Lego Series 14 – Monsters

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The moment you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived Lego fans and we here at Brick Flicks have the breakdown for you on which minifigs are the hardest to get.

So drum roll please………………from a box of 60 the breakdown is as follows

Most Common

Zombie Pirate (x5)

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Monster Rocker (x5)

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Monster Scientist (x5)

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Common

Square Foot (x4)

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Fly Monster (x4)

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Skeleton Guy (x4)

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Plant Monster (x4)

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Spectre (x4)

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Gargoyle (x4)

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Rare

Wolf Guy (x3)

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Zombie Cheerleader (x3)

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Zombie Businessman (x3)

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Tiger Woman (x3)

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Spider Lady (x3)

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Wacky Witch (x3)

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Banshee (x3)

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I think its fair to say that Lego are on to a winner here with the idea of running a common theme to their minifigure series.

The big question now is: What Will The Next Series Be?

Post your comments and thoughts below.

Primary School Podcasts

We have been participating in a great project lately – write an environmental themed podcast as part of the LA21 initiative with Wicklow County Council. Three primary schools in Greystones, Co Wicklow were invited to take part St Laurence’s National School, St Patrick’s National School and Gaelscoil na gCloch Liath. The area has a great of natural beauty like the waterfall in nearby Powerscourt.

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The workshop was divided into 3 sections – Learn , Create & Share

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The workshops started with a presentation by our tutor Peter Baxter on what a podcast is and where to find them.

Then the children worked together to decide on a suitable theme that was relevant to them. Once that was done they worked together to research and write their scripts.

The students learned how to record and edit their voices then on apps and software and finally how to share them via digital media.

The results are original, clever and very creative. They are the results of a collaboration between the students and facilitation and guidance by their wonderful class teachers and Peter.

The classes ranged from 2nd through to 5th class and there are definitely some budding presenters and media producers in the area!

Thanks to the students and teachers from the schools for making Peter so welcome and thank you to Wicklow County Council and LA21 for making this project possible.

Draiocht Film Club: 8 Week Journal

Draiocht Film Club

8 Week Course

Tutors: Cormac McDonagh & Joseph Orr

Participants: 16

Below is a link to the 2 finished films.

Myself and Joseph from Createschool have started running a Draiocht film club in the Draiocht theatre in Blanchardstown. This consists of 8 two-and a-half hour classes, one every Tuesday evening for the 8 weeks. During this time the group of approximately 16 youths will write, produce, shoot and edit two short films of approximately 3-5 minutes in length. Participants will make up the entire cast me crew of each film, thereby getting to grips with whatever areas of filmmaking they have an interest in such as  mainly acting, writing, camera, sound, editing, art direction with also an awareness of script supervision and continuity, “crossing the line” and story structure. We tend to not appoint a director given the experience level of all participants is the same and prefer to keep the filming group open to input from everyone as well as help from myself and Joseph, as to what direction the filming goes.  

Week 1

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In the opening class we started with a meet and greet whereby each participant introduced themselves and also highlighted what their favourite films are and what area of filmmaking they would most like to gain experience in through the course. We then did covered the basics of screenwriting and dramatic structure, starting from Aristotle’s “Poetics” and using modern-day examples to illustrate how his classical structure still influences modern screenwriting, even after over two thousand years! We used examples from ‘Star Wars Episode IV’ and ‘Batman Begins’ to illustrate the use of the ‘Inciting Incident’ that propels the hero of a storyboard into action and the ‘Lock In’ that gives them no choice but to pursue their objective and thus set up the film’s action. Interested in knowing more? Check out this very useful site for examples and info http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting-101/screenplay/five-plot-point-breakdowns After this I ran an impromptu acting improvisation exercise to help demonstrate character objective within scenes which also got the participants that were keen on acting to get started.  

