Archive for September, 2010


Scripting

So today I started writing the script!! I know what a script looks like, but I want my script to look super professional, so I did a little bit of research into how a proper script should be layed out and what it should contain….

  • Formatting: The reason that scripts need to be well formatted is so they are clear and easy to read. When you’re out in on a shot you want to be able to see what’s meant to be happening clearly, not having to try and read unclear directions.
  • Font: Using the right font in a script is a very important thing. Courier font is the one to use, this gives the typewriter effect. It should also be in size 12, not too big, not too small!
  • Presence Tense: Scripts should be written in the present tense, as in “she scream”, “he opens the door”. This way the action feels like it’s happening and you feel more in the moment!!
  • Setting the scene: Each scene opens with basic info about it in bold: If it’s inside our out (Int./Ext.) where it is (bank) when it is (day/night). This way the basic scene is set in you’re mind.
  • Positioning: While the scene directions are alligned to the left, dialogue should be in the centre.

A very helpful website gave me loads of info on what goes where in a script and what it means. Link below 🙂

http://www.scribd.com/doc/2373010/Script-Layout

Advertisements

Cast Research

Now I’ve got an idea for my storyline and know how many people I need and who, I’ve done some research into who would be best. Luckily, I go to stage school so a lot of my friends are actors! 🙂  There will be three main characters in my Short Film:

  • Tom – Tom is an average teenage boy, about 17 years old. He goes to college, has friends he hangs around with and does whatever any other 17 year old boy would do. However, he is also Schizophrenic, and has to take medication everyday. He is the main character in the narrative, and most of the film is about his relationship with his friend Ryan.
  • Ryan – Ryan appears to be another normal teenage boy, one of Toms friends. He is actually a creation of Tom’s mind though, and not real. He encourages Tom to stop taking his medication. The narrative doesn’t reveal that Ryan isn’t real until the end of the film.
  • Sarah – Sarah is Tom’s mum, who looks after his medication and gives it to him every evening. She worries about her sons condition a lot, and though she tries not to she tends to be a bit nosy into his social life. We find out at the end that she has cause to worry.
  • Tom will be played by Toby Rapsey. Toby is in his first year at Suffolk New College in Ipswich studying Performing Arts. He has been performing for most his life and has taken part in many productions. He is part of the National Youth Theatre as well as the Voice Squad (one of the top 6 choirs in the country) and LMA Stage School. He also performs with Half Hour Call Productions. Toby is my best friend and I’ve known him for years!! He’s a brilliant actor and also a great singer 🙂
  • Ryan will be played by Harry Boulter. Harry is a great friends and a brilliant actor  🙂 I know him through the Voice Squad and LMA Stage School, a local Stage School that puts on several shows a year. He’s been a lead in our past 2 productions of Children of Eden and Fame, along with Toby.
  • Sarah will be played by Sally Boulter. Sally is Harry’s mum!! She does LMA Stage School in her spare time, and had a lead in Fame alongside Toby, Harry and me! 😀

I think these guys will be great in my short film!! 😀

YAY!!!

Inspiration and Creativity have struck!! 😀

I have finally got an idea for my storyline….

Tom is a normal, everyday teenage boy. He has friends, a love interest etc. He also has schizophrenia. Within the films narrative we see him meet up with a friend, Ryan, as they go into town to hang out and do what normal teenage guys do. The narrative explores their friendship and the relationship between them. They then head back to Toms house, where his mum is waiting for him. She asks how his day was and whether he met up with anyone. He says no, and we discover that his mum can’t actually see Ryan, even though he is standing right behind Tom. She later gives him his medication, which Ryan encourages him to throw away. Tom isn’t taking his medication and therefore is still seeing the friend he created in his mind.

A lot of my inspiration was taken from A Beautiful Mind, especially how he stops taking his medication and can then still see the people in his head. I also took the friend ship storyline from it. I was inspired to have a misleading storyline, where you only find out there is something wrong with him at the end, partly from A Beautiful Mind, but mainly from the short film Love Field.

