ORANGE GIRL: Meeting about 1st script draft issues

Today, me and Jonas met for the first time after he finished the first draft of the script and since the overall result of it was not something I felt right to the storyline, we wanted to discuss it before we had a meeting with Helen, later in the day.

The issues I had with this draft of the script were that not only did the script not make sense with what we’ve been discussing prior but also we it lacked the climax (being the secret that Aiste shares with Jonas) as well as it sounding more like a drama than a documentary.

During the meeting I laid out again and more firmly what I felt the script had it wrong and what was lacking and managed to explain my point of view on it and what I felt needed to be changed and/or improved on.

Jonas obviously defended his script but also understood where I was coming from.

The issue that we are now facing goes again back to the ethics that revolves around having someone, this being Aiste, discussing their on-going and still very present issue of possessing and suffering from an eating disorder.

Jonas tells me she might not feel comfortable having that being discussed with him let alone on film, which raises the issue of that being an integral part of the documentary in and of itself.

So, my idea is to have a back plan on what we can use as a replacement in the storyline that will help us when we are on location shooting the film.

After we meet Helen, later today, I’ll blog about her thoughts and the feedback we get to effectively do these changes in the best way possible.


ORANGE GIRL: 1st script draft + potential sound operator

I’ve been discussing with Jonas, for a while, the notion of how we wanted our story to be presented on screen. This is something that’s been discussed thoroughly throughout the various meeting we’ve had thus far.

And because there are so many ways the story could be told, as soon as we decided on whose point of view it would be told through, slowly the rest started to fall into place.

We knew we wanted it to be told through Jonas’ POV, to have various archival material (photographs/videos of Aiste, home movies of hers, video recordings of both of them together, etc), to shoot in Lithuania where they met, and for their relationship to be showcased in all its truthfulness.

So from there, I gave Jonas the deadline of sending me until tonight the 1st script draft, so we could decide together if this was the way we wanted the story to go or if we needed to have some changes on how it should be told.

I have also been on the hunt of a really good sound operator to come on this journey with us and initially Peter Williams showed a big interest in the project but later, me and him discovered that his schedule was incompatible with the time we planned on filming so he advised me Martin (from the loan store) as a replacement.

We exchanged a few emails and he is quite keen to be part of this project as well and the only potential issue that he’s facing is the need to find someone who can do his shift during our week of shooting, so he can commit to us fully.

I gave him until the end of next week, to tell me if he is able to be part of this project. If not, I am moving to plan B.

BAD COFFEE: Crowdfunding ideas + 4th script draft

Today I had a meeting with Andrija, my director, as I wanted to discuss the possibility of enhancing our idea of doing crowdfunding for our film with the addition of a ‘fan-made’ trailer (if you will), of how we envision the story to be.

This idea came after yesterday’s crowdfunding workshop where it was introduced to our entire class, the MDX Crowdfunding platform and how we can use it to reach not only students from our course, but the entire university body along with potential alumni.

This peaked my interest, as we need all the help we can get!

So, I discussed with her the idea of creating a trailer where we could used clips of different films and TV shows where we could introduce the characters of Tuck and Ashley (through the use of other characters of other film/TV series) and showcase their relationship, how it evolves and eventually disintegrates. This could peak not only the audience’s interest but also make them eager to participate, in whatever way possible, in helping this film come to life.

I then enlisted this assignment to Andrija and Mariana, the editor, to have it done in a week’s time – 4th December.

Plus, we already have a 4th draft of the script.

BAD COFFEE: 2nd draft script

Yesterday I had my second meeting with Andrija in regards to the 1st draft script we worked, that I mentioned in the last post, and it was an insightful two and a half hours just running by the script and seeing what could/needed to be changed and what was good and we wanted to keep.

At first, me and Andrija had different views on what should be changed from the script as she was very attached to the original story that her writer came up with but bit by bit we came to an understanding and realized that there were some parts that could be optimized and enhanced.

This was already the 2nd draft we were looking at and the parts that still were a bit of an issue to me were the scenes, right at the beginning and then is a recurrence throughout it, where Tuck is still seen talking to herself. I’ve always felt that if we were to showcase her doing that, then the tone of the film would already be set from the get go and Tuck would either be seen as someone who suffers from a mental disorder or that the audience would quite easily later on realize that she should actually be talking to Ashley. And that is something I felt needed to be “under wraps”, so to speak, for a little while longer to leave the audience wondering for just a little while longer!

The next thing that we eventually had to come to a consensus was that Andrija wanted, very much so, to keep in the story the location of the coffee shop as she felt it was fundamental to the story and good break in between the other locations used. Whereas I felt, at the start, that we could easily change that location and make the actions that happen there, happen at Tuck’s house.

But the settlement we found is that we nearly eliminate all of the “walking path” scenes, leaving it to just one in the whole story, which overall minimizes the amount of locations we’d need in the script and would give us some extra time that we could spend on any of the other locations.

Another issue we tackled was that in this new draft, more characters were introduced which again I felt like it would just take away from Tuck and Ashley’s storyline so we managed to cut them down a bit.

As of right now, our new updated of the script are very exciting and we both are liking where the story is headed!

Fifty Shades Of Grey: Film


I eventually saw the film earlier than I anticipated because two of my lovely girl friends bought me a ticket (and popcorn!) and made it a girls night out event for which I am so grateful!

