Weslar

The greatest film blog of 'morrowland

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The blank Scene, and that fear

There’s nothing more terrifying (to a writer) than the blank page, undeniably it is a fear most Writer’s suffer with. There it is in its crystal-clear white void ready to be tackled with word after word of amazing story and nuance.

It stares back at you, haunting your every thought as you put off your Screenplay for fear of a lacklustre scene to play out. It’s mostly an excuse, one that is inexcusable since the hurdle is only there because you can’t face writing whilst expecting to fail.

It’s knowing your scene, knowing what you want from it, where it’s going, who’s in it. It’s utter selfishness that pushes you to delve into your mind and spill it out on the page. The first step after knowing what you want is to write. It’s as simple as that. Even if it’s terrible, even if you hate what you’ve written – you have a starting point.

From that starting point you have a clearer picture than you did before, it’s magic, it’s editing, re-structuring, moving back & forth, tweaking, adjusting, discovering what it is that makes your scene. Scene’s can expand, moving through different setups, continuous moments, or just as you imagined it before clicking away.

The fear is traumatic, you put it off, you work on anything but your screenplay. Sometimes you have to face the demon head on, ignore distraction it tempts you. Once you find your groove, the story can grow naturally, from one sentence can uncover elements you never thought of before, growing into following scenes, moments, characters, interactions; the list goes on.

In the process of writing, it’s not, write and write and write. The scope of a film is to know where it goes, the preparation/research is key to that. Which is another hurdle, but one that is less daunting than the challenge of the blank page.

“I Will Never Be An Astronaut” – Kid Conventional EP Launch

My good pal Parasol, that is Anthony Smith, invited me along to capture the launch of Kid Conventional’s new EP “I Will Never Be An Astronaut”. The fact that a.) the other bands supporting are now a part of my Spotify favourite opens my music palette open to fresh artists. “Lio” & “Mollyanna”. and b.) The chance to capture their performances was a blast.

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Let’s start with the negatives; I always start with the negatives. The one camera setup, hmm, some of you might think, filming a gig RAW as though without cuts, yes. That is a problem, but overcoming them is the challenge. The challenge was a pain, I’ll admit it. There is and was sacrifice. Performances cut from the video, moments ruined by moments un-viewable, having to be disregarded. Never mind.

A thought occurs, and idea spark. The problem I ran into was the choice of lenses for certain songs, the look, the movement was none existent creating a boring static endurance piece which would never keep viewer’s attention. Scarp that. Others I used a 55mm – 250mm Telescopic lens, SOLUTION! ZOOM! Variety; check. BUT, f/4.5 – 5.6 a inconsistent Aperture when zooming screws the lighting, Light > Dark(er). No worries, it looked fine. Without control of the lighting conditions it made it difficult to accept upping the ISO to at least brighten the image in camera, than in-post. Might need to buy a lens with a wider Aperture to assist.

So, the deletion of some songs just had to be. A terrible shame, the audio is AMAZING! The flow unwound, one performer 5 songs, the next 3, then 2, then 7. Throwing pacing off-balence. Simple fact of the matter, symmetry is a welcome format with live events. Each act 3 songs each, choosing the performances with the most variety. Okay, looking great.

With a running time of just under an hour, the video looks great. The RAW take of an event, having to use a single camera and still keep the focus interesting has given the video an edge.

(Link soon)

ALSO, the room was incredibly crowded, small, claustrophobic – the opportunity to film was inviting, not so much were the drunk fellows distracting me. But as it were, that is the nature of that beast.

Kick for Cancer Cup – Interviews

Creating for yourself is a perspective only true to your own, but to do so for the benefit of others, for people less fortunate than yourself makes you responsible for something greater than yourself. Especially in the case of the efforts of Adam, Curtis, Josh, Clic Sargent & the Sheffield United Community being the driving force behind the ‘Kick for Cancer Cup’ event taking place on the 3rd June.

Along with my partner in crime Josh Ward (CineReal) we have the privilege of creating the video(s) for the event as an event/charity example as to the efforts and proceedings of the day in question.

But as it were, this is information all relative to the organisation http://www.clicsargent.org.uk . Onto the interviews.

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Cutting to the chase, gear above. Two camera setup, audio, lighting all that good stuff and a whole lotta cables. Respectfully placed out of way, health & safety fully aware.

All interviews conducted in the Hillsborough College TV Studio.

These interviews involved Fran from Clic Sargent, Adam, Curtis & Josh patients who have suffered with cancer in different forms, with all the same goal to push through and show their strength through endurance. And Keith Ward from Sheffield United Community, doing a great job of helping the event become a reality.

