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Below are the inside panels to our digipak.

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Monday, 30 January 2017

R + P Post 20: Reflections so far/ looking ahead

I feel that the pre-production stages have been very useful and made me feel much more confident for the main part of the productions. We have worked extremely well as a group and I feel I have made friendships in my group.

R + P Post 19: Our rough cut

As a group, we decided that for the rough cut we would use what we learned from the animatic and create an editing schedule because during the editing of the animatic, having an editing schedule was very successful in making sure that we used our time effectively.

Our Rough Cut editing schedule

From the footage we got from our test shoot, we created a rough cut. In the rough cut we were able to see all of our shots edited together in the correct narrative order and how they worked with our planned positioning of titles and music tracks.

Our Rough Cut

Through the rough cut we were able to see that the middle to end section worked very well and showed off our films unique style of switching between the characters and subverting the audiences expectations of who would appear next.

This shot worked well to switch between the different characters

We felt that this sequence works very well as we build familiarity by swivelling back and forth between the Detective and Tyrone in their bulk of the investigation, this means that the audiences expectations are subverted when we switch back and it is Simon. The pace works well as it is not too fast that the audience are left dumbfound as to what happened but it isn't so slow that a change in characters is inevitable. Despite how much we and people who saw the shot did like it, we knew there were many improvements we could make such as tying to avoid a noticeable change in the camera position when we are switching between the characters so it looks much more seamless.

Overall, we are very proud with our rough shoot and we feel like we learned a lot that we hope to take into the main shoot, we also have a lot of improvements we need to make but overall we felt that the rough cut was a huge success. 

R + P Post 18: Our test shoot

We decided as a group to do a test shoot so we had the time to work out any issues and things we would need to change for the main shoot. It was a chance for us to refresh our production skills, learn new ones and also to test the practicality of our choices.

To start we created a shootboard, this was so we could plan out how our day would go and we could easily see who and what we needed in each shot. In the shootboard we used a picture of the post-it notes that we used for our storyboard this meant that we always had a visual representaion of the shot and we knew what the set up would be.

The shootboard also kept us on time as we accurately planned how long each shot would take so we knew when we were taking too long on a shot or we were going quickly. It also allowed for us to easily know who was on the crew roles for that shot.

As I mentioned the shootboard allowed us to see the set ups of each shot. In the test shoot, we didn't organise the shots based on setups so we had some shots, that were meant to appear a sequence, look out of place. Like this:


We were also able to learn that some of our ideas, although great in theory, we're not possible to produce like the arc when Tyrone and Simon switch. We had to adapt this, it was meant to be a circular arc around the characters rather than the camera moving left and right.


R + P Post 17: Our editing arrangements

As a group we decided that having a schedule for editing, similar to the one we had for the animatic would be beneficial to us. Here is our editing schedule:

We tried to edit as a group as much as possible but obviously that wasn't always possible so sometimes we had individual sessions as well. When there were many blocks of individual sessions we tried to communicate in our whatsapp group to say what we've done and any ideas we had. We also used basic forms of communication like leaving with this information on it by the edit suite.

R + P Post 16: Casting, costumes, hair and make-up

As all of the characters in our opening sequence, except Detective Sean Mann and the officer, are teenagers still at college. We decided that it would be best to cast teenagers in these roles. We would need a total of 7 actors and to avoid issues that may arise from having 7 external cast members, we all took on a part in the sequence.

Here are the original cast:

'Raj Singh' - Shathushan Somasundaram
'DC Sean Mann' - Jack Edmondson
'Cherish Beauguarde' - Tiwa Antwi
'Lucy Patterson' - Mari Hamano
'Tyrone Beckham' - Sayo Ajoje
'Simon Smith' - Emilio Francischelli
'Officer' - Ekincan Kaya

Here is the casting, costume, and hair and makeup document we made in advance of the test shoot. We created this document so we could tell our actors what costume to bring and how we wanted their hair and makeup to look.

Page 1
Page 2

Page 3

R + P Post 15: Our filming location, set design and props

Our chosen location is Emilio's garage, we chose it as we knew that we would be able to arrange it to make sure that it looks very dark, bare and just generally like an interrogation room. Myself and Emilio did an initial recce of his garage to see if we could clear the things in his garage to dress the set and make it look as it should. Here is a floor plan of Emilio's garage:
Floor plan of Emilio's garage
This is what the garage looked like before and after Emilio and I cleared it:
Emilio's garage before

Emilio's garage after

After the basic layout of the set was decided, as a group, we decided to create a props list such as:
  • The clipboard with the file of the investigation gave the audience a brief glimpse into the character of Peter, who is never seen in person in the opening sequence.

