BFI Film Academy Birmingham

Monday 27th October 2014

Today we learnt about different types of camera support systems. For example, Milo’s, Jib’s, Cranes, Track and Dolly’s etc.
(Others listed below)

We talked about how digital might be easier to use but when using film you get taught a certain discipline that is required for the media industry that you wouldn’t really gain from working first hand with digital cameras. We also learnt that film can be remastered but film cannot.

We learnt about tripods and why exactly they are used.
Tripods are often used more for stability in the film for the audience to perceive rather than to make sure that the camera is level. Tripods are a creative choice used for stability, and as we are making a horror film it is unlikely that we will use many tripod shots unless we are trying to give the audience a false sense of stability that will then be counter balanced by something to immediately shock or scare the audience.

We also learnt that Milo’s are used mainly for in studio productions and are really great for use in stop frame animation as the Milo is programmed to move a certain way and if a shot is missed the camera can be moved back to the exact same place it was beforehand.

We were told that Chris Keenan is coming in on Thursday to help with our filming and the production in general. Chris Keenan is a Cinematographer, he worked alongside Pip Piper as a contributor and cinematographer on the Blue Hippo Media film “Bicycle”.

Tuesday 28th October

On Tuesday we looked at our arts award portfolios and what we have to do to receive the award. This was followed by a 2hr camera, lighting and sound pre production session. We then had a talk from the MAC Film ambassadors about opportunities they have at the MAC for filmmakers. We then worked in small teams to produce a small camera piece, and to finish off the day Michael B. Clifford talked to us on the History of film.

Live Action Horror Pitch Feedback from Nina and Drew:

Storyboard good, ideas of shots good.
Good suspense factor
Liked the location Recce
Production values increasing
Pitch was put together well but the delegation of talking for the pitch didn’t involve everyone
Story needs to be slightly clearer
Isn’t 100% original story
Good Initiative

Decision- Merge the two films, Reina and Focus.
Reina Script



Script Draft:



A group of four are walking through the woods shouting the
name CARRIE. They are walking slow due to lack of motivation
and fatigue (seen through shots of members) a part from
REINA. She physically looks exhausted yet she keeps up the
pace through the woods.

REINA is far ahead of the members and keeps focus on her
task till FRANCO runs to catch of to her.

(whilst running)
REINA! Hold up….

What is it?

(still trying to catch his
I think…just give me a second

Franco don’t waste our time, she
could be hurt. Let’s go

It’s been over two months Reina…I
don’t want to say it but-

but what? She could be dead? You
think I haven’t though of that?

Then why do you-

REINA walks away and continues her search

(under his breath)
Hey! Wait! REi…oh fuck it, do

The camera shows Reina increasing her distance from the



REINA continues deeper into the woods calling out for
CARRIE. She is then suddenly startled. She sees a glimpse of

Carrie…? Is anyone there?

She slowly walks towards the area. Leaves crunch under her
shoes as she creeps forward. She tries to slow down her
breathing. She leans past the trees. She slowly searches for
someone or something, but nothing can be found, but a mirror
against a tree.

Michael B. Clifford’s talk on Film History:

David Puttnam (Lord Puttnam)- Producer, produced big british films in the 70s 80s and 90s. “Film has the unique ability to create empathy”

The Thin Blue Line Trailer-

The Thin Blue Line by Errol Morris is a 1988 American (crime thriller) documentary, it depicts the story of Randall Dale Adams, who was a man convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a murder that he did not commit. Adams’ case was reviewed and he was released from prison approximately a year after the film’s release.

Wadja Trailer-

Wadja is a 2012 Saudi Arabian-German film written and directed by Haifaa al-Mansour. It was the first ever feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and also the first feature-length film made by a Female Saudi Director. It’s about a girl who wants to learn how to ride a bike so she can race her friend but it is frowned upon for women to ride bikes where it is set, eventually she gets a bike and races her friend.

Story of Film Trailer-

The Genius of Hitchcock

(See Handout)

 Top Tips for Film Reviewing:
– Comment on the quality and reaction to the overall performance
– How good the scripting is
– How good the acting is
– How it is with visual techniques and with the camera techniques
– Summary of the film
– The Genre – how well it’s portrayed, how well it’s perceived
– Comparison to similar films
– How it might be stereotyped
– Star Rating
– How the storyline was
– What would you say to other people about the film
– Why should other people either go, or not go to see the film?
– Personal opinion on the film
– How well is the genre portrayed
– How good the story is
– How good the sound and music is
– How well lit the film is
– How good the VFX are
– Relevance of the film
– What other people said about it

1. Could you describe the experience of going to the cinema, what does it mean for you? I feel that going to the cinema should be a magical experience in which you get absorbed into the film. It is a means of happiness and entertainment. It’s also a break from reality where the impossible often becomes possible. (I don’t usually watch films that are unhappy or scary as they’re often too realistic for me and I have an overactive imagination.

