Monday, 24 September 2012

Project Log 2: Treatments & Working out Stories

Thinking of Set Ups, Finalizing ideas & Making Creative Narratives

After discussing the ideas we had, we then studied different types of narratives and looked at a lot of different short films to give us inspiration for our treatments. My pair looked at a lot of different narrative types and we tried to make stories based round these, and then using the ideas and influences of films we watched, as well as the sort of things we knew we wanted to include, we tried to enrich our various set ups.

After getting six set ups, we then went and got feedback on them, and then came together again to discuss which ones we thought were the best stories. Form the six we had, we judged the set ups on how much story they actually had, how easy if would be to film them and how original the stories were. From what we had, the stories about the video games and the one about the message in the bottle were too loose and didn't have enough of a plot or strong enough story to be good. We also said that the one about the nice person was far too quick and didn';t really have much substance, while the one about the debt may be too complicated to write and then film.

In the end, we decided to focus on the Balloon Story and the Voice story, as these both had clear enough plots, and also had a message in them, but could be done without too much trouble.

First Treatment & Feedback

We started to write up the first two treatments, however the Story about the Voice was not fully completed, as we could not think of a resolution or enough obstacles to overcome. However, we did have a clkear idea for the Balloon story, and we wrote up a full treatment for it. After this, we pitched it to the class, as well as what we had for the voice story.

Balloon Story Feedback (treatment found on blog)

  • Seems like it will take a bit of time to show the whole film-> her going to the shops, and seeing the family, her waking up.
  • Making it more obvious she lost her son, needs a tighter ending- example husband could come home.
  • However it is an original idea with an interesting narrative.
  • Can be more simplified- take out extra scenes.

Also, here is a short summary of the Voice Pitch.

A girl is in her room and is messaging her friend on her computer. Her mum comes in and wishes her good morning and says she's off to work. Instead of replying, the girl only smiles and nods, indicating she cannot speak.; The girl returns to messaging her friend, but she sees there is no new messages, which leave her dismayed. However her friend does eventually reply, in a very short message, which only further upsets the girl says bye to her friend and apologizes for annoying her, before getting up and leaving for school.
Outside, she crosses a man who ask her for directions, however, the girl who cannot talk panics. She attempts to give the man directions but it only confuses him more, and she panics and runs away.
(later in this story, we wanted her to meet someone who suggested she carried around a sketchbook so she could communicate easier.)

However, the feedback we got for this was that:

  • It's interesting because it would have to rely mostly on facial expressions, and could be quite a nice visual film.
  • However the story is quite cliche and has been overdone- it;s simply a person dealing with a disability story.
Because of this feedback we decided not to go through with the voice idea. Instead we focused in on the balloon story and tried to improve this. So, over the weekend, we both went off and wrote out a new treatment with ideas of what could happen to meet all the problems in this original story.

Second Treatment & Feedback

After writing up my second treatment on my blog, I then returned to school and conferred with Rebecca. Her ideas were that we should tackle the problems with the lack of there being a full closure to the piece- one of the key issues was the story was quite open ended and it was a bit difficult to find out exactly what had happened to the woman. We then looked at my treatment, and discussed how each new aspect fixed a previous problem.

  • First, there was the problem of the ending, which seemed too loose. The suggestion was that we add in a husband who comes in at the end and comforts her after her revelation. I took this idea further by the Husband being in the story from the start, and for him to be there when she wakes up, and be there as she sets out plates. However I said he should look sad while she sets up normally, and that there should also be a split screen later on where he is at work, but leaves and then begins crying because of their situation. Lastly, he'd appear in the end of the final scene and comfort her.
  • There was also the problem that it might take too long to actually show the film- and it could go over the time limit. I fixed this by cutting down the dialogue to just the starting scenes and the ending scene, and then having a few parts cut out, such as her seeing a family on her way to the shop. The split screen also shows us two sides simultaneously which also saves time.
These were the main things wrong with the story at the first treatment, and so we then pitched the amended treatment to the class.
 From this pitch, we got this feedback:

  • The Father's reaction needs to be more precise. Initially we had him just being sad, but it was suggested he should be more puzzled or even concerned for his wife, asking if she's okay. This would be effective as it would mean that the audience would immediately see that there is something that's wrong but would not realize what it is straight away.
  • We also were told that when he leaves his office,m there could be a picture on the desk. There was also the suggestion that the picture could be a red herring. My thought's on this could be that it's a picture of the wife and the man on his desktop which makes him want to leave. This could be good as it was discussed that the man is not only suffering from grief but also anxiety about his wife who ihe is aware is unstable. Therefore while she's be affected by the photo of her son, he's be more affected by seeing a photo of her, who he feels he should look after and comfort.
  • There was a comment about how the expressions needed to be much more important and clear when actually filming and that the film isn't quite clear. We were told that the problem could arise when we either alienate the audience or give away too much. As it is I think the story could go either way, but with adjustments to scripts, it could go well.
Further Problems

After talking about the problems that were picked out, we then went off into our pairs and discussed what exactly needed to be amended with the actual filming. We came up with these problems through out own discussion and also the class discussion.

Technical Problems

  • There would be problems with finding actors of the right age and getting them in for the three days.
  • There would also be the case of actually filming the multiple scenes which could pose a problem.
  • There is also issues with the use of the balloons which could cause continuity errors with the amount of  balloons and placement in the room, and also cause problems with transoporting them between locations and things.

Story Problems

  • Story could be too loose in the beginning- the starting needs to be short and concise and immediately grab the audience and then put forward and idea about something not being right.
  • The end needs to be tighter too, with it being a definite close to the story.
  • The section in the middle with the man at his workplace may also need to be adjusted and fully thought out as the way we portray this needs to clearly show he's concerned for his wife.

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