Role: Producer/Production Designer
When classes began for PP2 this semester, my original expectations of The Shortest Form somewhat differed to what I understood of Paul’s original pitch. Once in the class, Paul explained to us that we would be doing, what I believe, is something much more worthwhile. The Burnet Institute for Medical Research had expressed interest in having RMIT students create short TV commercials, or informative advertisements for the company. So, after discovering that the intention of the class was to create, produce and submit TV commercials to the Burnet Institute, I was incredibly excited.
As I mentioned in my original PP2 report (at the beginning of the semester), I am very drawn to projects that allow complete freedom and creativity. This subject has proven to be exactly that. It is interesting to read back on my original production goals and ideas for The Shortest Form to firstly, see what I have achieved, and secondly, see what I have completely changed or developed.
My original notes on ‘Production Ideas’ spoke of the Institute’s need for funding and gaining more public awareness. I believe that the commercials we have created, thus far, certainly stress that point. However, in my original notes, I wanted to experiment with achieving that public awareness through social media by perhaps, intertwining short clips or TVC’s with social media platforms. Social media, today, is such a large part of society and, I feel that it is such an accessible avenue for achieving substantial awareness from the general public. Even though we have not planned to use the TVC’s for this purpose, there is no reason why we cannot still workshop these ideas and potentially include social media within the project.
In my original report, I spoke about how I really wanted to try and incorporate comedy into my piece for the Burnet Institute. My aim was to take a Mockumentary style approach to my TV piece, as I believe that comedy is a great way to confront an audience and expose ignorance in the public perception. When I first presented this idea to the class, there seemed to be a lot of interest in taking on a comedy piece. However, as our ideas progressed and developed, the comedy approach seemed to die out. I think that this is a little disappointing because, if comedy is executed well, it can be such a great way to attract and entice an audience.
Having said that, perhaps if I had taken on the role of ‘script writer’, maybe we would still have a comedy piece in the mix. At the beginning of the semester, I never thought that I would end up in the role of ‘producer’. I usually take on roles that allow a little more creativity. However, since I had never taken on the role of ‘producer’ before, I thought that it might be a good experience. I am the Producer for Tom’s script (Through Our Eyes). I have also taken on the role of ‘Production Designer’ for Michael’s script (Under The Microscope). This is another role that I have never experienced. This role was appointed to me, rather than actually choosing the role myself, but I like the idea of attempting this role because I feel that it allows more creativity and lets me re-create a certain vision.
It is hard, however, to have a fully detailed vision for Michael’s particular script, as it is constantly moving in and out of different locations, with different people. I imagine the TVC will cover a vast amount of either the Burnet Institute, or at least another lab that we can gain access to. Therefore, the way I envision the production to look is to have lots of scientists carrying out their day-to-day roles within the institute. It will be cluttered – people moving everywhere, all the time, without stopping. The labs are filled with scientific instruments, i.e. microscopes, petri dishes, large machines, test tubes, etc. There is a lot of white – white walls, white lab coats, and white floors. The style is modern, almost futuristic. All of the people are well groomed, wearing neat clothing with lab coats (some also with goggles and gloves). They have their hair neatly off their face. The woman have little, natural looking make-up. They look professional. Here is a picture of how the scientists should look.
As part of pre-production, each member of the class was required to take a script that they were working on and create a ‘marked-up script’ for their particular role. As I am ‘production designer’ for Michael’s project, I took his script and thoroughly examined the details. As I read through the script, I marked all of the props, sets (or locations), costumes, and make-up that would be required for that particular scene of the commercial. I then made a list at the end of the script that included every item that I needed to collect or provide for the shoot, and that the actors would need to provide themselves.
Most of the equipment needing to be provided for the shoot, i.e. microscope, goggles, gloves, lab coats, test tubes, etc. are most likely going to be at the actual locations that we shoot in (Burnet Labs/RMIT Labs), however, we must make sure that we have full access to this equipment before the shoot takes place. I will need to check in with either the producer of this project, or a correspondent at the Burnet Institute to investigate as to whether we will have access to this type of equipment.
As for Tom’s script, Through Our Eyes, in which I am the producer, he is hoping to shoot his script at the Burnet Institute as it allows for a more realistic setting and feels more authentic. However, Mel has been in constant contact with Tracy, a Burnet employee, and it seems harder to attain permission that we originally anticipated. As a result of this, I emailed a woman named Helen Williams, who is in charge of the Building 8, Level 10 Labs at RMIT University, to see if we could gain permission to shoot our commercials in this location. Unfortunately, I am yet to hear back from Helen, and may need to actually speak to her face-to-face to request permission once again.
Mel and Paul have also recently discovered that the Building 12, Level 13 labs may be of use as they would be perfect for the shoot. The worse case scenario is that we are denied any access to the labs at RMIT or Burnet, which would substantially change the scripts. There is still hope yet!
At this stage, Mel has taken on the role of ‘ Head Producer’ and is the main correspondent for the Burnet Institute. She has been emailing Burnet employees, organising actors to be used in all TVC’s, sourcing locations, etc. I feel as though I haven’t done very much in my role of producer as of yet, and that I would like to do more. Up until now, Tom and I (the other producers), have been more of a support team for Mel. Whenever Mel attains new information, she allocates roles to us. I feel as though I might need to lead a bit more where I can. However, as we are still in the process of trying to secure Burnet as a film location, I think that it is better to have one correspondent with Tracy so as to avoid any confusion with communication.
Mel and I have been in contact regarding the Burnet Institute and as discussed, once all the TVC’s begin the shooting phase, the three producers (Mel, Tom and myself) will break into their smaller groups and take on their individual producing roles from there, i.e. all the relevant information and contacts will be passed on from Mel to the appropriate producer and we’ll go from there. The dates for the Test Shoots and Real Shoots can be found here.
For Tom’s script, it would be ideal to film at Burnet, but if this is not a possibility, (awaiting approval) hopefully we can film in the RMIT labs (also waiting approval). The actors for Tom’s script have been cast, (the same actors will be used for all scripts) and we just need to decide which actor is playing which role. Tom and I work shopped his script last week and I feel as though the script is now much tighter, clearer and entertaining.
I am looking forward to shooting the scripts and I hope that the Burnet Institute enjoy what we come up with!