Blog Of A FilmMaker:- General and Overall Update – Tuesday 6 October 2015

Hi, Sophie J Less here. If you don’t already know, i am a indie filmmaker, writer, director, producer and editor and I am in the process of setting up my SJLees Media Business.

Although in the very beginning stages and planning stages, my business stuff is going quite well, especially with creative and good ideas as well as project ideas. I am getting help and inspiration by the fact that i am on the Prince’s Trust Explore Enterprise and the fact that working on it and seeing my vision of its success is giving me something to do while, “job hunting and being in the unemployed sector”.

As you may know, I am currently on the editing stages of Control Loss, my first short professional film since Uni. I am on edit stage 4 / cut 4 which is the advanced edit stage where the SFX and visual effects. It is also where I dod the colour grading, advanced lighting and colouring like day for night, CGI, animation and the visual effects add ons. I love the editing stage so much as it is so fun and you get to see the evolution and moulding of the whole and finished film. Its also exciting to see the ending of a project that has taken so long to get to screen. There is an important schedule announcement coming in the next hour from the Control Loss blog and site. So check Control Loss blog .

Also the next main thing I am working on is another short film, my 2nd professional short film / project since uni. This will or could be a pilot for a possible mini or general web series on Video on demand sites. It is in the preproduction stages. It is the seed of an idea that is quickly growing to a written idea which my imagination can clearly see ripening. This is so exciting as the writing, idea creation / idea construction and planning stages are also my other favourite stages like editing. This is because i love seeming my scribbles – the seeds – becoming the plans – the roots – and then growing into the written script – the fruit. I then love taking that script to film then the screen for all to see. And I am very excited about this project as it is al the genres and genre mixes and styles I love. At the moment its slow going and not much is flowing as i am concentrating on finishing Control Loss.

Along side all this, I have at the very least 2 other ideas ready to go into pre-production. These are in the pre-preproduction stages as there is just a few odd bits and bobs written down for them. This is also very exciting for me as usually i get all my ideas for future projects while knee deep in another project so i have to log and back log these other ideas to come back to. This is good as you can come bad fresh and better to develop these ideas at a later stage. Also its good as it gives me a library so that when I’m in between projects i have something ready to look through. I also like having 1-3 or more projects on the go so that work flows are quick and production turn-arounds are constant and consistent.

This is pretty much it for now. Thanks for reading.

Please check out: SJLees Media Blog and Control Loss blog

See you next Time. 😀


Blog Of A FilmMaker – Editing’s Gloomy and Bright Days

Hi, It’s been a while.

Currently I am editing the short film Control Loss, which I have written, directed, produced and shot. (here is the link to the film site blog) .

The whole editing process has to be one of my most favourite parts of the whole film making process. Whether it is video editing, colour correction, SFX, CGI and animation, the sound mix or music composition; I just love the whole part and job it and always look forward to it. Yet there is a down side and negative for this part of the job. That is if you are a passionate perfectionist as I am. This dark side is the bit that deludes you that your project is rubbish and poor quality and shows no sign of improving ever. It’s also that depressing anti climax stage where you are like, was it worth all this? What is this thing I’ve made?

However this is perfectly normal, after having gone through this up and down stage a few times during the Control Loss Edit. The reason this happens to some of us, well I speak for me, is that the project is at it’s bare minim and skeleton stage. It never looks as good as the end film. There are many layers and processes that have to be gone through until the edit cycle reaches the next stage. Plus when you are a creative perfectionist everything gets overthought to the nth detail, however big or small the thing or problem, it always seems bigger and never-ending at the first half of the edit stages. There’s a light at the end of this gloomy tunnel though; It gets better, always.

In all the professional film work and professional film work experience I have done, this is always a stage I go through. I would never wish for it to go away though because that dark time or hard time is what pushes me to get the job done. It can put me off doing the work sometimes, however with the darkness and hardship it makes me strive and learn better for the next projects (of which I have a few lined up) in all the areas of filmmaking. It teaches me what I should do to make it slightly easier the next time round or new ways of achieving the same if not better effects. It then forces me to see the good and fun times and drives my adrenaline for the next projects in my minds eye. In fact its always at the end of a shoot / end of pre-production or all the way through an edit when my next ideas come rushing in; or at the most inconvenient times ever to write a note down lol. 🙂

Thanks for reading, join me in my next post where I will discuss the job centre and media careers. Also join me for a near future post on my work in progress and etc.

PS check out:- for all the project updates etc.

Apple IOS 7 Promo video – Promo Video Research

For my current work experience and my own personal media growth, I am researching all kinds of media – mainly video – formats  and genres. Currently I am honing in on promo videos. The one above is the promo video for the IOS 7 for Apple Devices (mainly the iPhone).

At first glance, the video duration is quite long (7 minutes and 30 secs) for a promo video, not too long but long enough for certain audiences to get bored and change videos. If I were to do a promo video, I would cut it down to at most 5 minutes on the dot and at least 30 secs, deepening on the content and other elements.

The content is showing off the latest iPad and iPhone with the new IOS 7 software. They are showing it in use in a variety of ways, including time keeping and notes. They also show animations of the iPad, note book air and iPhone moving round on a white background using different camera focus shots. They then show the software with different backgrounds, icons and apps as week as the newer colour pallets and so forth. They then show variety of users – mainly iPhone – in different locations using various features. This shows the customers and audiences how easy and adaptable it is.

There is clear narration by the 3 top people for the software as well as footage showing off the features of it and using it. It shows how involved the creators are with the audience and app and so on.

