Short Film: Deciding Roles

We met up in the pub once again (a common and productive meeting point) to discuss who would best suit which role. We played to our strengths and weaknesses to decide this and it was relatively easy as we were all better/more passionate than others in certain areas.

Mick Le Mare – Director.

Mick was director of our formats production last year and has great leadership skills. He is also organised and outspoken when he has an idea, and can argue his personal views persuasively.

Adam Davies – First Assistant Director.

Myself and Mick both originally wanted this role as we both enjoy the qualities of organising and the aspect of doing much of the pre-production work, sorting out how things would plan out and drifting around all the other roles to offer input. I am practical and resourceful. I decided to take this role as I believed Mick would be a better Director overall than I would.

Alex Hacking – Director Of Photography/Editor.

Alex’s photographic skills made him the obvious choice for DOP. His previous shows that he really has an eye for finding beautiful images. It was either this role on camera operator, however he has not had much use with the JVC-700 so we thought it was best if that role went to someone else.

Jake Humbles – Camera Operator/Editor.

Jake has worked with the JVC-700 before and produced some stunning work therefore we decided that he was the best choice to be in control of the visuals, in collaboration with Alex.

Richard Neal – Sound Engineer/Lead Editor.

Rich has worked with sound many times before and has produced some high quality soundscapes. He can tell the difference between good and bad sound with ease and is also the best out of all of use when it comes to using FinalCutPro.

My Role As First Assistant Director

Being the First Assistant Director for ‘Over The Hill’ it is my responsibility to make sure everything is organised and prepared in terms of pre-production. I am in control of organising the shooting schedulerecce sheetstravel for cast and crew, keeping an eye on our budget, time-keeping, gaining access to locations, the storyboard, and in collaboration with Mick (the Director) to ensure on the day of the shoot everything goes as planned and the actors are well looked after and everyone remains happy and safe throughout the day.

I have attended a session with Philip Lewis who is a First Assistant Director on such soaps as ‘Coronation Street‘, ‘Emmerdale‘ and ‘Eastenders‘. He spoke of what to encounter on a typical production day and how first impressions are of paramount importance. The 1st AD holds the responsibility of the ‘practical side’ of the Director’s role, and being a First Assistant Director requires leadership and the ability to constantly maintain the flow of understanding between everyone involved in the production and back again, all the way from Director to the runner making tea. To be a successful 1st AD I must understand the basics of everyone else’s role and in effect be a Jack-of-all-trades; this way I can relate to others in the group, appreciate their problems and praise their success. One thing he made clear was that “The Director is right, you must defend him/her in their decisions”, which I aim to stick by for our production, which should not be hard, as myself and Mick think alike when it comes to decision-making anyway.

I have done some research on Skillset into the role of First Assistant Director and found that “During pre-production, First ADs break down the script into a shot-by-shot storyboard, and work with the Director to determine the shoot order, and how long each scene will take to film.” I have good time management skills and since the beginning of the module I have been making detailed notes from every meeting, lecture and feedback session, therefore I am feeling confident in achieving what is expected of me in my new role. I also enjoy drawing my ideas as opposed to explaining them, so a storyboard will be a treat.  “They then draw up the overall shooting schedule (a timetable for the filming period).  Once the film is in production, Firsts are in charge of making sure that every aspect of the shoot keeps to this schedule.” In partnership with the Director I will be focusing hard on completing this task to the best of my ability.

I’ve also been looking as some of the work of Canadien Independent Filmmaker, Peter D. Marshall. Sometimes new, unoriginal ideas are the only way to survive in the media industry nowadays. Only those who strive to go further succeed. One of the most frequent reasons why most student video productions fail to achieve their potential is because of poor group-working skills. I speak for the rest of the crew when I say we could not have found a more ideal group of individuals. We are all good mates and have worked with each other before on group projects, so we know how each other thinks and can productively develop and improve on each others’ ideas for a positive outcome. My role also involves keeping everyone in a good mood, which I’m pretty good at anyway (without being modest). I will be making sure that during the shoot I am always paying attention to the actors and crew, making sure no-one is bored and keep the conversation flowing, even whilst not recording.

“The first assistant director runs the set. The whole mood of the movie, the whole tenor of the set comes off that person, and it’s just a critical choice.”
– John Frankenheimer.

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