Week 2

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This week we started by asking participants to use what they had learned in Week 1 to start developing story ideas. Participants were also divided into two groups and filmed and edited a very short scene within the class to get used to the Camera and Sound equipment and also get introduced to using the iMovie App for editing. Each scene was shot and edited within the given timeframe and we asked for Week 3 that each participant come in with an idea for a short film anywhere between 3-5 minutes in length and restricted to three locations for shooting within the Draiocht Centre. We requested that the idea be presented in a synopsis ie. a summary of the story in one or two sentences and then if possible do a treatment of the film which is a written description of the events / scenes but not in scripted format.  

Week 3  

At the start of the class, any participant with an idea was asked to pitch it to the group using their prepared synopsis or treatment. We had a very positive response in terms of ideas and clarity of vision. As participants pitched we also asked them what their preferences were with regard to crew positions or acting, in order to get a good idea of how to cater for everyone as well as have enough cast and crew to fill two productions. Two films were what we felt would be feasible in the remaining weeks in terms of prepping, shooting and finishing in post-production by week 7 or 8. There was a refreshingly diverse choice of ideas, spanning several genres. As myself and Joseph decided on which stories would be chosen for production, the participants partook in another small camera exercise, again getting to grips with angles, avoiding crossing the line and the different styles of shooting ie. Using the tripod, handheld and moving with the actors. In the end due to the rich choice of ideas and different styles myself and Joseph decided to amalgamate 2/3 different ideas per production to accommodate as many written ideas as possible into each production. Decisions were strongly influenced by practicality, given we had to shoot entirely on the Draiocht premises. The chosen productions were ‘Zombie Switch’, about a lab accident which triggers a Zombie breakout and ‘Fleur’ which is about an obsessive theatre actress going to extreme lengths to get into the limelight. All of the writers involved were asked to come in with at least one scene each for Week 4 in order to bridge the writing together and have a shooting script and start filming. Participants were also given either acting parts in each film or crew positions, or both if possible.

Week 4  

Both ‘Zombie Switch’ and ‘Fleur’ started shooting this week within the Draiocht centre with at least one scene from each being completed. All participants were busy either acting in front of camera, working the camera, recording sound,  contributing to art direction by supplying props and costumes with also an eye on continuity ie. what should be in the correct place from shot-to-shot. This can be anything from props in the frame, to an actor’s position and even making sure they say the same lines from shot to shot in order to help the edit. Actors and camera crew also learned about hitting marks ie. what spot an actor has to reach in order to be in the correct position for the frame.  

Week 5  

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This week shooting continued on both films ‘Fleur’ and ‘Zombie Switch’  with some more scenes filmed in different locations around the Draiocht. As ‘Fleur’ is set in a theatre we have utilised already the dressing rooms, seating area in the theatre and the stage itself. ‘Zombie Switch’ has used a kitchen as a science lab. And utilised the Green Room also. It had been planned to complete shooting on both films this week but time was as ever a factor so filming will have to be completed in Week 6 whilst also starting on post-production. Also both groups have, due to time constraints not yet picked up atmos tracks for each scene due to being pushed for time but fortunately as we are filming at the same locations each week we can record the tracks next week. Sound is a key department yet sometimes is overlooked and if so can affect the overall film in the edit so important to always ensure sound is of the same quality as your picture when you get that take you know is the right one. If you do, maybe do another one as well for safety if time allows.  

Week 6

Shooting began more or less straight away on both films this week. Different approaches to both films are now evident. ‘Fleur’ completed filming by the end of the class so now has all the required footage “in the can” so to speak and two of the crew got busy at the start of the class with the assembly which is the beginning of the edit when the editors/assistant editors review the rough footage or “rushes” as they are also known and select the good takes. The takes are then lined up on the “timeline” on the iMovie app scene-by-scene in a linear form and then a more refined edit can begin. More information on the editing process will be available in Week 7 as both films wrap. The crew on ‘Zombie Switch’ worked equally as hard all class to shoot more scenes and although they will need more time in Week 7 to complete shooting, they opted to begin editing in Week 4 ie. edit each scene as they go so they will probably find it easier when shooting ends as the assembly  will have be almost completed. This method of editing can be a good indicator of pace within your film or perhaps if you have covered your scenes with enough footage or not and if not maybe go back and shoot more of the scene or “pick-ups” as they are known. Both methods are justified but being able to edit quickly after shooting and getting a rough cut straight after shooting is one of the clear benefits of shooting your film and editing it on the same device.  

