Friday, 22 October 2010


The Poker Film

Written By

Daniel Norris
Samuel Tyler
Ian Fry

Blank black screen, Man narrates

(Voice Over)
“I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly lucky guy”

Flash of light as the blank screen changes to that of a room, with a dingy overhead lamp shining onto a large poker table. The shot shows a man sat at the table, cards in hand and a stack of chips in the centre of the table. The man’s name is Sean.

(Voice Over)
“Poker’s a game where luck can come in pretty handy. Take a look (shows his hand of two Aces). But believe it or not this isn’t the type of place I tend to visit often or at all for that matter. First of all, take a look at my fine co-players”

Pan 360 degrees around the table revealing the five players at the table. The man running the game, called Eddie is sat at the end of the table nearest the corner of the room, and a ‘waiter’ is passing him an alcoholic drink from a tray. To his left is the woman dealing the cards, dressed informally. Next to her is sat a thuggish looking man with a shaven head, and in the seat along from him is a businessman in a suit.

“Call” (distractedly)

The dealer lays the flop, showing the Queen of Hearts, 7 of Clubs and the King of Spades

(Voice Over whilst play unfolds)
“In fact, I’ve never met any of these people in my life before, thankfully. They’re not your average upstanding citizen.


(Voice Over whilst play unfolds)
“You see, I come from a pretty normal background, at school I wasn’t exactly a genius, but I wasn’t thick either. I wasn’t the coolest kid around but I wasn’t a loser either. I was normal. But there was one thing in life that I loved. The army, it was my life. I was a rifleman in Afghanistan, and served 2 tours of duty. And I was good… (Trails off)
But…I was wounded in the shoulder during operations in the Helmand province; perhaps you’d like to see it”

Flashback scene: (POV) Running facing the ground, heavy breathing, then explosion launching the character backwards.

(Voice Over)
But I guess all good things come to an end. After that the army gave me a leaving present of a disability payment and an inability to work,

(Puts chips in)
“Play your hand or get out”

(Glares angrily, signals to call)

The river is revealed, audience don't know Eddie's hand so suspense is built. Eddie confidently throws hand on table

"Read it and weep"
(Sean reveals his hand to be the winner)
(Glaring across at Sean furiosly)
“Just take your shit and go”

Sean picks up the briefcase containing the winnings and exits the room

“Hey boss…” (Shows Eddie the ace left in the deck, revealing Sean has cheated”

“What the? That son of a bitch was cheating!”


(speaking to the camera)
“You see, I make my own Luck”
(Reveals an ace hidden up his sleeve)

In the background of the shot, the bouncer from inside is seen approaching him, and grabs his shoulder.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

How the Hand of Poker will Unfold

Initial Hands -

Sean Carter - Ace of Spades, Ace of Diamonds
Main Rival - Jack of Spades, Jack of Clubs
Character 3 - 10 of Hearts, 2 of Spades (FOLD)
Character 4 - Jack of Diamonds, 10 of Spades
Character 5 - 6 of Hearts, 6 of Spades


Queen of Hearts, 10 of Clubs, King of Spades

Sean has - Pair of Aces,
Rival - Pair of Jacks
C.4 - Two pair - Queen and King
C.5 - Pair of 6's (FOLD)


Jack of Hearts

Sean has - Pair of Aces
Rival - 3 of a kind - Jacks
C.4 - Two pair - Jack and 10 (FOLD)


Ace of Hearts

Sean has - 3 of a kind - Aces (Wins)
Rival has 3 of a kind- Jacks

Character Background

Sean Carter - Afghanistan veteran who was wounded in the shoulder during conflict, lives a poor lifestyle with his wife as they attempt to have a baby. However his wife is infertile and the only option to conceive a child is through the expensive £4,000-8,000 IVF treatment. This desperation for money leads him to the backstreets, playing a high-stake private Texas hold-em poker game.

