Annie : Annie’s A2 Work : Main Task : Research & Planning

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RESEARCH

TRAILER BACKGROUND RESEARCH –

The History of Trailers Timeline:

the-history-of-film-trailers-timeline

The Different Types of Trailers:

A trailer is “an advertisement for a film or a television or radio programme, consisting of short parts taken from it”.

  1. Teaser trailer:
    • Usually no longer than 30 seconds
    • Designed to be shown several months before the film’s release date
    • Quite cryptic and designed to create a sense of tension for the audience
    • Sometimes released before the film is even complete
    • Some films only release one trailer to play on the idea of suspension and wonder
  1. Theatrical trailer:
    • Trailers that play in the cinema before a film starts
    • Usually lasting approx. 2 minutes and 30 seconds, mainly due to the fact the film is almost complete in terms of editing and is almost ready for distribution
    • Shown closer to the release date
    • Contains more footage of the final cut
  1. TV-spot trailer:
    • Play during TV advert breaks
    • Usually last approx. 30-60 seconds
  2. Consumer trailer:
    • Played at the beginning of DVDs/Blu-rays
  3. Red-band trailer:
    • A film trailer that shows film content from a movie rated for 18-year-olds and over
    • Contains content unsuitable for younger audiences
    • Usually shown before films that are rated ’18 or over’ and aren’t shown during TV adverts
  1. Green-band trailer:
    • The trailers that are widely shown in theatres before a film starts
    • “supposed to be edited of content that parents may consider offensive”
    • Seen during TV adverts, prior to a film etc.
  1. “Gamification”:
    • “the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service”
  2. Talk show/celebrity interview trailer/preview:
    • A preview of a film during a talk show that a guest actor features in
  3. YouTube/social media trailers:
    • Placed as advertisements on platforms such as YouTube so that when a user searches for certain criteria

References:

[http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/trailer]

[http://www.slideshare.net/aishaisse/theatrical-vs-teaser-trailer]

[http://national.deseretnews.com/article/1020/red-band-trailers-why-parents-should-know-what-they-are-and-how-easy-they-are-to-access.html]

[https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=gamification]

The Purposes of Trailers:

  • To attract an audience to a film
  • To “promote, publicise and advertise” films
  • To make likely fans want to see the film that is being promoted
  • To leave the viewer with a “feeling of anticipation and the urge to want to see the film”
  • To show audience glimpses of the film to come, “in the hope of enticing them into the cinema or buying it to watch at home”
  • Let audiences know the genre of the film so that people can narrow down whether the film is for them or not; prevents people who aren’t fans of that genre from wasting time and money on something they don’t want to see
  • To show just enough of the film to intrigue the audience but not too much to spoil the whole film
  • To “evoke emotion” e.g. within the music chosen for the trailer

References:

[https://prezi.com/tp-uszyeworr/the-purpose-of-a-film-trailer/]

[http://www.markedbyteachers.com/university-degree/media-studies/what-makes-an-effective-film-trailer.html]

Key Codes & Conventions of Trailers:

  • Production/distribution logo
    • A way of being credited for their work on the film; allows them to be noticed
    • The company’s reputation can benefit from this, providing that the film is a success
    • e.g. Universal Pictures – gives viewers an idea of the budget of the film as Universal is so well-known for being a successful production company, “judging by its impressive visuals” and music
  • Plot summary
    • Gives the audience a small idea about the film’s narrative, telling the viewers what the movie is about and helps them choose whether it appeals to them
    • “informative and avoids confusion amongst viewers”
  • Voiceover/written narration
    • Audio- or text-based way of explaining the film’s narrative
    • Voiceover “compliments the trailer”; written narration “consists of titles in the trailer”
    • g Don LaFontaine was the most commonly known voice actor, performing voiceovers for over 5,000 movie trailers
  • Music
    • In the background and compliments the trailer as a whole
    • Adds emphasis and emotion on the scenes as well as the tone of the film
    • Influences the audience to pay attention
  • Cast/credit/studio information
    • Crediting cast and studios allows them to be noticed and credited for their work, as well as being promoted
    • Ensuring cast are recognised, they could “potentially gain bigger opportunities” for roles in other films
    • Studios involved also benefit from credits as they become more well-known and gain a larger fan base
  • Technical elements
    • The list of technology used to create the film
    • Gives an “insight into the work put into making the film, as well as promoting the technology”
    • A film including “new state-of-the-art technology” can create excitement within viewers, specifically those who are interesting in technology
  • The title of the film
    • Key part of the trailer – “memorable … if the film succeeds”
    • Can be animated titles or just plain text
    • Usually at the end of the trailer
    • Font, colour, and backdrop are usually clues of what the genre of the film is, so that it appeals to specific audiences
  • BBFC age certification
    • Mainly shown towards the end of the trailer
    • “provides a guideline for the target audience age”
    • Can hint at the content of the film to tell audiences what to expect, e.g. a certified ‘15’ would mean that viewers may predict to see higher levels of violence, sexual scenes and inappropriate language. This means that people who don’t enjoy watching films with such content can rule themselves out of the possible audience
  • Social media URLs/hashtags etc.
    • Encourages audiences to find out more about the film
    • Creates discussions on social media about the film, informing more people about it and creating more interest, particularly for younger people who use social media more often than other generations
  • Showing well-known actors in the film
    • Plays a big role in promoting the film as popular stars who are known for being good actors can attract more viewers, which would mean promotional success for the film
    • Can tell audience that roles will be acted well so it will be a good film
  • Inter-textual references
    • “mostly prominent in films that have sequels or prequels” as they relate to plots that happened in the previous film(s) and what could happen in the future of the series
  • Length of the trailer
    • The official full film trailer will usually be between a minute and a half to two minutes in length
    • Horror film trailers can be shorter than 10 seconds to increased hype and excitement
  • Release date
    • Essential for attracting larger audiences to film theatres on the opening night of a film release
    • Shown a few weeks before the film is release to inform audiences when they should go to the cinema to watch it
    • Shown at the end of the trailer, after the title, so that when they are paying attention to the title they receive the information they need in order for them to see it

