FMP

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Rationale:

Over the course of the year, i believe that i have improved in both practical film-work and post-production; at the beginning of the course i would say that my skills in these areas were particularly lacking, however as my blog may show, i have developed and learnt from my mistakes. one area that i have learnt from the most, is probably the audio section of the course, which, now that i have realized, is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in an immersive film experience. However I have also learnt from the visual project to manage my expectations, as I started very ambitious with my original intention’s; planning on creating an animation through multiple techniques, this has helped me going forward with realistic expectations of results compared to the scale of time involved with a project.

Project Concept:

So far, my plan is based on creating a mockumentary style parody of Netflix’s ‘making a murderer’, i am not 100% tied down to a certain concept; however i am thinking of parodying the show in a way that represents my opinions on the original topic in ‘making a murderer’, being that of Paul Allen’s false incarceration, his case against the P.D responsible, and the frame-up they performed in order to un-rightfully reject his case. My way of parodying this is as follows: the mockumentary will follow the case of Rueben Salem and will show the slow descent into anarchy as he is wrongfully accused of littering (this is a crime that is deemed insignificant enough to still be able to make the audience sympathize with the protagonist, even if he wasn’t just accused.), i have named this creative abomination ‘Merit or Misdemeanour’, this will link in with the context of the show, as it will be set up to be ‘made by college students’ as a documentary. I plan on emulating the original show in a way not dissimilar to the way ‘It’s Always sunny in Philadelphia’ did in the episode ‘Making Dennis Reynolds a murderer’ in which the gang attempt to make a TV show incriminating their friend in a murder, which turns out to have already been a solved case. The show uses satire and blatant falsification to comment on the original Allen Paul case; which is why I am using this episode as a point of reference.

Evaluating:

I will be evaluating this project after each section; pre-production, production; and Post-production, and posting the evaluates on my blog in real-time as to assess rate of progression and quality. I will also have one final evaluation at the end of the project to reflect on what went well, and what could be improved, as well as the issues involved throughout the course of production. To visually assist in those reading my evaluation section; I will be including pictures/videos of what went well/wrong.

Production schedule/action plan:

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Research Sources

For my primary sources of research, I will be creating my own survey, as well as researching my source materials to learn more about my target audience.

As for secondary sources of research, I will be using the original content that is being parodied: ‘Making a Murderer’, as well as a parody made by ‘It’s always sunny in Philadelphia (S12E05), and ‘American Vandal’ a parody similar to what i plan on creating, in which a high school student is accused of vandalising teachers cars.

 

Bibliography:

Making a murderer. 2015. Netflix. 18 December, 00:00

It’s always sunny in Philadelphia – Making Dennis Reynolds a murderer. 2017. Netflix. 01 February, 00:00

American Vandal. (2017). [TV Serial] Directed by D. Perrault and T. Yacenda. California: Netflix.

Jethro Nededog – Business Insider UK. 2016. The ‘Making a Murderer’ creators detail the intense 10-year path to getting the show on Netflix. [ONLINE] Available at: http://uk.businessinsider.com/making-a-murderer-filming-process-netflix-2016-1. [Accessed 22 March 2018].

Myles McNutt – Cultural Learnings. 2017. It’s details, not dicks, that make American Vandal a masterpiece. [ONLINE] Available at: https://cultural-learnings.com/2017/09/18/its-details-not-dicks-that-make-american-vandal-a-masterpiece/. [Accessed 23 March 2018].

Rankin Naasel, K. (2018). From “Big Love” To “Veep”: How Maurice Marable Directed His Way To Success. [online] Fast Company. Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/3027539/from-big-love-to-veep-how-maurice-marable-directed-his-way-to-success [Accessed 22 Mar. 2018].

Greene, S. (2018). ‘American Vandal’: How Two Guys Combined ‘Making a Murderer’ and ‘Freaks and Geeks’ and Got One of 2017’s Best Comedies. [online] IndieWire. Available at: http://www.indiewire.com/2017/09/netflix-american-vandal-tony-yacenda-dan-perrault-interview-1201876637/ [Accessed 23 Mar. 2018].

IMDb. (2018). Maurice Marable. [online] Available at: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0544741/ [Accessed 23 Mar. 2018].

IMDb. (2018). Laura Ricciardi. [online] Available at: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3309730/ %5BAccessed 23 Mar. 2018].

IMDb. (2018). Moira Demos. [online] Available at: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0218668/?ref_=ttfc_fc_cr4 %5BAccessed 23 Mar. 2018].

Writers and Artists. 2018. Copyright Law for Artists. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/artists/advice/169/an-artists-toolkit/essential-information/copyright-law-for-artists. [Accessed 23 March 2018].

 

 

Key Practitioners:

We were asked to provide some key practitioners that will be influencing the following weeks of our work. I chose to use the following practitioners for their direct correlation with the style that I am aiming for.