A fair assumption was that the questions involving cancer might cause discomfort, a word that has cursed and belittled its victims. The fact the strength of these guys is far superior than the thought of what they’ve lived through, their determination in the face of a condition thought to be insurmountable to overcome is inspiring.

Purpose is the aim for the event, for the video, and most of all for the supporters, patients, affected family and friends, anyone with a stake in the ensemble that is fighting cancer. The video we are creating will hopefully be a beacon that will show what it looks like to be happy in the face of extreme misery, in the face of a monster with no face. To hopefully emulate the success in moral throughout the country by telling their stories and showing their reactions.

The equilibrium of thought

Taking a moment to talk about the process of beginning my new feature film script (the second one I’ve written, the first being too out of my reach in terms of budge to actually make).

This feature has been on my mind for a while, ideas I’ve jotted down and passed along to do other things. Now is the time to work on it, to evolve it, to make it ‘happen’. As I want to make it myself, it may take a long time, but it will be worth the patience and hard work.

After weeks of notes, concepts, pieces of the puzzle scattered around. I braved Celtx and started to write. A feet I was intimidated to start, and until I did I feared nothing would flow and that I wouldn’t like what I was writing.

The thing is with anything creative or anything you are passionate about you lay the foundation, you write the first word, and you have a basis to work from. That’s what engages me so much in writing. The moment pen touches paper, fingers type away on the keyboard, the process has begun and a world full of possibilities starts to seem attainable.

A rich back & forth between documents, the prep work/notes and the script builds up the narrative and the construct of a story nicely. Using the notes to understand how the film could be paced, how characters could interact and the personality that you can give to them is amazing once undertaken.

I am extremely engaged with this story, I feel as though I now understand the construction of a feature length narrative, what it takes to make something I that would adore.

Writing a Video game, the right approach + Other musings.

Straight off the bat my up-to-date impressions on writing a video game is that it’s an incredible experience, and so full of inspiring moments – it’s a long road ahead, and a journey that I go on with the most dedicated group of individuals – Mark Gregory, Nathan Winfield, Adelson Tavares, Callum Donaldson, Jeffrey Zwaans, Joseph Marin, Adam face, Eddy Kassabian, Allison Summers, Rachel Alderson – sounds like a great band line-up.

I can’t express how fun and inspiring it has been, and continues to be at the moment. Having conversations that everyone’s involved in, getting the team on the same wavelength and discussing story ideas, how something should look/sound, and generally having a good time working on Tether has been the overall vibe so far.

This is the part where I hope that the future for the game is fruitful, that people just like us will take a chance on it and take a dive in the game that we are incredibly passionate about making.

I digress from that to talk about what I think of the challenge of writing a video game (my first and hopefully not last) and comparing it to Writing/Directing Film/TV.

For intents and purposes I’m not a fully fledged TV & Film Writer/Director; not yet anyway. The formats are completely separate (obviously), but as it’s creating a story and characters it’s really just the same in both industries. For TV & Film characters are, in pre-production written as to be acted/lived out for a viewers eyes & ears but not to interact with. On social media/in-discussion anything that involves interaction is a response to the medium but their’s no direct contact in the moment, more reaction than anything (not a bad thing, just the beginning of my comparison here).

As for a game, there’s all that plus the fact that the player is in control. The player dictates where the character goes, what they choose to interact with and if they choose to interact. This being the case it is an incredible task to formulate a story to then pepper in valuable context and expository elements to flesh out the world that is in the hands of the player. That each written element has to serve a purpose and connect/run parallel to telling a compelling story – in whatever way that may be – to not act as filler, to serve the story going forward and the world being established.

A lot of the time, I’ve written out of necessity. To have nothing to work from causes a block in thought process, if you don’t write anything down you can’t change or add anything. So that dissection of the content is the time when you find out what works and what doesn’t. This creates the foundation for events to unfold, the structure is being set.

On another note it’s a philosophy of mine not to write exposition for the sake of it, the content has to serve some purpose, to back up the narrative and theme of the story being told.

To give an example I could say something completely for the sake of it, to increase play time, or to make it look like I’m generating story in the bucket loads – but this is unnecessary. When it comes to what should be incorporated it should always have relevance. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece in writing or something to connect completely with the narrative, just as long as it fits and belongs to what story is being told.

The time spent writing valuable story and content surrounding it takes not just a second, but a monumental amount of time to process and develop an idea into a connection. For a game there’s much more to the script than the main text. There’s the Collectables for a start, and as long as they fit they’re worth including.

Audio logs and Transcripts serve a means to developing the world, hints at the mental state of character or their surroundings. Their use is of exposition on a level that has to be mixed right. Too much information and it’s overdone, too little and it will read as pointless. It’s about filtering information, snippets of context that add another piece of the puzzle onto the board to fill out the picture of the narrative.