Some extra research

I’ve had some trouble deciding on what my actual storyline should be. I’m determined that my film be based on the mental illness Schizophrenia. To try and give me inspiration, I’ve watched lots of Short Films about disability’s, not just schizophrenia, from a DVD called Disabling Imagery. Some of the best ones were The Egg, See the person, not the Disability – Wanker, Raspberry Ripple Awards and Sixth Happiness. These were all really insightful into how disabled people are treated and the prejudices that people make about people just because they have something wrong with them. It made me want to make sure that I didn’t cast stereotypes about schizophrenics in my film. The clip of the Raspberry Ripple Awards was especially relevent, as it had a part about how a women was stabbed by a schizophrenic, furthering the misconception that schizophrenics are violent. I especially want to make sure I steer well clear of anything that hints at my character as being violent, as I have found through talking to people my age, as well as from this, that people think schizophrenics are violent. This is a completely untrue and unfair preconception.

I have also re-watched the film that first inspired my idea of Schizophrenia A Beautiful Mind. The thing I love about A Beautiful Mind is how clever the story is, so when you find out he has Schizophrenia and that the people and events aren’t real, it’s a genuine shock. I like the idea of this misleading quality and not finding out what happens until halfway through or the end (something I also picked up from the short film Lovefield).

As well as this I also borrowed a BBC4 documentary from my psychology teacher called Mental: A History of the Madhouse, which follows three mental health patients through the NHS. One of these patients, Richard, suffered from Schizophrenia. I found the documentary really informative and helpful, because although I’d watched lots of films and short films, they had all been dramatized. Mental: A History of the Madhouse was entirely factual and honest in what he was saying and what he thought.

Audience Character Profile

Ellen is an 18 year old A level student studying Psychology, Modern History and Biology. She has a part time job at a pub near where she lives with her parents and younger brother Pete. She hopes to go to Warwick University after she finishes her A Levels to study History. In her spare time she likes to spend time withher boyfriend and friends, go to the cinema walk her two dogs Jake and Sarah down the wood near where she lives. She finds Psychology very interesting, and likes to read around the subject, so a short film about Schizophrenia would be valuable extra research for her. It would fulfil the use and gratification of serveillance, as it would educate her about schizophrenia and giver her informations on a relevent event in psychology. It would also appeal to her as the characters are a similar age to her, giving her an insight into he circumstances of others, fulfilling personal relationships uses and gratifications. She may also identify with certain characters within the film.

Target Audience

Through watching Short Films and researching Schizophrenia further, I have decided my Target Audience shall be 17-25 year olds. One of the main reasons I’ve chosen this age range is because it is between these ages that most people first show symptoms of Schizophrenia and I want my film to be relevent and fact based. The film will be targeted at males more than females, as schizophrenia is more common in men, especially between the target age range. This is also done through the presence of two male leads. I hope my target audience will be from every class and background, but all my actors are from quite middle class backgrounds, so because of this it may appeal more to  the middle class.

As I want my Short Film to be about Schisophrenia, I’ve done a bit of research into the condition beyond what I already know and learnt some interesting stuff.

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness. It is described as a psychotic illness, meaning that a person may sometimes not be able to tell the difference between their own thoughts and reality. Schizophrenia causes a range of psychological symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions. Because of this the person can have muddled thoughts based on these hallucinations and also a change in behaviour.

Schizophrenia is actually one of the most common mental health conditions; 1 in a 100 people will experience at least one episode of acute schizophrenia in their lifetime. It affects an equal amount of men and women, but men usually develop it earlier than women. Shizophrenia in men generally beings age 15-30, whereas for woman it is age 25-30.

It is still unknown what the exact cause of schizophrenia is, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

There are many misconseptions about schizophrenia and few people really udnerstand the condition. Two of the most common misconceptions are that schizophrenics have split personalities and are violent. A split personality is when a person acts perfectly normal one minute and changes to acting irrationally the next. This is untrue in cases of schizophrenia, rather they have a mind that can experience episodes of dysfunction and disorder at times. As for violent crime, there have been links made between schizophrenia and violence. However, these are in fact very rare, but the media tends to exaggerate it. Violent crimes committed by schizophrenics are given high-profile coverage and tv dramas don’t help with regular storylines displaying schizophrenics as violent and dangerous. They give the impression violent acts are a frequent occurance, when they are in fact very rare.

As of yet, there is no actual cure for schizophrenia. Treatments including medicinal and psychosocial treaments are used to lesser the symptoms.

