Campaign (Assignment 3): Recap


So this is my final first year project for the MDA 1400 module. Where has time gone?

But let me start from the beggining: when me and Agne sat down to think of an idea, after our original one didn’t get picked up, we were thinking of doing something that was both simple yet effective. Something that would make sense to be made into a campaign whilst still being easy to film and present.

So that’s where the director came in. She said “So why shouldn’t we make something that addresses the students here at Middlesex?” And then I just thought to myself, ‘Wow, should have thought about that before’. That made us excited to get the project going and so we sat down and started talking about our audience, the message we wanted to transmit and what would be the aim of our campaign and after we carefully decided on each one, it was time to send in our campaign proposal draft, as seen below:

Campaign Proposal

The overview of our campaign film can be seen below:

  • What are you presenting?

I am presenting a campaign film targeted specifically for current and future Middlesex students as to encourage them to put aside their differences and collaborate together in their projects.

  • How did you approach the campaign?

After we decided on the theme for our film, I started researching and the topic that we based ourselves on when thinking of doing the “Collaborate” campaign short film was in following the concept of ‘collaborative learning’. This concept is not new in today’s world but it is something that has been disregarded as one of the best ways to encourage students to work as a group at the same time that it stimulates their interpersonal skills.

Through my research I have understood that students, when put into groups as a way to deal with an assignment given by a teacher, creates a higher quality piece of work than if they were doing it by themselves. Through a study done by Johnson and Johnson’s[i] in 1989 reveals that the benefits of collaborative learning consist of:

  • Increased effort
  • Positive relationships
  • Improved psychological health.

It increases their effort because as soon as the team establishes what their common goal is then they will feel more open to collaborate with each other in order to achieve said goal. This will lead to a more comfortable and open relationship between the team members as they will feel more at ease to discuss new ideas and to say their opinion on another person’s insight, if it’s good or bad. And all of this will lead directly to their psychic health because if a person feels comfortable enough to express himself/herself fully then the fear of judgement will be left behind as they won’t be afraid to showcase their thoughts to the group.

When the group works together it is expected that the members will be honest about each others’ input on the project which contributes to the higher level of demand of the project since they want to accomplish their common goal, they “sink or swim together” (David and Roger Johnson).

Not only will completing this activity contribute to the members’ increased academic effort but it will also build on their self-esteem because they feel more confident in researching and presenting a project after having done so with fellow peers but it also helps in building friendships, when they least expect it, because they eventually find common interest with members from the group which they didn’t know prior to working together.

In conclusion, learning and working as a group demonstrates that “motivation and learning are usually strongly linked to social influences”, since the path the assignment takes is directly influenced by each of the team members’ personal insight and opinion on the matter.

  • What were your aims for the film and did you achieve them?

The main aim was to encourage students to collaborate with each other and we achieved it through having picked different students from different nationalities, backgrounds and courses that show that even though they are so different from one and other, they still need each others’ help in order to succeed.

  • What was the key message for the film and did you get it right?

The message was ‘together we can reach our goals’, and the way we chose to show it in our campaign was through the showing of the two hand holding each other with the phrase ‘Sharing Dreams’ on them and the voice over which clearly finalizes and gives a clear notion of the intention of the campaign with the explanation that even though, in the end, we can all be very different, we still need each others’ help in succeeding in university and ultimately in life.

  • Who was your target audience? How do you intend to reach them? Why should they watch your video?

The target audience is, again, both current and future Middlesex students because we plan to post the film on both the main university page so anyone who is possibly looking into universities, happens to stumble upon the video, he or she might feel more inclined to be part of a university that encourages students to collaborate; and on the UniHub main page so that students that are specifically from this university can watch it as well, since on this part of the site it is focuses specifically on already existing students. Plus, we would like for it to be screened in the main screen at the Grove building as well. All of this was already talked through with a Students Communications Officer from the university and he revealed he is more than happy to help in the promotion of our campaign film not only on these venues but also on Facebook and Twitter.