In addition, the inclusion of those Audio Logs and Written Transcripts create the task of when do I use them? Where should they be found? What do they say and if I have to what shall Change about them? Is this one needed? All these things add up to so much writing and time spent doing so.

Like I said before, it’s not how much you write it’s what you write, and that can take time; and it does take time. When writing for film I thought it was a tough to process, the complexities of script writing (which I don’t want to shrug off as easy compared to game writing) it’s just another beast that needs to be tackled. But with a film you don’t have to consider the audiences physical interaction.

In a video game the player is taking up the mantle of the character you’re having them spend all their time with. That there needs to be connection, some empathy or even apathy felt for them to be engaging for the player. The elements in producing written work is incredibly complex and time consuming, and for me this is a learning curve, a different avenue for story that I’m going to be telling in a completely new format.

Film writing has and will always be my baby, my passion. Video game writing is going to be an interesting addition to my portfolio of stories I’ve told. As long as I can engage with the audience through the game and because of the game, then that’s a worthy payoff for the incredible amount of effort and time spent diving into the world being created.

The FINAL day of shooting Part 2 of 2 – Untitled 19th April 2016

Last shooting day 2/2 – Untitled Project

TERRIBLE IPHONE FOOTAGE – Sorry about that.

I still don’t have a name for the film yet..

The FINAL day of shooting Part 1 of 2 – Untitled 15th April 2016

Next Tuesday comes the end of the two day shoot. SO many days shooting, not sure if the sarcasm came across.

I wish I could have spent longer, making a longer film, making something else; as a deadline approaches you can’t get overwhelmed by it, especially after two films getting canned. But you can’t over do it either by making something long in length but not worth the time to watch.

Next week is the last day filming with Principle Cast; Ross. It’s more of collecting (filming) the extra pieces of the film puzzle to put together by the edges then working my way to the inside pieces. And then colouring outside the lines afterwords by splicing it up in the edit.

The shoot will consist of a few elements, that aren’t to grand in scale but can be restricted by elements, weather, cars, etc. Noise and more noise is that restriction. I didn’t write too much dialogue, for one it didn’t seem like it worked and for me it didn’t so I didn’t include it. Two, over writing can be boring, if the dialogue isn’t right then it can make a scene or a film wrong in my view. As well as not wanting to write dialogue to explain plot and detail, I’d rather show it.

I’m working with Charlotte Lenihan & Emma Dawson; who will help brings these scenes to life.

The scenes I’m shooting use a variety of techniques to capture them, more from the VLOG on that day will explain it.

Not too much to prepare for in the mean time, looking through storyboards is my first intention so I can have it engraved in my mind, more than relying on drawings, looking back and forth between documentation and scenery.

First day of shooting Part 2 of 2 – A Daisy is just a flower // A fresh start, start – Untitled Project (Continued from A Daisy is just a flower) 6th April 2016

First day of shooting Part 2 of 2 – A Daisy is just a flower // A fresh start, start – Untitled Project (Continued from A Daisy is just a flower)

Continuing from the disappointment of one of the cast dropping out, I move forward with a new project. Without a name but with a script.

Connect:
Twitter: @WesleyJones_
E-Mail: theblackoutfilms@hotmail.com
Website: http://www.TheBlackoutFilms.com

It happened again, but it’s not my fault – A Daisy is just a flower now is another film discarded, it’s now something else. Let me explain.

Okay so yet again another disappointment. Not my fault okay, it’s not. I’m not going to sugarcoat my feelings, I’m annoyed.

Here’s the story. I’m scheduled to film the 6th of April, after weeks of trying to lock down filming dates with my actors. And unfortunately due to unknown reasons (and I understand why someone whose never met someone wouldn’t want to reveal life information) bailing on the film, two days before production.

So that’s the problem.

My other actor has locked in 3 dates to film, none which can be changed, he’s very busy; so I want to accommodate his schedule with mine. So now it’s up to me to get off my ass and write like my life depended on it. And yeah I could re-cast but finding an actress to fit the character again wouldn’t be just a pick someone at random job, and the fact I’d have to give them all the information and expect them to learn everything for the 6th, 19th & 21st wouldn’t be exactly great for them.

But it’s happened to me before, my attitude isn’t to sulk, to stop completely and give up. No, I’m not like that. Fortunately I can make stories out of pretty much anything I want to put to screen.

I won’t share the idea but it’ll just have to be made and shown for the idea to be put across.

Luckily the creative juices are flowing and I’ve managed a first draft, in a few hours of thinking of the idea.