References:

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NJT2g5wzSI]

[http://www.slideshare.net/jazzyprince/codes-and-conventions-of-film-trailers-26226759?qid=c8fee83c-00fe-4b80-820b-176553824537&v=&b=&from_search=1]

Key Narrative Forms:

  • Restricted narrative range (Todorov) – restricting what the audience know about events; a limited perspective.
  • Unrestricted narrative range – jumping between different characters’ points of view.
    Trailers don’t reveal all of the narrative information to the audience. Events in the narrative which are unexplained are called ‘enigma codes’ (Barthes). This opens the text to multiple readings, which is pleasurable for the audience.
  • Character roles are briefly portrayed.
  • Most trailers are non-linear. They usually start linear, but then all of the ‘action’ within the film that is being promoted begins to mix up.
  • There is a high level of enigma in trailers in order to keep the audience asking questions about what happens at the end of the film, making them want to watch it.

Three Good Trailers From Different Genres:

Action/Gangster:

Comedy:

Drama:

Trailer Research

Old Trailer – Psycho (1960) Horror/Mystery/Thriller

Producer & Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Production Company: Shamley Productions

Distributor: Paramount Pictures – USA (1960), Universal Pictures – USA re-release (1968)

Screenwriter: Joseph Stefano

Actors: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam

Box Office:      Budget: $806,947 (estimated) Gross: $32,000,000 (USA)

Release Dates:psycho-release-dates

Trailers: 5 trailers in total. First was of Hitchcock giving the audience a ‘tour’ of the setting of the film ‘Psycho

Modern Trailer – Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi

Producers: George Miller, Doug Mitchell, P.J. Voeten

Director: George Miller

Production Companies: Warner Bros. Pictures (presentation), Village Roadshow Pictures (in association with), Kennedy Millar Productions (as A Kennedy Millar Mitchell Production), RatPac-Dune Entertainment (in association with), RatPac Entertainment

Distributors: Warner Bros. – USA & UK (2015), Roadshow Films – Australia (2015)

Writing Credits: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris

Box Office: Budget: $150,000,000 (estimated) Gross: $153,636,354 (USA)

Release Dates:max-max-release-dates

Trailers: 6 trailers in total

Home ent. Trailer, trailer 1, trailer 2, First Look trailer, Retaliate trailer, Max Featurette trailer

Future Trailer – Suicide Squad (2016) Action/Adventure/Crime

Producer: David Ayer

Director: David Ayer

Production Companies: Atlas Entertainment, DC Comics, DC Entertainment, Dune Entertainment (in association with) (as RatPac-Dune Entertainment), Lin Pictures, Warner Bros.

Distributors: Warner Bros., NOS Audiovisuais (Portugal), Tanweer Alliances (Greece)

Writer Credits: David Ayer

Box Office: Budget: $175,000,000 (estimated) Gross: $283,021,066 (USA)

Release Dates: 1st August (USA), 3rd August (Colombia, Belgium etc.), 4th August (Ukraine, Albania etc.), 5th August (UK, Canada etc.)

Trailers:

Trailer Analysis:

trailer-analysis

SHORT FILM BACKGROUND RESEARCH –

History of Short Films:

The History of Short Films

Key Codes and Conventions of Short Films:

Key Codes & Conventions of Short Films Prezi

How are they distributed and exhibited?:

According to the BBC, distributors of short films are those who are an organisation, independent company, or a single individual who will represent your film at a film festival and attempt to sell it to other companies/platforms that show short films.

Sundance is well known for distributing and exhibiting short films, such as ‘Cherries’. This allows people who go to festivals such as Sundance to create a two-step flow after watching the short films. It creates buzz, meaning that more people will want to watch the short films, therefore making them more popular.

