PRESS RELEASE! Dear Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, We are writing to you to inform you of our spectacular film of comical horror. WORKHOUSE HORROR will be the funniest, most petrifying movie to come out this century! With hilarious costumes, yet terrifying creatures, this film will leave you wanting more... This film is better than The Shining and Alvin and the Chipmunks put together because this mixture of scary humour will leave you both satisfied but also with an urge to hide behind your pillow. Nothing could beat it! Our professional actors and film crew really brought it together. We hope you enjoy our magnificent, marvellous movie. Yours faithfully, DreamArts Juniors.
DreamArts is proud to present…
the making of the masterpiece!
GUERRILLA FILM-MAKING CHALLENGE!
The Summer term 2015 was going to be really exciting as we are doing something completely new! Instead of live performance, we decided to focus on film-making this year with a really fun, but challenging week during half-term in May. We felt that our members would really enjoy and benefit from exploring some different skills. So, our guerrilla film-making challenge means that not only did they get to act, they also got a chance to try screen-writing, directing, technical film-making, camera operation, costume, set, props – you name it, they did it… ALL of it! For this project we worked with Director, Writer and Arts Facilitator, Rachel Creeger. Rachel has many years’ experience working not only as a professional director and writer, but also as a youth arts worker and social worker. She also designed this project so she’s pretty clever!
She brought with her film-maker Jamie Lang and they were both a fantastic additions to the team for the Summer! The structure of the project goes something like this… DAY 1 Morning: Meet the team, decide on a movie genre, story planning, character development, finalising structure of our 6 scenes, plus introduction to the Film Crew and shooting strategy. Afternoon: Split into 3 teams – Acting/Writing, Film Crew, Costume/Props/Set Dept., plan Scene 1 and then… FILM SCENE 1!! DAYS 2 & 3 Morning: View rushes, plan and shoot scenes for the day Afternoon: Plan and shoot scenes for the day DAY 4 Morning: View rushes, plan and shoot scenes for the day Afternoon: Shoot final scenes, plan finale/credits sequence, and shoot!
Apart from having LOADS of fun, we had three main areas that we wanted out members to benefit in: Devise a Group Theme Develop Creative Skills Greater Team-working skills * Devising a Group Theme On the first morning we shared what our favourite films/kinds of films were and why we liked them. From that discussion we found of what kinds of films the group were familiar with. They said:
Mystery, Adventure, Horror, Action, Fairy Tale, Comedy, Western, Buddy movie, and Romance
Horror was a clear winner with Comedy coming in a close second. A few people also mentioned Adventure and Buddy movies too, so we tried to include those elements too though, so everyone got their ideas included. After that we thought of all the typical characters and locations you might find in a Horror movie:
Once we’d all shared our ideas, we then talked about which ones we thought the most interesting and what would be possible to create with the resources we had available – for example it’s all very well wanting to make Fast & Furious 8 but did we have access to high performance cars?!
The ideas of a graveyard, and old house or building, the workhouse and some kind of cupboard or doorway to another dimension proved the most interesting. Everyone was really keen that there was an element of different times – like a flashback too. Keen to use the building we were in (the very lovely and modern City of Westminster College) to it’s full potential the idea that it may have been newly built on the site of something else. In the church grounds next to the college there are some graves and a playground, so the group came up with the idea that it had been built on the site an old children’s workhouse where something bad had happened. When strange things start to happen in the present day, the characters begin to wonder what is going on? Is something or someone from the past trying to tell them something??
Crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeepy! * Developing Creative Skills
Most of our members came to this project having never used a film camera before, let alone boom mic, clapperboards, tripod etc! So when we set this challenge for them we wanted to make sure that they got the chance to try everything – not only being a film crew and acting, but also writing, directing, costume design, set and prop design and making… even writing a press release!
