TMA 285 DIRECTOR’S REFLECTION
Overall response :
Were you successful at achieving what you set out to achieve? What are you proud of? What would you do differently if you could remake this piece? What did you learn?
I wasn’t successful in what I wanted to achieve, I wanted to be more precise in replicating each one of the shots of the film and for most of them, I didn’t achieve what I expected. I am proud of the hard work I put in achieving the look of the film, the location I got and the production design were good, I got a makeup artist, good costumes and tried to match the look of the film.
There are many things I’ll do differently if I could remake this film, one of them is that I’d make sure I download the reference video because that was one of the main obstacles I encountered. I would pay more attention to the blocking.
Briefly, discuss the following:
What, specifically, did you want to communicate? Were you successful? Why? Why not?
The scene focuses on the captain’s cruelty and is intended to make the audience feel empathy for the stutter. I think I tried to replicate the scene as close as possible but I missed some important details that helped focus on the stutter. I focused too much on the captain and that made it harder for the audience to feel empathetic towards the prisoner.
How, specifically, did you try to communicate this?
The scene starts focusing on the stutter and then the captain, it goes back and forth. The captain gives false hope to the stutter and that makes the torture worse.
What did you learn about storytelling:
Being purposeful starts in pre-production, every shot should serve to communicate the intention of the scene and when the camera movement, design, performance and other elements combine then the scene can communicate exactly what the filmmaker intends.
What did you learn about working with actors and getting performance:
This exercise was interesting because the actors already had a reference and all they needed to do was replicate what the other actors did. I thought it was important to understand the characters motivations and use that instead of just imitating, I learned that even when we are replicating something that has been previously done, It’s important to understand the characters and figure out what their motivations are. I wanted the actors to make the characters a little more personal and connect with them instead of connecting with the actors who originally performed the scene.
What did you learn about blocking the camera and actors?
Blocking is extremely important when telling visual stories, sometimes we take for granted the fact that actors have to move and we don’t think that all the movements are motivated by the message we are trying to communicate. The movement also helps advance the story and becomes one of the elements that differentiates a professional film from a student film.
What did you learn about visual elements such as lighting, composition, framing, etc.?
One of the things that sets the mood of the scene is the lighting and design of the environment in which the scene takes place. The lighting for this scene is motivated and realistic, it enhances the gritty feel and places the characters in a tense environment.
What did you learn about design and art direction?
The art direction in this film is very important, it creates a separation between the fantasy world and the real one. I think every detail matters when it comes to creating a world and that is what Guillermo del Toro did in Pan’s Labyrinth, I tried to get as close with the costumes, location, and props. I learned that doing art can be extremely challenging especially with a minimal or nonexistent budget, it takes a lot of ingenuity and requires to ask a lot of favors.
What did you learn about the Production Process such as pre-production, collaborating with a crew, securing equipment, etc.?
Pre-production is extremely important, it was because of all the “busy work” that I was able to at least be kind of close to the original scene, even after not being able to play the reference video. I worked with my notes and all the preparation I had proved to be crucial when it was time to shoot.
What was it like to watch your film with an audience? Did they understand it? Miss the point? Why did they respond the way they did?
I was a little embarrassed about showing the film because I knew there were a lot of details missing, I knew a lot of the camera movements changed and my blocking wasn’t quite right. I think without watching the original scene first, some of the elements work quite well but also there are things that can be misunderstood.