The techniques we decided to approach this question with, was by having students from a variety of courses, nationalities and different genders showcase their eagerness to accomplish their personal goals as a joint unit. The powerfulness of their voice-overs in combination with smooth close-up shots of each of them individually, which then culminates in their joint long shot and unison voice-over, serves as a way to make the audience relate to them either on both a personal and professional level.

My personal contribution, as a Producer, to the project was more based on the research side of the campaign as well as on the search for the actors, locations and part of the script. As soon as we had an idea of where we wanted to film (specifically in the Grove and in the Quad buildings, respectively) I filled out a filming application so that if any member of staff or security came up to us, I had the necessary documents that gives us permission to shoot in those areas. I also filled out a risk assessment for both locations and created a (realistic) schedule for the whole production. As things moved along, I came in contact with Mantas to be our Director of Photography, which he kindly accepted. With the script underway, I started contacting people that I thought would fit as a part of the campaign and since we wanted to get people who would look and act natural in front of the camera, pretty much any one would do. We dabbled with the idea of just getting unknown students on the day of the shoot but I then decided it could turn out bad since they would be people we didn’t know and it could be hard to orientate them on the spot. We decided to go with friends either from our course or people we knew from the university. The diversity element was well into play with our choices and we were quite happy with the people we eventually got. And our film could not have been done without them, so a big thank you goes to them. The commitment that we need from the people we chose to be part of the film was that they needed to be available for two days, one for the shoot and another for the sound recording for the voice-overs. After they all confirmed they could, I came into contact with Peter Williams so that I could book the recording studio. He was a trooper and the sound recording went really well and even after the actors and Agne left, I still worked a bit more with Peter specifically on my voice-overs and we actually created my last recording on the film. Overall the shoot was easy and fun, because when working with friends you end up with a lot of blooper reel!

Now onto Agne’s, the Director, contribution to the assignment: she focused on the creative part of the campaign, specifically on the style and approach, the script and storyboard. She talked me through what she wanted to portray visually and after I gave her the thumbs up, Her vision was something I felt was achievable in the time, and budget, limit we had so I liked it. She also was the one who went into contact with music students from the university because she really wanted to use original music that would fit into what she had envisioned and also so that we wouldn’t suffer from copyright infringement. So the song we have in our film is totally thanks to Agne for getting an awesome singer/songwriter from the Popular Music course, to lend us her material for our campaign.

Me and Agne throughout this project, worked quite well together because we listened to each others’ points of view and opinions. There were a couple of instances, as it is normal, that we didn’t agree with each others’ ideas and got a bit stumped but we then took a step back and readjusted ourselves. What made for that readjustment was the need to look at ‘the bigger picture’, in the sense that it was very important to both of us to search for the best theme we wanted our campaign to focus on because that is the only way it would work. We discussed ideas after we decided on the theme we wanted to present and from that moment on, we discussed every idea all the way until post-production. From the choice of actors to the script to the choice in song to the pace of the slow motion of the clips. It was an enjoyable experience and I wouldn’t mind working with her again in the future.

Now the final questions that were proposed to us are:

  • Did you achieve what you set out to do?

I believe we did, because our film shows the clear aim of intending to stimulate students to collaborate with each other. It is shown through each of the students’ words of encouragement and the sincere look in their eyes.

  • What have you learned in the process of making this film?

One of the main things that I would say I have learned is from the time I spent in the recording studio both when Agne, Peter and all five of the actors were there. I felt comfortable being in there, giving directions, making sure everyone said their lines correctly and just being confident in what I say and do. And I learned that the best sets are those where, in between takes, you can just goof around and just make the best out of it because that sense of happiness and fun will show up on camera.


List of production documents:

Filming Application

Risk Assessment

Shooting Schedule

A couple of photos I took during production:

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And the list of resources I used for my research:

The Journey To Excellence: Research Summary – Collaborative Learning


Here’s to an awesome year and hopefully more to come!