Wife's name - Grace Carter - Care Worker in a retirement home
We want to create a situation and characters within it that will evoke the audience's sympathy, which will add to the depth and believability of our film.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Shooting Script

Camera in the middle of the table. Slight low angle, shows the poker chips and main character is holding cards, possible switch of focus.
We then see close up of cards – Aces
360 degrees panning shot of characters around the table starts and stops on main character
Betting starts, series of shots of players putting chips in (possible other the shoulder, mid shot), folding, looking at hands and showing extreme close ups of the eyes revealing emotion. Try to use this shot to make it clear that our Main character is inexperienced, other characters relaxed – smoking – close up.
Flop revealed – burn card face down with 3 cards face up. Close up of the flop.
Remind the audience of the initial hand and what combination he has now – close up of the eyes and reaction (possible smirk in some characters) Narrator (main character) reveals through audio the combination and new hand – This all establishes the setting neatly with the poker game and characters.
Flashback – using after effects (explosion and time-stop) Main character in army uniform running towards camera which then switches to a 1st person camera shot of the character running – facing the ground then sent flying back by explosion.  Dip to white/black.
Start of next round of betting following flop – and turn revealed (incorporate meta-language check, raise etc.) Betting raised some people fold – increases tension as only 3 of initial 5 remain.
Turn revealed after the burn card – again show reactions – narration over the top throughout – flipping the chips between hand.
Attempt a stop-time effect ‘let’s see what everyone has’ just as he starts to turn over the cards switches back to reality – ‘if only it was that easy’.
Next round of betting following the ‘turn’ – ALL IN – calls other guy only 2/5 left now increase tension. Use other the shoulder shot – become tighter on characters faces to indicate increased intensity.
Flashback – Extreme close up of negative pregnancy test, wife of the main character holding it in one hand shown in mid shot – crying. Main character hugs her picks up IVF treatment bill – close up of the documentation – two shot of husband and wife hugging – main character comforting her – use other the shoulder shot for any dialogue.
Changes between shots becomes quicker to show tension – of eyes – and card as it is revealed shown to leave main character winner. Close up of smile. Piling money into rucksack/suitcase close up of the money – wide angle shot of packing money in. Reluctant loser – he leaves in wide angle shot though door – we then see other gamblers realising he has cheated seeing 5 aces for example.
 The following shot is outside with a fixed wide angle, the main character walks towards the camera, a close up of his sleeve as he takes out with narration over the top and then he is unexpectedly dragged back into the building indicating he has been caught.

We are then back into the interior - we see a birds eye view, close up of the cards, pans out to reveal main character lying on the floor dead.

Ancillary Task Draft - Poster

As well as researching our film we also have to consider the necessary ancillary tasks and this is a first draft of our film poster. Inspired by the 2010 film 'Buried' poster which uses creative darkness to good effect. The darkness connotes mystery and leaves the audience wanting to know more. It is appropriate for our film as we wish to give little away in the poster and only reveal the activity is poker - with our poster showing a low hanging lamp lighting up a poker table. We would seek help of a photography student to get the lighting and shading looking professional. We would follow the normal conventions of having the movie website at the bottom but not revealing the film title to again enhance the curiosity of the audience.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Mood Board

This is our mood board we created to research the themes expressed in our film and give a visual representation of what our film represents. We used 'Empire' magazine and printed pictures to compile the mood board on an A3 piece of paper. There are several pictures of cards and chips which our links to one of our films main themes - gambling. The IVF treatment link is shown through one of our pictures and again represents one of the central themes in our film. The other pictures and quotes have more subtle implications for example the text 'In a lonely place' indicating our characters isolation not only at the poker table as an in-experienced gambler but also as someone who has the world against him - unable to conceive a child). The men in suits, alcohol and briefcase full of money indicates the typical things most audiences associate with poker/gambling films. Several war photographs are necessary to establish our characters past as a soldier in Afghanistan. I found this task very helpful to inspire new ideas, enrich my knowledge of the similar genres and also give a near visual representation of our film idea.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Revised film idea

As we are developing the characters and story we have made some amendments firstly we feel the dead man's hand although a neat idea wouldn't be a strong enough hand to win a tense game of poker. It would be more appropriate to have a pair of aces this would also fit as the main character is cheating and would want the best possible hand to win the money. The winning is likely to be £10,000 as the treatment is just under this amount and it's a rounded number. There will also have to be a point where our main character goes 'all in' and is inevitably called by an opposition for the most tense finish.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Breaking the fourth wall

In our film we intend to break the fourth wall and acknowledge the audience which breaks the normal conventions of films. The effect of breaking the fourth wall challenges the audience and makes them think critically about why the fourth wall has been broken. To do this we are thinking of creating a stop-time effect where the main protagonist speaks to the audience through his narration - "If only it was that easy".