Recently some colleagues and I have joined the undergraduate Media Studies students on their TV production module. This is taught by the University of Leicester AVS team. I have joined the course to develop my filming and multimedia skills. As the students have to, for this course we have to produce a short film. The key to any good short film to ensure it is uncomplicated and could be easily summerised, here is the synopsis of our film.
A mockumentry in the style of Monty Pyton, parodying the PDP process of learning, reflection and implementation. The focus of the film will be Eric the Viking who having lost his arm in a battle he considers what he should have done differently.
Planning the film
All the scenes will require a cast, crew and equipment. The cast of this film will be:
- PDP study adviser: At character from the modern day, he will wear smart casual clothes
- Eric the Viking
- Extras: This will be a cast of the viking society and in the final scenes and moden day student
The crew will have to look after the equipment and props. These will include; the camera, sound recording and lighting.
Here is the Key for the following scenes.
Scene 1: The study adviser introduces PDP
Set in the modern day the Study adviser will describe the importance and process of PDP, describing how in all situation there is something to learn when it is reflected upon, and how this reflection can be transferred to future scenarios.
This scene will be filmed in an office with book case and pot plant, to give the impression of academic expertise. This interview will have to be filmed twice to capture a wide shot and close-up. To make this natural it would be best to ask direct questions to the study adviser, including; “what is PDP?” and “Can you describe the process”.
The crew considerations are; the lighting of the scene, to ensure the interview is filmed in a way that the subject is not looking at the camera and for sound possible use a clip microphone.
The scene finish with the Adviser say “lets look at an example”.
Scene 2: Meet Eric the Viking, who has lost his hand
This scene will be filmed on a neutral background, ideally black, to give on idea of time. The scene will be the study adviser introducing us to Eric the Viking. Eric will be dressed in full Viking gear and will be holding sword in his left hand.
Flow of the scene:
- Study Adviser: Hello Eric what have you done (wide shot)
- Close-up of Eric with blood squirting out of his right arm, from which his hand has been removed.The arm will be made from papier-mache, with a rubber tube feed inside, linked to a bottle, from which the blood will be squeezed from. The blood could be Ketchup or coloured water. This will be operated by a member of the crew.
- Closer shot of the arm. Over the top of this scene you hear the Study adviser say “You’ve lost your hand“
- Study adviser “How did you do that?“, Eric waves sword, Study adviser “in a battle” (all in wide shot)
- Study adviser “If you could do it all again what would you do different?” (close-up on Study adviser)
- Close-up on Eric, he looks reflective, thought bubbles appear, from which the next scene appears.
This scene has four crucial angles: Wide shot, close-ups (head and shoulders) of Eric and Adviser and extreme close up on Eric’s arm.
Scene 3: Battle sequence
In this scene the Vikings will be fighting and our hero Eric manages to survive by hiding behind a bush.
Flow of scene:
- Wide shot of two sides facing-off on the battle field.
- Close-up on ‘The bad Guys’, they give a war cry.
- Close up on “Eric side’, they give a war cry.
- Wide shot of the two sides running at one-another
- Close-up of ‘bad guys’ running at camera
- Close-up of ‘Eric side’ running at camera
- Wide shot of sides running at each other and Eric running the other way.
- Close-up of Eric running away.
- Scene of vikings fighting
- Eric hiding behind a bush
- Cut back to viking fighting and dying in battle
- Cut back to Eric cowering behind the bush.
During this scene two types of music will be required. Dramatic music for the fight scene and Honky-tonk (Steptoe and Son like) for the scenes of Eric hiding.
The key to this will be location, would ideally like an open field, with no indication of modern society i.e. buildings/cars.
Scene 4: Return of the study adviser
- Bodies of vikings lying all over the battle field
- Study adviser appears stepping over bodies, “this has been a bloody battle, but where’s Eric?“
- Eric jumping up and down behind his bush looking very happy.
- Eric and Study Adviser. SA: “Well done Eric you survived and you’ve got both of your hands!“
Although these two scenes have a mixture of shots they can be filmed in a certain sequence:
- Close-up shots of of the two sides including running.
- Wide shots of two sides running at each other, including Eric running away.
- Fight scenes
- Scenes of vikings on the floor and study adviser
- Eric behind the bush
The key to these scenes will be continuity in the positioning of the vikings, to ensure this we will have to put marker on the floor.
The capturing of the sound will be important, battle sounds including sword noises and war cries. Also the voice of study adviser, don’t want it to be effected by wind, might be best to use wireless clip mike.
Voiced over by Study Adviser “Looking at Eric’s PDP process lets see what he did. Originally he had lost his arm, reflecting upon this he realised he would remain fine if he stayed out of trouble. To do this he strategically positioned himself on the battle field, as a result he worked away with all his limbs.”
As this voice over is happening we will show three previous scenes in strips on the screen:
- Eric with his arm from Scene 2
- Eric running away from Scene 3
- Eric jumping up and down behind bush from Scene 4.
Scene 6: Student View
Study Adviser: “Think about what Eric has done in your own circumstance, this is the equivalent of assessment. If you receive an essay back with a low mark with the feedback ‘Not enough references’, on reflection and to improve this you could read more books and do more preparation, then next you’ll get a better mark.”
Flow of scene:
- Student with Essay mark 55%. Zoom in feedback ‘Not enough references’
- Scene of student reading
- Another essay, 100% and a very happy student.
Study Adviser “PDP is essential for continuous improvement and there is something to be learnt from every situation“