CHERRIES

STOP:

DONKEY:

Key Narrative Forms and Theories Used:

Usually restricted, has a clear narrative, and linear.

“Rule 1. Start immediately.
Title credits have a strange place within a short film. Audiences don’t need to know anyone’s name, who the director is or, in some extreme cases, what the name of the film is. It is a waste of screen time and in many films where the title credits are 3 maybe even 4 minutes long : audiences disengage, start talking to one another, remove themselves from the initial intention to watch the work. The mistake is easy to make because at times the short filmmaker is wanting to replicate their favourite feature films beginning, but it doesn’t work. There really aren’t many occasions where it’s acceptable for lengthy titles (or credits) – so avoid them.” e.g. in ‘Cherries’ we do see names of actors and the production company, but this doesn’t draw our attention away from everything else.

“Rule 2. Observe the set-up.
The first act of your story could start and end on the first page, in the first minute, without any dialogue. We need to know the essence of the drama, this is what makes audiences sit forward.

Rule 3. Enter scenes and start dialogue at breaking points.
When you are devising/writing and coming up with scenes within your work, keep the narrative dialogue as small as possible. Characters don’t need to be talking, telling the audience who’s who, explaining the complicated plot points, or waffling on about nothing. They need to say nothing until it is vital that they speak based on the action and drama that’s surrounding them.

This is an age old method which works well: show more, say less.

Enter the scene late and leaving too early are great writing habits to get into. People (your audience and our audiences) have very good imaginations.”

‘Donkey’ goes against this idea, where the main character is talking all throughout the short film. However, this can be seen as a good thing, because the character is telling the audience a story, making the audience become more engaged and it makes them feel like they are an acquaintance of the main character.

“Rule 4. Remove all non-narrative essential elements.

Why did we see the fight? Why did it last 5 minutes? Who is that guy on the boat? I don’t care who won the poker game!

These are the occasional feedback elements we get back from judge to judge, film to film. Fight scenes, sex scenes, irrelevant poker games…the list goes on and on. It’s dead space and the audience can make up something greater and more personal in their own minds – instantly making your film less ‘cringeworthy’ and a whole lot more engaging. You will find that “cheesy filmmaking” is given to work where the filmmaker is trying to shove everything down our throats.

It’s enthusiastic, yes, but enthusiasm counts for nothing against the sheer might of a disciplined storyteller.”

http://www.lift-off-festivals.com/short-film-story-structure/

Four Good Short Films From Different Genres:

‘Run’ – Drama:

  1. What genre is the film?

Drama

  1. What sort of narrative is it?

It as a full structure: a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning is when the three girls are sat against a wall, the middle is when the two boys start playing football and the girls join, and the end is when they ‘part ways’ and we hear the final part of the voiceover.

  1. How does it establish the mood?

The voiceover of one of the girls suggests that she, or maybe one of her friends, has had her heart broken by a boy because he ‘ran’ from her. It implies that boys are afraid of relationships – male indecision and female vulnerability.

  1. Where was it shown?

Short of The Week https://www.shortoftheweek.com

  1. What is the target audience for this film?

Young females – the strong female voice of the voiceover gives a sense of poetic power and freedom.

Young males – gives the message that they should be more considerate towards females’ feelings.

  1. What devices were used to target the audience directly? (What representations are used?)

Representations of a young society where the majority are in relationships. The number of females vs. number of males gives a sense of female dominance. The female voiceover gives a sense of strength and emotions.

  1. What key genre elements were employed?

Symbolism: trio of girls vs. two boys – female dominance

Conveying the story through the voiceover

  1. What is the key point in the narrative?

When the voiceover is introduced – it’s like we’re reading the mind of one of the trio while they’re playing football with the boys, implying that she knows what the outcome will be if anything further happens between one of the boys and girls.

  1. What ideology is being promoted?

Men don’t appreciate women enough; females are mainly the ones that are hurt; people should be more considerate towards others.

  1. What elements are particularly successful? Why?

The voiceover makes us feel like we are in the mind of one of the girls. We are given an insight into what her view is on boys and relationships, helping young people who have just gone through a break-up or have been through a tough time with someone in the past to feel like they are not alone. Conveys a message.

  1. What elements are least successful?

The discussion between the trio about genes/science doesn’t necessarily make sense straight away. It could suggest that females are smart, but this isn’t really made extremely clear. I feel as though the film should’ve begun when the boys entered the park.

  1. What studio made the film?

Individual: Thea Gajic

‘Skypemare’ – Horror:

  1. What genre is the film?

Horror

  1. What sort of narrative is it?

Linear, restricted

  1. How does it establish the mood?

The music is extremely eerie, and the length of the shots on top of the music creates suspension and enigma, scaring the audience into thinking something scary is going to happen.

