Tag Archives: filmmaking

Hoo boy! Its been a while.

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_20160816_114806.JPGWhere to begin? Its been practically two years since my last post. I’ve clearly been busy with personal and professional ‘things’. I joined a meetup group called lets make a scene last year and participated in a number of fun short films, I even got to act in a couple of them, granted I was typecast as ‘Thug #1’ but I liked it and made plenty of friends along the way. Some have gone on to make some amazing shorts, others realised that filmmaking wasn’t for them. We all got something out of it. Thank you Mandana for running a tight ship!

Set1The group was on hiatus for a short while but has now started back up with a new leader at the helm, I haven’t attended any sessions yet but I hope to do so soon. You can check out the group here: http://www.meetup.com/LetsMakeASceneLondon/

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Or have a look at our past films on vimeo: https://vimeo.com/groups/266496/videos/136675324

I also had a small part in a Tinder related short from the West London Film Group, it felt good to act again. I produced a short comedy written by Chris Waller: Counsellor(s) a few weeks back which is now in the editing stage (set photos embedded). I cannot wait to share that one with the world, Chris is very talented and I look forward to reading his future scripts. The team got along very well and we all hope to work together again soon. Thank you Chris, Richard, Ranmal, Tugba, Ed & Ed for a great shoot!

A la prochaine, les amies…
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What is happening with PFZ?

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Clipboard01How long does it take to edit this bloody thing? Our main edit has been completed for just under a year now. In order to fully realise our vision, we wanted to add some animated transitions between the scenes to add a bit more originality to the episode. The preferred method being rotoscoping, check out the Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr film ‘A Scanner Darkly’ for an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4E9zMVocnys.
Rotoscoping on a budget is a right pain in the **** in that it takes a lot of manual effort to produce just one frame (there are 24 frames in a second of video). So for a five second transition, you need 115 frames and if it takes half an hour per frame, it would take roughly two whole days of work to produce 5 seconds of footage.
It took us a whopping 6 months to find someone who was interested in working that hard on a lo/no pay basis and the reason why they came on board is that they thought the PFZ story is one worth telling.

You can see our animator’s blog here: http://denisantanasblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/last-project-of-year.html

The talented Deni Santana has spent the majority of December working on our transitions, half of them are done and she is currently working on the other half. Thank to Deni’s dedication and creative flair, we have also asked her to be involved in creating the Title Sequence once the transitions are done. Deni is juggling our work among other paid work, check out her blog for more on her current projects.
To be frank, it sucks to have a great piece like PFZ in hand and not be able to share it with the world ASAP, sucks to have to spend so much time on post production, it is downright depressing when i think that we finished shooting this in 2012 and its still not out in 2014. But it will be done, we won’t give up.
I would like to thank everyone who has worked on this and is currently working on this on top of their full time job and family responsibilities, your help is really appreciated.
PFZ will be worth the wait.
Your’s,
Zaeem

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Not a film review: Hitchcock

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OdinthumbI wouldn’t call this a film review, rather a random collection of  thoughts on a film I saw over two months ago. I hope to write more of these though, if I feel they’re any good.

I haven’t seen silence of the Lambs, in fact the only film I’ve seen Anthony Hopkins in is Thor. I’d heard of his legendary acting chops but hadn’t seen him in action. As for Helen Mirren, I’d seen RED, National Treasure, heard samples of her voice work but nothing of substance. I’d like to think that my being unfamiliar with the actors’ past performances gave me the ability to enjoy the film without thinking of them as actors but rather as the characters they portrayed.

Come to think of it, I haven’t actually seen Psycho, which is the backdrop on which this story is played out. We’re introduced to Hitchcock unceremoniously as he is coming down from the high of his latest release North by Northwest. He seems in equal parts a bumbling fool, an intellectual and a mischievous child.

I found myself distracted by the details put into the sets and costumes of the golden era of film. Studios were at the forefront of the economy, raking in the cash and creating jobs but film was still a risky business and studios rarely took chances even back then.

Hitchcock and Vera appear to live a nice cushty life in their mansion but we get a sense of unease in the marriage as Vera appears to be quietly suffering in the background but of what? The film misdirects us constantly when it comes to Vera, showing her as alternating between the stand that hitchcock constantly leans on to keep him going and as an adventurous free spirit who is always only a moment away from packing her bags and leaving for good.

