Idea Development – For the thematic unit me and Dave originally were going to base our theme around dreams but we slowly moulded our idea into more surveillance and manipulation. It started off being set in the future where a group of scientist had captured two people and left them inside captivity and left them to believe that civilisation has collapsed. Although the two captives were actually just under surveillance inside a small town were they were just being watched for an experiment. We stuck to this idea for a while but slowly changed parts of the structure and decided to make the film about someone watching the person in captivity for experiments but ultimately he speaks directly to the audience at the end in making you believe that it was you that set up the experiments. We were happy with the idea although being able to film it seemed harder than we hoped. That’s when we came up with the idea for the game show. It had a similar structure although this time it was playing around the idea of reality television shows and how shows exploit people for profit and the audience’s amusement. To emphasize and help manipulate the audience we introduced a pseudo audience throughout the film laughing and sniggering all to misguide the real audience but with a twist at the end to reveal that it was all an imitation.
The Idea – There are essentially three main characters in the film that we focus around. We are introduced at the start of the film to ‘The Host’ he is the presenter of our game show and his main role in the film is to mislead the audience. He is introduced into the film from a point of view shot and beckons us into his house. This is to symbolize while everything else is happening you have been distracted by a ‘Host’ to watch his game show and the fact he does not reveal himself to be the presenter until the end of the film helps emphasise the theme of manipulation. His first words saying this is exactly what he deserves are used to grab the attention of the viewers and make them want to find out who or why this person deserves what are mysterious character has told us. This is when were introduced to the show ‘Deathrow Dummies’ it is essentially a representation of programs that exploit people for amusement. The show invites convicts who are sentenced with life in prison to try and redeem themselves back into society although the whole purpose of the show is that they will never win. This is where we are introduced to Contestant 137. At the end of the film we reveal he is not really a contestant at all just an actor portraying him. However throughout the game show we wanted his character to be a somewhat a nice guy who has had a lifetime of crime and feels like he is ready for the real world by trying to complete the challenges within the game show. He is nervous/excited for the opportunity he is given although he has no idea what is in store for him ahead. After the end of the show we reveal the final character is ‘You’ by having the host talk directly straight into the camera. This leaves a lot of question to be answered by you and forces you too think more about what you have just watched. Which is what we want other people to do with ‘real’ reality television shows.
Locations – The location for the contestant’s bedroom for the game-show need to be a plain and simple. We wanted the room to resemble something similar to a jail sell so it had to have very minimal features. First we tried to find any art studio spaces in Manchester that we could use but unfortunately the majority of places charged by the hour and their prices were too expensive for our budget. So we asked around pacific friends and contacts to see what was available to use even if it didn’t fit too our specific features. After speaking to a few students we decided too see if there was any rooms available within the university that we could rent out or hire for a few days. We walked round the building and looked if we could find anything, which would suit the film and found 3 rooms that would work. Room number 115 in the Chatham building was available to use for a few days so we decided we should book out the studio for the contestant’s bedroom.
For the second location we wanted a house we could rearrange a room to be as plain as possible so we could have only a television and a settee for the introducing scene. We thought the best location would be Dave’s house considering it would be easier to set up exactly how we want it and it was perfect for the POV shot we wanted down the street.
Actors – Throughout the idea development I considered using an actor that I had used in a previous film and after finalising the idea for the film we decided he was suited for the position of the contestant/convict. For the ‘Host’ we wanted somebody with a clear assertive voice to be able to make the audience mesmerised into the game show. Our actor Edward has a friend who is currently a character in the program ‘shameless’ and thought he might be interested in the role. He wanted to get involved but unfortunately because he was only available at the weekends he wasn’t able to get involved. However he suggested using another person he knew could fit the position. I have met Raymond personally before and thought he looked like he fit the bill but not sure how well he could do the voice. After hearing Ed and Raymond go through their scripts we knew they were the right actors to use.
Props – We wanted to be able to give the illusion that Contestant 137 was in an actual game show room. A lot of the sounds would help emphasise the challenge within the game show so we didn’t need to make/buy as many props. The main objects we needed to get were just bits and bobs like the Sticky pads, wires, cake and other essential items in the show. A lot of objects we had ourselves like the orange jump suit that I had used for Halloween parties and stuff. The rest of the props we got from Manchester town centre.
Shot list – Before we had the locations we already started developing a shot list and storyboard of how we want the shots too look. By doing this it was easier to decide how we want the location to look and how the sound will develop in the film. When we knew what locations we were filming in we decided to develop the shot list even further too be able to choose which order we wanted too shoot the scenes in since some scenes were longer than others.
Sound list – In this film sound was really important because you don’t actually see a lot of what is happening a lot of the film is told by the sounds within the room. By using the idea that it is a game show we were then able to decided on a wide variety of sounds we could use throughout the film. The main idea was to test the audience into seeing how much they find funny when they are given the sounds of laughed and applause throughout a television show.