  1. Where was it shown?

Screamfest 2013

  1. What is the target audience for this film?

Horror film viewers

  1. What devices were used to target the audience directly? (What representations are used?)

The music was eerie/scary, and the plot of it being on Halloween night.

  1. What key genre elements were employed?

High-pitched music, fear is seen within the main character, use of props (e.g. knife, fake severed limbs, blood).

  1. What is the key point in the narrative?

When ‘Alison’ slips after running with a knife and she stabs herself in the side of her abdomen, which wouldn’t have happened if her friend hadn’t pranked her.

  1. What ideology is being promoted?

You shouldn’t trick your friends into thinking you’re in danger and they will be in danger too as there could be serious consequences.

  1. What elements are particularly successful? Why?

The plot was really enigmatic and definitely made me scared and got me on the edge of my seat.

  1. What elements are least successful?

The shot of the TV after she turned it down was not continuous as the second time we saw the TV the sound was loud again.

  1. What studio made the film?

Sledgehammer Pictures

‘Coming of Age’ – Action

  1. What genre is the film?

Action

  1. What sort of narrative is it?

Linear, restricted

  1. How does it establish the mood?

The quick and shaky shots suggest to the audience a sense of danger and chaos. It creates sympathy within the audience for the boy as he doesn’t seem to have any family and appears to be experiencing the post-apocalyptic world all on his own, with no family, and he has to look after a girl who seems to be sick.

  1. Where was it shown?

YouTube

  1. What is the target audience for this film?

Any age, mainly for younger audiences as they can empathise the boy more.

  1. What devices were used to target the audience directly? (What representations are used?)

Young boy on his own with no family to look after him, making younger audiences empathise him.

  1. What key genre elements were employed?

Fast-paced shots, weapons, chasing, shaky shots, fights, blood.

  1. What is the key point in the narrative?

When a man tries to help the boy but happens to get killed.

  1. What ideology is being promoted?

In a dangerous situation, you need to think carefully and protect yourself.

  1. What elements are particularly successful? Why?

The fact that no dialogue was used was successful as it made the audience wonder who the boy was and why he was alone. The fast-paced shots in the chase scene definitely created suspension as the audience doesn’t know if the two men are going to catch the boy or not.

  1. What elements are least successful?

The ending doesn’t satisfy me as I don’t know what has happened to the girl, and we don’t know if the boy gets back to her, or even if they both survive or not.

  1. What studio made the film?

Individual: Ben Goodger

‘Fangirl’ – Social Realism/Documentary:

  1. What genre is the film?

Social realism/documentary

  1. What sort of narrative is it?

Linear

  1. How does it establish the mood?

The actors seem like real people with real obsessions – realistic

  1. Where was it shown?

Shortoftheweek.com

  1. What is the target audience for this film?

Young/teenage girls, as they can identify with the girls seen in the short film

  1. What devices are used to target your audience directly? (What representations are used?)

Teenage girls obsessing over famous stars from social media, pictures and posters all over their walls, “I have a very big crush on him”/I can’t say it was love at first sight because I’ve seen him before … but when I met him it was like the connection was finally there”

  1. What key genre elements were employed?

Portraying the life of a teenage girl in a stereotypical but realistic way, actors are all wearing normal and everyday clothing, we don’t recognise any of the actors (they’re not professional actors), linear narrative, audience recognise the problems raised and may enable the target audience to identify with the characters seen in the film and possibly cause them to change their lifestyle (stop obsessing over social media stars)

  1. What is the key point in the narrative?

When the girls start explaining how their lives are complete with having the obsessions

  1. What ideology is being promoted?

Teenage girls develop obsessions over famous people and become borderline-pathological very quickly

  1. What elements are particularly successful? Why?

The shots from the meet and greets and the concert shows the true picture of the situation as they are filming a real meet and greet and concert.

  1. What elements are least successful?

Some of the shots seem very staged which removes the realistic element

  1. Who made the film?

Liza Mandelup

A2 SHORT FILM COURSEWORK TASKS

SOCIAL REALISM –

  • Realistic settings
  • Realistic situations and events
  • A problem the protagonist faces/hard luck
  • Economic instability
  • Working class heroes
  • Everyday life struggles
  • Realistic experiences
  • Urban locations

Key Examples of Social Realism Films

  • Billy Elliot
  • Kidulthood
  • Submarine
  • Fish Tank
  • This is England
  • Trainspotting

Key Actors of Social Realism Films

Social realism films normally use non-professional/amateur actors in order to create a more realistic element to the film. Some British social realism films can’t afford professional actors due to low budget scales. An example of a social realism film which didn’t have a professional actor in it is Fish Tank, the lead actress called Katie Jarvis, who had never had any acting experience before.

