This week is focused on primary research in order to improve my skills in accordance to my Extended Project (EP). I will also be recapping on what I have learned in particular the subjects that could help me with my EP.

Define your background

I am doing my project because I enjoy making short films with interesting narratives. I hope to engage the viewers in the narrative and make it.

Define your project

So it starts out with a guy waking up, and he has a routine that he follows every morning. The key is, you never see this guy talk, he just goes about his normal routine that he does every morning.

The voice over sets in and starts saying ”I am Samuel Johnson, and I am the best assassin in the world. I study my targets meticulously (reading the paper), and take the best care of myself (brushing his teeth or something) and I am always thinking one step ahead. Then the guy walks out the front door of his house, on his way to his car for work. He drives to work and the voice over carrying’s on throughout work. He then leaves work and gets shot. Then the camera shifts to somewhere else in the bushes and shows a guy all in black with a sniper rifle, and the voice over says “and I never miss my targets”.

The whole time you would be thinking that the guy getting ready is the sniper, getting ready to go and get his target, but then in the last scene, you realise he is the target.

Produce a short review of what you know about your subject

I will draw on previous knowledge to help me with this project. Previous knowledge areas that could help me with this project are: Lighting, camera movement, audio, movement, genre, framing and composition, microphone knowledge, visual knowledge, editing, pre-production paperwork, job roles, the industry and target audience etc.

Identify key areas where you need to develop your knowledge

The main area I need to develop knowledge on is voiceovers as I have next to no knowledge in that area as I have only done it once for a small section.

Select suitable research methods and design research activities to be completed this week

I could research ideas using social media such as Facebook. I could also conduct a survey in order to determine my target audience. I could do this by finding a large range of people and asking general information about the person like age and then explain my short film idea and ask if they would want to see it. From that data, I can find out patterns in the people that do/don’t want to watch it and by doing that I can get to know my target audience more.

Undertake research activities and interpret research data

I posted this on my Facebook page.

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And this is the response I got.

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I think this is a really good idea. I really like the idea of the sounds not fitting with what is going on on screen. I think there is a balance that I have to get. A balance between making it too obvious that the voice over has nothing to do with what’s on screen and making the viewer feel cheated. I want to get the balance so the audience thinks that the voiceover is being done by the person on screen but when it is relieved that it isn’t, it should become obvious to the viewer that the voiceover didn’t belong to the person on screen. I think using the Foley sounds of the sniper getting ready is a way to get that balance. The idea of having a contrast in actions is an interesting one but I think it would confuse the viewer a bit and it might give it away that it’s not the character’s voice.

I have created an online survey in which I have asked my classmates to participate in these are the questions I put in my survey:

fmp survey 1FMP survey 2FMP survay 3

These are the results I have got from my survey:

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Click here to download the spreadsheet

Organise and express ideas

From my research, I have found out that most people enjoy comedy as a genre. This is a difficult genre to pull off but I could implement some amusing parts to it. Although it is an assassination and is usually tense, suspenseful and serious there could be ways of making it comedic. An idea for this is to use a Nerf gun as the weapon as it is bright yellow and could look out of place adding to the comedic effect. I am not too sure if this idea would work in order to add a comedic element to it but the guy getting ready could be doing silly things like pretending he has a gun etc. Similar idea as seen in the ‘Johnny English’ intro below.

Leon was suggested by ‘Anonymous’ as the name for the sniper. He said that it makes it more mysterious not knowing the sniper’s surname. He also thought that Leon is a mysterious name for a sniper. Although 8 people though Thomas Patterson is a good name for the main character ‘Anonymous’ and ‘Brandon’ were the only people who knew that the name was for an assassin. The average time in minutes people thought a short film should be was 29.33333333 which can be rounded to make 29 minutes and 20 seconds. Ruling out anomalies such as 20, 50 and 100 minutes we are left with the time I should be aiming for. 6 minutes it the length we are left with when we remove the anomalies. That is still quite long for my narrative but I will try to lengthen it to meet the researched time. In general, the people who said they watch short films weekly will know more about them than the people who watch them monthly meaning I should value their answers more than those who watch less short films. 8 People said they like watching short films. This is positive because it means that 89% of the surveyed people like short films, which shows that my chosen format is enjoyed by many which is the aim – to interest as many people as possible. 44% of the people I surveyed were male and 56% were female showing that I got a fairly even mix between these two genders. Due to the people I had available (classmates) most of them are 17 with an average age of 16.89. Preferably I would survey a range of ages to find out the target age. For example if I found that older people tend not to enjoy short films then I would target my film at younger people. If I had a bigger budget I would pay a company to distribute the survey so I could get more responses and have more varied ages/responses.

Plan further research

I couldn’t decide on a name for my main character so I asked my classmates in another survey a range of names and this time I made sure to include that the main character was a sniper/assassin.

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and here are the results

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So by popular demand, it looks like I will be using Leon.

Voiceover Microphone

In the past I have compared different microphones in different locations and I concluded from the tests that there wasn’t much in it but the shotgun microphone sounded the best indoors offering more bass which is where the others lacked. With the dynamic microphone coming second in my indoors tests and the lapel microphone coming last. Each microphone is good in different situations and in this one the shotgun microphone seems the best for the voice over. I may also use a lapel microphone for the last line as that will be said by an actor on screen. As it is small it will be the easiest microphone to get closest to the actor and hide from the camera. A shotgun wouldn’t be that good for the scene as it is a long shot/extreme long shot making it hard to use any other microphone and conceal it. I could also use ADR (automated dialogue replacement) to do it but that is difficult to get perfectly synced. In case you missed it here is the video of me comparing them.

I need to do location primary research like taking photos and completing documentation. And I also need to do research into the available actor(s)/actress(es).

Conclusion

I have concluded various things during this activity. The most beneficial being the results I got from the Facebook post asking for ideas. Although not many people replied in the Facebook post a lot of people replied to me by verbal communication and gave me really helpful ideas like including a 30 second timer to add suspense and a build up.

Bibliography

Online Videos

U3x J. (2012). Johnny English – FUNNY SONG (ENGLISH Version) Comedy Video. [Online Video]. 9 December 2012. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgf0pZk7mtw. [Accessed: 10 May 2017].

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