2. What is a great trip to the cinema for you? Comfortable seating, no phones out, no people with crinkly food packets. Also a good film, if a film doesn’t do what it says on the tin then it’s a disappointment.
3. Tell us about a film that moved you, how was it moving and why? I don’t often get moved by films but if I was forced to pick one it would probably be Marley and me as you get attached to the dog, you laugh with it, you cry with it and you share the same experiences as it right until the end when they put Marley down.
4. Tell us about a film that challenged you, how was it challenging and why? It’s a kind of funny story, the film is challenging for me to watch because I know a girl who’s in the same situation at the moment and I’m recovering from the same sort of situation
5.  Tell us about a film that entertained you, how did it entertain you and why? A film that entertained me would be Withnail and I. It’s a cult film. I found it amusing because I share the same sense of humour to the person who scripted it. The wording and actors make the film funny to a certain audience, but only to them so a lot of people don’t like that film which is also another factor of the film that not only entertains me, but it makes me enjoy it that little bit more knowing that I am one of a small crowd of people that will understand the humour of it.
6. Tell us about a film that made you change your mind or think again about something or someone? Easy A, some of the story was very relatable. It was entertaining because of the actors and scripting used. It made me change my mind about how people perceive and judge other people. When I was younger I just assumed that it was commonplace but by the end of the film I had decided it wasn’t someone’s right to judge another person and it’s often mean and upsetting to the person on the other end of the judgement.
7. Tell us about a British Film that you found interesting? Harry Potter because it’s so realistic. It was also interesting as it was a new world to learn about.

British Cinema and The History of British Cinema:

British Cinema seems like it isn’t known very well because of the American language culture.
British Cinema is well known for talent pools.
Sectors we are good at: Animation, Technicians & Actors


Wednesday 29th October 2014

On Wednesday we had a production session, which involved finalising scripts and paperwork for the production.
I used the day with my group by filming some shots for our documentary. We then had a talk from Pete Frazer who wanted to talk to us about national film opportunities we can get involved in, another talk from Yen Yau who talked about film industry focusing and about intofilm.
Then Pip Piper had a chat with us about networking for the networking tea party event later on in the evening.

On the evening we attended the networking event and met lots of new people which we hope to stay in contact with in the future.

Thursday 30th October 2014

On Thursday we spent the day filming the short film and the documentary. Chris Keenan came in with a lot of his equipment and showed us how to use it including how to operate a Movi. We interviewed some of the students and started planning out how we would put the final documentary project together.

Friday 31st October 2014

On Friday we did post production, we learnt about media management which is using folders to organise your work. We also learnt the importance of setting your scratch disks.

We then watched the rushes back, decided which one’s we wanted for the short film and then worked on our arts award portfolios

Interview with Katie at Yamination:

Hey Gemma,
Thanks for the questions.

What has been your biggest job at Yamination, to date?

We’ve had two commissions of note at the moment, which we’re really proud of. The first was a set build for Coca Cola’s commercial, ‘The Building’. This was high profile project (as it was due to debut at the 2014 Super Bowl in the USA), so we were sworn to secrecy until it was released. Unfortunately due to losing out on a bid for advertising space, it was eventually released online only. To date it has had thousands on views on YouTube alone, not counting the number who will have heard about it or seen through Coca Cola’s numerous social platforms.

The second was the set build for Cravendale’s ‘Barry the Biscuit Boy’. This was shown for a period of 9 months on UK broadcasting channels for ITV in 2014. This was a fantastic experience working to beautiful designs, and we were really pleased with the outcome. The best bit was witnessing something we had created, day to day on television in front of us! Hopefully this is a taste of things to come!

Where do you think you will be in 10 years time?

It’s easy to dream big and hope that everything will happen really quickly for us. In reality, it always takes longer than you think. Drew set the company up on his own in 2009, and it wasn’t until 2012 that the rest of the ‘team’ (as it is at the moment) joined him. Two years on and we’re still in really early stages. In the next couple of years we’ll be working hard to get our short film ‘Oscar’s Flying Heroes’ commissioned so that we can begin building the entire set, and filming. Ideally within five years we might be in a position where we are working on a television series for broadcast on UK channels. In ten years the dream would be to be building and animating on a feature film. It’s ambitious – we’re still a small company with a long way to go…but it may be achievable. We just need to keep working hard and fingers crossed!

How do you get your name out there, and how do you use film networks?

The UK film and television industry is all about word of mouth and creating a good impression. Lucky for us, Drew is blessed with a ‘show man’ personality, and people warm to him really well. This means he has a fantastic network of contacts, who in turn now know who we are! In a different way, Yossel’s (our Head of Art Department) reputation speaks for itself. He’s worked on a number of high profile projects (including John Lewis’ ‘Bear and the Hare’, Disney’s ‘Frankenweenie’ and ‘The Fantastic Mr Fox’). Due to his natural talent, and commitment to the projects he has worked on, people in the industry are interested in what he’s now up to – which leads to us. I’m picking up over time that how you present yourself and your company is so important, as is maintaining positive, strong relationships with your peers. Early next year we are hoping to host a launch party for our new, rebranded studio. We’ll invite lots of big names in the industry (hope that they turn up!) and show off our beautiful new studio, with its big workshops and shooting rooms, and masses of potential! We’re hoping that with enough press attention and word of mouth this could be our catalyst to getting noticed and becoming a serious contender in the film industry. Watch this space!

