A3: Tutor feedback and thoughts

A really helpful Skype feedback session with Matt. He commended me on how I had thought carefully about all aspects of the filmmaking process and negotiated the difficult task of doing everything. This was a new venture for me and Matt’s positive response to my work on this project was a great boost for my confidence. He was also happy with the technical side, which is a relief as there was so much to get to grips with in making this film.

He thought the conflict I portrayed was subtle and psychological, and that I have achieved an underlying tension through the script and lingering, thoughtful shots. I am glad he thought this, as I felt I was taking a bit of a risk in leaving a lot of things unsaid and relying heavily upon the subtext in carrying the narrative forward. These are things I admire in the work of other filmmakers and look forward to exploring further in my own moving image practice.

We talked about the mother’s underlying nastiness and how it would be good to exploit this by slowly revealing information to the viewer. Matt suggested the letter need not be seen until the mother presents it to her daughter with the meringue. Registering that she had found something in her daughter’s jeans pocket rather than simply showing her reading the letter would have a stronger effect. I liked this idea. Though editing this may prove problematic as I did not film a close-up reaction shot of the mother as she discovers the letter. I can see now that there is a lot to be said for being selective in what I show the viewer throughout a moving image. I need to look closely at how other filmmakers do this in their work.

Matt said he thought the script was ok and that he liked the way I have chosen to tell the story visually, which fits with the way I have shot the film. I’m particularly pleased about this as I set out right from the start to tell the story visually and wrote the screenplay with this in mind.

We also talked about some of the film’s weaknesses, particularly in terms of the lighting in the interior night scenes. Lighting interior night scenes was considerably harder than I had expected. Though, as Matt pointed out, one very simple solution would have been to throw a light up into the ceiling above the dining table to help illuminate the room and the actors more naturally. He also suggested I paid close attention to where the actual light sources are and use them as the base for my lighting setups. I realise now that not placing the LED close enough to the lamp standing in the corner of the dining area has resulted in an inconsistent and unnatural look to the dining table scene.¬†Matt also suggested I look at the daughter’s bedroom scene again, as it looks too flat and could do with adding more contrast in post production, if the image can take it.

We also talked about the abrupt sound edits in the car interior scene and need to take care when recording audio on location. When filming this scene, I had placed the microphone between the two actors just above the gear stick and filmed two close up shots, one on the daughter through the driver’s window and the other on the mother through the passenger window, and assumed the sound would be consistent when cutting the shots together in post production. As Matt pointed out, this had not worked out in practice. The shot of the mother was filmed through the passenger window and was open to the sea, which resulted in a very different, more prominent ambient sound than the shot of the daughter through the driver window which has noticeable less ambient sound. Matt pointed out the need for an atmos track to lay over the dialogue to help smooth things out. He also suggested adding gentle fades to the front and back of each clip in the sequence. All of which is well within my technical capabilities.