I made this short film with final cut simply to give a quick overview of what my evaluation says. I found piano music online I liked and tried to make the clips run as at the same pace as the music. This was a summary of what I learnt from draft so I would know what I would need to do in order to improve in the future. I found the process very rewarding and I am keen to use the knowledge I have learnt to improve upon this draft. I think reflecting on this process will help me to better see how I made the decisions I did and how I produced this draft production.
The use of a modern day thriller set in a workplace environment is a fairly original idea unique to my piece, the theme of using madness in order to drive my narrative forward has been seen before however, often in horror films such as The Shining as we see an abusive husband sink into madness due to his new job and the hauntings at the hotel he has moved into. As my film is a thriller it is uncommon however to see this in the way I have portrayed it. Its often viewed in film that those that struggle with mental illness are evil or ‘insane’ such as the Joker in the Batman series, he is often portrayed to be deviant from society, with twisted world views and an unstable and cunning mind. My Character Harry is nothing like the stereotypical ‘mad man’, as we see his struggle we see he is actually very normal, with some difficulties coping, I feel that my film is much more sensitive to mental illness in this way, as Harry is seen first as a normal person at work.
I feel my film looks at the social ‘chain’ of a work office, with the boss (represented by George) at the top, who at first seems to be just like everyone else is later revealed to be cold hearted and somewhat sociopathic, expressing how big companies often do not care about workers or customers but more about how much money they make and remaining powerful. Harry represents a lower class worker, he is clearly educated and obviously works hard but his own sanity and career is in the hands of his boss.
I think a more British based company like Film4 might distribute this as it is very tied to British culture (British actors, locations, ext) and it is also rather symbolic and close to reality, if being a little overdramatised like the type of film Film4 like to produce. I like to think my film is creative and original so they would like to broadcast it. The more realistic locations I used along with the heightened dramatic characters is a lot like the style Film4 prefer to distribute.
I think mostly adults would like to watch my film, as it becomes darker as it starts to build up I would like to be able to give it an 15 rating for drug use and I feel the plot is rather dark so mostly young adults up to those in their 30s would watch this. The film has a very psychological element so people who enjoy thrillers would enjoy this the most. My audience is likely to be attracted to the dark comedy and storyline of my film, as well as having a main character who looks similar to most young adults through his costume choices. Younger adults are more likely to see this film also because its plot centres around a rather scientific, somewhat futuristic form of authority taking control.
I’ve learnt about editing skills and how films need the right pace and the right type of editing to work. I’ve learnt to critically watch my own work and always strive to improve, I’ve learnt how to use sound and sometimes silence to my advantage when making my film and using imagery and sound to affect the audience. At first I found filming difficult, I had struggled with angles and cinematography, I struggled to picture what I wanted and once I had my footage I had no idea how to make it into a film in Final Cut, but slowly I started seeing gaps in my film, things I needed to film and things that needed refilling. after 2 days of trying to edit the film I had I realised I had to refilm everything. I assembled my actors and filmed everything in a single day which was difficult and tiring but after a few hours I had so much footage to choose from. The problem with my first lot of footage was I thought too much about editing later, so I made lots of small, disjointed clips to ‘stick together’ haphazardly, not really thinking about how I could put them together, so once I got to edit, everything was a mess. The second time around I filmed in large chunks, over and over again from multiple angles, meaning to edit later I only had to cut out what I didn’t need, giving a better sense of continuity, I stopped thinking about what I would have to take out and filmed everything I needed. I learned from this that though much of the second round of footage was ‘junk’ it was much easier to remove the useless video than to stick together lots of small clips.
This is my mood board. I feel like the way I used it to create a feel of my film is very close to what my film is.
The large scan of a brain shows how the film is very psychological, and how it is based on the thoughts of the actor. The blue and black x ray of the brain has a medical feel to it as well as looking very professional, and it looks good alongside the other colours I have used. The image of the colourful lab equipment is used to show how my main character Harry works at a lab, and how he has become a lab experiment. I felt the bright colours suited the light and dark theme throughout my mood board as well as bringing a sense of brightness to the board, making it more interesting to look at and symbolic that Harry once loved his job at the lab, however now he works on computers all day working out finances he has begun to hate it.
There is an image of a man climbing a large stack of paper, this was supposed to metaphorically symbolise Harry’s struggle to climb to the top of his career, but he is finding it difficult as he is constantly being given new stacks of paper to climb. This was shown in my film as George walked in having seen Harry was working late and gave him more work to do. It is also symbolic of how much of a struggle work has been for him to the point he feels like he is constantly working with no joy in sight. The sand timer is there to suggest that something is running out, it could be Harry’s life working at a company that doesn’t appreciate him, the time it will take for the drug to completely alter his mind until he is no longer the person he once was or the time Alphalife has as a respected company once the news of its giant breech of trust has changed their reputation. The shadow image I used is to signify the feeling of dread, of being cornered and being stalked by your own mind, it is also shown in the image of a pair of feet following someone. This is a clear link to Harry and his struggle with his own mind, as all of the images on there are directly affected with his mind. It shows how this paranoid feeling has taken over everything, from his ability to do work without feeling trapped, to how he feels in day to day life.