Everyday, once we had warmed-up and watched any rushes from the day before or discussed anything that needed a whole group decision, we split off into our teams. These teams then were given a skill they were working on in that session (morning or afternoon) and then they rotate every session, so in the end everyone has got to do everything twice.
The Acting team would first go away and work with Rachel, with support from Charisse, to decide exactly what is going to happen in that scene as a group. Each member would write their version of the scene – the group would then negotiate to see how they could come to an agreement and include most of the ideas.
Sometimes it’s not easy, but it is always really satisfying to see that everyone can work as team when they listen to each other!
After that they would then prepare an information sheet that would be sent around to the camera crew and the production design department. This has all the details about what happens, what location it is in, what set and props are needed, which characters are included and so what costumes should be prepared or created – so pretty crucial as the other teams can’t finish their work until they know this!
Finally, they rehearse the scene and learn the lines!
Jamie, our filmmaker for the project, took this group, supported by Kimberly. On their first session everyone talked through all the different jobs on a film set and what they thought they did.
Everyone was given a job on the crew and then they were shown how to use the camera, the mics and how to set up the shots. They also took some time to practice techniques like focusing, panning and zooming.
Once that was done they would go to the location and set up the shot, working out where the actors would stand or move to and deciding on what kind of shots they would take and from which angles.
Once the actors are ready, the crew take over the shooting of the scenes. The Director calls the shots, the Clapper-Loader marks the shot numbers, the Sound team make sure they are capturing everything the actors say and the Camera person sets up the shots and pulls focus –by Day 4 they were operating like a finely-tuned machine in action!
This covers anything that concerns the look of the film, but is normally covered by several different departments. In our cast it was Costume, Props, Set, Make Up and Special Effects. This was all run by Maddy with some support from Teisha. Because we were on such a tight schedule, it was really important that all the group worked fast and were able to focus on lots of different things to get the job done. Lots of creative skills were required, from design,drawing, making, adapting, make-up… it’s probably the most challenging in terms of having to just jump in a work with what you have! For this project the team had the challenge of not only, designing sets and costumes for both the present and the past, but we also had to make some kind of portal to the past, and set up the special effects that made it look like things were moving on their own, transforming into something else or just completely disappearing! We had a low budget but great resources to work with and our young people rose to the challenge of finding creative solutions to practical problems!
The Costume Department was a really interesting challenge – how to suggest a character that is played by several different actors in the same story through costume? The teams got together and looked at the characteristics of each of the characters: were they innocent, brainy, bossy, a historian, a bit of a princess etc? They made a list of those characteristics and then sorted through the costume boxes to find items to signify these things: a monocle, a bowler hat, a sparkly hairband etc.
Once the costumes were decided, we put grouped them together ready for the actors to come in and try them on…
Of course that doesn’t mean it was all serious costume business… we had fun dressing up too!
Encouraging greater teamworking skills This kind of project really is a team effort – it just doesn’t work if everyone is trying to make it work just for their own advantage. Our members are already pretty good at this, as they spend much of the year working together to create their shows. However, this project more than any other required them to put their own ideas forward, because it is ALL their work – no one has come in and written it before they start to work on it! The staff support them and help to give them the skills to make it all happen, but beyond that, they’re on their own! There was a lot of discussion on the project from day one and everyone worked hard, not only to think of the best way to do things, but also how to include everyone too! It was great to see! Sometimes people can be a little shy, but by the end they had all grown confident enough to contribute in their own way and have others listen and accept their ideas – even the title of the film went to a vote!
Sometimes though, teamwork is just about making new friends and having fun, while you work!
‘Dreamarts was awesome, I’ve made some new friends, and have gained my confidence, and had lots of fun! Thank you!’
‘I’ve learnt how to use a camera.’
‘I’ve learnt to go out of my comfort zone with costumes and characters.’
‘I’ve achieved how to be quiet and patient during important circumstances.’
‘I loved everything and everyone!’
‘I have achieved how to make a costume from scratch.’
‘I HAD FUN! :O)’