From this research I have learned a lot of general background information that will be good to know while making my film. The most important thing to me are the common misconceptions. I don’t want my film to be added to the list of media that misrepresents schizophrenia and wrongly corrects people. I want it to be accurate to what schizophrenia can be like and to try to help people understand the illness at least a little better.

I found the following websites very helpful when researching schizophrenia…

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Schizophrenia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.psychologyinfo.com/schizophrenia/treatment.htm

Now I have an idea of what kind of genre film I’d like to do and what I’d like it to be about (Schizophrenia) I have done some more textual analysis’ on a genre and topic specific short film.

Inside

Narrative structure: Inside tells the story of a man with Multiple Personality Disorder. He is taken from his padded room to see the doctor. As he walks down a corridor people start appearing by his side talking quitly. He is placed in a room with a desk and chair which he is strapped into. A woman in a white coat is sitting opposite him and begins to talk to him, asking questions. The people around him answer through him in different tones, angrily, calmly, paraniod. Eventually the woman shouts over them and tells them to work together. She then stands up and goes to stand behing the male protagonist as a male doctor enters the room. He asks him how he’s feeling, and he answers as the woman tells him to.

Sound: Sound is used to great effect in Inside. A non-diegetic, slow tempo soundtrack in a minor key is used throughout to create a tense atmosphere. Dialogue is a big feature of the film as the main protagonist has a multiple personality disorder, so we hear the voices of all his other personalities. The tones of the voices are used to represent the types of personality they present. For example, a gruff male voice is used for a violent and angry personality, while a calm female voice is used for the apologetic part of his personality. The voices all speaking at once represent his confusion and panic, and they crescendo together with the soundtrack to show the climax of the narrative.

Location: The film is set in a mental hospital. This is shown firstly through the main protagonist being in a padded room, a stereotypical aspect of mental hospitals. He is then led down a hall way by two men to a room where he is sat on one side of a desk. He is strapped into the chair, furthuring the idea that he is mentally ill and possibly dangerous.

Cinematography: An airial shot is used at the beginning, so the audience looks down on the male protagonist. This gives him a sense of helplessness. However, later on in the film, higher angle shots are used, to show him as the pivitol character among all the others. Lots of close ups are used to add tension to the scene. Over the shoulder shots are also used so the audience sees the main protagonist with the other character speaking through him at that point. This way the audience can see the voices physical representation as well.

Editing: Straight cuts are used throughout the film. Shot-reverse-shot is used during the conversation between the male and female protagonist, keeping the focus on them. Quick cuts are used as each new “character” is introduced. The cuts get quicker and quicker, building up into a crescendo. This creates confusion and tension. The cuts reach a climax and then are slowed down with the action. After this the cuts are all quite slow, to show the new sense of calm that has come over the scene.

Short Film Decisions

I’ve watched a lot of short films on YouTube and have been thinking about what I want my short film to be about. As I am studying Postmodernism, I would like to bring an element of it into my coursework. I have decided to make a short film based around the idea of schizophrenia, as I think this could be a really good way to bring in an element of Postmodernism and also give me a chance to play around while editing. The idea is still very underdeveloped, but I’m glad I have at least a vague idea of what my final coursework project will hopefully be 🙂

To gather some information about the conventions and style of short films, I’ve done Textual Analysis’ of  3 short films: Curiosity, a thriller/horror; Love Field, a suspenseful drama and horror; and Strangers, a tense drama.

Curiosity

Genre: Thriller

Narrative structure:  Curiosity tells the stroy of a couple whose Curiosity leads them into trouble. On the way home from shopping one day they stop to talk to the neighbour, Mrs Kessler, learning that her nephew is coming to stay for the weekend. When Mike asks her about their other neighbour who they have notsse for a while, she becomes slightly defensive and says she hasn’t seen him or his dog mess for a while. Later that night, Mike is woken up by noises outside and looks out to see what he thinks is Mrs Kessler draggin two bin bags across the road. Emma turns on the light, and when Mike looks back out the window after telling her to tell turn it off, he sees that the figure is actually a man dressed up as Mrs Kessler. The man sees him, and starts ringing the doorbell and knocking on the window. Worried, Mike goes across the road to check on Mrs Kessler, accidently leaving the door open on the latch. When returning after no reply he gets attack by the man, who then runs away. Mike grabs an axe out of the boot of the murderers car and back into the house through the door that is now shut properly. The murderer is already in the house and strangles Mike, simultaneously knocking Emma out with the door as she tries to get out to help. The shot fades to black and then onto Emmas face as she lies crying silently on the floor while there is rustling in the background before cutting to Mrs Kesler standing in the window of her house looking out, then turning off the light.

