Planning for a TV or film production is very important and will make the difference between having a positive or negative result. For big productions, films in particular can take a matter of months if not years to create a good story and script which is a crucial foundation for a high quality film or TV show. The reason why having a plan is so important is because it allows everyone to know what is happening and what their jobs are. Also a plan can be used to develop ideas and evaluate whether an idea is suitable/feasible or not which must be considered to ensure a good quality of work. For this task I plan on finding out exactly how much preparation goes into a high budget production. I will use my findings to help gain more knowledge and awareness of what happens during the pre production process.
For this task I plan on analysing a scene from a film or TV show to find out what had been organised to achieve what was happening during the production. This will give me a better idea as to how much planning and research goes into pre production and how the amount done will effect the quality of the final production. To extend my research I am going to find how I would organise each element of the production. Finding each part of what is needed is a great way to learn about the realistic side of producing a film or TV show. It will also give me a better understanding as to how much each factor will cost and what the quality of the production will be like. When analysing the scene I will be thinking about what is shown off and on screen. This will include things such as accommodation for crew and storage for equipment. I feel this is important to get the most realistic understanding of what is actually done by a producer.
For my method of research I chose to watch a scene from the film, Shaun of the Dead, a comedy horror based around the lives Shaun and Ed (played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), set in London. In my opinion it is a great film as it has all of the characteristics of a good (zombie) horror as well as a very well thought out comedic presence.
The scene starts with Shaun and Ed sitting on the sofa watching a news report on the TV. As they begin to realise the severity of the situation (the apocalypse) a zombie walks through the door into the living room. After just 30 seconds into the scene we can already see the some of location, props used, examples of foley sound, actors, and costumes used. This is just a small proportion of the amount of job roles that would have been needed to make a scene of this kind of production. As well as the above, other crew members would have been needed such as a director, lighting team, sound team, editing team, a producer, writers, and more. Also, as the scene progresses there are several examples of dolly zooms and tracking shots which require specific camera equipment if done to a high quality. This also means that an experienced camera team would have also been needed.
In this particular scene, there are two separate locations. The first being the inside of the house. This is where the first half of the scene is spent. Within the first few seconds it is clear that the room is in a mess and has not been tidied properly, if at all. Not only would have this been done on purpose but there would have been a lot of care and consideration taken into designing the set and how it would influence the story. As well as this it can be seen that the house is a fairly average size which would suggest that it is in an urban area. This is important as it gives the viewers an idea of where it is taking place. Though there aren’t any specific indications in the scene as to where exactly where they are, there are many clues that could suggest what kind of area the story is taking place in.
For the first location I searched ‘houses in London for hire’ and found this. It is a house located on the outskirts of London consisting of a kitchen, a living room, a dining room, a bathroom and two bedrooms. To suit the criteria of what was needed in the film I was purposely looking for accommodation that was of a fairly small size. This would give the audience an idea of what kind of people were living in their. Another reason why I chose this as a suitable venue was because it also has a garden which is also needed in the scene. Even though the film uses to separate locations, I feel like the garden that is attached the house shown in the picture above is suitable and could easily be used in he film.
URL for location – http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-56449138.html
Next I chose to search for actors. Understandably, this is one of the most important factors of the scene as their performance would have a big impact on the overall quality of the production. For this particular scene there were five actors involved, four of them being male. To make things easier and more effective I searched for actors in the London area. The actors in this scene would need to act as either Shaun, Ed or any of the three zombies that were included. With this in mind, I searched for ‘actors in London area’ and found the website given below. It has a huge variety of different performers meaning that I would have a good selection if I were to hold auditions for the roles. For this particular film I think it would be critical that the actors chosen had worked on a project with comedic devices before as it can make the acting process more difficult if this kind of role is new and unpractised.