Laura Ricciardi
Moira Demos – Directors of Netflix’s ‘Making a murderer’

Maurice Marable – Director of ‘It’s always sunny in Philadelphia’ S12E05 – ‘Making Dennis Reynolds a murderer’

D. Perrault and T. Yacenda. – Directors of ‘American Vandal’

Part Two – Research

Practitioners:

Maurice Marable Research

Laura Ricciardi is mainly famous due to her heavy involvement with ‘Making a Murderer’, and has not directed much since, she was a production assistant on ‘Weather Report’ (2003) and ‘In the life’ (2002) before getting involved with Moira Demos and the making of ‘Making a murderer’.

Moira Demos however, has had a lot to her name since 1998 where she started out as an additional production assistant on  ‘six ways to Sunday’, she is currently working on ‘America’s most admired lawbreaker’ a TV Drama that is still in development. Her work seems to be gravitating more towards the true crime genre than anything else, which is why I think her to be a sufficient practitioner to take example from within my project.

Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda are responsible for the series ‘American vandal’, I think that this will be the closest I can call competition as both my concept and theirs are based in a fictional educational establishment, with students creating the main focus within the realms.

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Competition:

I consider my competition to be any film-makers that are using the layout of the ‘true-crime’ genre in a parodic manner; so a good example would be the ‘Always sunny in Philadelphia’ parody, (S12E05) ‘Making Dennis Reynolds a murderer’. Another good source of competition would be Netflix’s ‘American Vandal’, which is based on a high school student potentially being the cause of some phallic vandalism in the faculty parking lot, and the controversial student investigation that follows, however after watching American vandal; i can say that the event of graffiti is not the main pull of the show, it is however the extreme detail that the documentarians go to in order to investigate the case that is the most interesting; but isn’t that what true crime is? Due to the fact that ‘American Vandal’ is based in a high school environment and is incredibly low budget, i would say that it is a much more comparable source of competition; despite it being already viral.

“The majority of the show [, American Vandal] finds its storytelling outside of the inciting incident, cobbling together glimpses of high school life grounded in realism despite being predicated on penises.”

Myles McNutt – Cultural Learnings. 2017. It’s details, not dicks, that make American Vandal a masterpiece. [ONLINE] Available at: https://cultural-learnings.com/2017/09/18/its-details-not-dicks-that-make-american-vandal-a-masterpiece/. [Accessed 23 March 2018].

Target Audience:

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According to the information collected by the yougov website, this is the average audience member for the show “it’s always sunny in Philadelphia”:

5

Legal and Ethical Issues:

I don’t think that there are many legal issues that could become apparent during production, however there are the basics, for instance, i will need to use concepts and music that are not copyrighted OR ask the original creator permission for use (with written confirmation), as well as this there is the straightforward DON’T ACTUALLY MAKE CRIME; i know that this is probably an obvious statement, but it should be clarified because we are going to be filming about a minor crime, it could be taken too literally by members of the public if filming on location and there aren’t clear warnings of us filming.

Writers and Artists. 2018. Copyright Law for Artists. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/artists/advice/169/an-artists-toolkit/essential-information/copyright-law-for-artists. [Accessed 23 March 2018].

Overall, I’d estimate that the BBFC would mark this film as a 12, as it fits well into the classification; which is as follows:

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Related Concepts and Ideas:

Mockumentary ideas:

‘Get very, very specific’

I like this aspect, as one way of making comedy is by highlighting the absurd, which in this case is the petty elements of governmental regime being put under the microscope.

av.tvclub.com. 2015. How to make a good mockumentary: 7 lessons from modern film and TV. [ONLINE] Available at: https://tv.avclub.com/how-to-make-a-good-mockumentary-7-lessons-from-modern-1798283219. [Accessed 23 March 2018].

Technical:

Test shots:

Throughout my piece i will be using some particular angles and filming techniques in order to make a realistically ‘amateur’ element to the documentary, by emulating camera angles and filters of say: a cctv camera; or a bystanders handheld footage. these are two examples that i have created test shots for:

I think this style will work well within my piece as it can also be a social commentary highlighting my views on ‘popular videos’ that are too lazy to even film in the right orientation.

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A note for this one would be to use a tripod, as i could only really take pictures when getting this angle handheld, due to the shaky qualities that become abundant when you hold a camera above your head. Also, i would like the ‘CCTVfootage’ to be more static and lower quality in my final project, as this would add an element of not quite being able to see clearly, which helps well with the context of the shots, asserting doubt in the audience’s beliefs.