  • The light bulb was a crucial prop as we had to get the lighting perfect to match the common lighting conventions of crime mystery films. Also we wanted to use the effects of chiaroscuro to convey the morally dubious nature of all the characters. We achieved this final look by hanging the light bulb which was on a flex over some of the beams in Emilio's garage, this made the room seem even bigger as it was not clear where exactly the light was hanged.

  • The white table and 2 chairs, this was a very important prop as we had to get it right for the tension in the scene to be correctly portrayed. In the test shoot we had a much longer table, we decided to change to a smaller table as it meant we could get tighter with the camera framing and increase the tension.

  • The clock which we changed the time for every character that was being interviewed, this supported the non-linearity of the sequence and confirmed that when it cross cuts between  characters then time is actually changing.

  • The audio recorder was important as it marked the transition point between the linear storyline and the non-linear storyline that was presented in our opening sequence.

  • A phone and earphones and a pack of tissues

R + P Post 14: Our filming arrangements

To ensure we efficiently used our time when filming, we decided to make dedicated filming arrangements. On the whole, this allowed us to avoid any issues when filming and allowed us to maximise our time.

Shoot Organisation Form
As our sequence is very character driven, we had four other actors excluding ourselves. We wanted to organise our actors in a way that used their time effectively and efficiently. We gave all of our actors a call time of 10, from our test shoot we have learned that it would be better to stagger the call times in order to try and avoid actors waiting around for their scenes.

*Screenshot of telling the actors the call time*

My group, the crew, agreed to meet at Emilio's house, our only setting at 9:30 and the actors call time was 10.

R + P Post 13: Our Animatic

We decided to make an animatic as it allowed us to see, for the first time, how our sequence would flow to make a film opening. It was an opportunity to realise the good points and the flaws of our planned sequence. An animatic is a preliminarly version of a film, produced by shooting successive sections of a storyboard, adding a soundtrack and audio effects. Our animatic can be seen below:

We started by taking still photos that represented all of the shots on out storyboard, we took these shots in our classroom. At first we thought we realised an issue, due to our large cast we didn't have enough people in our group to take the pictures that we needed to. We managed to avoid this by changing our clothes in some shots to easily differentiate who the different characters were.

After taking all of the shots, we had to edit the shots into a basic sequence. We created an Animatic edit schedule to make sure that we were well organised to edit the animatic.

Animatic Editing Schedule

The edit was very smooth, we worked effectively and efficiently to produce the animatic video. Making the animatic was very useful as we were able to see what the narrative flow of our video would be like. There were some limitations of the animatic such as the fact that it does not accurately show how camera movements will work within shots but overall I think the animatic was very useful and helpful.

R + P Post 12: Our Storyboard

To further help with the production of our opening sequence, we made a group decision to make a storyboard to further help the development of our opening sequence. Although the timeline was a very important way for us to map out our opening sequence and it was our first attempt at mapping out the running order, the storyboard was our first visual representation of our sequence. This allowed us to plan out the camera and visual effects and see how shots worked in comparison to how we thought they would work on the timeline.

Similar to the timeline, we split the storyboard into beginning, middle and end:

The storyboard was more useful than the timeline as we were able to see a visual representations of our shots. We were also able to get a look into the types we used and were able to amend this and change shot types.

We used post-it notes to differentiate between the various shot types:
  • Titles = Pink
  • Close Ups = Blue
  • Mid Shots = Green
  • Long Shot = Yellow
Post-it Notes
So there was no confusion when running through the storyboard and when making the shootboard, we would write the initials of the characters in the shot that they were in. e.g. L for Lucy. This was a very useful tactic that we didn't do in the prelim but we learned from that and did it in the main project saving a lot of time and avoiding confusion.

We also used thick black arrows to represent camera movement and thin black arrows to represent character movement. Here we used a thick black arrow to represent the camera movement in the form of a pan to the back of Raj's head. Using the different types of arrows seemed tedious at first but it was very beneficial considering the challenges that might arise by trying to draw the movement with rudimentary artistic skills.

We also felt the storyboard was extremely useful for when it came to making the shootboard as we were able to group the shots in terms of their set up so it would be much easier when filming.

