Group Reflections

15 05 2012


Did the film turn out the way you thought it would?

The film actually turned out a lot better than I had thought it would. When I was first assigned to the Railroad Tunnel group, I assumed it would not only be very difficult to make a chase scene look professional, but to also make it look good in the dark, at night, especially considering the fact that we didn’t have the means to light up a whole scene and our camera wasn’t the best for picking up night footage.

The chase actually turned out very well. We used a lot of short clips to keep it fast paced, and it worked. I am actually pleased with how the chase scene goes. As for professionalism, we managed to keep a lot of the shots steady by myself riding a skateboard in pursuit of the suspect, and that turned out great in my opinion too. I am quite pleased with how my group of high school students, managed to create our legit chase scene.

What did you learn from the mentor your team had?

Unlike some of my other group members, I honestly think that our mentor didn’t help us that much. She flaked on the only shoot we asked her to come to, and didn’t even call or inform us that she would be skipping out. She kind of just pointed out and gave us a name for things we had already been doing. Other than that, she pointed out obvious things that would improve our film, which would require us to go do all of our work over again, while she would do nothing, like telling us to maybe reshoot all of our footage in a new location with better lighting. She also reneged on some of her advice, telling us to speed up pictures in the beginning, and then after the critique in front of everyone and people didn’t like it, she told us to change it to be slower to improve our film. I don’t think my group members are giving themselves enough credit for our film, because our mentor didn’t really help.

What do I hope new audiences learn from your film?

I hope that new audiences would be able to see that as long as you try, you can film almost anything. I thought shooting a professional chase scene at night with just a camera and tripod would be almost impossible, but my group and I worked through the troubles and we pulled it off. I hope other filmmakers take ideas into their works, on how to incorporate fast cuts into a chase, or using props outside the normal, like a skateboard, to film smoothly.


1.     Did the film turn out as you though it would?

Our original goals: “We are really hoping for an intense action filled three minutes that grabs the audiences attention. We want our film to show exactly what happened and match the story Tomas’s father told.” I think we did a really good job of this. Our scene turned out basically exactly the way we planned it but even better than we could have expected. I didn’t think high schoolers would ever be able to pull of an intense chase scene and I think we really did. We set our goals at exactly the place they needed to be.


2.     What did you learn from the mentor your team had?

Unlike some of the members of my group I really liked Angela. I thought she was really intelligent and knew what she was talking about. It surprised me how well she was suited for our film choice. Her love of old horror films played a big part in helping us create suspense in our film. She taught us how to use young actors to play older characters by showing us a short film that only ever showed the characters feet/ We used this in our film (since we went for a full action sequence with actors) by not showing their faces or having the setting a little dark so the viewer would have a harder time making out their younger facial features. She taught us about creating a chase scene and how to keep continuity by having characters continuing to go the same direction. She was very helpful and I was thankful to have her there.


3.     What do you hope new audiences will learn from your film?

I hope they will see that not everything is as it seems.  Tomas’s father was in a life-threatening situation and he didn’t even know it. I kind of hope it serves as a cautionary warning to not judge a book by a cover, like how every situation can be much more dangerous than it seems. I also hope that they learn more about Tomas’s father, Matthew Pena, and maybe gain a new respect for him. Seeing this film will bring the story to a new reality and recreate the fear he felt in the moment for an entire audience.


1)    I’m really happy with the final product of our film, Railroad Tunnel. The name doesn’t let the audience know that it’s about a ride along and chase. What makes our film different from the typical cop vs. criminal is that the audio has a minute reflection at the end talking about how the he and his friend potentially could have died since the suspect had a gun.

The color scheme is muted and the parking lot I (art director) choose had dim yellow-orange lighting that was bright enough to light the pursuit. The suspect is dressed in mostly black with his jacket hoody up, our cop is dressed in navy blue, and our ride along civilian is dressed in blue jeans and a gray jacket.

On one of our shoots, Alex brought his skateboard and we were able to have a high-speed chase of our suspect utilizing the skateboard. The shot turned out fast paced and interesting since the skateboarder follows the suspect between two yellow barriers in the sidewalk.

For the tackle scene, I was up on Alex’s shoulders for a high angle shot, making the suspect seem vulnerable.

