How to make an Into Film Award winning film

07 Nov 2017

8 mins
How to make an Into Film Award winning film

Each year the Into Film Awards seek to celebrate the breadth and depth of young filmmaking talent across the UK, as well as honouring particularly successful Into Film Clubs and leaders. Submissions for the 2018 Into Film Awards are already open, but to find out what goes into the making of a winning film, we caught up with one of 2017's winners.

Meurig Hughes is a teacher at Ysgol Cefn Coch in Wales, where a group of young filmmakers triumphed in the Best Live Action: 12 and Under category with their fantastic comedy/thriller Ysbryd (Ghost). Below, Meurig details the process of creating their film, and what both winning and attending the Into Film Awards meant to the young filmmakers. Want to be a part of it all this year? Get creating and enter the Into Film Awards today!

With no filmmaking knowledge, the task of creating a short film with a group of 10 year olds was fairly daunting, but it has been one of the most inspiring and fascinating things I have ever done as an educator. Like Alice entering Wonderland, I found a whole new world of adventure, intrigue and possibilities in the classroom. So, let's go down the rabbit hole and see how one teacher and a class of students were able to win a prestigious Into Film award on a low budget using an old smartphone and some green screen.

In the words of Alfred Hitchcock, "To make a great film you need three things the script, the script and the script." This was the cornerstone of our project. We took our time developing the story, looking at Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, and delving into the characters and their back stories. The students collaboratively developed the script and once it was finished, everybody was assigned into groups based on their interests and talents.

We had a group of cameramen and editors, a group of visual effects artists, another group for sound and lighting, and another for costume and design. A group of directors went through and distributed the excellent filmmaking resources provided by Into Film. They also scouted for locations and held auditions for the acting roles. Our cameramen and editors watched clips from various films, making notes on cuts and transitions and taking pictures of any interesting camera movements and angles.

The special effects team researched software and looked for tutorials online on how to create the necessary visual effects. The sound and lighting team listened to movies and their scores and foleys, discussing how the sounds and colours made them feel and how this could be applied to our film. They also scoured the internet for royalty free music and sound effects. The costume and prop designers would collect recycled waste and turn it into prototypes for costumes and gadgets.

Next we all worked together on a storyboard, carefully crafting each frame from the ideas and expertise the students had gathered. Once the storyboard was in place, filming could begin. We worked through each frame and filmed over a number of weeks, usually after school when we had the place to ourselves.

When filming was finished, the footage was transferred to the editors, visual effects crew and sound designers, who put everything together and added the finishing touches. The film was then shown to the whole crew, who would make notes on any changes they thought necessary.

From the outset, the project encouraged hard work and creativity, with the children having a sense of ownership and togetherness throughout. Each individual had a purpose, every role was important and everyone felt needed.

The most fascinating thing for me was seeing the wealth of skills developed by the students and the way the project would delve into different areas of the curriculum. We used a virtual learning environment where students would constantly share ideas, pictures and links during and after school hours, discussing everything from the plot, characters and subtext to the music, tempo and mood. They would spend hours dissecting shot compositions and were riveted by the subtleties of lighting and foley. When creating visual effects in a three dimensional space they would chat about the X, Y and Z planes, and would happily discuss concepts like velocity, mass and gravity when creating particle emitters in a particle simulator. The list goes on.

Thanks to Into Film, children from a small school in Wales were able to make a film on a smartphone and get themselves onto the red carpet in London's Leicester Square, something they would never have dreamt possible a year ago. It has been an amazing experience where the students developed a wealth of skills and knowledge in many areas of the curriculum, gaining confidence while having fun on a journey they will never forget. As Walt Disney once said, "All of our dreams can be realised, if we have the courage to follow."

Bob blwyddyn cynhelir Gwobrau Into Film er mwyn dathlu cyfoeth ac ystod ffilmiau gan bobl ifanc ar draws Prydain ynghyd a dathlu gwaith caled aelodau ac arweinwyr clybiau ledled y DU. Gellir gwneud cais ar gyfer un o wobrau Into Film 2018 yma, ond cyn mynd ati I wneud cais beth am ddysgu mwy am sut aeth un ysgol o Gymru ati I ennill gwobr am ei ffilm arbennig nôl yn 2017. 

Meurig Hughes o Ysgol Cefn Coch, Gwynedd fu'n gyfrifol am arwain y myfyrwyr drwy'r broses o greu'r ffilm a gipiodd y wobr am Ffilm Fyw Orau'r gowbrau am y ffilm gomedi/iasol ‘Ysbryd'. Isod y mae Meurig yn mynd drwy'r broses o greu'r ffilm gyda'r myfyrwyr ac yn sôn am bwysigrwydd ac effaith eu llwyddiant yn y gowbrau ar y gwneuthurwyr ffilm ifanc. Beth am ichi fynd ati hefyd a gwneud cais ar ran eich clwb neu ysgol yma.

Heb unrhyw wybodaeth am greu ffilmiau, roedd y dasg o greu ffilm fer gyda grŵp o blant 10 oed ychydig yn frawychus, ond bu'n un o'r pethau mwyaf diddorol, llawn ysbrydoliaeth, a wnes i erioed fel addysgwr. Fel Alice yn mynd i mewn i Wonderland, fe ddes o hyd i fyd newydd o antur, chwilfrydedd a phosibiliadau yn y dosbarth. Felly dewch inni fynd i lawr twll y gwningen i weld sut y llwyddodd un athro a dosbarth o ddisgyblion i ennill gwobr arbennig Into Film ar gyllideb isel gan ddefnyddio ffôn clyfar a sgrin werdd.

