Critical evaluation ‘A bit about Angie’

My final film is now available to watch here on A bit about Angie . It is password protected as the official release date for the film is later this month.

(abitaboutfrank) password

Overall I am happy with how the film has turned out. The entire process has been full of ups and downs, twists and turns and in this post I will walk you through all the steps which has got me to this penultimate post.

Did I choose the right project?

My original FMP idea was to make a documentary called 22 years later which is about a man called Afolabi Oyodele who was murdered just over 22 years ago on the 7th July 1994. We were not able to complete this film as the brother of the deceased Yomi who planned this project with us could not live up to his side of the deal. So after countless meetings and discussions we decided to leave this project behind in fears that we wouldn’t be able to complete the film in time or to the levels which we first set out for ourselves. We then looked at alternative ideas and projects to do like a music video, or another documentary but after reviewing everything and putting things into perspective it made sense to finish the film which my collective and I already started in the summer. The short film I present to you today. Well not quite, as ‘A bit about Angie’ formerly known as ‘A bit about Frank’. I consider this film to be my baby as I first conceived the initial idea and I have now seen it grow into this fully formed media text. In the summer while making the film I remember telling Omar and Adewale who are my colleagues on my FMP project and in ONW that we are going to use ‘A bit about Frank’ for our FMP’s as a joke and they both laughed at me.  It is very weird how things pan out. I wrote this film so I have a particular attachment to it which can’t be put into words, so this could potentially blur my judgement but in my opinion I feel I made the right decision by opting to complete my film after the proposed first choice failed. We had already invested so much time, money and resources into making the film that it felt like the only logical thing to do. It is ironic how the return of university in the summer put the film on hold, but the pressures of finishing university put this movie back on track. I honestly believe that the way in which things panned out was destined and out of our control. People are taking to the films content as we have had overwhelming support and views on our social media sites. I go into further detail in my previous post.

Pre production

As the writer and director of the film the preproduction stage began roughly two years ago when I originally wrote the fictional poem ‘A bit about Frank’ which I then adapted into a screenplay. All the research and the contextual understanding of the subject matter came to me through seeing it, living and breathing it. I was born and raised in east London so I had seen and come in contact with 100’s of different Franks, enabling this writing and adapting process to be authentic and natural.  I began to research all the character roles, the themes, the genre and so fourth to gather a secondary and deeper understanding. One thing I did neglect was the amount of research I put into finding out about Kidney failure in relation to my film. I got in contact with a medical researcher but our initial discussion were vague and unspecified. As I was so eager to make the film, as soon as she told me that black market surgeries do take place I ran off to begin filming without understanding the ins and outs. At that time I didn’t realise the implications this would have as the project was only suppose to be something small to do during the summer in preparation of our final year. My rash antics and the teams failure to question my understanding on the topic led me into making a film which did not make complete medical sense. So as opposed to just working on finishing the film for my FMP I had to rewrite and manipulate what had already been said and shot to make the entire narrative make sense. This was a very frustrating and tedious job which I feel I did very well to complete considering the circumstances.

I have learnt the importance of researching a films prominent topics thoroughly and continuously from  pre production right through to the post production stage. If I had done this originally then half of the issues which I occurred would never of taken place. I am proud of myself for going back to the medical researcher to learn more about the topic even though half of the film had already ben shot, I realised I made a mistake and I tried my best to rectify it.

Production

pub-33.jpgThe actual production itself was very long and tedious as we used many characters and locations.I found it very difficult managing the entire production because at times one person would come late and hold up the entire shoot. Dealing with the increasing pressures of frustrated actors and not being able to complete your filming targets was also challenging because everyone looked to me for the solutions to all their testing questions. On many occasions I had to adopt the attitude of ‘let’s just get the shots done’ as opposed to ‘getting the perfect shot’ because of time constraints as well as financial constraints. This meant that the productional values were decreasing day by day. The lack of good equipment for particular scenes in the summer shoots really affected the film, due to this we had shaky shots, poor lighting and repetitive tight shots.

Time management plays a key role in the making of any project especially a film. It requires complete dedication from actors and crew. Although this is very difficult to obtain or even demand when certain participants are not under contract or even getting paid. In the future I will pay the actors more and make them sign a contact.

Post production

This stage was the most eye opening part for me. While assembling the film I could now see in order all of the technical mistakes and the issues with the film and the script. So I spent hours thinking about subtle ways I could fix the story. I did this by using sound, colour grading, adding texts, manipulating shots and so fourth. Being such a huge influence in the editing process was one of the most important decisions I made in this entire production. Being able to explain why that shot needed to stay, or why that take needed to be used was crucial to the survival of the film.

Does your film meet professional standards?

Making ‘A bit about Angie’ became a game of patch up. Every time we seemed to have plugged up a problem in the production another problem would appear which made it increasingly difficult to finish the film. This was very frustration and demoralising. Due to this I don’t feel the film fully meets the levels of a broadcast-able media text. There are moments of the film which are really good like some of the pub scene for example and aspects of the hospital scene but overall the project falls short. There are various issues with continuity, character development, the narrative and thats to mention the technical problems like shaky shots and a lack of sound at times. Anything and everything that could’ve went wrong, went wrong. Also the fact that we shot the film in the summer and left a huge gap in production really hindered the potential success of film. We had very limited equipment in the summer which brought our production levels down considerably. The gap in filming meant that certain actors were no longer as interested in the project. For example Ross James who plays Frank in the film refused to be apart of the conclusion of the project due to unspecified reasons meaning that we had to change the entire narration, the final scene and add a new character called Angie who is Billy’s runaway mother to plug the holes. This really interrupted the flow of the narrative and is one of the reasons the film is not as good as it should’ve been.

In the future I will work harder to fmeet my set goals even if it means that I have to step on a few toes to do so. I will plan in further detail and make actors sign official contracts to protect myself from a similar scenario.

Conclusion

In years to come as I look back at project I will brand it as what could’ve been. I believe the film idea is excellent It just needed further reading and developing to make it into a sensational piece of text. Other than the holes in the narrative and the various scattered dips in the production value, I feel the film turned out ok. It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but there is some raw talent in there which should’ve and could’ve been brought out better. All in all I enjoyed working on this project.

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