Mise-en-Scene and mise-en-shot for assignment V


The mise-en-scene for this film required some props.  I needed to buy a suitable whistle which I had engraved with the words Roubar, Llamer, Lamentar and I wanted the costume to suggest the past, say the 1930’s and then the epilogue to bring the audience up to date with a modern contemporary feel.  For the nursery rhyme I managed to get a written script for Nick-Nack-Paddy-Wack.

and I had a props list.



I used a variety of locations, for the first scene I used a local wood that I often walk my dog in and for the beach scenes I used the West Beach at Littlehampton, Sussex which I have visited several times and a friend owns a flat their.  For the in-door scenes I used my spare bedroom and my friend Graham provided his dining room and downstairs cloakroom.  Working in the woods I was just with Graham and the sound recording was too impractical / impossible; so I filmed and returned later to get sounds of the woods, walking on the leafy ground, etc.  Working on the beach proved just as difficult even though my wife and Graham’s wife was there to help.  In fact most of the sound I recorded on my first visit was too quite the gain control had not been set higher enough, either it had moved or the noise of the beach confused the sound through the phones or I had plugged the mic to the wrong socket.  Anyway most of it was useless and again I had to make separate recordings of surf and dialogue later.  Another problem I had working on the beach was dog walkers and surfers who always chose to walk in to shot or come out of the sea to sit on top of a dune in my shot just as I am about to roll the camera.  This was frustrating and patients was wearing thin for myself and my cast, my friends particularly as they were getting cold whilst I was too busy to notice the climate.  I was lucky with the weather it didn’t rain and I got some good overcast days for good light and a dawn that I could use for a sunset.  being a one-man band in film-making is very, very difficult and somethings are just not going to be properly organised or taken care of, for example as Producer I forgot to bring change for the parking meter which cost me a parking ticket and if I had someone who specialised in sound recording my life would have been a lot easier both on location and later in editing.

My in-door filming was more controllable as I could set up my mic on a stand and arrange studio lights.  I didn’t have unwanted public wondering in and out of shot and I could add or remove items within the frame, I was also able to use more equipment such as a slider for some dolly effects.


The props were kept simple my friend Graham who is a keen amateur drama performa had costume and most of what I needed and I purchased the whistle through Amazon and the got it engraved.


My friend Graham suggested setting the main story in the period of the 30’s and he had appropriate costume and props etc.  I had originally kept this ambiguous as I didn’t want to over complicate the filming.  the 30’s proved relatively easy to achieve so I ran with it. For the ghost, I decided that a dark figure was all I needed which would be kept out of focus or blurred so as to be indistinct.  My wife was the ghost and she wore black leggings a black fleece, black stocking over her head and black bin bags for wing like arms.  The aim was to keep everything simple, less is often more.

My cast consisted of Graham and David, both AMDRAM actors, my wife and my pet even with this small cast of close friends and family this still had it’s problems.  My wife could only work at the weekends, Graham was busy most of December and had a Panto in January and for the last day’s shooting and for some much needed recorded dialogue he was ill with the flu.  However, the flu added something to the story as his coughs in the bedroom scenes are genuine, he looks unwell and this fits in with the story.

Despite all my efforts to make sure I didn’t shoot anything that I didn’t want in the picture I still maxed to miss things, again this is when you are a one-man band; but I was mostly able to cut out the problem or crop or sometimes just darken it out.  I kept my camera to ISO 125; so image quality was affordable as its was starting from it’s optimum for any cropping etc.  I only used prime-lenses this provided a greater aperture range and an overall better image.

I worked out call-sheets which gave me an idea of how long I needed to shoot the film and as it turned out I was not too far off my predictions for example, I guessed correctly that I would need three days to shoot the beach scenes.


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