URL for Actors – https://www.peopleperhour.com/freelance/actors
The main two actors in the film, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg often work together and are both extremely good actors, especially with regards to comedy. Though if I had to choose another pair of actors to fill the same role it would be Matt Lucas and David Walliams. Similar to Frost and Pegg, they have worked together before and have vast experience working in the comedy genre. As well as this they are well known in England where the large majority of the target audience would live.
Equipment was another important factor of the production. Just in this scene I noticed several uses of tracking and dolly shots which would have only been done by the use of specific equipment. Firstly I looked for camera rental websites and found ‘hireacamera.com’ offering a range of different cameras to hire. I chose the Canon EOS 5D Mk IV as it records in a high resolution and is fully capable for what was needed. I then found some other equipment that would also be needed on set.
URL for rental camera – https://www.hireacamera.com/en-gb/products/HAC00-03011-canon–eos-5d-mk-iv/
URL for dolly crane – https://www.hireacamera.com/en-gb/products/HAC00-00271-kessler-crane-philip-bloom-signature-pocket-dolly-1m/
URL for lenses – https://www.hireacamera.com/en-gb/motion/lenses/
Throughout the duration of the scene there were many different props. This scene in particular showed Ed and Shaun trying to kill the zombies by throwing different objects at them. For comedic reasons there many different props used such as coffee mugs, bear cans and record discs. As well as this there was a large variety of props used for the design of the set to help make the scene become more realistic. With this in mind I found a website that offered a range of hiring services for miscellaneous props.
URL for props – http://www.modernprops.co.uk/props/filter?active=Category&filter_4=Accessories
Similar to camera/visual equipment, sound has a big role in film and TV and is a big factor as to how good the quality is of the final production. In this scene I listened to the audio and thought about what kind of equipment would have been used. It is clear that there is use of foley sound and general microphone use. I then found a website that offered rental services for audio recording equipment.
URL for sound equipment – http://www.maniacfilms.com/rental/audio-gear-c-74.html
From my research and findings I have realised that there is a huge amount of planning that goes into a big production such as Shaun of the Dead. Not only is there a lot of planning as to what happens on screen but a lot of the time is spent to ensure that the crew working on the production is happy and knows exactly what they are doing. This is a big reason why films and TV shows that plan to a great length are finished to a good quality and benefit from the work that goes into them in pre production.
In my opinion planning has a huge part in how well a film or TV show is presented to an audience and I feel as if it is hugely beneficial to put in a lot of time and effort to ensure that everything is how it should be when filming on set. I also think that it is a good way of developing ideas and evaluating whether an idea can be done to a good standard by realistically thinking it through. As well as this, a good plan will allow you to be very efficient with time which is crucial whilst shooting on set and in the post production process.
sheeplover22 (2013) Shaun of the dead – record scene. Available at: https://youtu.be/9qHAOY7C1go (Accessed: 4 November 2016).
contributors, O. (no date) Check out this property for rent on Rightmove! Available at: http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-rent/property-56449138.html (Accessed: 4 November 2016).
Promotions, E. (2015) Hiring an actor or background extras. Available at: http://www.envisagepromotions.co.uk/services/actors/ (Accessed: 4 November 2016).
Hireacamera (2003) Canon EOS 5D Mk IV. Available at: https://www.hireacamera.com/en-gb/products/HAC00-03011-canon–eos-5d-mk-iv/ (Accessed: 4 November 2016).
Hireacamera (2003) Kessler crane Philip Bloom signature pocket Dolly 1m. Available at: https://www.hireacamera.com/en-gb/products/HAC00-00271-kessler-crane-philip-bloom-signature-pocket-dolly-1m/ (Accessed: 4 November 2016).
Modern props (2013) Modern props. Available at: http://www.modernprops.co.uk/props/filter?active=Category&filter_4=Accessories (Accessed: 4 November 2016).
Audio gear rental (2002) Available at: http://www.maniacfilms.com/rental/audio-gear-c-74.html (Accessed: 4 November 2016).