We used a flashlight to make the handcuffs reflect light and glimmer as a signifier to the audience that the suspect has been subdued.

We were able to have Officer Dean come down with his police car and in uniform, and Tomas’s dad, come down and shoot some establishing shots of them getting into the cop car. Audience members always want to see the characters faces.

I think our film’s actors looked older than high school students, and the dark played to our advantage.

When I look at our storyboard, we got almost all of our shots, but are missing an image of the Dallas police department; some of the shots we thought we would be able to fit in we didn’t have time for, such as a clock speeding up from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.  We are also missing the suspect looking in the side mirror and Alex saying, “Just get him!”

The missing footage was replaced by an establishing shot of a canyon in Dallas; we didn’t have time for the clock speeding up; we had extra footage of cop lights in the side mirror but didn’t have time in the 3 minute film; we overlaid text of “just get him” rather than attempting to match up Alex’s mouth with the audio.

2)    We learned from our mentor to keep the shots close to make a fast-paced chase. She showed us video clips of wide-angle chase scenes like Run, Lola, Run which was helpful. Angela also helped us with rearranging clips because although the clips were placed in order of the scenery, we don’t want the audience to become disoriented while watching the film; the audience only see’s what you want them to see.

She also talked to us about lighting, and possibly utilizing the car headlights if it was too dim.

3)    We hope the audience won’t think, “Just another cop chase,” because the audio’s reflection really differentiates it from the typical cop/suspect seen on Most Wanted and other crime shows.


I’m proud to have directed this film. I saw it change from the original story that was conceived on the audio file and instead changed and distorted to where the footage was different from what my father had described about his experience. Yet the film was dark, obscure, and it would be hard to pick out the differences. In fact the audience seemed to be pulled into the story even more with the visuals, so for that I say that the film was successful.

The mentor who accompanied us gave us pointers about what shots were needed in the film to help with the my intent of portraying the story in an intense way. We were on top of things a lot of the time. I do feel however that some of my team members would bring up at times the fact that we had to get a shot just because the mentor told us to even if it didn’t make sense in the film. The mentioning of using just a car dashboard and acting like it was a police car was especially hinder-some to the direction of the film. Eventual there was so much dispute that a vote ended up with keeping the visuals that one of my partners had wanted to keep. I feel that taking what the mentor said as backup for ‘plan b’ shots into consideration, and making sure to use the shots we had worked so hard to get (we had a cop car come and help us film), would have improved the film. Nonetheless, even with some things off in the footage staring at my face, I can come to terms with the visual part of the film for what it is.

I hope that the audiences enjoy the story as well as gain an understanding that life is important. My father could’ve easily have faced death if the man him and his friend were chasing had the gun ready. You never know how close you will get to death. Live life to the fullest.


1. Did your film turn out like you thought it would (compared to first goals)?
I felt that our film turned out pretty much the way we had wanted it to. Originally we were hoping for a gripping three minute story that we would grab ahold of the audiences attention. We wanted it to be action packed as well. In the end, I felt our story really met our expectations and exceeded it. The reason I believed it exceeded our goals is because we had run into numerous challenges along the way, and we were able to overcome every single one of them and in the end produce a really interesting story. It was shot well and we were able to fix our lighting and actor issues. We used the original lack of light to our advantage to cover the actors faces because our film was supposed to be adults.

2. What did you learn from your mentor?
Our mentor had some helpful advice with us each time she came around. Being the amateur film makers we are, our mentor was able to give us key advice on how to fix our technical issues. Her suggestions on how to fix our lighting issues were important because without it, the audience wouldn’t had been able to see anything going on. Other than that, she simply pointed out mistakes we needed to fix and other minor problems we would have to fix in order to create a more compelling story.

3. What do you hope new audiences get from your film.
What I hope our audience gets from this film is a thrilling ride with surprises around every corner! Well not every corner, but I hope that they at least are interested in the story and can feel the range of emotions and adrenaline our storyteller went through when he went through this situation. I’m not asking for a Steven Spielberg motion picture because it is only a high school project, but I do hope that our story can at least entertain our audience for those few minutes.