R + P Post 11: Our Timeline

It was really important to make a timeline as it helped us plan out the running order of the film's opening sequence. We made a group decision to make the timeline as we felt that it would be very useful for the final edit, animatic, storyboard and shootboard. The major advantage of making a timeline was that as our sequence is compromised of 5 different intertwining conversations and making a timeline means that it was much easier to organise the filming with the intentions of being very efficient.

We split our timeline in 3 different sections, beginning, middle, end and the various tracks were Video Track, Voice Track and Sound Track. This allowed us to make group decisions on how to split up the narrative order and make sure the sequence had a logical flow. The splitting of the various tracks also allowed for their to be more space to intricately fill it in and make sure that the sequence flowed well. Doing this was very helpful as it allowed the creation of the storyboard to be much easier and the editing process to be much smoother.

Beginning of the timeline
The beginning of our timeline featured the main bulk of our titles as it contained the animated Film4 and Screen Gems titles, it is also where we introduced the majority of our characters through close ups and cross cuts.

Middle of the timeline
The middle is where the bulk of the 'story' in the narrative sequence happens where the characters are being interviewed by Detective Sean Mann and reveal the premise of  the story and their associations and, unknowingly, their involvement with the disappearance of Peter Smith.

End of the timeline
The end of the timeline is where we set up what is going to happen in the rest of the film. This is where we present the 'cliffhanger' of the film with Peter's body being found dead and then all of the characters reacting to this.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

R + P Post 10: Reflections so far/ looking ahead

Overall I am very excited to make the video, I know that it will turn out well and I am pleased with the way Jack, Emilio and I have worked together as a group thus far. We have all contributed equal amounts to the pre-production stage and have become friends through the project.

R + P Post 9: Our opening sequence's soundtrack

We have two chosen music tracks. The first is an instrumental remake of 'Devil in a New Dress' by Matt Dillon:

The song's smooth jazz tone sets a familiar tone to fans of crime drama as this type of music usually works in tandem with most crime dramas. We also have appeal to a younger generation as the song is an instrumental remix of a Kanye West song so this means that the song is able to appeal to a wider audience than one would expect.

We plan to use the music to go over the first titles, here it will be non-diagetic but when we reveal that raj is listening to the music it turns to diagetic with the sound perspective coming from Raj's phone when it is on camera. This is similar to this scene in The Amazing Spider-Man 2:

We chose this track for our opening sequence's soundtrack as we felt the eerie jazzy feel pays homage to the typical, neo-noir films that we drew inspiration from. For example the film Chinatown:

The music track also appears at the end of our sequence as a way to contrast to the silence when the film's title appears just as Peter's death has been announced.

We sourced this remix of 'Devil in a new Dress' from a video on YouTube, where the person who owned the remixed version of the instrumental had left a link in the description where we could download the music copyright free.

Our second track is called 'Funky Suspense,' created by Bensound:

We chose to use funky suspense as the use of more lighthearted, upbeat music is heavily associated with crime dramas that use the contrast of the drama and the music to unnerve and irritate the audience.

Similar to this scene from the ending of Pulp Fiction that uses the lighthearted track 'Surf Rider' to close the film. This track contrasts greatly with the volatile nature of the attempted armed robbery of the diner where weapons are seen in full display. This helps to create an unusually calm atmosphere due to the heavy contrasts and in turn makes it even more effective in conveying the criminal nature of the film.

We sourced the song 'Funky Suspense' from where the song is free to download and use in our video as long as we credit the owner.

Sound effects are important in conveying the drama and suspense in our scenes. In our opening sequence we use sound effects in conjunction with silence to unsettle the audience and raise the intensity. The sound effects we use are:

  • Folder sliding
  • Phone noises
  • Chairs sliding
  • Door opening
  • People whispering
The sound effects in the interrogation scene from The Matrix intensify the drama in the scene. The tinny humming, buzzing and beeping all suggest that this isn't going to be your average legal procedural interrogation and that there is something much more sinister to these people.

R + P Post 8: The credits in our opening sequence

Our film opening begins with the animated logos for our production and distribution companies, Film 4 and Screen Gems, which will play in silence.

Then we will have 'a Film 4 and Screen Gems productions' in lowercase white font on a black background. The font will have a more teenager feel to it to reinforce the independent nature of the film.

