Draw” video

Watch this interesting video on how a well known director, Robert Rodriguez, uses storyboards to visualize his films:

Storyboarding with RR

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Film Clip Presentation Redux!

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Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu with camera

We are going to do film clip presentations again, starting the week after April break. (We will simultaneously start planning Q4 final projects and the June 7 CCHS Film and Animation Festival, as we discussed…) These presentations will be similar to Quarter 1, but they should be even better than before, as I expect that your ideas about films have grown throughout the year and with your own experiences as filmmakers.

Objectives:

  1. Investigate a favorite film or filmmaker in depth
  2. Analyze a specific scene
  3. Bring new influences to the rest of the class; show us a film we need to see.

Essential QuestionWhat makes a movie “good?” What are the pieces of a “good” movie?

Directions:

  1. Decide whether you are going to present on your own or with a partner. 
  2. Alone or with your partner, choose one or two 3-5 minute clips from a movie, TV show, or short film –something you feel the class needs to see. Think carefully about which film and which clip(s) you choose to show. The clip(s) should represent the film you are showing (ie give us a good idea of the style of the film, and what the filmmaker is doingYou will be encouraged to choose something the majority of the students in class have not seen. Look for something classic or unusual. 
  3. Write a short paragraph (3-5 sentences) about each of the elements of cinema, below.
  4. Present the film clip to class. Plan, rehearse and deliver your thoughts on the clip. Put your clip in context of the longer movie (etc) that it comes from–where does it fit? Overall, tell us why you chose this piece of media and why WE should see it too.

Analyze the following in your presentation:

  • Storytelling (The Script / Writing: Plot, Beginning / middle/end – structure; Dialog; Characters; the IDEA)
  • Acting & Directing
  • Mise En Scene (‘What you see’ – Locations; props, costumes; makeup)
  • Cinematography (Shots: Composition, Lighting, Viewpoint / Perspective / Angle; Movement)
  • Soundtrack (Music score; Mix; Compliments visuals and story;
  • Editing (Tells the story; special effects; continuity; pacing)

Download the rubric here:  Film Clip Presentation rubric

Q3 Advanced Filmmaking REFLECTION

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Miles Teller and J.K. Simons in “Whiplash” (Dir: Damien Chazelle) Credit: Photograph by Daniel McFadden / Sony Pictures Classics / Everett
Reflect on your work during the third quarter. Some students worked the whole quarter on one film–scripting, pre-producing, shooting, editing–while others produced several short pieces. You also collaborated on each other’s work, as actors, crew members, sound designers and co-directors/editors. Demonstrate through this reflection what you have learned from the process of making you film with a crew of your peers.
At least 3 sentences each answer:
 
  1. Write a twenty word or less synopsis of each of your films from this semester (you might use it later…)
  2. How do you feel about collaboration? Comment on your collaborations this semester, as well as past collaborations on films. Compare it to working on your own. What is challenging and what is rewarding about film collaborations?
  3. Who contributed to your production, and how? Give thanks to one of your collaborators (crew or cast members).
  4. Describe this quarter’s production process, step by step (what did you do in what order). Which steps were easy, and which were hard? What do you feel you planned well on this quarter’s production (something you did intentionally that is visible / audible in the final product)?
  5. Tell me a story from your shoot. Did anything happen on your production that was unexpected? Was it good or bad for your production?
  6. What would you do differently next time? What have you learned from making this film?
  7. At this point, what are your favorite kinds of films to make and why?
  8. Overall, how have you developed as a filmmaker since the beginning of the year? In terms of your ideas, understanding of film (referring to other films out there), use of technology, understanding of your audience, working with others?

Production Packets

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Director JJ Abrams and Writer Lawrence Kasdan on set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Different types of productions require different types of preparation. Students are producing 30 second PSA’s, hype videos, short documentaries, short fiction films, and television productions. The goal is the same: be as prepared as possible. Know what you are shooting, what you need to shoot it (equipment), assemble everything that appears in front of the cameras (costumes/props/locations/actors), and rehearse. Sometimes, the hardest part is getting the whole crew and cast together at one time in on place; you want to take full advantage of this time.

Below are the expectations for the production packet for different types of productions:

Fiction Film

  • Treatment: a paragraph or two describing your film from start to end. Your treatment should describe the theme, characters (and their motivations), the story (where are we? What happens?), and style.
  • Script. Use a google template and work from there. Screenplay Template
  • Storyboard. Draw your film, shot for shot.
  • Shotlist (a list of shots, typed)
  • List of locations
  • List of actors
  • List of props
  • Equipment list
  • Shooting schedule (which scenes are you shooting when; start by breaking down your script into scenes–each new location is a scene)
  • Contact information for all cast and crew

Non-Fiction Film (documentary)

  • Treatment: a paragraph or two describing your film from start to end. Your treatment should describe the theme, subjects (and their motivations), the story (place, time frame, events), and style.
  • List of interviewees with questions for each.
  • Shotlist (a list of shots, typed)
  • List of locations
  • List of actors
  • List of props
  • Equipment list
  • Shooting schedule (which scenes are you shooting when; start by breaking down your script into scenes–each new location is a scene)
  • Contact information for all cast and crew

PSA (Public Service Announcement)

  • If making a PSA, you should come up with more than one (2-3 separate ideas to convince your audience).
  • Treatment: a paragraph describing your PSA from start to end. Your treatment should describe the theme, characters, the story (where are we? What happens?), style, and message (what is the tag line or “call to action”).
  • Storyboard. Draw your film, shot for shot.
  • Shotlist (a list of shots, typed)
  • List of locations
  • List of actors
  • List of props
  • Equipment list
  • Shooting schedule (which scenes are you shooting when; start by breaking down your script into scenes–each new location is a scene)
  • Contact information for all cast and crew

Television production

  • NOTE: A TV Production needs to be coordinated with CCTV (see Kester Kruger). You need to arrange the following:
    • Ask permission and get your show on the schedule
    • Find out how many crew members you will need
    • You may need to schedule and pass a tech test with CCTV (separate from our class) to gain access to the studio
    • Get the format needed for the teleprompter (file type, how the script should look) as well as file types for anything you plan to produce in advance and roll in (ie opening sequence, graphic bumpers, etc)
  • Treatment: a paragraph or two describing your show from start to end. Your treatment should describe the type of show, talent, specific segments, and style.
  • Script. This needs to be formatted for a teleprompter. 
  • Outline. List by time (0-30 seconds, 30-1 minute) on the left, with each segment (Intro roll in, first story, cut to reporter in field, back to studio, weather report, cut to commercial, etc)
  • List of locations
  • List of talent and crew (by position)
  • List of props
  • Equipment list
  • Shooting schedule (which scenes are you shooting when; start by breaking down your script into scenes–each new location is a scene)
  • Contact information for all cast and crew
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JJ Abrams consults R2D2 on the script for Star Wars: The Force Awakens