Yng ngeiriau Alfred Hitchcock "I wneud ffilm wych, tri pheth sydd eu hangen arnoch y sgript, y sgript a'r sgript." Dyma oedd conglfaen ein prosiect. Cymerom ein hamser i ddatblygu'r stori, gan edrych ar Hero's Journey gan Joseph Campbell, ac archwilio'r cymeriadau a'u cefndiroedd.

Cydweithiodd y disgyblion i ddatblygu'r sgript, a phan oedd yn barod pennwyd grŵp i bob un ar sail eu diddordebau a'u doniau. Roedd gennym grŵp o bobl camera a golygyddion, grŵp o artistiaid effeithiau gweledol, grŵp arall ar gyfer sain a goleuo, a grŵp arall ar gyfer gwisgoedd a dylunio.

Aeth grŵp o gyfarwyddwyr drwy'r adnoddau creu ffilmiau rhagorol a ddarparwyd gan Into Film, ac wedyn eu dosbarthu. Aethant ati hefyd i chwilio am leoliadau a chynnal clyweliadau i'r rhannau actio.

Bu ein pobl camera a'n golygyddion yn gwylio clipiau o wahanol ffilmiau, gwneud nodiadau ar doriadau a thrawsnewidiadau, a thynnu lluniau o unrhyw symudiadau ac onglau camera diddorol.

Bu'r tîm effeithiau arbennig yn ymchwilio i feddalwedd ac yn edrych am diwtorialau ar-lein ar sut i greu'r effeithiau gweledol angenrheidiol.

Bu'r tîm sain a goleuo yn gwrando ar sgoriau a foleys ffilmiau, gan drafod sut roedd y synau a'r lliwiau'n gwneud iddynt deimlo, a sut gallai hyn gael ei ddefnyddio yn ein ffilm ni. Roeddynt hefyd yn pori ar y we am gerddoriaeth ac effeithiau sain sydd heb hawlfraint.

Byddai'r dylunwyr gwisgoedd a phropiau'n casglu gwastraff wedi'i ailgylchu a chreu prototeipiau ar gyfer gwisgoedd a theclynnau.

Nesaf, buom oll yn cydweithio ar fwrdd stori, gan saernïo pob ffrâm o'r syniadau a'r arbenigedd a gasglwyd gan y disgyblion.

Unwaith roedd y bwrdd stori yn ei le, roeddem yn barod i ddechrau ffilmio. Gweithiom drwy bob ffrâm, gan ffilmio dros nifer o wythnosau, fel arfer ar ôl ysgol pan roedd y safle'n wag.

Ar ôl gorffen ffilmio, trosglwyddwyd y darnau ffilm i'r golygyddion, y criw effeithiau gweledol a'r dylunwyr sain a aeth ati i roi popeth at ei gilydd ac ychwanegu'r cyffyrddiadau terfynol. Cafodd y ffilm ei dangos wedyn i'r criw cyfan a fyddai'n gwneud nodiadau ar unrhyw newidiadau angenrheidiol.

O'r cychwyn cyntaf, roedd y prosiect yn annog gwaith caled a chreadigrwydd, a châi'r plant synnwyr o berchnogaeth a chydweithio drwy gydol y cyfnod. Roedd gan bob unigolyn ddiben, roedd pob rôl yn bwysig a theimlai pawb fod eu hangen ar y prosiect.

Y peth mwyaf diddorol i mi oedd gweld y cyfoeth o sgiliau a ddatblygwyd gan y disgyblion a'r ffordd y byddai'r prosiect yn ymlwybro drwy wahanol feysydd y cwricwlwm. Defnyddiom rith-amgylchedd dysgu lle byddai'r disgyblion yn rhannu syniadau, lluniau a dolenni'n gyson yn ystod oriau ysgol ac ar ôl oriau ysgol, ac yn trafod popeth o blot, cymeriadau ac is-destun i'r gerddoriaeth, tempo a naws. Byddent yn treulio oriau'n trafod manylion cyfansoddiad saethiadau ac yn rhyfeddu at graffter goleuo a foley. Wrth greu effeithiau gweledol mewn gofod tri dimensiwn, byddent yn sgwrsio am blanau X, Y a Z, ac yn hapus i drafod cysyniadau fel cyflymder, màs a disgyrchiant wrth greu allyrwyr gronynnau mewn efelychydd gronynnau. Mae'r rhestr yn hirfaith.

Diolch i Into Film, roedd modd i blant o ysgol fach yng Nghymru greu ffilm ar ffôn clyfar a chyrraedd y carped coch yn Leicester Square, sy'n rhywbeth na fyddent byth wedi breuddwydio gwneud flwyddyn yn ôl. Bu'n brofiad gwych, a chafodd y disgyblion ddatblygu cyfoeth o sgiliau a gwybodaeth mewn llawer o feysydd yn y cwricwlwm, yn ogystal â magu hyder a chael hwyl ar daith fythgofiadwy.

I gychwyn, roeddwn i'n ei chael yn anodd gollwng yr awenau a gadael i'r plant arwain, ond wrth wneud hynny fe ddes innau'n well addysgwr gan iddo greu cyfleoedd dysgu rhagorol yn yr ystafell ddosbarth. Felly addysgwyr, byddwch yn ddigon dewr i drosglwyddo'r awenau. Gadewch i'ch disgyblion arwain, gadewch i'w creadigrwydd bennu'r cyfeiriad, ac efallai y cewch chithau eich arwain ar eich antur eich hun i lawr y twll cwningen. Fel y dwedodd Walt Disney un tro, "Gall ein holl freuddwydion gael eu gwireddu, os oes gennym y dewrder i'w canlyn."

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