“The Pickup” – Critical Reflection

Critical Reflection – “The Pickup” from Steven Tapanes on Vimeo.




Creative Critical Reflection Questions

1. How does your product use or challenge conventions and how does it represent social groups or issues? 
It challenges traditional conventions in the sense that we are creating an environment where human trafficking is occurring, however take the viewpoint of the story and give it to the struggling recruiter versus the victims. In this case, we are not only representing the issue of sex trafficking within the female population, but are also showing the implications it has on the men that are chosen for the job (like our main character Vincent) and how such an innocent young man got trapped into this business and is being forced to recruit for his life.

2. How does your product engage with audiences and how would it be distributed as a real media text? 
The film takes place in a real world context and in our current time period allows almost everybody familiar with an urban landscape to relate to the film and be able to engage with the subject. We intend to implement several methods for keeping the audience hooked, such as flashbacks.

3. How did your production skills develop throughout this project? 

Because this was my first true media project, I had to learn a lot in terms of the technicalities of filming and it greatly developed my production skills. Not only did we have to learn how to write a script and storyboard, but location scouting was a must. Also, learning to use the cameras for best quality of vide was a must and therefore also helped develop these skills.

4. How did you integrate technologies – software, hardware and online – in this project? 
In this project we had to implement the use of various softwares. We used final cut pro for all major editing and quicktime to record sound. In terms of hardware, we had to use a DSLR camera set to manual filming so that we could determine the best specs for the clearest results and had to use microphones to record sound off set.

Production Update – Final Editing

          We have finally decided on a name for our film: “The Pickup” and the rough cut for our film has been posted Here. In terms of editing; we are mostly done, however the only true issue we face is length. We must reduce the film to a max of 2 min long. I plan to reduce the length of the final shots and reduce some shots in the beginning of the film as well. Also, we need to add introductory credits to the film in a way that does not disturb the image. Other than that, we are done 🙂

Production Update – Editing Process

           Because I am chief editor, it will be my primary job to ensure that the film gets properly and cleanly edited. We have started the process of screening our collected video for usable shots and unusable shots; however unusable shots will not be deleted just in case something presents itself as usable for the film or if any extra footage is needed.

           I will be implementing Final Cut Pro to edit this video and have begun to explore the program in order to know it as best as I could in order to efficiently edit our film. Because this is my first time using this software, editing this video will present itself as a challenge to me; however I am more than prepared to accept this challenge and try my hardest to create the best possible intro we could produce.

           In terms of sound, I am having Stephanie and Janeline record their lines in the school’s recording studio and will soon join them to record my own lines. I am also having them research on music that would complement both our introductory shots and our nighttime shots.


Production Update – Filming Process

       So far, we have had 2 days of successful filming! Our first day, we were taken to south beach by Janeline’s parents who kindly offered to take us. We all hopped in the van and specifically asked Janeline’s dad to take us through I-95 and that way we could stop to get a nice shot of the “Welcome to Miami Beach” sign. After, we hoped back on the road and headed to Ocean Drive (the most iconic part of South Beach) and went to Mango’s club. We set up camera and acquired permission from both general managers. We were able to shoot everything we needed from Mango’s within a couple of hours and then moved on to  our primary filming location: The Hotel AvalonWe had planned to film in their outdoor cafe/eating area. Once we acquired the proper permission, we were granted access to use the area until 4 pm. Because of this time limit, we were not able to get all of the shots required by our film intro, and needed to return.

           As for day two, we were taken back to south beach by Stephanie’s parents and dropped off there. This time, we headed to The Hotel Avalon first and got all of our required shots. Because we had no one to operate the camera (for the shots where all 3 of us were in the film) it became difficult to keep track of the camera and to keep the image focused. Not only that, but every once in a while a cloud would cover us and we would need to change our lighting settings to accommodate the new change in lighting. In addition, the nature of Ocean Drive only made things worse, in the sense that there were a lot of people walking by and posed a threat to our film. At one point, someone knocked into our camera, stopped, and looked around to see if he could steal it. Luckily I noticed and he walked away. Once we finished at The Hotel Avalon, we packed up and ate lunch on across the street on the beach at Lummus Park. After that, we intended to keep to our plan and walk to the drug store where we could purchase our bus passes. However, because i wanted to make sure they sold bus passes, I called and food out that they had “Closed forever” just a week before. We didn’t want to waste our day, so we headed back to The Hotel Avalon took advantage of their front desk concierge. He notified us that our best plan of action was to take the bus to a metro-rail station and buy the day passes from there; and so, we did just that. Because of this small set back, we had to switch around some stuff on our original plan. We implemented the “public transit” panel on google maps navigation and got to the nearest bus stop headed towards the Omni Loop Station. Once there, we purchased our day passes and got on the metro-mover that took us to Bayfront Park, where I was able to get gorgeous shots of downtown and the bay. From there, we boarded the metro-mover again and went back to the Omni Loop (on our way back, the train broke and left us at the first street station for about 45 min). Once back at the Omni station; we caught a bus to Watson island, where we had planned to get beautiful shots of Brickell (Miami’s ever-growing financial district). Because of the nature of the island, the area where we needed to be was blocked off and was found to be part of a small municipal airport. However, we still went in and asked if we could film. Luckily, the man in the front desk was nice enough to let us film from a small balcony outside, under the condition that we be quick and leave before the next water plane lands. Once we got all the shots we needed, we were able to hop on the next bus station and get to Lenox Ave and 5th St, where a smaller Miami Beach sign was located. However, it had started to rain and we had to seek refuge in a burger king until the rain stopped. There, we were able to have a snack and fill up our water bottles. Once the rain had passed, we crossed the road and set up camera in the median of the road. We got our quick shots and left. After this, we got on the bus again and made our way to Manolo’s, a well known restaurant, in South Beach. We had a nice dinner and waited until nightfall so that we could take our nighttime shots. Once nightfall hit, we walked  back to Ocean Drive and took several shots of the iconic buildings (including the Hotel Breakwater which is featured in the film. In the process of getting these shots, I was distracted and had left my backpack on the sidewalk a couple of blocks away from me. This resulted in my backpack getting stolen, however luckily I had been carrying all the equipment and none of the equipment got stolen. This concluded our second and  final day of filming.