Week 7

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This week the cast and crew of ‘Zombie Switch’ filmed their final scenes and managed to almost reach the end of their edit too. Meanwhile the ‘Fleur’ team finished their edit and started work on their credits. A lot of the edit at this point was trimming scenes and giving the films a flow as well as adding the atmos tracks to give scenes a more realistic feel and improve audio quality. Also ADR can be used. This stands for ‘Automatiac Dialogue Replacement’ which involves an actor re-recording his/her line(s) in a scene (preferably in a studio space while viewing the footage) due to the original recording not being usable or maybe some other noise interfence. It can also be down to the common mishap on just forgetting to turn the microphone on! So it is always good to check your mic is on by looking for the green light. Similarly if you are in doubt as to the audio quality of a take don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to play it back to make sure your sound is good. ADR is always a handy option when you need it but personally I prefer to use as must high quality audio recorded on set as possible. It’s also good practice for anyone in the Sound Department to try and get the best takes possible. It was an important week as it set up both films to be completed on the final week with time to spare for a screening. Any additional audio tracks such as wild tracks of dialogue or atmos tracks were also picked up as this would be the final time the crews would have access to their shooting locations. It was planned to set up in a screening room for the final week to put the finishing touches to the films and then screen them back for everyone.  

Week 8  

The final week. We set up in the screening room and spent the first half of the class putting the finishing touches to both films and have our “Final Cuts”. ‘Zombie Switch’ worked on their credits and also neatly shot a small scene using a nearby coffee shop location for their end credits. ‘Fleur’ whilst also reaching their final cut, managed to compose some original music in the allotted time using the ‘Garage Band’ app on the iPad which added hugely to their finished piece and gave it a really suspenseful mood. At the end of the class, friends and family of the participants were invited in, as well as the Draiocht organisers, to view a screening of both films alongside the hardworking casts and crews. It was great to see the films completed and we agreed that one of the best results of the hard work was that – although both teams were given the same resources in terms of equipment and locations – the end products were two completely different films in terms of genre, style and content. It was easy to forget at times that they were even filmed in the same locations! ‘Zombie Switch’ was a funny, sci-fi set in a laboratory where a virus outbreak causes chaos with some very original humour and good use of many post-production tools. ‘Fleur’ was a macabre tale set around a doomed theatre production with elements of Hitchcock at times, especially with the haunting score. Both films ran at about five minutes in length, but from, viewing it was not hard to see how much work it took to get them there. Overall the Draiocht Film Club was a great example of how filmmaking, although heavily reliant on time management and improvising with limited resources, can be a fun social activity that helps team building and harness creativity. It can produce wonderfully original creations that participants can keep as fun memories for years after and may also form a basis for a portfolio of future work and who knows….start you on the path to Hollywood?

Lights, Camera….Action!

Well done to all our Film Club Participants

Roll On…. Cormac

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BRICK December 2015: Lego Heaven

For those of you who don’t know, the BRICK exhibition is the place to go this Christmas if you are a Lego fan.

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Hosting a variety of attractions such as new and exclusive Lego, talks from industry leaders and lego movie makers, and a great chance to meet some like minded people, if you’ve never heard of Brick before I urge you to check it out.

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Here’s a link to the website for more information

http://www.brick2015.com/

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Its happening in London December 10-13 2015.

How To Write A Podcast Script

When you are starting to think about podcasting often the last thing you might consider is what you are going to say. I don’t mean generally as in the topic or theme but more specifically – what EXACTLY are you going to say?

The ability to be talk “off the cuff” and to be interesting and informed is a rare skill. More often that not the presenters you hear on the radio have a team of researchers providing them with relevant data or statistics in real time. They have most likely sat through production meetings during which the theme of the show has been discussed in great detail as has the opinions of the presenters and maybe even how they will react to a particular answer or question.

