starting my script

Today I have compiled a rough opening for my script. I thought the script would be a better place to start as I am unsure of the opening visuals as of yet, what I want my character’s exact moves to be and the order of the scenarios.  These ideas are not yet set in stone, as I said, this is merely a draft copy of some of my script.

Narrator:

“In the deepest, darkest corners of the Earth, man has discovered the most wondrous creatures, from our beloved canine species, to our fiesty felines. And finally, these creatures that are about to be explored in great detail. Three creatures that have such grace, dignity and poise, and are living right under our noses.”

The next part is just simple draft of what I will say about the chav’s and goths.

The chav

  • exhibits confidence
  • mating call – “OIOI!”
  • modern mating call – a snapchat on the iPhone
  • dressed – snapback, low jeans
  • often travel in packs

The goth

“Contrasting from it’s rival mammal, the chav, goth’s tend to travel alone, as avoiding combat with the chav is it’s best chance for survival. Here we can see potential contact, however, the goth senses danger, and flees, fearing for it’s life. Simply fascinating. The goth tends to sustain through it’s unique disguise, similar to the tortoise, it hides behind a black shell. It nestles behind a large, shaggy cocoon to shield itself from potential predators lurking in these dangerous surroundings.”

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why storyboard?

Storyboarding is fundamental in the process of creating a film, no matter what length. It is a guide that will be extremely useful when filming.

Before I film my short, I need to produce an animatic with the finalised shots and script, so I do not jump straight into filming without at least a vague idea of what I want to happen or what I want my characters to say. If I did not storyboard, I would most likely end up filming and compiling 2 minutes of footage, especially as this film is 5 minutes in length, I need to plan out almost every character’s move. 5 minutes is the longest production I have ever created – I do not wish to forget any shots throughout this process either.

Storyboarding can also be a guide for your actors, it can help you explain how you want them to be positioned in the frame, and perhaps how you want them to interact with other characters.

Here is the typical layout for the storyboards I will be using throughout my production:

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‘west of memphis’ film review analysis (Empire magazine)

“An Unexpected Documentary” was believe it or not, a documentary film directed by Peter Jackson. I felt this was beneficial to analyse as part of my hybrid for a mockumentary was a documentary, and as it is completely non-fictional it may be written differently.

Layout:

This layout is slightly different to ‘Sightseers’ as it is spread over three pages, with the majority of it being taken up by four large images that relate to the film: two being screenshots, one is posed (overleaf) and the other being a photo at Sundance film festival.

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Above and below “An Unexpected Documentary” there are phrases such as “exclusive” and “inside story” to ultimately lure the reader in to the article. The term “exclusive” is layered on a small black box over the image, to allow this to be one of the first things the audience will be drawn t. Plus, it states that “Peter Jackson talks West of Memphis”, evidently meaning they have interviewed the rather well-known direction themselves – again, enticing the audience with an original interview.

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As this film is evidently more serious contrasted with ‘Sightseers’ there is no ‘fact file’ or ‘verdict’ at the end of the review, portraying a perhaps more sincere side Empire could be portraying, as usually their articles are far more colloquial. In this review there is certainly a more formal tone to the text, mirroring the eerie content of the film, and overall keeping it more sober, as after all it is a “true story.”

I also noticed that the images on the page appear to be lacking in colour, especially the main image (above), as the woman is dressed in black, surrounded by a dreary environment. Whilst this may not have been intentional I can’t help but feel the three pages have a definite darker feel to them in comparison to the rest of the magazine and Empire’s more usual colourful and vibrant reviews.

‘sightseers’ film review analysis (Empire magazine)

Sightseers is a black comedy thriller film directed by Ben Wheatley, which Empire magazine recently reviewed.

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Layout:

The review is certainly very eyecatching, with half of the content being a large image (usually a screenshot from the film, however this one appears to be posed or perhaps from the film poster itself.) It is indeed very simplistic with the layout, with three columns and just the one image at the top, with the ongoing blue and white colour scheme within the font and symbols on the page. As Empire is for the more casual and informal reader, it is very easy to read, without a complex layout and easy to find information. They have included the typical film facts as an introduction to the review, such as the release date, film certificate, director, cast, running time and a small synopsis.

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These facts may be a ‘decider’ for the audience, for example if they like the main cast members, or perhaps find out they are not yet old enough to see it in the cinema. At the end, to summarise, it has a small ‘verdict’ paragraph with a star rating. This way, you don’t even need to read the article if you do not wish to, making it easier for the audience to decide whether they want to see the film or not.

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Content:

The way in which this review is written certainly contrasts with more formal film magazines such as Sight and Sound. Immediately you can tell there is more colloquial and chatty tone to it, tying in with the magazine’s overall theme. The writer also uses alliteration such as “selecting sexy underwear” and “unique British blend” to ultimately make the piece appear more laid back, easier and overall more engaging for perhaps a younger audience member. The author almost utilises a sense of wit and employs this within her writing, as if she is trying to make it more amusing than reviewing.

film reviews

What is the purpose of a film review?

Film reviews are everywhere. They are an expression of opinion, they promote, inform, publicise, persuade, and in some cases discourage people from watching a certain film.

Popular film magazines include Empire and Sight and Sound magazine. Empire tends to follow more mainstream conventions and films and offers rather easy reading, informal articles. Sight and Sound offers more formal reviews – perhaps for an older, more niche audience.

