In all of the discussed projects there were positive elements and negative elements. It’s important to review both of these once a project is finished so that you don’t make the same mistakes again; to give yourself credit for skills that aided in the success of a project. This document serves the purpose of evaluating key skills when it comes to interpreting a brief.
The ‘5 Years On’ project was an over all success, however there were certain issues with ownership once the film was finished. Our client failed to credit the crew that made the film possible and took the director’s title, despite the fact that she had little input to the workings of the film. Due to the leadership skills that our producer has we shot and edited the film professionally and within the time bracket. It was important to keep to our schedule, which revolved around two days of shooting and a week to edit the footage afterwards. In hindsight we should have created more paperwork to safeguard the credits and ownership, I aim to keep this sort of thing in mind for future productions. We hit the brief regarding the content, as the film was centred on the progress that Cockermouth has made since the flood. The feedback that we received from the screenings was extremely positive, coming from the audience, which was the local community.
The most challenging film that I’ve worked on would be ‘The Lake’, as it is very close to home when considering the ethic difficulty of the subject. When making a film about euthanasia you have to be incredibly sensitive with the content to avoid offending people. As the cinematographer it was my job to make the film look the part, it was important that it didn’t look like a student film because it wouldn’t do the subject justice. I think we captured the emotion well, it had a great response at it’s screenings and from peers. Something that hindered the film was the fact that it took so long to produce a final edit. Timescales were a major fault in this project, which let down the over all production but didn’t affect the result too much.
Last year we had a chance to work with a painter that’s based in Arnside called Tracy Levine. We had a reasonably informal brief to produce a short documentary piece for her exhibition which took place at Rheged, a local gallery. Because the project had to be completed by a certain date, it was important that we kept our communication up. The group were keeping in touch with Tracy daily through email, because it’s important that a client knows exactly what stage the project is at. This re-enforces trust between you and your client and eliminates doubts and suspicions. Something that’s strongly linked to communication skills is revisions – where a client may want a different version of the film cut that will better suit their needs. When we took the initial cut to Tracy she was very happy with it, but there were certain parts that she wanted to change. If a client is suggesting something impossible or extremely unbeneficial then it’s important to put your foot in the door and politely explain why they shouldn’t pursue that idea. As a professional you have the right to trust your experience when judging situations. Tracy made perfectly sensible suggestions and we reviewed the edit, and the final edit made her cry, in a good way.
There are a lot of briefs that will come with some legal and regulatory issues. I experienced this when we were told to make an advert for a chocolate bar, as the chocolate bar that we used already existed, as we wanted to use something that people would recognise. I did some research on the subject and found out that as long as we didn’t profit from it, or used it for educational purposes then copyright laws didn’t apply; our project fitted both criteria. Another example running into a legal issue is in a recent project that we shot. It’s for a client that’s promoting anti-drug-driving. He has a complicated history with the law including selling drugs, stealing motorbikes and other incidents. It’s our responsibility to decide what’s appropriate to go in the final edit without jeopardising the client. This sort of decision is down to us to make, it’s important that the producer researches the legal situation as the client wont usually know about the subject.
Last summer I made a music video for a band called The Alleys. The brief was relatively informal, leaving me with creative control. The only restriction was time. We had one evening and one night to shoot the video, which left me thinking on my feet, as it can be challenging to shoot a narrative that makes sense without using a storyboard. One thing that I would do differently is take half an hour at the beginning to write down a shot list in a timeline format so that we weren’t moving from one location to another. Overall my timekeeping was good, and the film was cut within two days of filming.