Brandon – Arts Award Portfolio

Brandon – Arts Award Portfolio

Brandon was supported by Keith Phillips, the project Arts Award Advisor for Ideal Films, and Geraldine King, his teacher at St Luke’s School. This portfolio was compiled by Keith Phillips using students original work.

This project was made possible by the generous support of our funders:

Into Film

Arts Award

Swindon Borough Council

part A: explore the arts as a participant

Brandon’s description of arts activity

We started with story development. We wrote ideas on pieces of paper and we put together the story for the film.

We all took part in writing the script.

We went on Amazon and we all chose the costumes together and ordered them. The costumes were okay.

Then we started filming. I was the cameraman. I should’ve had one of those chairs like they have on proper film set. I may not be the director. But I should have had one that says genius!

It was the first time I ever did filmmaking.

Keith showed us how to film with the iPads. To be honest I rested it on my knee so it was easier to balance.

I liked filming outside in the nice weather.

It was funny when everyone else did the fake hand guns. And then there was Tiberius! He looked like he had a rocket launcher!

(scribed by Geraldine King)

Evidence of participation

Brandon working out the story with the team

Front right, red hoodie

Story laid out on index cards

Scribed by Arts Award Advisor

Brandon filming the security guards

Left, light blue t-shirt

Brandon with the crew reviewing one of their first shots

Left, red hoodie

Brandon on editing team

Farthest right

Brandon on editing team

Having the editing projected on the big screen meant everyone could participate in editing and contribute ideas.

We arranged for the team to show their film at the local Cineworld to an audience made up of their teachers, family and friends. The event was attended by Sophie Critchlow, south-west representative of national film education charity Into Film.

It was also attended by the Swindon Advertiser, who wrote up a nice piece in their paper: Silver screen success for St Luke’s film makers

Sophie Critchlow from Into Film congratulates the students

Brandon is right at the back

Sophie hands out goody bags

Brandon is on the right

Photo from Swindon Advertiser

Brandon is in the middle of the back row

Brandon’s summary of what he learnt and how his skills improved

I learned:

  • how to hold the iPad
  • how to tap the screen to focus it
  • getting the right picture
  • panning with running actors

I gave up on running with the camera, because I couldn’t do it right. I kept on filming the floor. I swear it looked like a pavement movie!

Callum did the editing. He was excellent at that. I helped with a bit of the editing, but I got bored and went on the slither.io.

I enjoyed seeing the film at the cinema and the free ice cream.

I enjoyed doing filming during school so much, I thought it would be even better doing it after school in the Film Club. It was easier to film after school – we didn’t have all the distractions of all the other kids running around.

Kids in St. Luke’s don’t get the chance to do stuff like this.

(scribed by Geraldine King)

part B: explore the arts as an audience member

On 8 December 2016, students were taken to a screening of Elstree 1976. This is a feature documentary about the original Star Wars film, examining the roles of some of the more prominent extras. This was an event screening, with pre-show entertainment featuring a cosplay Stormtrooper, and a Q&A afterwards with the film’s producer, director and sound recordist and three of the actors who were featured in the film.

Brandon doesn’t like having his picture taken so he elected not to be any of the photos we took that evening.

Brandon's wrist band for the event

The filmmakers and actors were interviewed

Then there was a Q&A

Brandon’s reflection on the event

Going to the film screening, we were unsure what the film would really be about. And after twenty minutes, we were wondering when the film was actually going to start. We stood in the foyer alongside a Stormtrooper and a group of older Star Wars fans.

Eventually, we were given front row seats and the film began.

The film started with interviews of the ‘extras’ – the people who generally mean nothing to the everyday film viewer. However, to a Star Wars fanatic, these extras were highly interesting. One of the extras actually became a main character. This was David Prowse who became Darth Vader. He is an actor from Bristol so he sounded nothing like an intergalactic villain – more like a farmer.

