Short Film: Initial Thoughts And Ideas

Myself and the others in my group thought it would be productive for us to meet in the pub after our seminar to discuss possible ideas we had for our short film to be developed over the duration of the module. We began with the notion of ‘simple is successful’; we believe simplicity is key in terms of audience engagement. We want the audience to understand the message sent to them through the text, but without excessive use of dialogue explaining it; we aim for the visuals to speak for themselves.

Thoughts

Our first thoughts were that we wanted the plot to be based around a central main character – possibly a young or middle-aged male from the working/middle class – with an interesting story to tell. His story will be told with the use of a voiceover narration (his own voice) and a montage of visuals reenforcing what he will be saying. These will be including flashbacks of his past for example. We want his story to mostly follow Propp’s theory of coherent narration, starting with an equilibrium, that equilibrium being disrupted and then the process of how this character deals with that disruption. However, we wanted to ending of the short to be a shock for the audience, possibly involving a dramatic twist that the audience may or may not be expecting. For example, introduce a character who the audience can relate/sympathise with, get to know and like over the course of 2 minutes and 50 seconds, and right at the end it is revealed that he in fact murdered someone, thus provoking a response from the viewers – should we like this character? It leaves the audience with a question to ask themselves and forces them to engage with the text once it has ended. We have watched and taken inspiration from such short films as ‘About A Girl’ and ‘Eight’; both are based around the development of a character describing an element that has effected their life. Both have twists in them towards the end that engage the audience.

Our character could be looking back on life and regretting something he did. He could have split up with his wife, lost his job, his friends and family and spirals into depression, finding a friend only in alcohol, concluding in him debating suicide. The end could fade to black before a decision is made so the question is left with the audience, ‘What happened?’ Another idea is that instead of one character, we have two – one possibly female – who bump into each other and then continue their journey, but they have been subconsciously affected by the interaction with each other; they both have similar stories to tell and both have different ways of expressing them.

Regarding location, we wanted to escape from the boundaries of boring Coventry and really explore other areas for shooting our film. We just think it will be more exciting, not only for us, but the viewers; there’s only so many locations in Coventry. Alex has found a deserted school along with an open woodland area in Surrey, I have a completely unused house in Bolton with access to the countryside and other nearby locations and there is also Blackpool beach that we are considering as a possibility. We have to consider weather conditions for filming outside, travel to locations for carrying the cameras/tripods etc., costs for food, filming permissions on sites and accommodation. We have access to these locations, and travel/accommodation is not an issue as we have cars and can stay at each others’ houses. One of the members of the group, Mick, has a brother who is an actor, therefore we have a possible professional to help us portray the character we will be creating. In order to find characters to use, we will be attending theatrical performances and also finding local drama students/actors who wish to be involved should they fit the roles.

The quality of the footage is of paramount importance. Great quality work is noticed, and we intend to not only submit this piece in as our module project, but also enter it into short film festivals/screenings. We have all been inducted to the JVC700s and will be using these incredible cameras to gather the footage for our film. We will also be using the jib crane for certain shots, de-do lights if necessary, high quality sound equipment such as the rifle microphones and FinalCutPro to edit once in post production.

Developed Idea 1 – Sorry, We’re Closed

Three guys, planning to rob a bank, in serious need of money and an escape route from the life they live. Gathering blueprints, weapons, tools, essential equipment and a get away car, the group have an idea how to rob a bank they just need to finalize the notion filling there pockets with millions, a life changing decision.

Getting ready for the day, not noticing the time (16:40) continue to prepare, loading the weapons finalizing the route and the getaway driver. As they leave they pick up their masks, one mask is on the clock on the side table, once picked up revealing the time now to be 17:05, still unnoticed they leave the house and enter the car.

Pull up aside the bank in an alleyway; all take a look at each other and give a motivational nod. They’re ready, stepping out down the side street watching carefully for security, CCTV and police. Lock and load their guns, burst round the corner in a quick dash, stop to kick the door down. One kick is given… The bank is shut, 17:00 closing on a Wednesday. “Maybe tomorrow boys?”

Developed Idea 2 – The Artist

A renowned artist, an old, respected character portraying a rustic feel, gravely voice and old tweed jackets. It has come to the public that he now will be retiring; this will be his last product, the last artifact to his collection. This will be worth millions states the media, ‘his best piece yet’. The public knows that it will sell for millions, everyone will want to see it and it will be the best piece of art to this date. A high expectation to be fulfilled here, with a public expecting so much he finds himself under so much pressure.

He visits many locations, scanning landscapes inhaling the world’s beauty in its entirety. Scouting countryside, mountains, streets, rivers and streams. You see him sketch ideas and notes about the scenery, people and the surrounding areas. All theses ideas logged in an old bound book that contains his life work within.

The last two scenes consist of, the artist working on an easel, in an art studio, working away, taking inspiration, drinking tea, struggling through this art, sleepless nights. Finally he brakes through, working so hard, filling the days with colour and inspirational work shown through facial expressions, yet you still do not see the artifact he is creating. He has it all finished, titles it unknown, releases it to the media and places it in a gallery of his choice. The public shocked, uncertain on what to think…

We cut back to the studio as the camera tracks round a semicircle around the to on over the shoulder shot, looking at the blank canvas! We look down as he places at the bottom, By Henry maiden to finish off the sequence.

Little do they know that the last shot is of the security guard walking down the long corridor locking up for the night. The lights all flicker off as he locks the door and flicks the mains switch.

The last set of lights above his work flicker off and the emergency lights turn on, one is replaced with an ultra violet light. Reveled on the not so blank canvas is a beautiful outstanding piece of invisible ink art never to be seen by the public until the secret is discovered.

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