Key Directors of Social Realism Films

  • Tony Richardson: Look Back in Anger (1959), Taste of Honey(1961), Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)
  • John Schlesinger: A Kind of Loving (1962), Billy Liar (1963)
  • Stephen Daldry: Billy Elliot (2000)
  • Stephen Frears: My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), Philomena (2013)
  • Ken Loach: Kes (1969), The Angels’ Share (2012)
  • Shane Meadows: This is England (2006)

History of the Social Realism Genre

  • ‘BFI Screenonline: Social Realism’ (by Richard Armstrong, 2014)
  • ‘From Kitchen Sink to Fish Tank’ (by Siobhan McGuirk, June 2011)
  • ‘Social Realist Film Theory – Media Studies’ (by Holly Fairbrother, 2015): “Social Realist films originate in the 1950s/1960s but, in terms of their form and style, were influenced by the British documentary tradition of the 1930s, popularised by the GPO Film Unit (Nightmail) who ultimately became the Crown Film Unit at the start of WW2 (Fires Were Started, Britain Can Take It). In the 1960s, social realist films became critically and commercially successful and benefitted from the fact that television was only a feature in some middle-class households – people flocked to the cinema to see films like Billy Liar (1953), Cosh Boy (1953), Room at the Top (1958), This Sporting Life (1963), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) and Kathy Come Home (1966). Typically, original social realism was set in the industrial north but occasionally travelled south, as in the 1968 film, Up the Junction set in west London (Chelsea) and south London (Battersea). Fundamentally Up the Junction encapsulates what social realism was about – social class, alienation, frustration and fighting the system. Binary oppositions of social class were and are common with the 1950s/60s social realist films, which deliberately represent the different layers and divisions in post-war, industrial Britain. This was a time when the country was rebuilding and the manufacturing industry was at the heart of this process with slum clearance also high on the agenda, new homes and a new structuring of society post-1945 Welfare State provision under a new Labour government.”

Modern Examples of Social Realism Films

  • Stephen Frears’ Philomena (2013)

  • Tom Smith’s Empty (2015)

  • Doron Hagay’s Erica Wexler is Online (2012)

https://www.shortoftheweek.com/2012/08/31/erica-wexler-is-online/

Appropriate Genre Theories

The expectation of a social realism film is that it should focus on giving the audience a true picture of what life is like. Neale said that genre creates ‘A set of expectations’. We expect to see a social realism film set in an urban area, with characters wearing normal everyday clothing, and possibly props such as alcohol, cigarettes, and money. We also expect to see actors that we can’t easily identify (amateur actors, not professional). The narrative may be either linear or non-linear, hallucinations or flashbacks may be used. Themes that are recognised in social realism films may be economic instability, hard luck, a battle with life/life’s struggles. We expect the audience to react in a way that shows they understand and recognise the problems addressed in the film, and to possibly feel sympathetic/empathetic for, or maybe even identify with, the characters. The audience may further discuss the issues raised within the film with others.

Target Audience of Social Realism Films

The target audience of the social realism genre varies depending on the codes and conventions. For example, Kidulthood is more likely to appeal to younger audiences as it includes younger actors. Other social realism films such as The Happy Breed would appeal to an older audience of 50+ as it includes older actors. All in all, social realism films have a wide target audience and can appeal to almost all ages.

10 Key Codes & Conventions I Need For my Chosen Genre

  1. Setting: Urban area
  2. Iconography: Normal everyday clothing, alcohol bottles (not real alcohol in the bottles), cigarettes, money, modern contemporary music, hand-held camera shots
  3. Beginner/amateur actors
  4. Linear narrative
  5. Flashbacks and hallucinations
  6. Themes: Hard luck, battle with everyday life
  7. Realistic experiences, e.g. not something that would happen in a sci-fi
  8. Young actors to target my audience
  9. More than one character
  10. Economic instability

My Short Film

The genre of my short film is going to be social realism. The narrative will be linear, as four out of seven respondents of my target audience said that they would prefer the short film to be chronological. I would like my short film to be shown on a TV channel such as the BBC, because they tend to show short films and they also target my audience which is educated 17 to 20-year-olds. The devices I will use to target my audience directly will be … The key elements and ideologies that will be employed are themes of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as the struggles of life and economic instability. The key point in the narrative will be … The studio that I would assign the short film to would be Spectrecom Studios, because their “in-house production team, marketing strategists, dedicated writers and a roster of hugely talented directors produce content for the world’s leading brands, agencies, universities, charities and financial institutions”. The marketing points of the film will be that it will interest my target audience and make them reflect on their own experiences with drugs and alcohol.

My Target Audience

Questionnaire 1 Results:

ageofrespondents

genderofrespondents

short-film-q1-1

short-film-q1-3
Those who answered ‘no’ wrote the above comments as to why they don’t watch short films.

short-film-q1-5

short-film-q1-4

Short Film Q1.6.pngshort-film-q1-7

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-09-38-52Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 09.39.29.pngScreen Shot 2016-12-13 at 09.40.06.png

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-09-40-50screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-09-41-26

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-09-42-14

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From the results of my first questionnaire, I understand that most of my target audience want to see a social realism short film. The results from my questionnaire inform me that my creative ideas need to be based around what they typically like to see in films, as seen from the fourth question.