It’s weird how that happens, with all the time in the world it can take you an infinite amount of time to finish a story, script, whatever. In a mess of a situation, I have written one – and, it’s not random, it’s well thought out, dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s. Linking the throw behind it with the visual, the audio, the telling of the little story I’ve created.

I’ll wipe the sweat of my head, relieved that I have something to film.

I’ve collated all the pre-production for A Daisy is just a flower. I’m not sure whether to re-create that for this new film due to the fact that here is all this work that I’ve done and now it’s useless. But until I make it it’s useless. I think to save me the process I will create a storyboard, shot list & re-use elements from A Daisy is just a flower (The Health & Safety etc) because they’re the same locations and timings.

I’ll still be filming the progress of making the film. I want to put each video into little episodes. The video would cover filming on set, thoughts after filming and what I hope to do in the next session of filming.

If I could give advice to any other film maker, that advice would be to never give up, pure and simple.

A 3 day stroll through New York Professional practice – (Evaluation)

The idea behind the video pre-visit was to create something of a walkthrough, not complete, not 100% to being a literal walkthrough; but a candid recording of my personal experience in visual form. The notion that this is what I saw, what I experienced, the quite and sombre nature of a new city, a new country, silence as a motif of wonder and discovery.

The amount of footage I recorded tallies to roughly 3hours 30 minutes, a heck of a lot of footage to comb through. A lot of it was the here to there, a to b, what is used is very quick sections of time lapses to illustrate the enormity of New York City, a place where we had a lot planned and little time to discover. It was an adventure to say the least, walking, taxi’s, walking, more taxi’s. There was a cat and mouse game with time, hoping we’d make each attraction we intended on seeing, which most or in fact all of them have been captured on film.

We go through the city, see the Empire State Building; the view from it, Rockefeller Centre, Ground Zeroes + museum, Times Square. New York it self is an awe inspiring place which for me is the attraction, coming from an entirely different country and for the first time being in another country made it surreal and lucid because it was actually happening. You get a real sense of scale when you’re in New York; in Film or Television you can’t grasp the scope because you see it as small because it’s stored visually from someone else’s perspective.

The video became more of a ‘Here I am, look at the city as though I’m one of the ant’s in a big urban maze’ type of deal, the intention and the reality match. Going from I want to make the audience feel as though they’re looking through the eyes of someone in the city for the first time, in the edit & in the outcome it’s the same – the point is put across.

On a technical level it isn’t something that is gorgeous to look at, the camera is standard DSLR affair, 1080p using a 10mm – 18mm Wide lens with an aperture of F./4.5 didn’t help when shooting at night. Everything shot in the day was extremely well lit, the sun light provided me with an incredible lighting source – o-natural is always good! But for indoors/night time shots it looked patchy.

I did take my 50mm F./ 1.4 which looked stunning at night, but the that changes things for the vibe of the video, it’s less spur of the moment, candid. Becoming more manufactured and fake as it were. 0.5% of the video uses the 50mm, because of this thinking it kept the intercity of the video, the purpose of it.

Sound didn’t factor into the production, as carrying a camera, mini tripod wasn’t enough to arouse suspicion adding a shotgun mic to the top makes the camera look bulky and could cause more problems. I’m not saying that I would get arrested, or anything of that nature but as it’s my first time in another country the least suspicious I could be, the better. But the onboard sound provides decent quality audio recording, add the little dead cat to protect your ears from the awful wind noise is a bonus that increases the production value.

The edit was something I tackled with great trepidation because I didn’t want to leave too much in to make it seem bloated, or take too much out as to remove something from the experience. The fact of the 3hours and 30 minutes of footage never crossed my mind as a problem, but just an obstacle I had to tackle.

I intended on making a 2hour cut of the footage, but for reasons, obvious reasons I opted against that. Round it down to 25+ minutes and there’s the video. The process wasn’t arduous because it was scanning through the footage to find pockets of gold, to find elements that felt organic, authentic to the feel of the film. It took several editing sessions to go through the footage for the first time; trimming the fat. Another session to go through and do even more trimming, whilst adjusting time and positioning of shots to make it interesting, have a pop to it. And finally a third editing session to fix sound, to remove frames from the clips to have a nice organic flow.

The objective as described by Paul Clarkson, to shoot something in New York and make it look like you want to go there, like I said before I went with the intention of showing my experience; less ‘here’s why you should go there’ to ‘this is why I went’.

Goal achieved in the end. It’s looking though my eyes, what I saw, what I did, a taste of the city that is so fast, and incredibly time consuming that you want to spend so much time in to discover everything.

But, alas this was 3 days in the making.