New Zealand, 2008. 4’29 mins.
Team: Courtney Bramwell, Maree Davidson, Hannah Woods, Simon Jones & Henry McLernon
A film crew goes in search of a quirky New Zealand personality, someone who leads a somewhat ‘different’ lifestyle. Never in their wildest dreams did they think they would find someone as unique and distinct as Candice. The crew warm to Candice (who prefers to be called Candy) who is 18, and born and raised in the small town of Mosgiel. What makes Candy so unique is the belief that she truly is, a local celebrity. At the young age of 10, Candy was lucky enough to be snapped in a photo of a crowd of school children singing along with Susan Pretence (a popular New Zealand singer). Although hardly recognizable, this convinced Candy she was famous. She was certain she possessed the looks, talents and skills crucial for being a celebrity. Under the Hollywood-style Mosgiel sign, the film crew conducts a breathtaking and interesting interview with Candy. They capture an average day-in-the-life of Candy, including her many shopping escapades, her Hollywood Boulevard ‘star’ trendsetting ritual, and the significant support she shows to her local community.
Our team followed this expose and constructed the short film clip to show the quirky and somewhat ridiculous life that this girl Candy leads, while portraying the lovable and sincere side of this special girl.
Our team consisted of Henry, Simon, Courtney, Maree and Hannah. As it is with the nature of group work, our team did struggle on numerous occasions to find times where we could all meet to work on the film. However this was not a major drama as we divided the workload playing to each team member’s strengths. Courtney felt that she could handle making a bit of an idiot of herself and volunteered to star as our leading role, Candy! Particular members were more confident with Final Cut than others. Simon grasped a good understanding of this program and as a result was the driving force behind our editing. Maree also felt reasonably confident with using this program and contributed significantly to the editing also, responsible for the great montage of bloopers that accompany the credits. Henry was the prominent camera operator responsible for capturing a significant amount of the footage. Hannah took upon the role over scripting and story line creation. The most important thing for her in this case was to ensure that all the appropriate footage was captured in order to fully portray the story the team wished to show case.
Behind the scenes – Filming and Production
Following some of the filming our team hit a relatively serious snag. The footage we had captured on a camera we sourced ourselves was rather poor quality both in terms shooting technique and visual quality on computer. We had also captured the footage in the wrong format. We used a camera that recorded the footage straight on to DVD and we discovered that this format was extremely hard to work with. We had various issues when we tried to open up the footage in Final Cut. Thankfully it was possible for this footage to be converted into the correct format as well as being transformed in to a much better quality. A huge thank you goes out to Scott for helping us deal with this hitch! After discovering this we used a camera from the deign department to re-shooting any footage we needed to.
Various scenes and shots were re-shot due to the quality being overly shaking. As our team outlined in our proposal we originally wanted the film to have a rough, edgy, documentary style look and we thought we would achieve this by shooting a lot of the footage using a simple hand-held technique. However we discovered, this technique did not produce and it takes a considerable amount of skill to pull this off effectively. There are very specific situations when this technique should be employed and we realised our film was not one of these times. Instead we moved to filming 95% of our footage using a tripod. This gave us a quality of footage that we had actually envisaged having.
It took two attempts to capture the interview scene with Candy affectively. The first time around we found that the sound quality and lighting was of inadequate quality. The second time around we made sure we used an external microphone and set up Courtney’s room with appropriate lights. Due to limited resources we used a set of floodlights and a desk lamp to create the appropriate lighting output.
A major lesson we learned from making this film was that in order to gather acceptable, good quality results it is essential to use the appropriate equipment and not to cut corners. Even when faced with limited resources it is possible to source somewhat amateur equipment to create the illusion of good quality footage.
Our team was lucky in the respect that many of the settings we wished to use were already set up or existing. We used Courtney’s bedroom to shoot the interview scenes with Candy. She had a wall with a montage of pictures, various magazine clippings and other random knick-knacks that fit perfectly with the look the team had visualized for the interview scene. We were able to capture the scenes we wanted to in the Mosgiel Township easily enough. We only needed a small amount of footage, all of which was shot outside so this was gathered without having to gain consent from an outside party. The most extensive prop we had to create was the corporate box, constructed from your standard old brown cardboard box. With limited resources this was made somewhat crudely, however this was acceptable, and in fact appropriate, as it matched overall theme of the film.
Our team took inspiration from mock interview clips created in association with the television series Flight of the Concords. These clips incorporated a technique where the questions asked of the interviewees were flashed on screen using text rather than hearing the questions being asked by the interviewer. We integrated this technique in our film as it provided a quick, effective and appealing way to communicate to the audience the questions Candy was responding to.
One issue we wish we could have resolved should we have had more time was the sound quality of the scene with the barman Reubs. The sound quality is not up to the same standard as the rest of the film and we feel that this has affected the final quality of our film. This scene also didn’t seem to fit as successfully as we had hoped and we feel that we could have incorporated it more effectively. We could have possible used a voice over technique where his comment can be heard in the background whilst filming Candy socialising in the bar.
We tried to keep the format of our film as basic as possible and we felt that this worked in our favour and the end result was a funny, entertaining and plausible true lie. We learnt a lot while filming Call Me Candy and will take with us some valuable lessons on how to produce a home made film! As already mentioned we found that you can produce a slick and professional looking film even with limited funds and resources! Getting your hands on the right equipment, even if it is somewhat amateur is crucial and is really worth going that extra inch to gain a substantial improvement in quality. Again we wanted to mention that our team would have carried out further work on the barman scene should we have had more time. In doing so we feel that it would result in our film flowing together more cohesively have a complete, sharp and professional finish.