Once again, we wondered when the film would actually start – but this was the film. Interviews and yet more interviews. But, to be fair there were some funny stories such as the actor who was a pilot for the rebellion. He was blown up by Darth Vader. He said that he would have had to become a male prostitute if he hadn’t got the extras work on Star Wars. That made me laugh out loud.

Eventually, the torture was over (the seats were very hard!) and we were given the opportunity to interview the Director and three extras – two men and a woman.

Overall, it was OK.

(scribed by Geraldine King)

part C: arts inspiration

Brandon worked with his teacher, Geraldine King, to research his arts inspiration, finding information and photos online.

Here’s the report he produced.

Ever since I was 5 years of age I have loved Yu-Gi-Oh cards. I remember seeing the posters advertising Yu-Gi-Oh at Game Station and I just loved the artwork and colours.

Kazuki Takahashi was born on October 4th 1961 in Tokyo Japan. He is a talented artist who achieved success without having a college degree.

Initially, he worked on a magazine but it was when he designed the gaming cards that he achieved much success.

As a child, Takahashi liked to draw, but did not start taking his talent seriously until he started putting manga together when he was in high school.

When he was 19, he entered one of his manga stories into a competition and won! Although this was the beginning of his career, he was rejected many times over the next ten years.

(scribed by Geraldine King)

part D: arts skills share

Explanation of their activity and why they chose it

All planning was done verbally.

Brandon and the rest of the group decided that the obvious thing was for them to share their skills of filmmaking with iPads.

They talked about whether to deliver a lesson to a group of Y7 students or to some of their teachers. In the end, they decided they would prefer to deliver a lesson to some of their teachers, with the aim of persuading them that it would be a good idea for the school to buy some iPads so they could do more filmmaking in the future. They felt that iPads would make English lessons better, since they find filmmaking more accessible than writing. They also thought teaching their teachers would be more convenient because they were now doing their filmmaking club after school. So their teacher arranged for them to teach filmmaking to a pair of her colleagues.

Brandon’s description of the planning

As a group, we talked about what we could teach the teachers. We decided to use film as we knew we would enjoy that.

We also hoped that if the teachers enjoyed using iPads, they might think about buying one or two for school use.

I taught filming because I’ve picked up a lot of skills over the past year. Callum taught editing.

(scribed by Geraldine King)

The group weren’t sure exactly how to go about devising a filmmaking lesson, so I told them about a simple exercise I often use with pairs of students to introduce them to filmmaking. The exercise gives the participants a clear structure to follow and allows each student to have a go at filming, acting and editing.

Rather than have me try to explain the exercise, the team elected to have a go at it for themselves.

Brandon filming for their go at the exercise

This was to get to know it as preparation for teaching it

Here’s what they produced.

Evidence of the activity

Brandon explained how to use the iPad's camera

Focussing by tapping on the screen

Brandon's students started to get to grips with how it works

They managed to focus on a piece of paper

But then they found the front camera and started taking selfies

More selfies!

Just like regular overexcited students!

Then it was time to shoot their actual film

Mrs Lowndes didn't really get that she had to hold the camera horizontally for video!

Camera operator and young tutor find the shot hilarious!

Once they'd got the camera straight, they filmed the action

Here’s the short film the teachers produced.

Brandon’s reflection on how it went

I thought it went well as I could see that the teachers were enjoying being filmed and having to make up a story ‘on the spot’ which is what they expect us to do and it isn’t easy – but having the use of a camera makes it easier rather than writing. When Mrs. Lowndes improvised the drama, she shouted ‘Cowabunga’ which made me laugh and I found it difficult to keep the camera still.

In the end, it was a good film – short and funny and the teachers are now keen to use film in their lessons.

I learned that even teachers mess around sometimes with an iPad, as they kept taking selfies to start with and we had to tell them off!

In future, I would get them to teach another two teachers and then we would know if they had learned anything.

I enjoyed the ‘special effects’ of the settee being raised. It made me laugh when I spotted Callum’s feet.

Overall, it was very successful. We just need some iPads in school now.

(scribed by Geraldine King)