So to say that I was eager to see the film translation of the book was one of the biggest understatements of this year thus far! To the point that I was already squirming in my seat of giddy schoolgirl excitement even before the trailers began rolling.

But now onto the juicy part of this post, the actual review. Again this post represents only my opinions and points of view on what I felt the movie portrayed. If you prefer to, beforehand, read my book review then just click here. 

  • Pace

The very first thing I noticed was that for the first 30 minutes of the film, the pace of it was very quick. Too quick. From the brief introduction of the Christian and Anastasia to Kate’s brief appearance all the way to Anastasia and Christian’s first kiss happened, in what felt like, a blink of an eye. Both me and one of my friends were surprised at how fast everything was happening. I completely understand that when a book, that is hundreds of pages long, is adapted to a screenplay format that things get changed or go missing or get completely revamped. But I felt that because of that, precious details were lost.

Like how Kate is so overprotective of Anastasia almost as a big sister would be or how sexually charged the environment is on the morning after Anastasia was drunk and Christian brought her to his house and they had breakfast together. Or how they talked so much more before the idea of the contract even took place.



  • Cheesy (ness)

A couple of times, some of the lines would feel either too sudden or too cliché. Sometimes both. Like the screenwriter just threw them in there because there was no space anywhere else in the storyline. For example, the moment Anastasia tells Christian that to be an English Literature student, you have to be a romantic, which leads him to just suddenly ditch everything and decides that their coffee date is over. Or when, right after that, he saves Anastasia from being run over by a bicycle rider and he, first of all, just immediately puts his hand on her cheek when they are not that well acquainted yet and then proceeds to say something along the lines of “I’m not the man for you.”  Seriously, the only thing missing was rain and the sound of a quartet playing in the background.

And my ‘favourite’ one is when, out of the blue, he says to Ana “If you were mine, you wouldn’t walk for a week” which felt completely sudden and out of context (and I can vouch that the rest of the audience members felt the same way) and then leans over the bed and takes a bite of her toast. It felt too porn style cheesy to be sexy, to be honest.




  • Belt whipping

This scene was by far the one I was most petrified about because when I read it, I remember feeling a wave of disgust wash over me as I felt the pain of every lash he inflicted, alongside Anastasia. And as both a woman and a feminist, I was not comfortable with that. And seeing it on screen just made it worse. I felt very conflicted about it long after the film ended and the credits were rolling. Part of me understands that Ana decided to let him ‘go at it’ because she wanted to see how far he would actually go and then when she realized what that actually meant she preferred to not give him the satisfaction of saying the safe word to make him stop. Part of her wanted to endure it for him and for herself, to make herself believe that she could do it. But then another part of me, that is still mildly dictated by what society keeps yelling in my ears, is that that scene at a first glance/impression is abuse. Everyone has their own opinions about it and this is just mine. But I commend Dakota and Jamie for having the belief and courage to bring that scene to life in the best way possible because they believed that the audiences would understand the undertones and the motives behind it. So kudos.



Now onto the parts that I enjoyed:

  • Sex scenes

To be honest, I enjoyed the sex scenes because of they way they were shot. The DoP, Seamus McGarvey, made them look so elegant and artistically beautiful in a way that made them feel intimate, as a viewer on the outside of it. As any sex scene should be. I never got the feeling that those scenes were cheap or trashy. Even whilst Dakota was fully unclothed and tied to a bed being flogged. I didn’t feel like she was diminished or degraded. But actually she looked empowered because she was at the end of receiving pleasure from Christian. It was comfortable to watch, in a weird way. And yes, it was hot. There I said it. Now shut up about it. Let’s move on.




  • Anastasia’s portrayal

One thing that I was fervently hoping for but at the same time, I wasn’t sure would happen was that Dakota would bring more ‘life’ to Anastasia’s character, And I am glad to say that that was exactly what happened! She was sassy, funny and sexy when she needed to be. I felt that Dakota brought an inner strength and independence to the character that was lacking in the book which led to the showcase of the beginning stages of the woman Anastasia was always meant to be. For example, when she clearly broke his ‘no drinking’ rule when with her mother in Georgia and unashamedly cites the article and paragraph of the rule from the contract; how she controlled the atmosphere in the negotiation scene leading to a power shift between her and Christian and, my favourite part, when she stood up for herself, keeping her head high and not shedding a single tear when she left him. Which lead him to go after her and the moment she tells him “No!”, without breaking eye contact and he simply stops and becomes rooted to the floor. I was either doing thumbs up or heart shapes when that was happening like the fan girl that I am. #noshame



  • Christian’s vulnerability

I felt that Jamie brought new levels of emotion to Christian Grey. There were a few glimpses here and there throughout the film that made it more understandable why he is the way he is. For example, when he tells her the truth about his biological mother, unable to look at her, even though she is silently asleep; when he tries and fails to contain his fear turned to anger when Anastasia confronts him about his issue of being touched or his facial expression after he belts Anastasia and she looks at him like he is a sick bastard, a monster, and he just looks like a ‘little lost boy’ with nowhere to go, no where to run and no one to go to. I felt like it was believable how throughout the movie, it become more and more visible the tiny chinks in Christian’s armour slowly made themselves shown and he starts to slowly lose his precious self control.




There is a lot more that I could say but then this post would be even bigger than it already is!

I’d say it was enjoyable regardless of it’s negative points but very little films are completely all positive so that being said I would watch it again.

Rating: 7/10
DISCLAIMER: The photos shown in this blog post are not mine.

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!



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.