A more relevant skill for podcasting is the ability to have a prepared script or detailed notes and to read them as though they are not actually being read. In other words to make them sound “real”.

Sometimes it is worthwhile starting at the end and working backwards – in other words how do you want to finish and then work towards that.

We record lots of podcasts and it is still our standard Modus Operandi – here is an example of a template script from The Songschool Show – you can see there are 3 main sections

Intro 

Content 

Outro 

During the Intro – the presenters will introduce the show and them selves and outline what will be happening during the podcast.

The Content contains the various segments of the show – in this case different songs that the various contributors have collaborated on. The presenters will often anchor these segments with comments such as “Thanks for that and now let us meet the next group”

Finally there is the Outro – the presenter / presenters will thank the listener and the various contributors and then include a CTA ( Call To Action) this could be to invite listeners to email the show with their feedback or ideas, tweet or share on facebook etc.

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The style above works well for a show format but there are of course many other types. One that we love is the audio tour guide – part digital heritage, part cultural, part geographical, part physical. The type of podcast that encourages the listener to go out and take a trip at the leisure with the presenter.

We worked on the award winning iWalk series for Failte Ireland and our director Peter Baxter wrote scripts for their “Rock N Stroll” and “Dublin In Film” podcasts. For these Peter had to research extensively and then also walk the routes many times in order to gauge how the experience might be for the listener.

There was a specific brief in terms of the audience which was very influenced by demography. The audience was estimated to be under 25 yrs of age and so the content particularly language, references etc were tailored to suit.

Here are copies of the scripts   Rock ‘n’ Stroll iWalk and Dublin in Film iWalk

And here are the finished podcasts

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We hope that these tips help you to create better scripts and ultimately better podcasts.

So in summary – a few tips.

PREPARE WELL –  because Proper Prior Planning Produces Perfect Podcasts !

PRACTICE –  practice, practice and practice some more before you start recording.

CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE – (use the old Who, What, When, Where and Why as a reference)

So Who are they, what do they like? When would they like to listen and for how long – is it a commute, a class period etc Where will they listen to the podcast? On a train? In school? So make sure that your content and language is age appropriate if the audience is a class or if it will be heard in public. Perhaps the most important of all is Why ! Why would they want to listen? Ideally because they want to so always be aware that if people aren’t engaged in your podcast they will simply turn it off. Invite them to participate if it is a live show or if it is a regular show invite them to contribute comments, feedback or ideas and reference this in your future podcasts – i.e. thanks to our listener Joe Bloggs who suggested that we so X, Y & Z.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any feedback or ideas on our blog. You can email us (info AT Createschool.ie) , follow us on twitter or facebook or subscribe on YouTube

Thanks

Joseph & Peter

The Createschool Team

http://www.createschool.ie

Position Available – Animation / Education

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Company: Brick Flicks

Position: Animation Tutor

Office: Rua Red Arts Centre Tallaght & workshop delivery in various locations

Hours : Vary but usually a normal school day for workshop delivery

Pay : Commensurate with experience

Brick Flicks specialise in delivering Lego stop motion workshops across the country, typically to kids aged 8-13 but the ages can vary.

We are growing and so we are looking for someone interested in working with us to share their love of stop motion with young people.  We work mainly with LEGO mini figures,  create sets from arts and crafts materials and film using iPads. However we are always looking for new and innovative ways to redesign and perhaps create new workshops.

We would also be really interested to meet someone who is keen to pursue their own personal stop motion projects and our studio and equipment is at their disposal when available. We produce a lot of in-house material so there is a lot of room for creative input.

Requirements: A keen interest in stop motion/ animation/ Lego

Be prepared to travel around the country though most work is readily commutable

Be interested in and enjoy working with children

Be familiar with mobile technology – particularly iPads

Must be good communicator

Preferable but not essential – own/ have access to a car

The chosen applicant would need to complete extensive training (travel expenses covered for these) before they could be considered for a freelance position.

If this sounds like you then please get in touch with us at 01-4528533  or brickflicksirl@gmail.com or www.brickflicks.ie and we can meet to discuss the opportunity further