Sound: A non-diegetic score is used throughout. It is eerie and creepy music and increases the tension. A sync point is used when Mike turns and first sees the man’s face and also when Mrs Kessler turns the light off at the end, which adds to the surprise and makes the audience jump.  Ambience noises are also used, such as a dog barking, to enforce the residential setting, and also at the end of the film. There is rustling and a door shutting in the background during the shot of the female protagonist.

Location: A single flat is used throughout. Both the exterior and interior is used, as well as other exterior shots of the view from the window. The flat is situated on an average street like any other, making the presence of something horrible like murder more terrifying.

Cinematography: Mostly just eye level shots are used, but there are several pans and zooms used. The zooms are used specifically when Mike first sees the murderer to add supense and claustrophobia to the atmosphere. The pans are used to show exterior shots and to show the interior of Mike and Emmas flat. This is used to show the time of night and the couple in one shot. A slow drop pan is used at the end to add suspense, as it introduces the image of Mrs Kessler gradually, making the shot suspenseful and creepy.

Editing:  Simple cuts are used throughout. The transition from the opening sequence to the title is a fade into black. The title effect is a slow stretch, matched with slow tempo eerie music. The very quick cut to an exterior shot at night is sudden and adds to the tension. A fade into black is used at the end before fading back onto Emmas face, making us question whether the film has ended or not, and what has actually happened: Is she dead? Is he dead?

 Love Field

Genre: Suspense Drama/Horror

Narrative structure: Love Field opens with a shot of a corn field. There is a creeking sign and a crow nearby, and the place seem deserted. Then the film goes into the corn and we see and hear a discarded phone. There is a purse and money laying around, and a female voice is crying and screaming in pain. All we see is her foot until she becomes silent and stops moving. A hand then stabs a knife into the ground. As the figure stands up we are shown a large man wearing a vest and dungarees with a baseball cap. He look worried and turn to run back to the road side where there is a car. He rumages in the boot until he hears a knocking, and look sup to see the crow on the top of the car knocking the roof with his beak. The man goes back to the boot and finds a blanket before running back into the corn field back to the woman. He lowers the blanket down onto the ground, covering something up. He is then handed a new born baby boy by the woman as she sits up and thanks him. A police car arrives as the film ends.

Sound: Non diegetic music is used throughout the film to mislead the audience. The soundtrack used is eerie and tense strings, slow tempo music that creates a dramatic and creepy atmosphere. Ambience noises such as the sign creeking and the crow coring add another level of horror atmosphere, as theses are common features of horror films. The music crescendos until it suddenly drops to a much lower volume as the woman becomes still. This is followed by a sync point when the man stabs the knife into the ground, making the audience jump and it’s sudden presence important and sudden. It also adds emphasise on the presence of the knife. The music changes suddenly once we see what has really happened, into a happier score. If this score was used throughout, we would have seen the event differently, but with the suspensful score, we see the events as sinister and scary. Also the fact that we can hear a women screaming, but can’t see her, only parts of her feet and hand, increases the suspense, as we don’t actually know what is happening to her. The music suddenly changes to a more inspiring score  in a major key, protraying the change in atmosphere. The music helps change the mood to a happier one, and reflect the relieved feelings of the audience.

Location: The whole film takes place in a corn field in the middle of no where, with no one around except for the two characters. The protrays a feeling of detachment and isolation from the rest of the world which adds tension, and the audience sees a traditionally creepy setting for horror films. There is one road and no other cars in sight, suggesting the women is on her own at the mercy of the man. The presence of a black crow and a sign creeking in the wind form a connection with horror and suspense films in the audiences mind, thus making them believe the film is a horror.

