Specified Location

My location has been chosen for certain. It is my friends house and has the closest possible characteristics needed for my opening sequence.

The Corridor

As shown in the picture, the corridor is sufficiently long and thin, showing her isolation. The large board in the corridor was not originally wanted in the frame, however it was too heavy to move and will present no problem to the shot.

The Mantlepiece

This is a focal point in the opening and so it is necessary that it depicts what is happening in the house. It is also in the room of my friend and so it is showing a generic girls room, exactly like Lex’s would be.  The mess in the room shows the mess in Lex’s head and her inability to sort both her room and her head out.

The Front Door

Although the stairs I previously wanted in the frame are not there to the same effect, the front door will still work as it shows the corridor behind and still shows Lex to be sitting on her own outside. The red door is a good contrast to the black of Lex’s clothes and shows her to be a stark contrast what is behind the door.

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Questionnaire

Questionnaire on Social Realist Films

  1. Are you male or female?

This was done as the first variable in my questionnaire, and means from the rest of the results I can compare what the males prefer and what the females prefer.

2.  Are you between the ages of…?

  • 10-15
  • 16-20
  • 21-25
  • 26-30

This question was included because it ensured I had a wide range of ages completing my questionnaire and meant I got more views on the rest of the questions. If I had only assessed my peers then all the answers would be fairly similar. The reason the ages range from 10-30 is because this is my target audience and who I want my opening to appeal to.

3. Out of the following films which is your favourite?

  • Trainspotting
  • This is England
  • Fish Tank
  • A Room for Romeo Brass
  • Bullet Boy

This question is to demonstrate the different themes in social realist films. By choosing their favourite film they have inadvertently chosen the most popular theme. Trainspotting demonstrates drug use; This is England portrays racial identity, gang violence and peer pressure; Fish Tank represents lower class society; A Room for Romeo Brass demonstrates interracial relationships and friendship; and Bullet Boy shows criminal offences.

4. Which aspect of film is most important in a social realist film, and why?

  • Characterisation
  • Storyline
  • Music

I included this question as it means I know what to focus my film on. Obviously it will include aspects from all three, but by discovering what the audience find most important I can decide what the main focal point of the opening will be, and there is a minimised risk of unnecessary distractions.

5. What do you think is the most important component of the storyline of a social realist film and why?

  • Drug abuse
  • Racial identity
  • Sexual/domestic abuse
  • Mental health problems
  • Criminal offences

This question was included as a more direct approach to question three. By asking this I can discover which aspect of a storyline is most appreciated in a film, and thus which the audience would prefer to watch. The result of this will then influence the storyline of my film. Because it was a direct question it meant the people answering will have to think about the storyline and so the answer I get will be more thoughtful rather than just off the bat.

6. As a character, what is the most important character trait they possess and why?

  • Funny
  • Mysterious
  • Random
  • The “heart on sleeve” concept
  • Innocence
  • Rebellious

I included this question because it means my character will be most appealing to the audience. If they can decide how the character should be then I can make my character to be as such and thus they will be more popular. Therefore if the character is appealing then the audience will want to watch the film till the end to find out what happens to them, and will produce the best outcome for the film.

7. Do you prefer films that are suitable for home or purely for the cinema experience?

This question was included because I can then assess how my film should be portrayed. If the outcome was that people preferred to watch films in the cinema then my opening would have to include more “blockbuster” characteristics and special effects, however if people prefer to watch films in the comfort of their own home then the film can be suitable for a small screen and doesn’t have to include so many specialities or  over exaggerated effects.

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Location

When I drew my animatic I had a clear location in mind, that of my friend’s house in London. This however had to swiftly change as it was clear we were not going to make it down to London when filming was being completed. However it doesn’t make too much of any issue as the places needed are fairly generic: a corridor, a worktop or flat surface of some kind and a set of stairs outside a front door.

The corridor

The corridor is needed to display Lex’s feeling of isolation, as she is the only one walking down it, leaving the party and going to spend time on her own. It also has a visual dynamic as it means the audience will be concentrating on the only piece of action penetrating the screen, and will enforce the point that Lex is the main character, with all action focusing on her.

The Worktop

The worktop is needed as a main focal point for the beginning of the sequence. It must be littered with various party paraphernalia (bottles/cans of alcohol, ashtrays, cigarette butts, screwed up rizzlas etc) and should demonstrate the general type of party that is happening.

Stairs leading from a Front Door

The only reason stairs are needed is because I want to shoot Lex from a low angle, with full view of the stairs. Again this will increase the feeling of isolation, but will display Tom in full light of coming to speak to her, and bring her back to reality. The lighting will be easy to do, as the stairs will be illuminated from the light in the house and will beam down on Lex. Although the snow may cause a problem with the general ambience of the opening, it wont make too much of a difference as it is only a short time Lex is outside for and the weather doesn’t matter, a party would still happen.

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Actors

LEX = DOMINIQUE BRADLEY-BURKE

 

Dominique is one of my closest friends and so we will be able to have a professional relationship whilst filming, she will be reliable and on time and will appreciate the importance of the filming going well. Dominique looks similar to how I imagined Lex, and is happy to dress appropriately and wear the make up I wish her to wear. In the opening Lex smokes, as does Dominique and so she is not being forced to do something unnecessarily, against her will, and that will affect her health more than she is doing already.