CHANGE IN GENRE AND NARRATIVE –

Originally I decided that my genre for my short film was going to be social realism, however the narrative that I wrote seemed too complicated, and I preferred the narrative that I developed for a surrealism genre as it was more creative. This means that I will need to redo my genre research for my short film.

My Social Realism Narrative:
Social Realism Short Film Idea – Alzheimer’s

My Surrealism Narrative:
A 18-year-old girl wakes up, and she scrolls through her phone on social media. She spends about an hour looking through her phone each morning, and then gets ready. She gets phone calls from people checking to see if she’s ok, but she has social anxiety and dislikes answering phone calls. She keeps getting phone calls and ends up throwing her phone to the wall and it breaks. She goes into town and gets coffee, where she thinks everyone is staring at her (her phone is her identity). She goes back to get her phone, wraps it up and takes it everywhere and she is really protective of it like it’s her baby. She goes to a phone shop to buy a new phone, but the amount of choices overwhelms her and she runs out and rocks her phone while crying.

GENRE RESEARCH – SURREALISM

  • Key codes and conventions:
    Non-restrictive/nothing is out of bounds, emphasis on the subconscious (i.e. the character is not fully aware of their actions), subconscious dreams/desires, typically a small cast and budget, mixture of diegetic and non-diegetic sound, typically produced by independent companies, non-linear narrative, fragmentary characters (not fully rounded), disturbing/chaotic atmosphere, the use of dance (strange), experimental use of language, comedy, audience is unable to connect with the characters.
  • Key examples of surrealism films:
    – ‘Un Chien Andalou’: a silent French short film, written by Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, and directed by Buñuel, released in 1929 [1]. “The repetition of hands in Un Chien Andalou’ is, to put it simply, a symbol of fetish: what hands can do and how they can generate both intense pleasure and intolerable pain. Williams has commented that ‘the function of the fetish arises from the fear of castration’ and can only be preserved through making the object in question a symbol of fetish.” [2]
    – ‘Destino’: written and produced by Dalí and Walt Disney in 1946, finished in 2003 [3]. “‘Destino’ is a Surrealist ballet about searching for love and, ultimately, coming close to it, perhaps even finding it. How appropriate, now that Surrealism is itself a memory, that an air of tristesse should permeate the film. The lovers, who never touch or speak, are alone yet not alone, wrapped in the search for each other. The landscape changes to keep them apart, though in the original scenario they had a pas de deux late in the film.” [4]
    – ‘A Field in England’: directed by Ben Wheatley, released in 2013. “The images of ‘A Field in England’ are often cryptic and abysmal, which results from processing of two images simultaneously. The stroboscopic sequences play with our vision and provide a peek into man’s subconscious.” [5]
    – ‘You, The Living’: written/directed by Roy Andersson, released in 2007. “From very beginning, the movie directly communicates with viewers, with its opening quote by German writer Goethe, “Be pleased then, you the living, in your delightfully warmed bed, before Lethe’s ice-cold wave will lick your escaping foot”. In this deadpan surreal comedy, a barrage of complaints flow lucidly to the rhythm of vivid dreams.” [6]
    [1], [3]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrealist_cinema
    [2]: https://silentlondon.co.uk/2014/03/14/surrealism-hands-and-sexuality-in-un-chien-andalou-1929-and-lage-dor-1930/
    [4]: https://stephenpersing.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/destino-and-animated-surrealism-pt-1/
    [5], [6]: http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2015/the-15-best-surrealist-movies-of-the-21st-century/#ixzz4W2GULv4
  • Key actors:
    René Magritte (artist), Max Ernst (artist), Tristan Tzara (performance artist)
  • Key directors:
    Salvador Dalí (‘Destino’), Antonin Artaud (‘The Seashell and the Clergyman’), Philippe Soupault (writer of Les champs magnétiques’), Robert Desnos (‘The Starfish), Joseph Cornell (Rose Hobart’).
  • History of surrealism:
    A Brief History Of Surrealism In One Minute
    “The Surrealist movement started in Europe in the 1920’s, after World War I with its nucleus in Paris. Its roots were found in Dada, but it was less violent and more artistically based. Surrealism was first the work of poets and writers (Diehl 131). The French poet, André Brenton, is known as the ‘Pope of Surrealism'”. http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/surrealism/Origins-of-Surrealism.html
  • 3x good modern examples:
    – ‘A Field in England’ (2013)
    – ‘My Winnipeg’ (2007)
    – ‘Life of Pi’ (2012)
  • Target audience:
    Fairly small scale, as independent companies are the main producers/distributors for surrealist films. Can really apply to any age, depending on the age of actors.

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR MY SHORT FILM

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Above is a screenshot of my questionnaire being designed. I used the template of my AS questionnaire as it had questions I wanted to ask for this project, too.

