Task 4 – Directing – Test Piece Evaluation

Finished Product

I feel I completed a good selection on one shots and two shots. I had used a standard lens which would suggest that the conversation is less personal and would not constitute to normal conversation scenes. How ever, I feel the conversation is believable and cuts smoothly: it looks as ok as any conversation set up and to me there’s nothing remote that stands out to make my conversation scene look bad or behind what I should be capable of. A technical quality that does sand out is the sound quality which s something I would do differently in the final production and have intentionally not done with this piece.

I feel the scene could have looked better and if shot with a true white balance and colour corrected could it stand to look a lot better. I intend to do all these things in my final piece. Also the scene for where it was shot is not right for the script. The story is meant for a dark room to signify the intense situation the character is going through.
The choice of lights did have a slight similarity to what I am hoping to create in my final piece. The angled down lights make Mr. Jazz look more servier; with high key light that creates harsh shadows on his face. This Noir effect gives a lot to the atmosphere of my story and I intend to spend a day to focus on this effect.

I realise my aims are high and so far have not worked with as much of a crew as I have hoped for. There are still individuals I need;- to tackle such things as sound and camera work and will develop my directing skills. I intend to do this and focus on a directory role rathe than trying to do moste elements by my self. It will be a challenge that I am up for to maintain a project and leave it in the hands of other who might have their own ideas.
Reflecting on my task one it is a skill to be able to work in this role and needs technical and creative quality while still maintaining an observational and leadership skill.
My aim is to inform and go over shots and expressions from the actors with the group so as when it come to the real thing people are aware and knowledgable of the elements I want from this project.

Suitability and Purpose
So far the main purpose of these test exercises have been to familiarise myself with conversation scenes. I have learnt the use of L & J cuts and deal continuity errors through practise. I now know that through this I have developed a better understanding of what it takes to create these scenes and will and have put them into practise. Learning to edit with sound and L & J cuts have I developed the skill to cut to scenes which I may have not thought were possible and to rehearse parts as much as I can so as I am free to explore other directing skills.
Parts given to actors need to be concrete so as it is not as much as a problem on set. I feel that actors may need to; learn lines; develop a character; try out a character in front of the camera and to try the character in a full scene with all contributes such as costume and atmosphere. This is because they should get a different feeling off of each stage and develop them selves due to the change in environment. In other words put them in all different situations so they them selves can see the development and hopefully understand the meaning of plot and story better with the help of these stages to illustrate.

Personal Contribution
I feel I have contributed to the Mr.Jazz by giving my actors enough space to perform their characters in the way they think they should be done and then to add my own input. I feel my input was helpful as I could see the progressions even though they were small. Certain lines that were said had my input on them i.e. Mr.Jazz’s line on ‘Entirety’ It needed to sound intense.
Other contributions such as the making and production of this story are there. I have single handedly come up with a script and story boards which tell the story as well as creating the production for test pieces. I have a list of costumes and a set design that I have made and intend to use. I feel they tell the story better and create a greater meaning for the story. Also rehearsals and a cast.

Teams Contribution
My team have been helpful. They have not only shown a progression to the script by cutting down lines which they felt weren’t comfortable but they have given me days where they can help on rehearsing other actors and coming up with costumes and key props. They are well connecting with different actors and have come to me with two separate actors for which I might want to try out and have gotten hold of a silver serving tray which is essential to the piece.
Some actors will be teaming up to help with set design and video diaries. They will also be available to help to take skills and other assorted effects to keep the progression of the production documented.
Other crew members have come forward to offer there help but so far have not been included.

Meeting Deadlines
So far I have created enough test pieces to grant myself a pass as I have shown directing skills and have produced a piece. Although this is not the completed thing and I am roughly two weeks behind of schedule. More planning in necessary if I want to improve my project work for the future.


Production Skills

Technical Competence 
So far I am happy with my skill to be able to perform a conversation scene. Through classes I have learned key things to help me do this. Around september time I had a class that was dedicated to choice of lenses and the skill of corrected eye level through different shots. I learnt that you can not change lenses in the middle of a conversation scene as it will change the dimension of the footage and make it very hard on the viewers eyes. Framing is also important for the use of editing. When something is dramatically framed differently to the previous frame you will see the error in the edit, things will look like they are distorted and will seem uncomfortable in the edit. The idea is to cut to similar scenes or to at least stick the the ‘rule of thirds’ when framing.

I feel that these lectures have shown through my production. My knowledge on eye level was what made me match up the size between the two actors on the test scene and my knowledge of sticking to the same lenses is why I did not feel the need to have two lenses available and my framing technique is why I changed the side to shot my opposite one shot (as stated in a video diary).

Work Flow and Time Management
I feel I had a long period to deal with my planning and creation of the script and story board but feel the time I needed for production was not enough. I will take this in mind for next time as now I know you will need at least four weeks or longer to suits things like; character development, rehearsals and test pieces which is where I feel I need more time.

Production Management
I have managed a successful dialogue scene but wish to leave this space empty for when I go to do my final piece as I have already written all my management roles in many other paragraphs.

So far I have only experienced the team work with characters and dialogue and will face my main role with a team on the final project.



Evaluation on production
Today I finished my test piece on my Mr. Jazz directing project. The day went good and we had a new actor who wasn’t first meant for the role but going from today I will now attempt to rehearsal the two actor groups to see who and what fits better.
As it was only a test piece there are many things that were not done the same way it would have been done on the real day of shooting. For instance, the new actor had problems remembering the lines and rather getting him to best produce the line I gave him to have his lines on the table so he could go back to refer to them. The reason behind this is because when an actor is frequently changing the lines it becomes a big problem in post production to edit scenes together. I tackled this by rehearsing it a number of times until the lines were concrete.
I have spoken about certain things as part of a video diary at the end of the test piece but wish to talk about problems I have now encountered in post. It seems that my directing skills were not on form in some areas and will make me look out for similar issues. Firstly I did not notice the difference in hand jesters the actor was making in between scens. From the one shot shot I had an actor rubbing his hands which were not present in other shots. Another problem was the same actors has to pick up a bottle of pills and place them on the table, the problem I faced here was he used the other hand in the medium shot.
Things like this are simple to correct but can be missed when you are trying to concentrate on multiple things. For next time I will attempt to go over the director and actor relationship for camera and remind them to either not make so many random gestures or to keep static.

A tip for next time
From this experience I feel directing is a hard task to complete and there are a number of things which I will do in the future to correct. Firstly; I felt because I had not have many rehearsals with my actors my main focus was on the delivery of lines and emotions that were used to do this. If I took my time out with my actors I would have been safe in the knowledge that the delivery need less focus. If this happend I would have had more time to focus on continuity errors like hand gestures and movements before desired cuts.
The improvement would be to first establish the characters to a degree of perfection: This meaning the delivery of lines and understanding of character. Once this has been done then once filming I will at least be confident of one area.

What I will do 
What I will do for next time is keep a video diary of the rehearsals and progress that the actors are going through. It will give evidence of their progressions and will give me room to state my own thoughts and feelings towards their roles. This will allow my confidence to their roles and give me an easier and relaxed direction experience.

Not only this but I feel a director to actor talk about continuity would be an important and education talk for young actors who have not much experience in front of the camera. From this experience I can see that it is an easy mistake to make.

One last thin is to always keep in mind is when being both the director and editor make notes of where you wish cuts to be and where they are going to be important so as continuity problems will be made easier. An edit decision can always change but attempting this progress will give me further control over the project and help both myself and actors understand when key emotions and reactions are necessary.

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