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^ A typical Empire front cover. ^

Aspects of a film review to look out for:

  • opinions
  • star ratings
  • image (w/ caption) – could be a screenshot of the movie
  • title of film
  • written in columns
  • synopsis
  • running time of the film
  • popular actresses/actors/directors involved (unique selling points of the film)
  • phrases such as “a must see”, “film of the summer” and “if you liked ….. you’ll love this!”

I will be doing a film review as an ancillary task to tie in with my short film.

‘she’s out of my league’ film poster analysis

Below is my analysis for the comedy film ‘She’s Out Of My League’ (2010)

Synopsis: Kirk is a twenty something TSA agent working in a airport, he has extremely low self-esteem, he hasn’t accomplished much and does not have much luck in love. When the Molly comes along Kirk is shocked that a such an attractive female would be interested in him, however this school of thought tends to pick away at the relationship.

There is definite comedic elements within the poster (eg. the worried look to camera from the male character), I will most likely use direct looks to the camera, to allow the audience to relate to the characters. For my mockumentary, I will probably ask my protagonist to exaggerate their facial expressions (like this male character) to make it humourous for the public.

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‘food inc.’ film poster analysis

Below is my analysis for the documentary film ‘Food Inc.’ (2008)

Synopsis: The film examines corporate farming in the US, concluding that agribusiness produces food that is unhealthy, in a way that is environmentally harmful and abusive of both animals and employees.

As a mockumentary is a hybrid of documentary and comedy, it was beneficial to analyse a documentary poster. It clearly has a strong message attached to it, as it uses computer generation to super impose a barcode onto an innocent cow. It has inspired me that you do not need a lot going on in a film poster for it to catch your attention and be engaging, so I am hoping to use a simplistic theme like this poster. I am also considering using computer generation in my film poster, however this idea is not set in stone just yet.

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‘I’m still here’ film poster analysis

Below is my analysis for the mockumentary film ‘I’m Still Here’ (2010)

Synopsis: This film follows the life of Phoenix, from the announcement of his retirement from acting, to his transition into a budding hip-hop artist.

I felt an analysis of this poster would be extremely beneficial, as finding a successful mockumentary film poster is difficult, and since I am doing the same genre it would be extremely relevant to my short film. I admire the simplicity and originality of this poster, and would hopefully do something just as simple for mine in the future (eg. utilising the simple sans serif font for the actor’s names/film title/name of director)

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questionnaire: analysis

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1/2. My first questions required the age /gender of my participants, these were typical introductory questions to gather relevant statistics for analysis. However, finding out the age was far more significant, mainly to ensure they are in my age range for my target audience. Luckily, most of my participants were within the 16/17 range, the age that I plan to represent most within my subcultures in my short film – this way it will hopefully be more relatable/amusing for my target audience.

3. mockumentaries familiar

This question was rather significant, as from what I found out from my interview stage was that 2/3 of my interviewees were unsure of examples of mockumentaries. By asking this question they could understand the kind of conventions a mockumentary could have, and the kind of things people would except from a mockumentary, for example, funny actors, a good script and wit/word play.

4. what is important in a comedy

Question number 4 related to what my audience felt was important in a comedy. 45% of my audience stated that they would like to see good actors, and their ability to handle a script and delvier it successfully. Similarly, the next highest answer was talented actors (20%.) These top answers have enlightened me to perhaps hold auditions for parts in my film, and ask as many people as possible to ensure I will get actors who will take it seriously (I know that’s ironic as it’s a mockumentary, but I really do not wish for my short film to mocked for having actors who just think it’s a ‘laugh’)

What I also found interesting about this response was that 15% of my target audience suggested that is important for the humour to be non-offensive“, I felt this was significant as I will utimately be humouring today’s current groups of teenagers, perhaps I need to deliver some scenarios to my target audience in later audience feedback for them to respond whether they would find it offensive or humourous. I do not want to cross the line.’

5. nature docs

I felt question number five was paramount in this questionnaire. As if nobody was even familiar with these documentaries it would be extremely ‘unfunny’ and possibly a waste of time. Luckily, a good 95% of my target audience are aware of these kind of documentaries, with only one person stating they were “not sure.” However I feel I can fully go ahead with my idea, as I am confident that people will understand what I’m parodying, and if they don’t, hopefully they will at least find it humourous and engaging anyway.

6. nature doc appearance

I was also very pleased with my participant’s responses to question number six. It is evident that 100% of my respondants know some typical conventions of a nature documentary, it is clear what they expect, which hopefully means they will ‘get’ the concept of my film when it is displayed.

7.  my idea

For question 7, I gave them a short brief of my idea at the start of the questionnaire and asked if they would find it interesting, and left a few lines for if they were unsure about it. As this questionnaire was anonymous, I’m hoping my respondants were genuinely being 100% honest with their answer.

8.  david attenborough voice over

 

why would DA voice over make it funny

The two top answers (27%) stated that it was because I would be “mocking a cliche”, and that David Attenborough tends to have a very “serious style of commentary” and they feel it would be humourous against the visuals, as they would contrast completely. The next top answer (20%), was quite similar and said that it would be “ironic” which is exactly the answers I were looking for, I want my audience to understand it’s a parody and it is supposed to be ironic – hopefully making it amusing yet easy to undestand.

What I found interesting in this set of responses was the 6% that said “as long as it’s purely sarcastic.” This is my concern, I do not wish for my mockumary to be perceived as making fun of David Attenborough’s narration, and for people to find it offensive towards him – this is the last thing I want to happen. When the time comes when I write my script in full, I need to ensure I do not include anything that could be deemed wildly inappropriate and for people to think I am intentially being tasteless.