QUESTIONNAIRE RESULTS AND SUMMARY

Question 1:

agebarchart2From this bar chart, I can see that most of my respondents were between the ages of 10 to 24. This gives me an idea of what my target audience should be, as the rest of their survey responses suggest what they want to see, and the age of my characters so the film appeals and, in some ways, relates to the audience. As most of the respondents were between the ages of 18 and 24, I think this would be a good target audience. Therefore, I may choose an 18-year-old actress to act as the main character.

Question 3:

codesconventionspiechart
From this pie chart, it is evident that most of my audience want my short film to have a linear narrative, dream-like sequences, strange music, dialogue, symbolism evident in scenery/setting, and more than one character. Some respondents want to see humour and abrupt shot cuts. A linear narrative goes against the key codes and conventions of a surrealist film, however I would like to subvert this idea and make my surrealist short film linear, as Neale (1980) said that

“Genres are instances of repetition [but] difference is absolutely essential to the economy of genre”

Question 4:

titlebarchart
2 of the 11 overall respondents skipped this question. 5 out of the 9 respondents for this question seemed to like ‘Fragments’, and 3 out of 9 liked ‘Identity’. Three respondents commented the following title suggestions: ‘Fragility’, ‘Obsession’, ‘Daily Life’, ‘Just Be Rational’, ‘Epidemic’, ‘Pfft! Millennials’, ‘What Mental Health Crisis?’. I like ‘Fragments’, ‘Fragility’, and ‘Obsession’.

Question 5: ‘Finally, if you wish, please write a brief suggestion of what I could improve on in terms of my storyline. Is there anything you would like me to include/exclude? Answer using the comment box below.’

“Bluntly, seems odd that she decides to buy a new phone. Motivation for that, perhaps a symbolic desire to move past or progress through anxiety (which is inevitably thwarted by anxiety in the end of the film (perhaps showing futility of help? Or something?)), would be cool.”

This comment tells me that I should end the film with a sense of fulfilment and restoration, or a sense of hope that the girl is trying to move past her anxiety. However, I want to subvert this comment and show the chaos and distress of what anxiety is like in order for people to understand that it isn’t easy to live with and it can’t simply be treated overnight.

“At the relatively young age of 18 I would imagine that there should be some parental awareness of this girl’s problem. The film could include parental attempts to provide support even if such attempts are rejected.”

Therefore I should include a parental figure in my short film so there is an attempt to help the girl through her anxiety, but it is so severe that these attempts can’t be achieved.

“I wouldn’t make the comparison between the phone and the baby too obvious. The posture of the girl while filming is what would really matter (hunched over the phone, never looking up)”

Due to this comment, I will make sure to focus on body language to make the audience question what her relationship with the phone is, rather than making it obvious that she treats it like a baby.

10 KEY CODES & CONVENTIONS I NEED TO ADHERE TO FOR MY CHOSEN GENRE

  1. Small cast
  2. Dream-like sequences
  3. Strange music
  4. Dialogue
  5. Symbolism evident in scenery/setting
  6. More than one character
  7. Some aspects of humour
  8. Abrupt shot cuts
  9. Emphasis on the subconscious
  10. A fragmentary character (the girl with anxiety)

http://www.thedramateacher.com/surrealism-theatre-conventions/
http://wehatetomq.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/conventions-of-surrealism.html
https://prezi.com/eeyyvacq7j40/codes-and-conventions-of-surrealism-films/

SUMMARY OF RESEARCH

  • What genre is the film?
    The genre of my short film is surrealism.
  • What sort of narrative will it be?
    The narrative of my short film will be linear.
  • Where will it be shown?
    My film will be shown/distributed online. This is because I feel as though surrealist films don’t appeal to mainstream cinemas, and surrealist films mainly target smaller audiences. Considering that surrealism originated there, I feel as though my short film would appeal to France as they have an appreciation for the genre, therefore my film will need to be accessible internationally.
  • What is the target audience?
    The specific target audience for my short film is 17/18-year-olds, as they were the main age group for my questionnaire, and their responses suggested what they want to see.
  • What devices will you use to target your audience directly?
    I will have a 17/18-year-old actress play the main character, which will directly target my audience as they will be able to relate to the character on some levels, e.g. same age, going through school, etc., and may sympathise the character. Some of my audience members may even suffer with anxiety themselves, therefore developing a greater sense of relation.
    This age group is also very media-orientated and the vast majority have phones or some sort of technology that connects them to the internet/other people.
  • What key genre elements will be employed?
    I will employ the follow surrealism genre elements: emphasis on the subconscious (character is consciously unaware of actions), subconscious dreams/desires through the use of dream-like sequences, more than one character used, fragmentary characters.
  • What will be the key point in the narrative?
    The climax within the narrative will be when the girl goes to a phone shop to buy a new phone, but because she is so attached to her current one that is broken, she breaks down crying. This implies that her phone has been the only thing that has made her happy and cope with her anxiety, and she doesn’t want to replace it because she is scared that a new one wouldn’t provide the same fulfilment.
  • What ideology will you be promoting?
    People need to become more aware of the fact that anxiety is really difficult to live with, and can cause further mental illnesses. It’s not something that can be treated overnight, and it is developed over time.
  • What studio will you assign the film to?
  • What will be the marketing points for the film?
    There isn’t a great deal of films or short films based on anxiety, and I feel as though using surrealism to make the mental illness more understandable is quite creative and original, and something that may catch people’s eye.