Good luck with your submission,

                   Katy Price,  Production Assistant
Yamination Studios
Unit 214-217, The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B9 4AA |
Telephone: +44 (0)121 753 1069 | Email: |

Arts Reviews:

Film- Easy A (2010)
Genre- Romantic Comedy
Inspired By- The novel “The Scarlet Letter”
Emma Stone
Penn Badgley
Amanda Bynes
Dan Byrd
Thomas Haden Church
Patricia Clarkson
Cam Gigandet
Lisa Kudrow
Malcolm McDowell
Aly Michalka
Stanley Tucci
Motion Picture Rating- PG-13
Description- A girl who tells a white lie about losing virginity ends up in a mess as the white lie quickly turns into a rumour and gets out of control. The high school girl sees her life paralleling Hester Prynne’s in “The Scarlet Letter,” which she is studying, at the time, in school – she eventually decides to use the rumor mill to her advantage to advance her social and financial standing.
Review- I like that it’s different but in a lot of ways outlines the problems with todays society relying solely on gossip to entertain us. It’s a funny story which never gets old. I also like that she sees how her life is from another person’s perspective in the book “The Scarlet Letter”. She cooly copes with the situation to change ridicule into a profiting service for herself by constantly pretending to sell herself for people but she’s just selling words. Very entrepreneurial of her, even if it’s eventually found out and frowned upon.
The camera work and directing help to make it an overall convincing story that I genuinely cannot fault.

Film- It’s a kind of funny story (2010)
Genre- Comedy Drama
Inspired By-  Ned Vizzini’s 2006 novel “It’s a kind of funny story”.
Keir Gilchrist
Emma Roberts
Viola Davis
Lauren Graham
Jim Gaffigan
ë Kravitz
Zach Galifianakis
Motion Picture Rating- PG-13
Description- A clinically depressed teenager gets a new start after he checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward, during 1 week there he receives treatment including pills and counselling. There is also an underlying love story in it but it is only briefly touched upon throughout the story.
Review- I really enjoy watching this film as it reflects how a psyciatric ward is in real life, it also shows the audience that when you are depressed it doesn’t neccisarily mean you can’t have a good time or be happy it just means that a lot of the time you don’t see the positive sides of day to day situations. Having been in many situations like this before now it always seems to make me well up, however it also shows you that there is hope. The director and cinematographer have worked well to create a very realistic interpretation of what it is like in a psychiatric ward and they’ve portrayed Ned Vizzini’s novel extremely well.

Research on Jonnie Turpie MBE:

Founder & Director

Jonnie has produced and directed public service drama, documentary and digital media over the last 25 years from the west midlands, UK. Following from his career as an artist in his own right, his touchstone has been collaborative film, television and digital production.

Acknowledged across the industry as a forward thinker, he has applied new video, technology and digital techniques to create innovative styles and approaches to award winning television and media. Jonnie pioneered the use of new technology in television, both in the use of small-format cameras and high-end post-production graphics. This digital approach led to many early successes, such as the much-loved Trade Secrets series, award-winning DV dramas Blazed, The Visit and Nightshift and laid the foundations for a mainstream approach to digital media with Ideas Factory, Teachers Tv, award winning Embarrassing Bodies online and digital health service NHS local.

Throughout his career he has contributed to the development and delivery of policy across the screen industries and has always had a special focus on education, health and digital programming, alongside young and diverse people’s filmmaking. He is a director of Creative England, the children’s charity First Light Movies, a member of Birmingham Science City and a trustee of the Birmingham Ormiston Academy.

He was a Regional Development Agency board director, a member of The Innovation Technology Council and is an Honorary Fellow of Warwick University. Jonnie was awarded an MBE for services to international trade in the Queens 2010 New Years honours List.

Research on Chris Keenan:

Chris Keenan studied at Leeds University, his skills involve

He’s had experience as the creative director at digital cream from October 2012 until the present day (2 years and 2 months)

He’s been a DOP on various projects as a freelance from August 2004 until the present (10 years and 4 months)


  • Documentaries
  • Video Production
  • Television
  • Producing
  • Camera
  • Media Production
  • Reality
  • Advertising
  • Broadcast
  • Media Relations
  • Broadcast Television
  • Directing
  • Television Producing
  • HD Video
  • Post Production
  • New Media
  • Digital Media
  • Video
  • Film
  • Photography

Chris’ Website:

Chris’ Blog:

Peer Review by Nathan Lloyd:

Gemma was very reliable and has good technical skills. She had a good input of creative ideas and was able to execute these ideas well. She was great at planning and then being able to follow through in production. She was very dedicated to the project and was willing to put in extra time to finish the project to a high standard.

Pictures from the cinema showing of “The making of filmmakers” documentary

20141109_154340 20141109_154932 20141109_160536 20141109_160539 20141109_160547 20141109_160555


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