Ad (Assignment 2): Final thoughts



So this week we finally presented our ad assignment! I was quite excited because I was actually quite proud of what me and my team mate produced. First of all, I was paired up with Agne and she assumed the role of the producer and I assumed the role of the Director, for the first time. When we decided which roles each of us would play, I was nervous yet excited because I knew that I wanted to try out being the director because I felt it was something that I need to do and that it would give me the opportunity to have my creative ideas be more ‘in the open’, so to speak. So when we settled on the roles, we then delved into the topic of which product we would want to make an ad about, and after a a somewhat brief discussion, we decided on doing it about the Marks & Spencers brand, primarily the food department. And the fact that Agne actually works in the company made it even more easy to decide on this as our focus for the film.

After this I then came down to actually writing down the script and storyboard and Agne was in the search of locations and actors. Our first idea was to make the 30 second ad about a family who when eating by themselves, they felt free to do so with no inhibitions or embarrassment, but when eating together as a family unit they felt repressed about showing who they ‘really were’. But after much discussion in class with Helen, we decided that we needed to change our idea to one much more simpler and easy to portray, so that is where the idea of the ‘food porn’, if you will, came to be.

I thought that best way to make an effective ad would be to follow the simpler and more obvious route of inspiring myself on the ads that M&S has done for years and draw from that my inspiration to do our short film.

Now onto the actual filming process: we started shooting in my kitchen on a Thursday and the shoot lasted around 4 hours, give or take, and it was quite smooth and easy. Easy because the communication lines between me and my Producer were always open to new suggestions and ideas, so that we could experiment with different things.



Ad stills.

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Production photos.

The materials we used for the shoot were:

  • Lighting equipment
  • Canon 600D
  • Laptop
  • And the props were:
  • Food
  • White plate
  • Fork
  • Black card boards
  • Toppings (Olive oil, grated cheese and sugar)

And after our shooting, we knew we needed to do a voice-over so Agne was able to find Jess, that was eager to help out, to be our voice in the film. And after I booked the recording studio with Peter Thomas (who I owe a special thanks to for helping us out so much!) we delved into shooting the voice-over which consisted of take after take after take of the different lines from the script being said over and over again until we got the best out of all of them. And one thing that I actually wasn’t thinking would happen was the fact that I actually had to rewrite a few lines because when we actually heard them being spoken, they didn’t quite make sense to the images and what we wanted to portray so it was very helpful to have gone through those changes and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. So a big thanks to Jess for being the awesome voice and Peter Thomas for lending us his insight (and time) into the magical world of sound. We couldn’t have done it without you guys.

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Recording studio time.


And here is the script for the ad.

The Grammar Of The Edit: Client Pitch


In this class me and my Producer pitched our idea of the ad assignment with the help of our mood board that we had done a few days earlier.

The production of the mood board was a really fun one as well as she were able to discuss all that we wanted to put into it beforehand. And it ended up a cool looking mood board for a couple of first timers.


Now onto the client pitching, me and Agne had written down all the wanted to cover in the pitch but I think that we might have over-prepared a bit because we were a bit fast explaining all that we wanted to do and achieve and that contributed a bit to the confusion of some of the people from the course, and our teacher said that we were possibly over complicating our idea and that we should simplify.

So after this quite helpful feedback we made quite a few changes to our idea and are now finishing the final details prior to starting filming.


Ad brief: Assignment

John Lewis Christmas ad - video


Today we were briefed on the 30 second ad assignment that we are due to do in a very short period. So we spent most of today’s class looking at multiple successful (and some not so much) advertisements so we would have an idea of what we need to accomplish.

One of the one’s we saw is one of John Lewis’s Christmas campaign that had a tremendous success last year all over the UK:

We saw that some of the most important messages that this ad transmits to the audience is:

  • Nostalgia
  • Happiness

Which are messages that can reach anyone of any age.



So near the end of class, we were paired up in pairs of two that would again follow in the roles of Producer and Director. I was paired up with Agne, which I never worked with before, and afterwards we sat down and started discussing on what we wanted to do, but not before we decided on which roles each of us would play.

We sat out with the idea of representing the Marks & Spencers brand, specifically within the food department and we are now deep in the pre-production process and will most likely after we receive feedback on it when we present it to our teacher and course mates.

