Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Film Research Notes - 13 Tzameti

Black and white effect creates tense atmosphere, film noir

European, subtitled and cultural differences in film

Sounds are heavily emphasised, there is little dialogue so footsteps, bike bells etc. are given increased volume.

Smoke more visible in the black and white

Blurred focus at times leaves viewer disoriented.

Evocative music - reinforces enigma, off beat.

Meaningless, awkward conversation as the meaning is in the  visual, in this case a slow start

Panning shot of loading guns and spinning cylinders

Series of close-ups - showing nervous men, 360 degree pan showing men with guns

Uses lightbulb as a reference to build tension (when it goes out they shoot) - shots between men and lightbulb increasingly shorter.

Ignores conventions of time - even though all shoot at the same time it shows reaction one after the other.

Close ups of eyes to show intensity and fear

Contrast between men gambling - professional, rich in suits and pawns putting lives on the line.

Tension builds as fewer people remain in competition, feature we will us in poker film. As competition goes on rivalries build and so does intensity builds. Stakes raise and chance of success raises.

In poker stakes will raise and chance of main characters success will be made to look unlikely but will prevail in the end.

Harsh, brash and impatient organisers shout - reinforces illegality.

Main characters left in are often recognisable - 13 has an obese character thus making the audience able to follow it more easily.

Duel like the last leg of poker - shows two shot initially then - other the shoulder shot of both - moves in closer with OTS - pans audience reaction. (Close up/extreme close up could be used to show intensity.

Second duel, mid shot of each then into close ups.

Attention paid to eyes and reaction - like our poker idea, main character in 13 is novice.  Scared, shivering compared to the composed experienced gambler (shooter) yet he still wins., despite disliking activity.

When packing money the character feels guilt but the packer is clinical, little emotion.

Sweat is a clear signal of nerves and fear, accompanied by a slouched walk, fixed eye and facial expression.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Ancillary Tasks

To accompany our short film we have to do 2 of the following 3 ancillary tasks; we have decided on doing a poster for the film and a film magazine review page. We decided this, as we believed these two tasks would be easier as the logistics of a radio trailer would hamper are ability to do it well. We will have to familiarize ourselves with publisher and other programs to perform the poster task competently. For the poster and magazine review we would need shots from the film, therefore we would have to think about the shots that would suit the poster and review, thus planning is necessary. Also we would have to be building the poster during filming so we have the shots from the actual film, or we could think about using a shot not in the film but shows the characters personality. For example our character could be holding a pack of cards as it is a gambling film.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Initial Film Idea

After discussion in our group we have come up with an initial short film idea to work on in the coming months. The concept embraces the old-school film noir, gambling film, with our main character involved in a Texas Hold-em poker game in a private.  We plan to avoid the gangster stereotype and modernise the film, with his reasons for money being innocent to evoke sympathy.

He is an inexperienced gambler, holding Ace of spades and an eight of clubs, when the hand manifests itself the main character hits a pair of aces on the flop. Then the character states "I wasn't always this lucky" and we will use an effect to signal a flashback to a time of bad luck in his life, possibly depicting him being beaten. The parallel narrative in flashbacks will combine with the card game when he is shot at the end.

We are then toying with the idea of attempting a stop-time effect using "After-effects" this would show the main character walking around whilst the others are stationary, the character could then look at everyone elses hands and in an abrupt return to reality state, "if only it was that easy".

As we see the rest of the hand unfold it reaches a dramatic climax with the river (last card) revealing a an eight of spades, creating the infamous "dead man's hand" aces over eights (two-pair). His opponent most likely is winning until the last card to increase tension.

The  character stuffs a briefcase full of money and we see him exit with his winnings, as he moves towards the camera he reveals "you see I make my own luck" revealing two aces in his sleeve. Then an abrupt ending, the main character is shot from behind, cutting straight to black to conclude the short film. We still have to consider the aggressors motives but by the fact of having him reveal he was cheating the audience will believe that is the ending twist and his death will come as a surprise.

To find out how to make a card game riveting opposed to stilted we will research films that successfully use tense, exciting card games such as "Rounders", "21", "The Cincinnati Kid", "Dr.No" and in some cases how not to film a card game with "Casino Royale."

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Short Film Analysis

An Ode to Modern Democracy and The Hairdresser;

This short film combines humour and drama, showing the thoughts going through the hairdresser of the prime minister using a narrated monologue. The hairdresser is overwhelmed with power, not to assassinate him but give him a really bad haircut. Reviewing her “mediocre” life she realises that she will go down in history for giving the prime minister a bad hairdo. The narrated film contains little dialogue, but when it is used it addresses the difference between the working class hairdresser and the educated prime minister.

The Mise-en-scene is fairly basic but hairdressing equipment such as scissors and the razor create a good verisimilitude, the film embraces stereotypes depicting the hairdresser as a working class woman, wearing hoop earings, plasters over her blistered feet, leggings and a lot of make-up. This contrasts with the well-groomed prime minister wearing sparkling shoes and a spotless suit. The facial expressions of the hairdresser indicate boredom and her mode of address is brash connoting a working class background whereas the prime minister's mode of address is soft suggesting a possible unease in the situation.

The proxemics obviously resemble the standard hairdresser-client position however it can be inferred that with the hairdresser assuming the higher position it connotes a higher position of power, likewise the prime minister is in a position of vulnerability. Reinforced by high and low angle shots the high position of power the hairdresser discusses is reflected in the visual.

To accompany the narration many long panning shots are used empathizing the boredom of her life. Additionally, establishing shots are used to make the audience aware of the location being inside the prime ministers house and the hairdresser has come to him to set up her equipment. In the film many mid shots are used of the hairdresser as we focus more on the narration. It also cleverly changes focus on some panning shots to change the attention of the audience from the hairdresser to the prime minister. To reinforce her "mediocre" life a close up of the bookshelf is used, old and colourless books are shown and this shot is used several times in the short film. At the end a birds-eye-view panning shot is used to take us away from the action as the hairdresser finally snaps.

 The editor of the film also uses animation effectively to illustrate how well protected the prime minister is, animating police men and ten inch thick walls. The editor chooses to dictate the pace of the film as very slow and at times it hampers the enjoyment, the rarity of dialogue is the cause of this, but the narration gives the viewer an insight to the main characters thoughts. The editor uses a close up of the hairdresser just before she shaves his hair to indicate the increased intensity.

The twist at the end of the hairdresser actually ruining the prime minister’s hair opposed to just having thoughts about it, not only provides humour but gives the film a neat, clinical ending. When the hairdresser is imagining the prime minister having ridiculous hair styles we are given visual representations of the hairdressers thoughts with the prime minister in perms and mohicans.

A Change of Direction

Initially we were drawn to the idea of creating a music video about the World Cup however the logistics of re-creating iconic football moments were too complicated and we decided against it. Currently we are in deliberation over the final idea of our short film, after doing a film open last year we feel we can complete the task competently. The genre of our film in AS was war and we would like to stray away from this in A2 and explore a different genre. We believe that by changing to a short film from a music video we heighten the chances of producing good footage and also we feel it will captivate us more than a music video. Further more, our experience in AS allows us to use our evaluation to avoid errors whereas tackling a music video would put us in a novice position again.

A2 Media Studies

From this point onwards all my work will be A2 Media