Behind-the-Scenes: Mentored Film Shoot-Pitching, Planning & Location Scouting

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As part of their TVFP 200 course (Techniques for Video and Film Production), third quarter Digital Filmmaking students at our Kelowna campus get to participate in a “mentored film shoot”. The mentored film shoot brings together industry professionals, to give students hands on experience on a true film set environment. When we talked to the student participants from last year, many said that the mentored shoot was priceless experience in preparing them to work on real film sets.

During the shoot, students work through five areas alongside industry professionals, including Directing, AD (Assistant Directing), location sound, and camera operations.

You can check out a behind-the-scenes video of the last mentored film shoot on one of our previous blog posts: Mentored Film Shoot-Behind-the-Scenes.

In the coming weeks, quarter 3 student Jordan Marlin, will be bringing readers through the entire process, starting from the initial pitch, to the final hours in the editing room. Today he talks to us about the “pitch” and selecting the right script for the task!

Step 1: “The Pitch”

Pitching is never a blast from the start. I mean, you get up there, in front of your audience, and you’re completely bare. Your first fifteen seconds are spent fumbling, shaking, and tripping over your own words. But it’s in that moment of sweaty-palmed, high school anxiety that you begin to take control. Your words become clear, your stance becomes rigid, powerful. One by one, my classmates and I would trudge to a forum in front of our class and lay our own creative ideas on the line. But that’s not even the best part. The best part is seeing everyone else in your class up there shaking in their boots too!

Such is the feeling in the air when we pitch our scripts for the mentored shoot in our TVFP 200 class. The idea of our program head, Graham Cairns  [Kelowna Digital Filmmaking Department Head], is to introduce us to the mechanics and logistics of a working, living set. Each week, we will rotate to a different station, a different mentor, and get hands-on training in the field of A.D, Directing, camera work, and location sound.

Once our pitches were complete, the task of selecting a script that falls both into the categories of a well made episodic based narrative, as well as something plausible to shoot in our given time, is upon us. Careful delegation narrowed our choice down to four, then to one.

The Occupationist by my friend and colleague Shane, was selected for it’s simple sets and comedy-based narrative. With the selection out of the way, we now had to cast, location scout and prepare the logistics for this project.

In other words, this is where the fun really begins.

Step 2: Logistics & Planning

We walked into the production studio today, greeted by what looked more akin to a boardroom than a classroom. Four tables where arranged to create a square.

As Graham informed us, today would be strictly about logistics. So, in short order, we sat and cracked that script open.

The first order of business was determining wardrobe. Each player should convey his or her own character in all means, so wardrobe is a very important delegation.

Next was the order of gallery shoots. We would have to organize together as a cast and crew so some photographers could make us look pretty.

The final task, and the most enjoyable by far, was the location scouting. With crew in tow, Graham took us out to survey all of our exterior and interior planned shots. We perused through Sutherland, around Bedford, and along Dickson. It wasn’t long before we decided upon the right location for each shot.

Outside of the minimal physical activity, today was enjoyable, and a taste of what’s yet to come. Next week, we start filming, so watch the blog for behind-the-scenes coverage of the full production!

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