Im going to be creating a Drama film this time, I chose this genre because I find it interesting as a genre and I love how I can use my skills in a way that will draw the audience in and create tension and emotion within my audience. I will be making this film alone and decided myself that I needed to use a genre that would challenge me as a director producer and film maker. I wanted to do something that will subvert the Drama genre as well as create something that is unique and interesting.
There will be several locations throughout the duration of my film, as drama as a genre is known to be about ‘real life’ but is presented in a way that creates interest and dilemas, I will have to be using very common locations, I will need to shoot outdoors somewhere as I follow an actor as they come home, the inside of a home and some kind of shopping centre as I film an interaction between some non-central characters. The use of plain and simple locations may decrease the interest of my film opening, however if I use them effectively enough it will only add to the realism of my film opening and will increase tension within the audience as it looks like somewhere the audience could be, this creates a greater sense of sympathy and investment into the plot and the film.
This is a picture taken in Birmingham city center, a main city like Birmingham will have thousands of people pass through its city center every single day, this location would be incredibly useful to use as it shows the audience a main city, so whatever I show here will express what the society is like in my film and what is considered normal here, for example if every person in the city centre were walking with a cat on a lead, the audience will know in this fictional society it’s the norm to walk a cat on a lead. More specific to my story; if I include several same sex couples in this shot even if passers by aren’t performing this will heighten the ‘normality’ of the same sex couples in this film and will show the audience that this is the norm in my film. Another great thing about this as a location is that it will be a great locational signifier as many people will be able to recognize the location, or at least know its in England by its surrounding shops and as is seen in the picture, the dreary weather. However, this location may be hard to film in due to the large masses of people and it could be hard to get the whole cast and crew up to the city center on the same day.
In comparison we could use just a regular shopping center or supermarket, this also has a high sense of realism as everyone goes to a supermarket to buy food and essentials and so by showing my film in a shopping center or supermarket we also get the sense of normality that I can use to show the societal standards I show in my film. The only downfall in this is that this means that there are less locational codes that allow the audience to understand where the location of the film is, but this will be shown in other shots and in other ways such as through accents spoken by my actors or by cultural cues such as the speaker on the news being from BBC News ect.
I need one indoor location from the inside of a house, it doesn’t necessarily need to be the home that is shown on the exterior as the audience couldn’t know if the exterior matches the interior, however I must use a real home as we will have characters walking around into different rooms and a set won’t be able to serve its purpose. I could possibly show this in a similar effect in IKEA as they have full sets made to look exactly like rooms in a home, should it be impossible to find someone who will lend their house to me for filming purposes. The use of an indoor location is important however, as it gives obvious signifiers about what the couple is like and their personalities, ie a neat and tidy house could be an indicator of a couple who value perfection and appearances, whereas a less tidy house could show a couple who are comfortable and gives the house a more cozy, lived in feel, an awfully messy house indicates a messy life and a couple who can’t share chores efficiently.
My plot is something that I like to think is a little ‘out of the box’ but I know I can create something incredible with my idea. My film is set in dystopian England, where an overpopulation crisis has lead to the government to endorse homosexual relationships to slow down the population growth rate. This has happened to the extent that any other couple is victimised, with the media treating them as sinners and awful, the government removing all civil rights for them and discrimination against straight couples becomes normalised. This leads to people being afraid to ‘come out’ as straight with families disowning them and with strong hatred for anyone who doesn’t follow what the media tells them is normal. This will be shown through a news report on a TV in the family home and through some shots taken in a shopping centre where we see that everyone is in a same sex relationship. My film opening follows a couple, one person in the relationship who, is married to someone of the same sex knows that they are a hetrosexual, they are in an extra martial affair secretly with someone of the opposite sex. The other partner, who is deeply in love with the one they are married to is clearly very loving and supportive of their partner, but is feeling the deep rejection and hurt of having a partner who is distant and unloving.