Cinematography: Lots of slow pans are used, and the slowness of the them adds tension. A slow pan is used to gradually reveal the seen among the corn, adding an ominous feeling and keeping the audience guessing at what will happen. The continuity of the shot, there are no cuts, just a continuous pan, keeps a level of high suspense until it stops on the womans foot. The shot only shows the audience her foot as it twitches with pain until it becomes still. We can not see the rest of the woman, so have no idea what is actually happening to her. This adds intrigue and suspense. The stillness of her foot leaves us a moment to relax slightly, but this is abruptly interrupted by the sudden entrance of a knife held in a bloody hand. The sudden introduction of this new element in a continuous shot increases the surprise and shock. A slow pan upwards is used to reveal the male character. This adds a sense of suspense as it makes the audience wait until we see the whole man who we asume to be the antagonist at this point. Shaky, hand held camera work is used suring the part a around the car. This hand held camera creates the effect of realism and and makes the action more tense.

Editing: At the beginning lots of fade transitions are used, to show the continuing corn in all directions. It also adds suspense to the situation. Mostly straight cuts are used for the rest of the film. Lots of quick cuts are used during the part near the car. These are in a kind of shot-revers-shot way, swapping between the male character and the crow. This protrays a kind of face off between the two, at this point giving the feeling that the crow is mocking or scorning the man for what he has done.

Strangers

Genre: Drama

Narratice structure: We see a man get onto a subway train and sit down near another man reading a newspaper. He looks at the newspaper more closely and sees that it is written in Arabic. The two men regard each other silently, and the first man gets out a necklace of the star of david, showing he too is religious, though of a different faith. The train departs, and at the next station, a group of men appear. They are large and bald with tattos and piercings, stereotypical skinhead thugs. They sit down opposite and around the second man threateningly and one of them sprays black paint on his newspaper. The first man watches on cautiously while at the same time hiding his neckalce. At the next station he begins to leave when his phone starts ringing. His ringtone is a well known Jewish song, and the thugs gradually all turn to look at him as he tried to find his phone within his bag. There is silent for a moment as the two strangers look at each. Then with a nod they both jump up together and run down the train, stunning the thugs who begin follow them after they recover from their shock. The two men manage to get off the train just as the doors shut and the train departs. They stand on opposite platforms looking at each other. They swap their bags back and walk away in opposite directions after smiling to each other. 

Sound: No dialogue is used in Strangers. The film relies on ambience noises to make a real life setting, such as the noise of the train and platform announcements. This makes the setting feel very real, getting across that the issues being represented it very real. The lack of any other noise or music also adds to the suspense. The fact that the group of male antagonists don’t actually say anything makes them more menacing and threatening. A non-diegetic score comes in suddenly when they strangers start to run, representing another layer to the action and adding to the suddenly more exciting atmosphere. The lack of dialogue throughout the film between the two male protagonists actually helps show the transformation of their relationship. At first they will not talk to each other due to their cultural differences. But by the end of the film, they’re are not speaking because they don’t have to, their respect for each other is obvious. There are non-diegetic voices over the part when antaganonists are sitting around the two protagonists. The words are spoken in a different language, so I don’t know what they say. However, as the narrative is about two different cultures and religions, it could possibly be the thoughts of one of the protagonists praying.

Location: The whole film takes place either on a subway platform or on the actual train itself. This helps show the reality of what is happening by placing it in an everyday setting everyone knows, and makes the drama more real. It also keeps the action confined, as subway trains have small carriages with little room for a lot of people. This makes the presence of a group of large men more menacing and prominent.

Cinematography: Lots of close up shots are used to of the two main protagonists. This shows their importance to the storyline and also creates a feeling of tension between through the close ups and the way they look at each other. A long shot is used when introducing the group of antagonists. This way the audience sees them approaching from a distance, portraying a kind of descent of evil upon the scene, and adding suspense and tension. Lots of close ups are once more used of all the characters. This, joint with no dialogue, builds the tension. A mixture of hand held and fast tracking shots are used during the chase scene, protraying the hectic and chaotic atmosphere of it.

Editing: Straight cuts are used all the way through. Quick cuts are used to build speed and tension among the antagonists and protagonists. The cuts increase in speed during the part where the mobile phone goes off, to show the increasing tension and suspense of what is going to happen. The series of quick cuts conclude with two shots of the two protagonists accompanied by sync points, climaxing the tension before the chase scene starts.