But I can say that we are excited to get this show on the road!

MDA 1400: “Personal Space” (Assignment 1)



In this post I will go through what happened and what I learned during filming of our recent short film assignment for the new module MDA 1400 Production Theory and Practice. I will start off just recapping what we needed to do in this project, full description in this post:

  1. Do a short film based on our understanding of ‘space’.
  2. Work in teams of two.
  3. Get it done and by 6th February.

Yeah, that’s basically it.

So after we re-decided on what we wanted to do (because our original idea was quite different), we got on to finding a location and an actress which ended up being a friend of the Director (let’s nickname her D, so it won’t be that repetitive!) from my group and the location was the actress’s dorm room in Usher Halls. From the moment we got into the room with the heavy lighting equipment, tripod, camera and clapper board, we had to figure out where to put them, how and where to set up the lights so D could get the best shots out of the scenes we needed. After we did that, I started setting up the lights and D started going through the settings on the camera, I discovered that one of the future fill lights had absolutely no barn doors whatsoever. I can say, sarcastically, that that proved to be some happy times for myself. We fooled around with only the key light for a while, trying different positions of both the light and the camera, only to discover that could not shoot it with only that light due to poor lighting conditions which resulted also in a lot of shadows on the actress. So I came up with the idea of using the no barn doors light and used the actress’s pillow case over it so it would act as a light diffuser. And no I did not just throw the pillow case onto the hot light, but I did hold it at a safe distance from it during the entire shoot. I call that commitment. I proceeded to point the light to the wall, then with the pillow case acting as a diffuser, the light bounced off the wall and into the actress which made us figure out that it actually looked good on the camera’s monitor so we went with it.


Photos of the location prior we began shooting.

Production schedule

‘Personal Space’ Risk Assessment

Production documents.

It was around a 3/3.5 hours shoot, and it was tiring. But by the end of the day we were content with what we had and under the circumstances with the lighting equipment, we felt that we did our best. So then on the 4th February (we shot it on the 2nd February), we spent pretty much the whole afternoon in the Edit Suite, editing our film away and only finished it on the 6th.

Overall it was an enjoyable experience, and I can say that I learned a lot from it, mostly dealing with the lighting equipment which made me quite proud that I remembered a way we could still make the most out of lighting our location as well as the fact that I edited our film, having only learned the basics of editing during our time in the editing suite thanks to two awesome friends of mine. Thanks guys, couldn’t have done it without your help as well. And in the two next days, I edited most of it with no help. So I liked this experience.

Personal Space (credits)

Canon 650D: Induction



So today we ventured into the land of DSLR magic, with our induction on the Canon 650D. I was quite excited because I had worked with a previous model in a previous shoot and was quite fond of it, and since then I have been studying up on my DSLR’s so you could say I was looking forward for this tutorial.

We basically talked about all the basic features that we needed to know in order to get good footage which meant learning all that we need to learn about the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. The various lenses we could use was also a hot topic in today’s class and I have to say that I quite liked knowing how different lens sizes can give different effects to a shot.


From this induction, I learned mostly more about the different lenses we could use as to give the desired effect we might be looking for and that was quite interesting.

Module induction and “Space” assignment


In this class we mostly talked about what our new Module Handbook contained, future workshop opportunities and were given the brief regarding the new “Space” assignment due on 6th February.

This assignment that in groups of two, one being the Producer and the other the Director, create a 2-5 minutes short film about what is our personal idea of space. Meaning, what is our own interpretation of what space can be and to portray that accurately on screen. This can be intellectual space, cyberspace, any thoughts relating to darkness, loneliness, observation, amongst others. It is also part of the brief the fact that we need to find our own crew by ourselves and that we need to document all that we’ve done in our blogs. Well… At least of one those I can already scratch out of my list. So from here we were randomly paired up and I choose the Producer role and my colleague the Director role. After the class finished we both sat down and started trying out different ideas and interpretations until we finally decided upon a story that we both enjoyed. The only real downside from this is that we only have one week to shoot and edit it to completion! This will prove to be a challenge indeed.