Helen Mirren manages to convince us that Vera was as multi-faceted as her husband, and in a way, she was much Hitchcock-Helen-Mirren-Alma-Revillemore ‘real’ than the larger than life Hitchcock character. Vera was unwavering in her support for her husband but he was always too busy fussing over his leading ladies, fighting the censors, bargaining with studio execs to ever notice how essential Vera was to his accomplishments.

Hitchcock, ever stubborn, takes on the studio system when they refuse to finance psycho, he uses his mansion (re-mortgage or some other term that I don’t understand) to finance the film and he still manages to spend time ogling at buxom blondes. All the while noticing that his wife is drifting but he still chooses to focus on his film.

This is a biophical story after all therefore the audience wouldn’t be faulted for expecting a dull tale but the filmmaker manages to make the private side of the protagonist’s life just as exciting and thrilling as the bombastic scenes set on a film set (pun not intended) or within production/censorship offices. There are a few wink & nod moments but they’re done amusingly enough so as not to induce cringing.

Watching this made me want to go and purchase a Hitchcock boxset to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to his films.

Verdict: Watch it in cinemas if you’re into any aspect of filmmaking (acting/directing/writing/producing), otherwise rent it.

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I’ve got mail!

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          A month ago I posted yet another ad on Mandy.com for a 2d animator, I didn’t have much hope as previous ads hadn’t generated any replies at all. You can imagine my surprise when I received 20+ replies to this ad. 20+ Applications to become PhatFyterz’s(?) 2D animator, that’s what I call a result. This weekend I will be going through the various showreels on vimeo and youtube and selecting a few for an informal chat.

Although I am pleased by the popularity of the ad, it is also concerning that so many of the applicants have around a decade of experience in the industry and are still struggling to find work. I suppose with the pervasiveness of visual media these days, a lot more people are interested in getting into that industry, demand for animators is short but supply is very high. I will be ’employing’ one of the guys/gals at no fee as it is a not for profit project at this point.

However, after seeing so many experienced artists out of work, it has renewed my interest in turning this project into a commercially viable one in the near future so that I can actually employ one of these people without the air quotes. What’s also cool is that the artists are from all over the place, some in London, Birmingham, Ireland, Spain and even Georgia! I didn’t realise mandy.com was so commonly used.

I look forward to watching your work and speaking to you all very soon!

Your’s,
Z

Creative Collaboration?

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I recently sat down with Goolshun Belut, one of the founders of the Old Mauritia facebook community page. We were shooting ideas back and forth regarding the variety of posts on the Old Mauritia page.

I felt that it needed more multimedia content to compound the amount of news links that were being posted. My favorite idea to come out of this discussion was that of producing short videos to hype up the community page. Creating a bunch of memes inspired by mauritian culture was also a strong contender.

Incidentally, two, as yet, unnamed members of Old Mauritia produced a short vidéo titled ‘Bus Beaters’. The latter is a transliteration of the ‘Battere Bis’ expression used in Mauritian Creole to signify ‘scroungers’.

They had unintentionally amalgamated the video and meme idea. Here it is:

Right,  so how do you follow that up? I suppose you could attend a Sega Festival and then sing (shout) at the top of your lungs: http://en-gb.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152679912785385&set=vb.349501278499910&type=3&theater

Discs out?

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Hey Friends and Fans,

We have sent out a copy of their best scene to the majority of our actors and the feedback has been very good so far. It has given us a moral boost in continuing the endless task that is editing. We did not find a decent editor in the end so we’re trying other avenues and looking for a 2D graphic artist instead so that we can add a bit of ‘zing’ in the scene transitions rather than sticking with traditional fades and zooms.

Should we not find one, what do we do? I guess we’ll be learning 2D animation then!

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Helloooo Nuuuurrrrssse,
We are very close to a working cut of the pilot episode, with cutaways being worked in for good measure. While we’re dying to show you the episode, there is still the not so small matter of color correction.

With that in mind, we have placed an ad on gumtree to find an intrepid video editor who would be willing to join our team and grade the footage.

 

Fingers & toes crossed, watch this space!

Z

Color Grading, anyone?