Equipment – Dave used his Canon 500D for the camera while I used the Tascam and rode microphone for recording audio. Because the majority of the equipment was already booked out we weren’t able to use a lot of things we originally intended to use. Things like the stereo blimp kit, cane and
Production– Day 1 – setting up location, green screen and shooting scene 2 – Day 2 - setting up location for scene 1, recording ‘the host’ dialogue and filmed the final scene – Day 3 – Filmed scene 3,4 and 5, - Day 4 – Tidied up green screen, Re-shot clips for scenes and filmed scene 6.
Day 1 – The first day shoot we first had to set up the room before the actors arrived. We had to move tables and chairs out of the room so it gave us enough space to work in. Unfortunately there was an embroidery students work in the corner of the room which was unable to move which meant we had to change a lot of our shots and ideas to compensate for the problem. Even though it was a pain we had to work around the situation. We had to more on so we measured the windows cut out pieces of green card to place over the glass for the green screen. This was mainly to be used in the final scene of the game show although it worked as a great way to block out all sunlight. While Dave was setting up lights I went around the rooms nearby for props and stuff that we needed or could use for the film. When the room was fully set up I then went and met the actors and directed them into the location. We were only able to film one scene because we had to change a lot of the bits on the spot. The first day shoot didn’t go as well as planned but the room was set up for the next shoot and it gave us more time to develop the shot list and ideas better.
Day 2 – The next day we filmed later towards the night because we wanted the light to be right for the outside shots. The actors arrived abit earlier just so we didn’t miss the daylight but also to record all of Raymond’s lines for the game show scenes. There was only a couple of shots we needed so we were able to retake or get extra shots just incase we wanted them. Since the first and last scene is in the same location and time we shot them one then the other. Since it was only one shot it the last scene we were able to film alternative endings just incase we wanted to change it.
Day 3 – The plan for the third day shoot was film the rest of the game show scenes although we decided on only filming scenes 3,4,5 because we felt scene 6 should have a fully day shoot just because it was the most important scene for his breakdown. Therefore we had more time to focus on the other scene on that day aswell. The first scene we filmed was the contestant’s first challenge, which involved him being awoken by the host by alarms. He was then forced to stand in the centre of the room to proceed in the lie detector challenge. The second challenge was too test his willingness to help others by trying to help somebody who he could hear was in pain in the room next door. This involved Ed in pretending he could hear voices crying for help and reacting to the host for assistance. The last scene that we filmed was to test the contestant’s discipline. It involved in Ed waking up to the sound of soft smooth music and seeing a nice appealing cake placed on a table in the middle of the room. The cake was just another trick for the contestant so Ed had to remain anonymous that the cake would lead him to hallucinate and throw up. After we collected all the footage and packed up with went home a made a rough edit of what we have got.
Day 4 – On the final day shoot we were only focusing on scene 6, which is the breakdown of contestant 137. This was mainly because it was the most intense and dramatic scene so we wanted to spend as much time as we could on it. However since we had a rough edit of the film we already knew what shots were missing so we reshot parts we knew we needed too first. This was probably the easiest and less stressful day because we already had the majority of the footage and we had a full day to concentrate mainly on one scene.
Post production – Gathering sounds, Editing the footage, title sequences, green screen, colour correction, editing sound in logic and syncing up dialogue.
Dialogue – Unfortunately we stopped using a clapperboard to record the shots scene by scene. This made it abit harder to sync up the dialogue although since I knew which shots I recorded dialogue first it was only a matter on linking the audio files with the video files. Sometimes there would be a good take of dialogue but then a bad visual take so it made it more difficult to figure out which would work better for the shot. Raymond’s (the host) dialogue wasn’t too hard to sync up considering you would never see him speak in the game show only hear him but some takes of Ed were too quick of a reaction to compensate with Raymond’s lines.
Titles – Because of time left I was only able to quickly make some title sequences on after effects. There were a lot of other ways I wanted to create the titles but considering they were only there as a way to space the challenges apart it wasn’t so much of a big problem.
Colour Correction – In the last project we used the program ‘color’ to correct the footage but we felt more comfortable using the tools in final cut pro so we used that to save time and too make it easier on ourselves.
Green Screen – The green screen is a process we wanted to try and use within our film and mainly to learn from it. We didn’t know if it would of worked in the film or not but both ways it was something we wanted to learn from and thought it could be a decent experiment even if it didn’t turn out exactly how we wanted it. We found out how to get images or videos to replace the screen but getting the positioned perfectly in the shot was a lot harder than we thought. We had to move the images key frame by key frame and in a lot of the shots while the camera was moving it was rather hard. Although I feel we could of done a better job if we gave it more time.
Editing – We both decided to edit the footage together taking it in turns to control final cut and logic. It took awhile before we were both satisfied with the final visual edit just because there were so many layers we needed to include it felt like a game show.
Sounds – Other than the dialogue every other sound was replaced by our own. Unfortunately we just kept finding more and more sounds to include and time was running out. Sounds like the alarm and error noises were made in logic and then sampled into the film.