CHOSEN TITLE

‘Fragments’, because it’s symbolic of the glass from the phone breaking, and also the girl’s mental state crashing down.

PLOT SYNOPSIS

My short film is about an 18-year-old girl who has anxiety and uses her social media on her phone as a coping mechanism for her anxiety (her phone is her identity/she hides behind her phone screen). Every morning, the girl wakes up and immediately picks up her phone to scroll through her social media; she usually spends close to an hour doing this every morning instead of getting out of bed. The girl can’t seem to go anywhere without her phone. Whenever the girl gets phone calls, she suffers from an anxiety attack. She gets a phone call from an unknown number and ends up throwing her phone to the wall due to her panic attacks, which causes her phone to break; this creates a sense of distress and chaos for the girl. She wraps her phone up in bandages, keeps it in her arms, and goes into town. She gets a coffee to calm down, but she thinks everyone is staring at her, causing her to feel paranoid. As her phone isn’t working anymore, she doesn’t feel normal or safe. At the end of the short film, the girl goes to a phone shop to buy a new phone, but her current phone has been the only thing that has made her happy and cope with her anxiety, so she doesn’t want to replace it as she is scared that a new one wouldn’t provide the same security and happiness as the current one. The amount of choices, stress and upset overwhelms her and causes her to run out of the shop, crying, and rocks her phone in her arms.

GENRE, NARRATIVE STRUCTURE AND TARGET AUDIENCE FOCUS POINTS

In order to keep the focus on surrealism within my film, I will make sure to stick to the codes and conventions listed above. I will include dream-like sequences, strange music, emphasis on the subconscious, and fragmentary characters.

I will maintain a linear structure throughout, making sure the events happen in chronological order.

In order to focus on my target audience, I will use an 18-year-old actress as the main character so the audience can relate to her on some level.

INSTITUTIONAL INFORMATION

The studio I will assign my short film to will be Shorts International Ltd. It is “the world’s leading short film entertainment company with the world’s largest catalogue of short movies. It owns and operates ShortsTV, which brings audiences around the world the best short movies on TV, online and in theaters, as well as Shorts Factory, which produces original short film content for broadcasters and brands.” https://shorts.tv/corporate

The distribution company I will assign my short film to will be Short of the Week: “From how films are funded, produced, and ultimately consumed, online short films are paving the future of storytelling. Today, the most interesting stories aren’t being told in theaters or even on TV. They’re being told here on the web. This is where you find the storytellers who are breaking free from formulas, inventing new genres, and surprising the world with shocking new points of view. The next Spielberg, Tarantino, or Cuaron won’t be discovered at a film festival. They will first make their mark right here on the web.” https://www.shortoftheweek.com/about/

I would pay for advertisements for social media websites to advertise my short film in order to reach my target audience.

THEMES AND IDEOLOGIES TO BE EMPLOYED IN MY SHORT FILM

  • Technology – millennials are far too reliant on technology, as suggested by responses in my social realism questionnaire
  • Anxiety – it is really difficult to live with and treat, and people need to be made more aware of this

DISTRIBUTION AND MARKETING OF MY SHORT FILM

My film will be shown/distributed online. This is because I feel as though surrealist films don’t appeal to mainstream cinemas, and surrealist films mainly target smaller audiences. Considering that surrealism originated there, I feel as though my short film would appeal to France as they have an appreciation for the genre, therefore my film will need to be accessible internationally.

I would pay for advertisements for social media websites to advertise my short film in order to reach my target audience.

PLANNING

INITIAL STORYBOARDS

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SHOOTING SCRIPTS

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INITIAL SCRIPT

‘FRAGMENTS’ Script

RISK ASSESSMENTS

Risk Assessment – House

FILMING LOCATIONS

  • My house
  • Witney – street, café, phone shop

ACTOR PROFILES

Main Character: Hannah Wakely
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I have chosen Hannah to act as the main character for my short film because she is the appropriate age to play this character, therefore meaning that my target audience will relate to her character on some level, making the short film appeal to them.

Extras in Order: Moya, Sarah and Yana

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yana

I have chosen these people to act as extras in the café, as they look old enough to be in town on their own, and they were up for acting in my short film. In my short film, these people will appear, in Hannah’s mind, to be staring at Hannah’s character in the coffee shop, but she’s just imagining it.

Burford School Media Arts