For filming my piece, i was planning on using my Samsung Galaxy S6, as it has a 1920 by 1080 filming resolution, and knowing that my viewing platform will be YouTube.com; this is an acceptable shoot resolution. I could, if necessary, shoot with a camera rented from college, which would be in a superior resolution, however i would have my production bottle-necked by having to book out the equipment; so i am making the choice to sacrifice better quality in order to assure a more comfortable shooting schedule. This will ultimately not effect my project too badly, as 1080p is a good resolution and as my piece will contextually be made by college students, and it would seem rather out of place if it was shot in 4k for example. anything lower than 1080p would not be acceptable.

Costs/Budgets:

After looking for a budget to the original ‘Making a murderer’ series online, I cannot find any numbers at all; I think this is mainly due to the fact that it was a ten year passion-project of Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, so it is likely that they slowly funded it by themselves as the years went on until Netflix bought the rights in 2015. I have come to this conclusion based on interviews, and all information that could be provided by IMDb, RottenTomato’s and even wikipedia.

“It would take a decade, personal sacrifice, and dedication to their vision before the filmmakers behind “Making a Murderer” found a home for the series at Netflix.”

“The two learned about Avery after reading a 2005 article in The New York Times about his 2003 exoneration and 2005 arrest for murder. Both thought that his case could be an interesting subject for a documentary.”

Jethro Nededog – Business Insider UK. 2016. The ‘Making a Murderer’ creators detail the intense 10-year path to getting the show on Netflix. [ONLINE] Available at: http://uk.businessinsider.com/making-a-murderer-filming-process-netflix-2016-1. [Accessed 22 March 2018].

Making a Murderer. 2016. Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Making_a_Murderer#Production. [Accessed 22 March 2018].

It’s always sunny in Philadelphia is known well for having significantly lower budgets than other mainstream sitcoms, this is because the creators (Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney) made a deal with FX right at the beginning, that they be paid less but have more ownership and artistic freedom with their show, for instance FX only paid $1 Mil for the first series of the show, which is to be split between all actors, directors, producers, location, props and anything else that the artistic flow calls for, this meant that the producers still kept their waiting jobs whilst creating the first series!

The Original Pilot of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an amateur short film made by Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day on their own with two simple camcorders. The estimated production cost is $85-200, which went almost solely to tapes for the cameras.

FX’s ‘Always Sunny’ Model: Low Costs, Total Freedom – Tim Molloy. 2011. Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.thewrap.com/fxs-always-sunny-model-low-costs-total-freedom-30990/. [Accessed 22 March 2018].

Charlie Has Cancer (Original Pilot). 2017. Its always sunny Wikia. [ONLINE] Available at: http://itsalwayssunny.wikia.com/wiki/Charlie_Has_Cancer_(Original_Pilot). [Accessed 22 March 2018].

Overall, I think that this shows a good sign for relatability to my project, as I will not be working with much of a budget, the cheaper to achieve styles of my source material are very good to be working with, as well as the straightforward plot devices and serialisation employed by the ‘Always sunny’ crew.

Research Evaluation

I have found some key conclusions from my research that I will take to heart during the production process, for instance: After researching more ‘true crime’ programs, (I had only originally considered ‘making a murderer’), I eventually found the series ‘American vandal’, which is much more relevant to my piece in comparison, and I am grateful that I have stumbled across it. (I say stumbled, but it is a very popular show!).

In the real world, budget is everything. If you have a pitifully small one, then you have to be more creative with the choices you make during the production process, however, if the budget of a production is too large, the director  may become overly involved with superficial details and lose track of the big picture due to trying to over-impress with their sufficient budget. By researching the cost and effectiveness of the other true crime series currently on the market, I have affirmed to myself that for this specific genre, a smaller budget is better. Which, as I said earlier, is good for me, because I will be working with a minimalist budget.

Overall, I think that my research will prove very useful in future, the most useful aspect of which being some of the test shots that I took, as they have made me think more about the way that I will shoot and frame certain shots; I have been thinking recently about the framing and composition that I will be looking to achieve, and starting to get test shots has really helped my third eye to envision my project better.  However, with more time, I could have created a Vox-Pop, which would have been more handy for a college based audience analysis.

If given a budget for my research, I probably would have attempted to hire another colleague to assist me, however, as I am already on a low budget, this seems a silly idea.

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My vision is of a mockumentary, not dissimilar to ‘American vandal’; in which a student is accused of a crime so meaningless that an investigation is quite frankly a waste of tax-payers money, yet here it is, the case of Rueben Salem; ex-hall monitor (dishonourably discharged), standing accused of littering throughout school grounds, but is all seeming true just a facade?

I will only be making a 6 to 8 minute preview episode of the show; as until my idea is approved by a financier, it will be difficult to create a 5 part series of 45 minute-1 hour long episodes. This ‘pilot’ episode will be used as a selling point with executives producers in order to eventually have my show made with industry grade equipment and other professionals willing to work on the project.

i am mainly basing my target audience as to being similar to that of ‘It’s always sunny in Philadelphia’ as this is the type of humor i am looking to involve, as well as it’s strong political commentary. According to yougov, this makes my target audience predominantly left winged 18-24 yr old males in the ABC1 social demographic.

