Yellow Line

Mocumentary, New Zealand, 2008. 3’12 mins.
Team: Sonya Ma, Karena Sew Hoy, Gift Wilaimethanun and Tait Lawson

Summary

‘Yellow Line’ is a pseudo mockumentry about a rogue Dunedin City Council parking warden ‘Constable T’ taking the law into his own hands. With a conspiracy of current wardens involved in a ring of corruption by pocketing the fines into their own pockets, ‘Constable T’ stays true to his dream of being a public servant by issuing parking fines in a precise manner.

‘Channel 9 News’ follows ‘Constable T’ on his daily pursuit to discover parking infractions throughout the city before issuing fines that will be directed back into public infrastructure of the Dunedin city. Throughout his daily routine conflict exists from non law abiding citizens who argue their point of getting out of these stringent infractions. Post interviews offer an insight into the unlawful citizens point of view regarding the infringements and personal opinions regarding ‘Constable T’. Personal views from ‘Constable T’ regarding his rationale are presented in a serious manner of being a legitimate self appointed public servant and an individual crusade to recruit more constitutional wardens are put in place.

[walking the beat jpeg]

The Team

Our film production crew consisted of four students, Sonya Ma, Karena Sew Hoy, Gift Wilaimethanun and Tait Lawson who came together with the combination of unique skills to create a suitable piece for the ‘True Lies Festival.’ We originally had eight other people lined up to be featured in our film, but due to the ethical approval requirements we avoided this by mainly only using ourselves to make this into a believable piece of work.

[Sonya Profile, Karena Profile, Gift Profile, Tait Profile jpeg]

We used Tait as the main character, Constable T. The creatation of a believable ‘Constable T’ was utilised by only having to buy a 7 piece pack of moustaches, the rest of Constable T’s costume was created through borrowing items. The other three members of our group were used as locals around Dunedin who had been confronted or affected by Constable T’s daily run. The one actor we used that wasn’t part of our production crew was ‘Jason Wong’ who had previous experience in acting and taking part in other mocumentaries in the past. So the use of his skills were perfect for the Channel 9 News presenter role.

Because our team only had access to two cars, and our film being based around a parking warden and his workplace of cars, we had to plan wisely to make sure that there was a different car featured in each different scene so it wasn’t too obvious the shortage of cars.

Dunedin weather is not the best, therefore we had to plan ahead by looking at the forecast online to plan when was best appropriate for filming. We found that even the forecast was very un-reliant and found ourselves having to cancel some sessions here and there on days that were forecasted to be perfect filming conditions. All four of us all went out and filmed the footage many times and at many different angles so that we were able to go back to the computer lab and pick the best shots out.

The group spent time together editing on Final Cut Pro, recording voiceovers, and searching through libraries of music with the aim of creating a film which was as professional as we could make it.

Pre-Production

Our original storyboard contained more than five minutes of script, which included ten individual scenes. Each scene was a good example of everyday tasks, which ‘Constable T’ has to deal with from day to day with a hint of humor. We soon realised that we needed to cut down on unnecessary scenes and focus on the more important ones as the script was far too long.

Initially our group had the idea of creating a character ‘Constable T’ who is basically one goofy, but loveable character who loves his job and receives an award for outstanding public service. We were to interview this character and follow him around doing his daily job.

Tait needed to convey his ‘Constable T’s’ goofy character, so we created a costume to enhance the feel. Constable T was dressed in the old fashioned short shorts with pulled up socks, Chuck Taylors and 7 sets of moustaches, one for each day. Aviators were worn to give the authoritive look and he wore a blonde wig to give the old fashion mullet hairstyle.

Our outdoor locations were chosen specifically due to traffic, people, and parked cars. We needed to make sure there was not too much background noises as it would have affect our filming and also, not to have too many people around who could have interrupted our filming sessions.

A couple of our scenes needed to include badly parked cars, because of consent reasons we decided to use our own cars to place them as we needed. Other props that were chosen were the parking wardens tools that included a tape measure, tickets, chalk, and notebook.

[Yellow line jpeg]

Our proposed cast included, Constable T, news presenter, awards presenter, big boss, little girl, dog, old man, and a few audiences. But we soon realised it was hard to find the right people to be our actors, so therefore decided to cut down on the actors and only use the people in our group as part of the film.

Production and Editing

Our film is based on real scenarios that happened between the parking warden ‘Constable T’ and the local citizens. We documented our mockumentary by creating a detailed storyboard to show everything that would happen in sequence. But we found that after our first shooting session, our mockumentary would definitely be far too long, so we decided to cut and change a lot of the scenes.

Our first filming did not go quite well as we planned, because we did not know exactly what we should focus on. The movie was not meant to be too funny but more serious and believable. So, we decided to re-shoot the whole movie, and in this second attempt and talking to Ralf, Alex and Scott, we knew exactly what needed to be developed. Our second filming showed a big improvement in the production of making this movie because we had the experiences from our first filming and knew exactly what we needed to do. We added new scenes and changed most parts of the movie to make it more believable but still kept a little bit of humor in it through improvising.

We used different kinds of camera angle to capture each shot. We used a standard handy camera in the production of our film. Some other material such as chairs and books were used as a tripod.

Once our filming was complete, we started the editing process by using Final Cut Pro. We found it quite hard dealing with the sound because the noise from the background was too loud and hard to adjust to the right level. By making each frame flow throughout the whole movie, we used the video transitions to connect all scenes together. After we finished editing the sequences, we started to do the voiceover in the GarageBand and added some background music into the sequences.

Conclusion

Overall, the experiences gained from the production of ‘Yellow Line’ were invaluable within a collaborated project between the team members. From a well thought out post production proposal, the ongoing changes of our first film to a far more polished film in all areas. The development that took place was fundamental to the development of making a film as the process was not as clear cut as it seemed as it was highly underestimated since we had never made a film before.

With this in mind a more serious approach was taken which made the original film look like a very rough draft, the final piece was just as fun to create and a more subtle dry humor was created throughout the mockumentry. Our final product was a well polished piece of work that exhibits the amount of time and pre existing skills put into the film from both a technical aspect and the actual process of filming and acting, the project was a lot of fun to contribute towards on all stages of production as well as considering the possibilities that can be created within the realm of communication design.

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