Rail Road Tunnel: The Final Product

15 05 2012

Story Board REVAMPED

24 04 2012


Railroad Tunnel




  • Scratch Gradient Film
  • Picture of Dad in Uniform
    0:03 (Portrait Shot)
  • Blurry picture of College Buddy photo
    0:03-0:10 (Portrait Shots)
  • Images of Dallas Police Department
    0:11-0:23 (Pan Shot)
  • Tomas getting into car
    0:23-0:29 (Wide Shot)
  • Car clock sped up (film from 7)
    0:30-0:35 (Close Up)
  • Shoot out front window cruising through neighborhood at night
    0:36-0:50 (Wide Shot)
  • Suspicious car driving turns into neighborhood
    0:50-1:00 (Close Up)
  • Men make eye contact confirming suspicion
    1:00-1:04 (Close Up)
  • Criminal looks in side mirror and sees he’s being followed (car speeds up and turns)
    1:04-1:09 (Close Up)
  • Car chase comes to an end. Suspicious car stops
    1:09-1:16 (Medium Shot/Wide Shot)
  • Suspect takes off running
    1:16-1:20 (Wide Shot)
  • Police car screech up next to other car. Cop car doors fly open
    1:20-1:25 (Wide Shot)
  • Chase on foot starts
    1:25-1:28 (Pan Wide)
  • Chase: Closing in on the criminal
    1:28-1:40 (Close up)
  • Matt sprinting forward to catch the guy
    1:41-1:49 (Medium, Over Shoulder)
  • Jeff says “Just get him!”
    1:50-1:51 (Close Up)
  • Jeff watching action while Matt catches and tackles suspect
    1:51-1:56 (First Person)
  • Suspect is put into a headlock
    1:56-2:03 (Close Up)
  • Jeff catches up
    2:04-2:06 (Wide Shot)
  • Suspect is put in handcuffs
    2:06-2:10 (Wide Shot)
  • Shot of gun magazine in evidence bag
    2:11-2:20 (Close Up)
  • Matt with blanket on curb
    2:20-2:24 (Wide Shot)
  • Nausea cam: Shaky, gradients, screen filters
    2:24-2:26 (First Person, Wide Shot)
  • Text: What the heck did I just do?
  • Overlaying image of suspect shooting Matt
    2:28-2:33 (Wide Shot)
  • “Railroad Tunnel” Images rocks into whole screen black
    2:33-2:36 (Wide to Black)
  • Images of Matt and Jeff
    2:36-2:50 (Portrait Shots)
  • Credits, Etc.



Our First Scene

24 04 2012


This is our chase scene the way we edited it the first time.

Reflection: Project Update 4.11.12

11 04 2012

Going well?

Our group is working well together, when we need to get something done we compromise to find a way to make it work. We are also getting things done. Our power point is coming together nicely and the photos from our story board are coming out and being put into the power point. Although we are finding challenges in the way we’re filming our story we are overcoming them as a group.



We are worried about the way the film will look when we film in the dark. Since we won’t have a crew or professional lighting. We are worried about filming an entire live action film… because it will be hard to make that feel real and believable with student actors and a student film crew. I guess we’re also worried about the editing and when we film having discontinuity in the motions if we film multiple times and use different perspectives.


Hopes for Final Outcome?

We are really hoping for an intense action filled three minutes that grabs the audiences attention. We want our film to show exactly what happened and match the story Tomas’s father told.


PhotoGraphic Story Board

16 03 2012

Here is our tentative photographic storyboard. This shows the shots we are intending to use.

1. This is an extra wide shot of the city of Dallas. It will be used to set the scene of the story.
2. This is a wide shot of a police car that has the main character. It will be the start of the night patrol.
3. This is a rack focus shot. Its medium close up to show the cop car following the suspect.
4. This is a long shot of the start of the chase scene (in vehicle).
5. This is a long shot as well, and shows the continuation of the chase (on foot).
6. This is medium shot of the climax of the story. Our main character tackles the suspect.
7. This is a close up shot revealing that the suspect had a magazine clip in his possession.
8. This is a close up shot of our main character when he realizes his life was in endangered.
9. This is extreme wide shot of the universe. It symbolism his thankfulness to be alive and well.

Meet the Crew

15 03 2012