The Lenny Exercises

In the past couple weeks in film-tv 1 we have been completing exercises known as “The Lenny Exercises” , which have proven to be great learning and eye-opening experiences, which will really assist in the creation of our own short films.

Lenny Exercise 1

This exercise involved taking a marked up script and some footage shot by students the year before and cutting our own version of “The Lenny”. I found this task quite interesting, and to be a good refresher in final cut pro which I had not properly used in quite some time. It was good to have to sit through all their takes and decide not only the best takes, but which parts would use an alternate angle or a close-up; this the process we will have to go through in the post-production stages of our own films. It was also very informative about shot construction in itself, as I was able to see the visual translation from text to screen. I enjoyed this exercise, as editing is one of my facourite parts about film-making but also as it was really eye opening into the process that lay ahead. In watching the takes done by the students last year, I also found myself being rather critical, and noticing little things such as  when the sound wasn’t matching up between takes, when they stuffed up the calling of the shots or when the boom- mic’s were in frame. However, despite these minor faults (which in hindsight, after filming a Lenny I realise should not have been so critical of..) the continuity between their takes was rather spot on.

Lenny Exercise 2

The second Lenny Exercise known as the ‘Four Shotter’ was an edit in camera exercise which meant that we would have to stop the camera where we would intend the first cut to be, then shoot the second shot directly after and so on. The purpose of this being to learn expediency, how to get through all four shots in a short amount of time with just one take. This exercise sounded so simple on paper, but in reality it proved to be so difficult. Shooting outside it was hard to get the lighting and white balance correct, and setting up the equipment for each shot took way longer than expected. Maintaining continuity between shots was also a major flaw in the construction of our four shotter, one mid shot ending with a character walking across frame, the next a wide shot with this character not in frame at all. This exercise proved how organisation and expediency really do go hand in hand, and that our group has quite a bit of work to do in order to achieve expediency by our shoot.

Lenny Exercise 3

The third Lenny Exercise was the most intensive of the three, involving pre, production and post stages. This was a real eye-opener as to how organised we would need to be on the day of shooting. We had managed to get some actors in for the shoot, but had to pick a location and decide on how we were going to shoot it on the fly. Whilst I think we came up with some pretty good ideas and got through the whole script and shots we needed, on  the day we shoot our actual movie we are going to need to be a lot more organised and efficient. I took on the role as First AD for the shoot, which was a rather interesting role, and by the end of it, I managed to call the shots right. We took quite a few extra takes during our shoot which proved to be quite important in the editing stages of the film. The editing stage was a collaborative effort, and I’m quite happy with our end result. I think overall the team dynamics of our group are really good, and the key for us will be organisation and efficiency. If they are mastered, or at least relatively good on the day  of our shoot; it should be quite smooth sailing. (hopefully…)


Gnomeadic Island: A Reflection

The process of making a game even what I though was going to be a simple choose your own adventure one, turned out to be much more complex than I ever imagined.

In order to allow the player to have a choice in their adventure, there had to be at least two choices for them to pick and then each of these choices had to lead onto an alternative scenario. The final decision tree of all the choices through-out the game ending up looking like this:

Decision Tree of All Decisions Within The Game

I encountered some difficulties with trying to figure out how exactly/ what order to publish all the posts in order for them to exist and be linked to the choices in order for the game player to progress through the scenarios. Deciding that I should publish the final post with the ‘treasure’ last so it becomes hidden among the other posts, and the post outlining the game-play and linking to the beginning of the game last, so it would be the first post seen on my blog.

The thing that I feel really worked  most about my game was the ease of the gameplay, and the simplicity of it. The player just having to decide which choice they wanted to make and then either click on it or scan the relevant QR code to move onto the next scenario. I also think the use of visuals in particular the map made according to the destinations within ‘Gnomeadic Island’ the story world, was an effective part of the game play.

The things that I feel didn’t work that well were that initially some of the links didn’t work, which brought the whole game-play to a halt; a problem that was easily solved. Another thing I think may not have worked to well, is having the ‘Treasure’ post located on the blog, as it can be accessed without playing the game if you are aware of its  existence. The last thing I don’t feel worked too well was the way I incorporated twitter, as in order to reply to the user with how to get their prize, I would have to constantly be monitoring the hashtag which could become an issue. The prize also most likely a let down in the end to, but what were you really expecting from a game modelled through blog posts? Really?

Overall, the making of a game which allowed its users to make decisions proved to be an interesting, much more complex process than I could have every imagined!