We then have a range of different credits all in the same colour and font over a number of shots, long lasting credits is a common feature of old school neo-noir films and as a lot of our ideas are inspired from those types of films we wanted to pay homage to this style of crediting. For example the credits in The Usual Suspects:

To make the credits appear more engaging for the audience we also placed them in different areas of the screen. This means that the audience aren't just looking at one area of the screen which is very repetitive and can get boring. The film Se7en also used this varying credit placement style:

The credits we plan to include are (in order of appearance):
  • 'directed by r.r. banks'
  • 'produced by jack edmondson'
  • 'screenplay by mary pan'
  • 'cinematographer emilio francischelli'
  • 'music by sayo ajoje'

R + P Post 7: Our opening sequence's planned mis-en-scene

The look of my opening sequence

  • Quite tight shots to make it feel very claustrophobic.
  • Pans to show the interrogation and add a sense of ambiguity.
  • Quick cuts to mirror the tension.
  • High angle shots to give the sense of a security camera 
  • Shot-reverse shot
The shot-reverse-shot and crosscuting of Now You See Me, inspired a lot of our ideas.


  • Very little lighting.
  • A single light on flex above the table.
  • Low-key lighting.
We plan for the scene to look similar to the interrogation scene from The Dark Knight. The low-key lighting will enable us to use Chiaroscurous techniques to portray the dubious natures of the various characters:


  • A poorly lit police interrogation room- A table and 2 chairs, very plain and boring as the main focus is the tension between the characters.

  • A clipboard with the face of Peter Smith.
  • Lamp, table and chair.
Our props will look like the police case notes props used in Luther. This will also be the only time where the audience see Peter's face in the opening sequence adding to the ambiguity behind the whole case.

Costumes: This will arguably be our most important aspect of mise-en-scene as the costumes reinforce and subvert common race and class representations. For example Tyrone will be wearing a hoodie which is fitting with the common stereotypes of the working-class, particularly black people in the working class and it will also touch upon the associations of criminal activity. This will be emphasised through the acting, for example DC Sean Mann telling Tyrone to take off his hood and clearly making him a prime suspect. Although we plan to subvert common representation with Tyrone being the misunderstood character.
  • Teens in casual teen clothing specific to their archetype.
  • Detective wearing shirt and tie.
David Mills from 'SE7EN' is a good example of the costume for the detctive.

Costume worn by the cast of 'Skins' is a good example of the type of clothing we want the teenagers in our sequence to wear.

R + P Post 6: Our opening sequence's characters and how we plan to represent social groups

Having an opening sequence featuring an ensemble cast, the characters are very important and the choices we make will affect a lot of our sequence.

The chosen representation focus in our opening sequence is ethnicity. This is mainly shown through the characters, who are made up of a wide range of ethnicity and who reinforce and subvert common stereotypes of their ethnicity.

Ethnicity is very relevant in our story as our film can be seen as a social commentary highlighting the institutionalised racial bias in places of authority, in particular the Police. As the audience sees by the end of the film, with his job being contingent on the success of this case, DC Sean Mann prematurely arrests Tyrone despite only having insufficient evidence. This will engage with a lot of political viewers that can see some of the film reflected in society and this will get people talking about the film and how the interrogation room can be seen as a microcosm of the world and how it encapsulates the perils of a virtually autocratic society. For example, the detective, the character with the most authority is white. This reinforces the stereotype we constantly see of white characters being in positions of authority.

Despite the negative and traditional view of ethnicity representation our film has, we do also subvert common stereotypes to paint a more accurate view of society. This means that the audience will be able to relate to the multi-dimensional view of society that we are portraying rather than the common one dimensional society in teen films. Raj, our Asian character will start off as adhering to stereotypes of the smart asian, as he replies with intelligent retorts to the DC Sean Mann but later we see him be very witty and cheeky. This is not a common portrayal of asian characters but it is a much more realistic portrayal.

Rajesh 'Raj' Singh: A cheeky asian nerd. Peter's best friend. He thinks he knows better than the detective and makes jokes to highlight the detectives incompetence.

Chirag Gupta from the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' franchise is a good reference point for Raj's character. Chirag is a smart and student but he also if shown to be a very cheeky and comical, similar to the character of Raj.

Cherish Beauregard: Peter's girlfriend who dresses like a typical emo but she is emotionally attached to her boyfriend Peter. She is the most emotional out of all of the characters.

Tina Cohen-Chang from 'Glee' was an inspiration for Cherish's character, she is asian and gothic/emo which subverts many stereotypes where this character would be white.