The heartbeat graph shown in green is a tie to my video, where you hear a heartbeat towards the end, the visual and auditory imagery together show it is important as a heartbeat can express fear and tension, or panic. In this case it is ambiguous which further interests the audience. There is an image of a bright orange bottle of pills and the link to the tic tacs scattered over the page is a clear indicator of the tablets eaten during the high stress point in the opening scene, I felt having the tic tacs to symbolise the pills instead of having images of them gave the mood board a little more texture and having the tic tacs there it gave it a little more interactivity as you could pick them up (and eat them). The use of the crumpled newspaper was mostly a creative decision, how it gave a little more interesting imagery as well as giving it more texture, however it also shows a type of journalistic media being ruined, showing how not everything you are told by “reliable” sources is unbiased or true, as Harry had been decived by his boss and job, at a company that is supposed to be trustworthy, somewhere that has been reported in media as being somewhere that helps people through its breakthrough labs and medical research.
This was the first draft of my film and in summary I was not very happy with it. I felt that the story was overly simplistic and it doesn’t really reflect what I am capable of. As a result of this I have decided to start again and begin from scratch. I believe I first need to readdress the theme and narrative of my story by creating something that will challenge traditional conventions and audience expectations. If I can do this then I believe my production will be more successful and better maintain the interest of the audience. I currently believe that if this was to be made into a full film the audience would likely be bored and not provide a very positive review.
Each of my characters are fairly important to one another as my film centres around a man (Harry) and his boss (George Gates). At first it seems that Harry is simply stressed out. He believes that he cannot quit his job although he has just faced a pay cut that means he has to work more hours in order to provide for himself and his struggling family, although he works at a big firm he has been led to believe that he cannot work elsewhere as he has worked at this particular place for ten years and has little experience anywhere else. With the stress of his bills to pay and his children and wife to support he feels the stress is getting on top of his life. He has been talking to a therapist (Lacey Roberts) for some time about his struggles and had been put on benzodiazipenes, and recently after was put onto the antipsychotic drug Phosphoryloxy3 for his vivid nightmares that seem to follow him through his waking life. Little does his know that these drugs are causing his mental disorder rather than helping them. Its this story that drives the narrative forwards as in the opening scene we see his untidy work room and how after being given more work he turns to his prescribed medication. At this point it is obvious that he is struggling through a very different problem than most as he is instantly faced with nightmarish hallucinations. As the protagonist Harry should receive sympathy from the audience as through his clothes being casual and his struggle central to the plot the audience should feel some empathy for him as most everyone can relate to workplace stress.
His boss, George Gates at first seems very sympathetic, but after a phone call to his college we see that he knows more than the audience once thought. His description of Harrys symptoms and how he knows about his medication as he talks on the phone gives the audience the idea that something more is going on. George is a CEO of AlphaLife, the company Harry works for, that tests, makes and markets a range of medicinal drugs, with labs all over the UK. However, it is clear that they have started testing on unsuspecting employees, such as Harry. His formal dress makes the audience at first respect him, but later when his plan is evident, they should feel a sense of mistrust, as if they have been lied to, just as Harry does. It seems at first that George is the antagonist however it is later clear that he is simply a helper to the true antagonists wishes. What he doesn’t understand is that if this new drug works and becomes patented by Lacey Roberts AlphaLife will suffer giant losses due to this new ‘miracle drug’ reaching the market.
Lacey Roberts is Harrys therapist who we only hear about in the opening scene via the telephone. She is responsible for prescribing illegal and untested drugs to Harry under the word of her boss, George Gates, though it seems the two are on more informal terms, showing the audience that they have a plan together. She also works for AlphaLife and is interested in getting her new drug onto the market, but it clearly is not working as each new formulation has a host of problems, which are seen through Harry as they continue to test on him. She is seen from the onset as scheming and malicious and perhaps even a tad sociopathic in her determination to get what she wants, which feels incredibly wrong as she has been put into a position of trust to help so many people who have been affected by this negligence of care. Lacey Roberts is the true antagonist, planning on manipulating both her boss and people like Harry in order to become rich off of selling and patenting this new drug. She is a scientist, not a therapist and is truly a good person in disguise as she ‘helps’ these people through their problems but is knowingly ruining their lives.