One of my themes will be the breakdown of relationships, as seen in my film plot overview we have a struggling couple, with only one partner knowing the cause of the stress between them. This is interesting as a theme in genre as it is something that most people can relate to. Another theme will be homosexuality, I feel like in the media at the moment gay people are used as stereotypes in film, no homosexual couple is seen as ‘normal’ in the media, we always tend to see them being young and flamboyant, this is something I want to completely remove from my plot, by showcasing a real gay person as someone who is honestly struggling in their relationship as anyone else could, evoking empathy from the audience as even people who are not gay will be able to relate, and by putting the media stereotypes of gay people into question, as as many as 10% of the western population being gay, it is unlikely that these stereotypes are true, welcome, or even somewhat evident in the LGBT community, however the way television portrays these stereotypes are as if the only way to differentiate between a gay and a straight person is via a number of set behaviours and mannerisms such as the ‘flamboyant gay man’, typical of TV dramas such as The Only Way is Essex and the ‘masculine lesbian’, often portrayed as some kind of joke character in films such as Pitch Perfect.
Sticking to the genre
Drama films tend to centre around relatable characters, the reason for this is so that the audience can empathise with their situation. I’m going to be using this conventional theme as a means of getting forward a message about society and the power of the media. Drama films also tend to explore conflict, internal conflict within the person and also external conflict between two people, which I will be using in my film as a means of exploring the situation my couple are in, the internal conflict caused by the breakdown of a relationship and the external conflict caused between partners who’s relationship is no longer working. This links to another common convention of Drama, relationships; the relationship expressed within mine will be explored deeply, with the couple in constant confusion and conflict.
Shots and angles: A common convention of drama themes is to use framing and camera techniques to create a heightened sense of realism, what’s meant by this is that they use camera shots and angels in a way that mimics real life but in a way that makes everything seem more interesting. With this in mind I need to decide how I am going to present my film opening, I will need to use establishing shots in my indoor scenes as this mimics how people will naturally look around in real life. This also sets the foundation for the rest of the film. I also want to use an over the shoulder shot as my actor enters the house, this is something I did during my preliminary task and I think it has a sense of realism in it and allows me to show a few key signifiers, such as the house number and the external view of the house that gives some key indicators of what economic class the couple are in, as well as being able to show either the partner use a key to enter the house or have their spouse answer the door, each has its own codes that are left to the audience to decide what this means to them.
I would also like to include a long shot and some profile shots as the actor walks to the house, this allows me to convey a sense of loneliness as well as allowing me to show the location of the scene, by the view I show the audience should be able to see that the location is set in a city in England from things such as the weather in the shot, the type of houses in shot (Ie, lots of semi detached houses will indicate a city location), and the surrounding area. As my film is being marketed to a British audience this is important for a sense of realism as British viewers may be less able to relate to an American location for example.
For the scene where the couple are in the kitchen I would like to use a two shot throughout, while I change the focus as each person speaks, this is a very flexible shot as I can use it to portray closeness (or in this case distance) as I position my actors so that one appears to be further than the other. The two shot also allows me to show each actor acting and reacting, an important aspect of drama films. I may have to use two cameras to cut between the two points of view, one focused on the two shot and another to cut between the conversation so I can use close ups as each actor speaks. This is something drama as a genre tends to do as it is a type of editing that mimics realism.
subverting the genre:
I will be subverting my genre through my plot, I feel that my idea isn’t something that has been seen in film before and I want it to be more common as big company film producers tend to shy away from topics that might be uncomfortable or controversial, which is a shame as film is one of the biggest things that influence peoples minds today. By creating something that I feel is close to me as a person as well as something that I feel can make the audience think about something they haven’t thought about before I am subverting the genre and the pattern we see modern media following. In drama films the common convention is either based off of unfortunate relationships (Ie Titanic, 1997) or historical events (12 Years a Slave, 2013) or events that are so far fetched and detached from reality that the audience can’t relate to them (Cast Away 2000). Although as a genre this is incredible, as it is allowing the audience to experience a deeper emotional state than other films, (such as horror that only requires the audience to be scared and does’t require deeper thought) I want to create a film that makes a statement now, about whats happening today in British culture, such as the hatred of gay people and the use of journalistic media with bad intentions (for example; The Sun Newspaper). I’ll be doing this by ‘turning the tables’, by creating a fictional society where the majority of the audience becomes the minority on screen, as I put them through what gay people face everyday in places like Russia, China even in America, and of course, in Britain, where still to this day in some parts of the UK there is no marriage equality.
Titanic (1997)James Cameron
12 years a slave (2013) Steve McQueen
Cast Away (2000) Robert Zemeckis
Pitch Perfect (2012)
Chalabi, Mona. ‘Gay Britain: What Do The Statistics Say?’. the Guardian. N.p., 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.