Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Yr2 Week 3 (Tues 22 Oct - Producing and Directing)

In today's lecture, we watched the feature film debut of Ben Wheatley, Down Terrace (2009), a quasi kitchen sink crime-dark comedy about a small family of criminals and their mishaps, which lead to some very grisly results. The film had a really rapid production schedule and very limited finances, and the latter definitely shows on screen, since most of the film is set inside the family house, moving out about only three, brief times over the film's entire runtime. Further, there are numerous 'double ups' among the cast and crew, with the lead actor, for example, also serving a co-writer and editor.

And on the note of production, we then discussed the four phases of it:

  1. Development - Writing the script, deciding the production strategy, finances, pitching etc.
  2. Pre-Production - assembling the team and actual resources needed (cast, crew, props, costumes, sets, locations, effects, makeup, food, permits etc)
  3. Production - Just get cracking, already!
  4. Post-Production - Editing, sound mixing, music, color grading and then, marketing and distribution.
After running through that, we then got into pairs and deconstructed Down Terrace in terms of how we could pitch the film (story, characters, style and hook):
  • The story tells of a small family of criminals and their mishaps, which lead to some very grisly results, but is more focused on the day to lives than overblown set pieces or violence.
  • We have a druggy, anecdote-spouting father, a whiny adult son who thinks he's tough but still lives with his parents and a mother who seems all but indifferent to the violent and dangerous lifestyle of the two men.
  • It's Guy Richtie (major gangster and crime films) meets Edgar Wright (comedies that often genre-bend and have a taste of the dark and macabre to them)
  • It a very different take to a lot of the Scorsese-Tarantino style films out there, looking at criminals more in the terms of everyday people than these big, over the top characters.
And that was that for the day. Not a terribly tremendous amount to comment on, since it was retreading a lot of previous ground, and was more of a refresher session than really moving in a new direction, but I understand why they threw this one in. I am very much looking forward to meeting Mr Wheatley, and now having seen this and Sightseers (2011), his little dark comedy about caravans, I think we're in for something truly special.

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