For my film course, I was given a brief to create a Neo-Noir themed film trailer based on the game LA Noire in a group. I had the roles of the production manager, script supervisor, camera operator, audio editor and production designer as well as being the on-set stylist during the shoot. I created crucial preproduction assets such as storyboards and character designs, as well as recorded the ADR dubbing and create trailer graphics during post-production.
Initially I wasn’t that familiar with the film noir genre, but I had definitely heard about it and seen clips from iconic noir films before so it wasn’t completely unknown to me. I did some more research on it and had a look at various films from the genre such as The Third Man and L.A Confidential. I also studied the various characteristics of the noir genre and was really intrigued by it’s style and mood. I looked at both the tropes and low-budget filming techniques as well as the game L.A Noire which we were to base our trailer on.
Once our research was complete, my group started planning and developing scripts, storyboards and designs for our trailer. We bounced thoughts and suggestions back and forth between each other until the script was done and ready for storyboarding. I personally think that at this early stage, I should have definitely spoken up more about my ideas and thoughts. There was a slight lack of communication and I definitely feel like I could have perhaps contributed more with the development.
When we moved onto filming, we decided to film at Drew grandparents’ house as the interior was very fitting to what we were aiming to shoot in. But because of complications, we weren’t able to film as soon as we had liked to which led to major setbacks in our scheduling. The house itself was very decadent and really suited our trailer – but I still don’t think that it was worth enough to delay our project to such an extent.
When we arrived on-set for filming, we had a look around at all the rooms and starting thinking about exactly where and how we were going to shoot. At this point I was adamant about being more active in organising the group, especially since we were having guest actors to participate. So I created a Facebook event and herded everyone together to inform them about the day’s schedule and items to bring. I also created a Skype group to help relay the necessary information onto Michael, who did not have a Facebook. I was really pleased with my efforts and I remained active on social media to message everyone and make sure that we were all updated and knew what to bring.
Overall the filming itself was a good experience. I’ve had previous experience with filming before, so operating the camera and managing the on-set environment wasn’t new to me. I had a lot of fun helping Daniel and Jacob with the directing, as well as making sure everything behind the scenes was organised whilst the filming was happening. However, I feel like I should have been more active in my participation with the main filming. I might not have been the director, but in the end it was my group’s trailer and when our guest Jacob encouraged me to make more active decisions, I should have picked up on them instead of being passive about it and leaving it to my team mates to decide.
Once we had finished filming for that day, a lot of issues began to occur. We waited a week after the shoot to receive our footage because Jacob had no way of transferring 8GB of film footage online. When we finally received the SD card from Drew, I immediately copied it onto my USB stick to keep for editing. Everyone else had downloaded the footage onto their Mac PCs before giving it back to Drew, but then Daniel’s PC had to be wiped for repair and he no longer had access to the footage. So I helped him get the files for editing, which slightly set back my work progress for editing the music and sound.
I felt that we didn’t have enough clips to work with during editing despite getting most of the scenes in the storyboard filmed. I worried about having this issue at the start too, but I didn’t actively approach it with the group on the day we filmed which was another mistake on my part. In hindsight, I feel like my group heavily underestimated the amount of footage we would have needed for the trailer. I also felt that despite my efforts to encourage our group to communicate, I didn’t manage to respond soon enough to the group’s progress. One simple way I could have improved on this would have been to organise a group meeting at the start of every lesson and have everyone come round together to discuss what we were all going to work on and how the trailer was progressing overall. Then, near the end of the lesson, we could review our progress again and make any necessary critiques and changes to each other’s work. That way we would have better tracking on our work.
In the end, I know that our group worked incredibly hard to make up for the incidents that set us back. We communicated more when we hadn’t communicated enough, and did our very best to produce quality work with what we had. Overall, despite knowing that I could have done more personally, I am pleased with how my team mates and I have responded to this project. I’ve certainly learnt a lot, and I think that the final outcome was up to the standard that the brief had set out for us.