TOM = TOM WELBY

Although not my original choice to play Tom (the rudimentary choice came with the location and as that fell through, so did the actor), Tom Welby is now ideal as he is Dominique’s boyfriend and thus the on-screen kiss is not a problem for either of them. Tom dresses fairly similar to how Tom the character would dress, and only needs the addition of a cap. Tom is twenty one which is too old for my Tom, however he looks quite young and so he can pass as the age wanted. Tom is also a close friend and thus will be reliable and will stick to the timings. He has previous acting experience of short films and so will know that the timings are strict and that the pressure is on.

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Character Profiles

LEX

Lex is the main character in my film, with all the action surrounding her. She is sixteen years old and for four years has been rebelling against her parents. Lex smokes and has been doing so for three of these years, and she also takes recreational drugs, rather frequently and heavily. Black and grey is her preferred clothing colour, and she wears nothing but. This is because Lex likes to fade into the background and not be noticed; however due to her unconventional beauty she is always noticed and people like her because of her modest and humble allure. Lex hardly ever talks as she feels as though anything she has to say is not worthy of listeners, and thus she is very mysterious to those around her, and even those closest to her. Although she is loved by many, and aware of this, she also understand that they love the idea of her, rather than her herself. She believes that they love the elusiveness of herself as none of them truly know her. Lex likes to go to parties, host parties and go out at night because she thinks that if she surrounds herself with people she will not feel so alone. She is in her element at night as she feels as though she can do anything she likes; this is also why she takes drugs, as she feels as though her mind is not her own and she can forget about the life she lives: they

are a fun element to her life, perhaps the only one. Due to Lex’s perplexing mind there is not much to say about her. Lex does have a boyfriend of six months however, the only

person she has ever let even remotely close to her as she does not like to be let down and thus keeps people as far away as possible.

The inspiration for Lex came from the character Effy from Skins, and from how I think someone like that would be.

TOM

Tom is Lex’s boyfriend and is seventeen years old, in the year above her at the sixth form college they both attend. Tom is as close to Lex as he possibly can be, but still does not understand her completely. It is always Tom that Lex turns to, which is what has bought them so close, however usually she turns to no one. Tom loves Lex completely, even after the short time they have been together and he has an overwhelming urge to keep her safe. His past time is the same as hers, spending time with each other, often taking drugs and drinking. Tom dresses like a fairly generic boy, has a hard facade so people do not cross him and has an unknown sweeter side.

The character Tom was generated from my own mind, simply from what I thought he would be like in relation to Lex, as the movie is about her.

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Conventions of Social Realism Movies

Generally in social realism films, there are the following conventions:

  • Characters are often down and out in society, or lower class
  • Typically the age ranges from teens to young adults, always coming to age

    Shaun from "This is England" and the surrounding characters, showing the age group that are typically used in social realist films

  • A significant event occurs, affecting them in  negative way. The story lines are always depressing, and affecting more than one person
  • The plot typically includes drugs, drink, burglary, sex and/or violence.
  • Displays the use of sex in "Layer Cake"

    It’s usually done in a Kitchen Sink Documentary style

  • Locations are often gritty flats or grungy buildings

    Taken from "Trainspotting" the shot shows how grungy and dirty buildings are generally used

  • In the background of the location there is often evidence of crime, be it burnt out cars, graffiti or vandalism of any sort
  • The shots are often smokey, with lighting being  grainy, stylised and recognisable
  • The costumes worn are usually tatty, cheap clothing
  • The film is generally historically based, with the issues portrayed being those that are affecting the society at that time
  • Stereotypes are used, so the characters are shorthanded and easily understood
  • Class rivalry is often a main theme in these films
  • The music used is always typical of the setting. For example Kidulthood uses the London Underground rapping and Trainspotting uses eighties music
  • Cultural slang is often shown to be used

    This image is taken from the social realist film "Somers Town" and it demonstrates the use of violence

  • Sub-cultures are included, as well as sub-plots
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Second Analysis of Horror

Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock, 1960

This film’s opening did not have a lot of things to analyse as it was a slow opening, with not much action at all.

Narrative Context
The film’s narative consisted of a simple storyline. It showed a couple in a hotel room, being generally romantic and secretive. As they talk we hear about their background as people, and how the male was married before hand.

Character’s Establishment and Representation
The woman lying in the bed is shown to be in a silk negligee, with blonde hair (connotation of innocence), well-kept and not short of money. The male is the same, wearing a grey suit and hat, black tie, with no lack of cash to afford the luxuries in life. The two of them are established as secretive, and can betray easily, due to their secret affair.

Locations
The location shown is only in a hotel room, not seedy but not massively modern, just middle class room. The screen showed the date and time of the scenario, estbalishing the setting.

Camera Techniques and the Effects of
The first shot used is an establishing panning shot, showing all the is happening in the scene. Throughout the rest of the opening medium shots are used, showing everyday characters in an everyday way, creating a false sense of security as the audience knows, (knowing its a horror movie) that something scary is going to happen to these established characters.

Use of sound
During the titles of the film the music used is frantic, fast paced and panic stricken. The instrument used is a piano, often used in horror movies as it creates tension and suspense quite easily, due to the fact it can go high pitched easily, which it does in this opening. As the action begins, the only sound we hear is that of the two characters talking, which is not a typical horror convention in its opening.

The Font, Colour and Posistioning of the Title
The film opens with the paramount logo, before continuing onto the titles of the film. They start as black and white stripes, which form into the title words. The names then follow in white, in a simplistic font. The titles change quickly with them sliding in from all directions of the screen. This creates tension for the audience as their heart begins to beat faster in anticipation of the action coming. All the titles themselves are shown as though they are credits before the film.

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