The editing rhymes with the music and it all goes together to make the film so much more with feeling of good times and happiness of the evolution of this IOS 7 and its features.

It was very brightly lit and had a lot of warm colouring to it. It was crisp and clear to the eye yet very soothing and uplifting. This was to compose and emphasise more of the happiness of evolution and how great it will be when we get the upgrade.

It was more for a Apple orientated audience as they would use this software and upgrade to it. It was also to an audience of gadget lovers who may now get an Apple iPhone or iPad now for seeing the promo.

The Tudors (S1 e1) – UK TV Research

The other weekend I started watching The Tudors (2007) on Netflix. The Tudors is a British TV drama running for 4 series (seasons), based on the in-depth life of young King Henry VIII. It is a gritty drama portraying the life of the King and other Tudors round him like his wives and right hand men.

I am very interested in historic genre films and TV Shows, Especially to do with kings and Queens.

The first episode, I felt, was truly gripping and a great starting point for the whole show. We are introduced, to us the beginning, but to the characters and the narrative’s world, the middle of an ongoing story. This meant that the audience were thrown right into the narrative and were spirited along as onlookers to a chain of events. The first of the unfolding events is the murder of a court man diplomat by french Soldiers in an Italian or French court. This then sets off a whole chain of balancing the King’s Humanist views and keeping peace as well as the King’s lust for power, glory and rule of France and war.

All the characters, the important characters, were introduced in amongst the quickly unfolding storyline. This meant the audience were thrown into the fast moving world and had to get used to it while being taken from here to there. This could get confusing at times but it took only a short time to get used to it. This suggests to the audience that the narrative will be quick and quickly going from one place to the next. It also shows the atmosphere and the speed of the world of the narrative and characters. It also got the audience accustomed to the characters and the type of characters there will be as well as the general locations.

The sets and locations were very accurate and realistic to the tudor period. This gave the period dram and overall narrative that authentic look and feel. We could see how close to truth this could be. It showed that the researchers in all depts had done very well and gone into the area and period with a fine tooth comb to make it so authentic. Also this is added on by the portrayal of Henry VIII. He is portrayed both in his good ways as well as his bad sides. Yet as the audience we are intrigued by him and feel a connection as we see both his good side and his flaws. As well as this, we know who are the potential good people and who are the potential bent or greedy and bad people. Yet alongside this we see the good and bad of each character so all you see are the potential in each way for each character. This is a good reflection of people in real life rather than the real hero and villain that you get in most films and etc.

Overall the first episode was a good intro to the series to come and shows high potential for the whole drama.

Ashes to Ashes s3 e8 (uk tv research)

Ashes to Ashes is one of the best UK TV shows, airing from 2008 to 2010. It was so good that I have re-watched it at least 2 times now. As I thought back on the live airing (original airing) of the epic finale (s3 e8), it was an epic series ending to a great British drama and the best episode by far.

Even though there wasn’t any epic Hollywood action adventure drama and climax, it was still so dramatic and gripping that it had you almost edging right off the seat. It had 2 story-lines, the detective and crime of the 80s and the figuring out where they all were – how they were in the 80s. This meant there was a lot going on but they tied together at the end.

This worked well as a series as the audience has a crime to solve, and even though it’s not too hard, the audience feels challenged and part of the detective ride and feel fulfilled after it is solved. It always has to be solved as the audience don’t feel a close or satisfaction. Also the on going story and mystery of Sam Tyler and where Alex Drake was and how was a harder question and challenge to solve, so the finale was the big revelation and the big climax. The real ahhhh moment and the real answer everyone kept tuned in for.

It had all our emotions high as the big revelation came fast approaching, and conflicts and tensions were high. This kept the audience on the edge with a variety of emotions to deal with and join in with. This added to the interactive feel of the drama, even though we are looking in as outsiders as the audience.

The twist at the end was really gripping as it was something the audience would not have expected. There were many red herrings and conflicting evidence or circumstances to throw the audience and characters at every turn. So the twist at the end worked well as well as succeeding as a big revelation. It added more fuel to the ready varied emotion and shock pot.

Overall the finale of Ashes to Ashes was by far a huge hit and a tv moment for the history books.

Cooking video tutorials research – US and UK

Today I have been researching cooking & baking video tutorials from the UK and the US (as culturally, we are very similar if not the same).

The link below is of a video on how to make Fondant Icing. The video is around 3 minutes in duration, has no narration, but text with the informative key details and ect. The music is a rather commercial / 90s jazzy type tune that compliments the warm colour grading and warn lighting. It is visually very clear, simple and warm. It has slow paced editing and is complimented and defined by the simple and matching  logo, graphics and homely set up and atmosphere it tried to portray. The homely atmosphere and set up was helped and hammered in more by the cat at the end, making it feel more british.

Cooking Videos Promo video for Schwartz watercress soup

For My Current work experience, I am looking into doing food and kitchen based promotional multi media projects, and i am researching, using sjlees media to do mock up promo videos or trial projects.

The link below is a promo video for water cress soup. It is based heavily in the kitchen location and very well lit. It has com commercial, if cheesy music and lasts for about a minute  to 2 minutes. It is lit very brightly which gives a warm feel, the colours are also vey warm – aka reds. There is very clear and crisp informative narration that does not sound over scripted. All in all it makes a nice little piece through being so short, joyful and simple. It would keep interest, be fun for the audience and inform of important information which would hold in the audience’s head.

I have started setting up a mock up – Sofias kitchen – a play on my real name Sophie. The colour themes are pink and mint green, warmish yet more poppy to appeal to the younger ages.