Detective Sean Mann: An apathetic, quick tempered, late twenties detective who is some what desperate as his job is hanging by a thread.

Simon Smith: Dismissive brother of Peter who doesn't seem to care about Peter's disappearance. He is relatively  cold and moderately relaxed considering the circumstances.

Rodrick Heffley from the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' franchise is a good example of the character of Simon. Similar to Simon, Rodrick is distant and more often than not at odds with his brother Greg but despite the cold detachment of the brothers there is a vague amount of care for their sibling, which we see in Simon when he looks upset and shocked when he finds out about the fate of his brother.

Lucy Patterson: Nosy, popular girl at school who is a very big gossip. She tries to extract information out of the detective and also it was her party where Peter was last seen.

Regina George from 'Mean Girls'

Tyrone Beckham: A black schoolboy who is a misunderstood bully as he is more reasonable than the detective wants to believe.

Moses from 'Attack the Block' was the main influence behind the character of Tyrone.

R + P Post 5: Our opening sequence idea

The basic story of our film is that 5 suspects are taken into a police interrogation room and interviewed/interrogated about the disappearance of Peter Smith, who we later find out is dead.

Basic Structure: 

  • Close ups on characters fidgeting and important identifying features of the characters. 
Similar to the episode of Black Mirror that has close ups on the worried face of the girl. This helps to disorientate the audience and add a sense of ambiguity as it is right at the beginning.

  • Then the credits
Super-imposed over the video, similarly to the opening of The Usual Suspects.

  • The interrogation/introduction of the characters.
  • "Bombshell" of Peter Smith being dead dropped.


Narrative Conventions we plan to use: 
  • Enigma codes (Fidgeting) - Reinforces the ambiguity of the 
  • Binary Opposites (Detective - Teenagers) The age and ethnicity differences are used to create these binary opposities. 
  • Shot-reverse-shot
  • Chiaroscuro - We plan to use the lighting in the interrogation room to suggest how morally dubious the characters may be and to show that they all have a motive for the murder.

R + P Post 4: Our film's genre, title and plot outline

Our film is a crime-mystery drama and the working title is 'What Happened to Peter Smith'. The title pays homage to the typical convention of mystery films that use questions as titles to make the audience think. For example 'What happened to Monday?' and 'Whatever happened to Baby Jane?':

Our film is shown from the perspectives of the 5 different teenagers as they tell the story of how they interacted with Peter Smith prior to his disappearance and eventual death. These various accounts are going to be filled with various contradictions and unwitting self implication but the murderer is never found.


Beginning- 5 teens are brought into police custody a day after Peter Smith went missing after a house party. We later find out he is dead.

Middle- Through flashbacks and the detective gathering evidence we find out all 5 have a grudge against Peter. We also discover the detectives job is on a thread.

End- The detective reverts to his racial bias and blames Tyrone. The killer is not revealed and maybe gets away.

This is a table for the plot-line of our film

R + P Post 3: Our production and distribution institutions


Our production company is Film 4 Productions which is a British independent film company. 

Film4 is famous for its large portfolio of films some independent films like the 2015 film 'Room' and the 2013 film '12 Years a Slave', both of which were nominated and won multiple Academy Awards.


We feel that Film4 Productions is a good fit for our film as our film is very character driven and it targets a younger audience similar to 'The Inbetweeners Movie'.

Our distributor is Screen Gems which is a subsidiary of Sony that have been known to distribute smaller films. 

Screen Gems is a production and distribution subsidiary company of Sony. Being a subsidiary for Sony, it is well known for making independent films and also the fact that it is a subsidiary of Sony it means that it has the funding to produce and distribute the films.

The independent sci-fi film Attach the Block, like our film had Film 4 Productions as their producer and Screen Gems as their distributor. Also similar to our film, it is made up of a teenage cast.

R + P Post 2: Our target audience and how we plan to attract/address them

Our target audience are fans of mystery drama and it is skewed to 15-25 year old British audiences and it is aimed at general audiences.

We plan to attract these audience to our opening sequence with the protagonists being played by young adults and are mainly playing young adults. The crime genre is a very mainstream genre so it will have a wide appeal to general audiences. It is also a teen drama so it will naturally be attractive to teen audiences. British audiences will also be attracted to the film due to the 100% British cast.

Films that have inspired our choices are: Mean Girls, Attach the Block and Sherlock