I was inspired to make my project when i was watching an episode of ‘It’s always sunny in Philadelphia’ called ‘making Dennis Reynolds a murderer’. I loved the comedy style and the way it differed from the regular series episodes. i particularly like the aspect that allows them to make hilarious jokes without any dialogue; for instance: having a camera still for a long time, then having it shake slightly whilst focused on a character to break the fourth wall and remind the audience of the meta-references that come with a show inside a show. I looked into this episode more and found it to be a true crime parody, after this i started looking into the true-crime genre and found it to be quite intriguing; i found other shows such as ‘making a murderer’ and ‘american vandal’, i like the self referential jokes and blatant comments on society that the parody genre allows.

I have found some key conclusions from my research that I will take to heart during the production process

I believe that the production schedule I created originally is still 100% valid, however I missed off the time given during the Easter break; I have decided that I am going to use this time to go back over research and start planning ahead of schedule. After the Easter break, I will be continuing from the point I get to therein, and this should line up with my production schedule also, as the first week back is dedicated toward the planning stage of production, I believe that this is going to be an effective approach to producing my piece.

 

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Storyboards:

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Collective Test Shots:

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Location scout – bike racks. this is going to be my first live action scene setting, this certain shot is one that i find aesthetically pleasing, but i doubt i will use it in my final piece, as it will likely be replaced by the following shot, dependent on whether i would like to use ‘found footage’ or keep the shot in the documentary format.

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Rotated 90° camera angle – for use in ‘amateur witness style’ shots. I will be using these angles for representing found-footage. this is also a personal comment on how badly some people record natural disasters or conflicts that they will then post on social media; but are just frustrating to watch as the orientation is wrong.

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Topdown cctv angle (with filter) i would be using this with a completely different setting for the purpose of presenting evidence to support/condemn the defense party (Rueben Salem).

Test shot of editing style – ‘amatuer witness style’

 

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My Presentation, short and sweet:

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Evaluation:

My stated aims were to create a parody of the ‘true crime’ genre, and in this sense I consider my piece to be a success, however I also stated that my sources and influences are mainly ‘it’s always sunny in Philadelphia’ s12e05, American Vandal, and making a murderer; and honestly, I have since divulged from these original intentions to the point where I do not see the original sources as comparable to the work I have done. The work of my chosen practitioners greatly exceeds that of my created material, I am still happy with my piece as a parody of the true crime genre, however see it as a poor attempt at capturing the essence of mystery and slow reveal that is widely used among my sources.

My concept has stayed fairly close to my original idea, having an innocent student wrongfully accused for corrupt reasons. However I believe that I have misrepresented the innocent party into looking like the guilty; but this still works very well, if not better, with the true-crime genre.After screening to a select audience, I believe that my final pilot episode does speak to my target audience from an entertainment perspective, however I am still not entirely happy with it. I plan on working more on the concept with another film maker as a passion project, maybe one day I will be 100% happy with it, but for now, I feel it sufficient to convey the opinions I have developed on the corrupt law enforcement and lack of freedom that exists in many first and third world countries.

I feel as though this final creation well represents my learning curve throughout the year, the main problem being audio. I have struggled with throughout the year, not because of my practical production skills, but due to my inability to sufficiently edit audio. However because my project is set up to be a ‘made by students’ production, I have left in certain ‘mistakes’ in order to affirm this to the audience; it adds an air of realism in a seemingly exaggerated world. some of these planted mistakes include: the purposefully bad editing in the newsroom scene;  as well as all of the green screened interviews; and occasionally misspelled words or sentences using incorrect syntax; and some very shaky camerawork, all of which I had to carefully cherry-pick the ‘bad’ footage to edit in, choosing to ignore the best takes to instead convey the illusion of unprofessional-ism.

After the credits scroll at the end of my project, I have also put a company logo for Hippie Productions, the name that I will be professionally creating content under; I have also put in a short audio segment taken from a public speech made by Terence McKenna based around the opening of the third eye. I believe that this is an important factor to my company as the projects I will be working on in future are going to focus on spreading awareness in society of corruption and inequality. This also specifically links to my project, as I stated in my original intentions that the reason I was taking example from ‘making a murderer’ and ‘always sunny’ was because they falsely accuse a man in the main narrative. I think this is a good microcosm of the way cases in real life can often be twisted and manipulated to represent a false reality. This needs to end, and by using the final end-card of Terence Mckenna i am showing this to my audience within context of my project.

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One element I planned during pre-production was to have a topdown cctv shot, I did not do this eventually as it did not fluidly fit into the script, however I would still like to use this to effect; perhaps in the next project I am working on.

Whilst I am not entirely proud of this piece,

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