All of you should now have received your individual feedback sheet for 264MC: Short Film Production with has been e-mailed to you by the person who marked it. If you have not received it, please e-mail Steve (email@example.com) and I will send it by return. University guidelines state that we should get feedback to you within three weeks: you received yours within two weeks at the verbal feedback sessions last week: this is your permanent record of tjhat feedback. You should make sure that you really read and understand the feedback. If you do, it will improve your marks significantly in future modules.
In addition to your individual feedback, there is some generic feedback that we would give you. This is feedback that applies to almost all groups so, even if there is one item that does not apply to you or your group, the majority of it will. So, again, you must take really good notice of this and act upon it in future assignments. The generic feedback points are as follows:
- Most groups did not read the brief properly. The brief required you to produce a film that was “ready for distribution”. What that meant was a video ready for uploading to the internet and a DVD. Many groups provided CD’s with no film on or films that did not play and DVDs with scrawled titles (or no titles) on the disc and in cases with none of the professional information on (such as running time, aspect ratio etc.) at all. This is not professional and, strictly speaking, should have meant that all but one group failed the module. You must read the brief and understand what is being asked of you.
- Poor presentation of folders. A related problem was that the presentation of the group folders was poor. You were asked to clearly label them with the name of your group, group members, your group blog address and the URL of your video. Again, only one group provided all the required information. This is important: if our first impression of your work is that it is shoddy, then we approach the marking of it in a negative frame of mind rather than a positive one. Professionally too, if the presentation is poor, it will not be taken seriously by anyone in the industry.
- Content of folders. We gave you clear guidance on the blog of what production documentation you needed to provide (drafts of outline, treatment, script, storyboard, risk assessment and recce sheets, shoting schedules, edit logs etc.). Only two groups provided all the documentation, no groups provided drafts of those documents (so that we could see how they had changed from draft to draft) and some groups provided none of the documentation. Some people lost quite a few marks here.
- Poor research. The learning outcomes of the module required you to provide evidence of contextual research to show that you understood the filed of media production that you were working within. Most groups did this quite poorly. The research was too brief (often poor reviews of only one or two films), too generic (it was not related in any way to your own ideas), too descriptive (there was no analysis or reflection as required) and was too web-based (there were no books read or cited at all). This was where lots of people lost lots of marks.
- Blogs. It was clear from the dates on the blog posts that many people had completed all of their blogs (both group and individual) at the end of the module. The point about blogs is that they are on on-going, reflexive record of the process that you went through and allow other people to see, and comment upon, that process. If you do your blogs at the end, then the blog does neither of those things and so is almost a waste of your time. It is impossible at the end of a long and difficult process to remember exactly what went on eight or nine weeks ago and so your learning is seriously compromised and you get lower marks. Most of the blogs tended to be much too descriptive, rather than reflexive or analytical as required.
- Felt like student films. The brief was a professional one but many of the films and the production folders felt like student work. By that, we mean that there was little attempt to professionally brand your film and production documentation with a production company and logo. It makes a massive difference to people’s perception of your work if it looks professional from the off with a nice ident at the front of the film which is repeated on each piece of documentation. More importantly, they did not feel like there was any future to the film: by that, we mean that it did not feel that you ever expected your film to be seen outside the University. Many had no credits (or insufficient ones) and there was no press kit as would be required of a film going to a professional destination such as a festival. You must keep polishing your film until it shines, even if it is a turd (see You Can Polish a Turd on YouTube).
This was a good year on this module. There were no really duff ideas, some very good ideas and some great ones but, like most years, the realization of those ideas was the thing that let them down. If you are really serious about film-making, you should either carry on polishing your films so they are ready to have a professional future even though the module has now finished or, especially if you are stuck for something to do for Professional Experience next term, shoot the films again but this time properly.
Good luck with your Professional Experience, whatever it is, and see you in May for the final module of the year: 202MC: Rethink, React, Respond.