Week 10: Reflection on the shoot.

With the filming complete, we soldier through to the post-production stage of the web series. For all three episodes, I played vastly different roles. In the first episode, I was prop and costume master, along with basic runner/grip/gaff. In the second, I acted as one of the MLP (Fluttershy in case you’re curious), as well as the same roles as before.

However, on the third episode, I would be co-directing Batman. To be honest, I was quite nervous leading into production. While I have had one crack at directing, I certainly wasn’t experienced. Since I would be co-directing it was important to establish with Chris (my co-director) who would be performance directing, and who would be technical directing. Chris and I shared the same vision throughout pre-production, so to me, it wasn’t detrimental who directed which part. After discussion, I was happy to be the technical director, while Chris directed the performance. I was keen for this since I had never had the chance to Eagle Eye every single shot perfectly as the director since my previous experience was merely Run N Gun shooting.  I trusted Chris with the performance since our nuances and ideas for the characters were identical, and I was happy with the result. Looking back, however, I do wish we had established the arrangement sooner because that would have meant my storyboards would have been better refined. While I was able to point out errors in the green screen, frames, or dialogue. I guess I just didn’t feel that much like a director. In hindsight, perhaps being the 1st AD as well would have been more appropriate. But nonetheless, it was a great experience to be able to watch Chris directly, as well as learn things in the process.

In regards to production design, there were some props that weren’t used at all. Firstly, this is partially my fault, since Dee and I should have been more detailed in our prop list. There were certain props and costumes which were either left out by directors due to problems with the green screen or plot, while others proved a waste of money in hindsight. For the MLP Episode, I was instructed to construct five cardboard horse heads. For these, I was lucky enough to find leftover cardboard boxes from my dad’s factory, stick them together in the shape of horse heads, then spray paint them their respective colours. Only three of the five horseheads were used. Now while they weren’t pieces of art, and only took an hour to make, but there was a toy snake which was bought, and fake blood which was made and both never used. The toy snake along with a picket fence and foam tombstones we hired, could have been images sourced, since they were merely shot on a green screen, and will be comped in later. That’s a waste of pre-production time and budget. In the end, however, the horse heads did prove to shine on the green screen, which may cause problems for the editor. While some props weren’t used, that’s just as much my fault. I should have put more checklists in place, and should have bargained with the directors to get the best, cheapest, yet the most effective option. Tests in pre-production would have eliminated the problems with shiny horse heads since it would have allowed us to try different paints.

As I say every try, it’s always a learning experience. So let me tell you, next time I’m working PD on a green screen, it will be done a whole lot different.

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