Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A&B - The First Short Film Idea

Here I discuss the first idea I had for my CE project.
During the Summer I was developing a short film script idea called A&B (Anxiety & Boredom). I like how boredom and anxiety are both negative forces but each contradicts each other. You have anxiety where your blood pressure is very high, you become over-sensitive and you’re jumping about all over the place trying to get things done but not really getting anything done. Then you have boredom which is just numbness, but is equally as counter-productive. As all drama is built on conflict, I figured anxiety and boredom could come together to create a very dramatic story. This said, the resulting ideas were all pretty terrible, cliché-ridden and flat. They didn't really solidify into any further on from the basic themes of anxiety and boredom, hence the title.

The first scene would have been someone answering their front door to be confronted by one of those really irritating, two-faced charity promoters. I tried to develop the script from this starting point with someone who was over-emphatically trying to sell their cause to someone who just didn’t care but doesn’t have the willpower to say no. On it’s own it would have made a nice scene but it just didn’t ignite a story I wanted to tell.

However, In terms of style and the feasibility of making another student short film, I invested much thought and consideration.

A&B I was very keen to be presented in black and white and that came from a film I had watched called Radio On, a British road move made in the 1970s. When talking about it, the director said the reason he shot it in black and white was not because he was trying to create a pretentiously artistic film but rather because he didn’t like the colour of Britain in the 1970s. By shooting the film in black and white he was able to avoid the brown blandness of the countries recession induced colour palette. 
Radio On Trailer
With A&B, as it most probably wouldn’t have been shot until after Christmas, my thinking was much the same. I wanted to avoid the very cold, lowlight look of winter. Also, using black and white allows much more freedom with the use of artificial lighting, because you don’t have to maintain the realistic integrity of the full colour spectrum (and I’ve always been a fan of film noir and German Expressionism). 
Film noir. Alan Ladd, This Gun For Hire (1942).
German Expressionism. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).
I was keen to use more outdoor locations! I don’t have access to many indoor ones and my thinking is it is easier to get your hands on outdoor ones (although, I’m sure the logic of that thinking would’ve been tested). Bath is full of varied of architectural designs and shapes and I was keen for the visuals of the film to convey the film’s mood and under lying themes as much as possible. Also, with Where will it all stop and One Door Opened the majority of filming had been done inside. I wanted to try something different this time. I wanted to let my film breath and give the visuals some depth of field!

I tried to keep the cast list to a minimum, at one point there were only three characters. I was keen to incorporate more improvisation into the performances to develop the story beyond the script. The smaller the cast list the better, because it would’ve given me more time with each actor.

I thought about how I could use the camera. At one point I considered setting a rule where I would only be allowed to use extreme close-ups and long shots to tell the story! I also wanted to use more movement with the camera. I was not keen on the very obviously handheld style (Paul Greengrass) but I still wanted to incorporate movement, while still trying to maintain the smoothness of a well-mounted static shot. Then I began to think about how I could use the camera to tell the story and be apart of the story more so than the main character, I liked the idea of a free roaming eye.

However, I’ve decided not to pursue A&B anything further as it wasn’t going anywhere and I’ve since come up with a better idea. But the technical and feasibility considerations done for A&B will most definitely filter through into the new idea.