Process and Development of my Short Film – After Hours (2013)

In this blog I’m going to be discussing the process of making our short film and how it was developed and refined at each stage and why. We were given the task of making a short film in 4 weeks. The brief said it could be about anything we wanted but the soundscape would need to be produced before even filming.

The first thing as a group we did was evaluating our strength and weaknesses. This is the SWOT that was produced.

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This then lead to brainstorming ideas, concepts and possible characters. We thought about our limited time and resources that we had available to us (4 weeks and z5 camera which we’ve never used before) So we had to be careful that our idea was realistic. We played on the simplicity of having only 1 character. The lecture I had on soundscaping inspired me to use no dialogue in the short film. I felt it was the perfect way to emphasise the quality of our soundscape that we were to create straight after pre production. Here is an extract of the screenplay I wrote for this non-dialogue piece. 

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The screenplay helped us make a list of every sound that needed to be recorded. We were able to do the whole sound design of the film and have it played out for our ears. The first draft of sounds were good but they were missing the realism of room acoustics to make the sounds feel uniformly and natural. The addition of reverb and a rehearsed sound foley layered on top during post production fixed this.

As well as the soundscape, the screenplay helped us capture the shots we wanted to take for the film. We found the location we wanted to film in and took pictures of the shots to get the right angle of a movement or facial expression. Here is an example of this storyboard. 

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After all our pre-production was done we chose our actor and rehearsed with him on location. Me being the director I worked closely with him to make sure he was expressing the right emotions and expressions to suggest something. It was very new for me to direct something with no dialogue. It proved a challenge to direct the actor accurately so that he is properly expressing the idea of the shot. The next day was spent filming with the actor, the cinematographer and my self the director and using the Z5 camera for the first time. Because of all our planning we were able to capture all the shots on time. We knew exactly what time of the day we were filming, when we had permission to use the location, all the props were in place and we knew exactly how the camera was going to be placed for all our shots.

Post production was fairly easy. Using Adobe Premiere for the first time was very easy to grasp and the same for Audition when we did our soundscape. The workshops we were given were very helpful. All in all, this project was very successful. Our first project with a 4-week timeline could not have been done any better with the resources we had available. Here is a link to the final finished short film! Enjoy it as much as we enjoyed producing it!

Link to short film: https://vimeo.com/77775458

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