Category Archives: Pre-Production

Character Profiles

The next stage in our planning process was to find some actors and plan how we will present them. For our film idea, we need a young girl, a mother and a male figure. We shall  also play on stereotypes in order to emphasise the age of these characters.

The Young Girl…

Our main character is a vulnerable, cute, young girl. Emelia and I were determined to find an age appropriate actress for this role as it would make the film a whole lot more believable. We wanted to play on her cuteness and vulnerability so that the audience will empathise with her more and will be more shocked towards the end of the opening. Due to her age, Emelia and I thought that it would be more appropriate to approach her mum for permission to be in our film. Before filming, Emelia and I went round to her house to speak to her mum. Firstly, we explained the plot of the film and what Rosie’s position would be in it. We then explained where we would be filming. Rosie’s mum was very supportive and Rosie’s elder brother, Tom, came with us in order to allow Rosie to feel as comfortable as possible. We decided to dress the young girl in a cute, girly, purple dress with purple tights. Although this effectively displayed her innocence and vulnerability, we did not think this through as the young girl is supposed to wake up at the beginning of the film and it is not believable for her to wake up already dressed. We also put Rosie’s hair into two pigtails as we believed that this is the most stereotypical, young girl hairstyle. We then secured the two pigtails with a matching purple ribbon; this made her seem even more cute and naïve. Another reason as to why we put Rosie’s hair into pigtails is that we wanted to focus on continuity. Having her hair in pigtails allowed us to control the hair so that it was the same in each shot. We then asked Rosie to bring her Wellington Boots as we felt a shot of her pulling on her boots would seem innocent and vulnerable. Here is a photograph of Rosie on the first day of filming…

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The Mother

Originally, Emelia and I planned for my mum, Aly Pearce, to play our dead mother. I asked her and she was happy to help. However, she had to go on a last minute trip to Yorkshire the night before our filming day. Because of this, Emelia and I knew that we would not be able to have an age appropriate actress; this meant that the costume would be all the more important. When stressfully trying to find an actress, one of my closest friends offered to help. I took her up on the offer and was relieved to have found someone willing to help! Our plot revolves around the idea that the mother was taken from the house either in the night or early morning; this means that she must be wearing some form of pyjamas. Emelia and I decided that it would seem more appropriate and stereotypical if she was wearing a fluffy, blue dressing gown as this is a garment that many mothers wear around the house. We decided on her having bare feet as this is something that would add to the effect that the mother was not intentionally going to go outside and so she must have been taken there against her will and murdered. We also decided that the contrast between wearing a protective dressing gown and having bare, exposed feet would add to the mystery and strangeness of the situation.

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The Mysterious Man

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At first, Emelia and I planned to include a shadow like figure at the end of our film opening. Rosie’s elder brother, Tom, offered to play this role. This was perfect as he is extremely tall. From our survey, people suggested that the villain should be tall and wear all black clothing. Because of this, Emelia and I asked Tom to wear all black as this would show that he is the villain. However, in the end Emelia and I decided not to include this character in our film opening as it gave too much away for just the opening.

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Location Planning

The next stage in planning was for Emelia and I to find a location to film at. Originally, we envisaged filming at an isolated, country farm house. We wanted to film here as we thought it fit in well with our storyline. We then ran our survey and included a question to do with the location. Here is what we found from the survey…

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From our survey, we are certain that we would like to film in an isolated and rural area, preferably in a farmhouse. One of my close friends, Hattie, lives on a farm close to where Emelia lives. Her house is very large and includes stereotypical farmhouse interior decor. Emelia and I thought that this would be the perfect for our film and so planned on asking Hattie if we could come round to film for a day. The next time I saw Hattie, I asked whether it would be okay for us to film at her house or not. I asked in advance so we could plan our screenplay and storyboards based on her house. She said that it would be fine and that could go round to her house for a full day. This was perfect and Emelia and I were excited to film at her house. However, a couple of weeks later, I received a message from Hattie saying that she was going to Dorset on the day that we would be filming. Because i had already booked out the equipment for this day only, we had to find a new location to film at…

As we were pushed for time, Emelia and I were stressfully trying to find a new location to film at. We were messaging friends who lived on farms, but due to the late notice many couldn’t help us. We then asked Tom Scullion whether we could film at his house as there is a large field close to it. He then replied saying yes and asked whether or not we would prefer to film at his Grandma’s house as she has the large field right behind her house. We agreed that this would work better and so had a new location to film at! The field behind her house is large and isolated, just what we were hoping for. After all of the stress, Emelia and I were once again happy with our location.

The Purge: Anarchy: Features

For some reason unbeknown to me, I have always wanted to watch ‘The Purge’ films. Whether it is the storyline or the conversations of people asking, “What would you do if all crime was legal for one night?”, I have always wanted to watch them but have been too scared. After speaking to friends, I was told that “The Purge: Anarchy” is the least scary. Because of this, and it’s recent arrival on Netflix, I decided to be brave and watch it. The Purge: Anarchy was released in 2014 and has been categorised as an American, dystopian, action, horror film directed by James DeMonaco. Here is the trailer…

  • The Purge: Anarchy has a fairly cold colour palette. The colour palette is mainly focussed around colours such as blues and purples. These are colours often associated with negativity and sadness; this arguably sets the tone of the film as the audience are made to feel uncomfortable. However, some shots have a warm colour palette based on colours such as yellow and orange. These colours are used in the daylight when the purge has not yet commenced. Therefore, the warm colours display the safety in comparison to the dark and cold colours that display danger.
  • As the tension and action increases, so does the pace of the shots. Because of this, when the shots speed up, the audience know that something bad is going to happen. Therefore, whenever the shots speed up the audience feel tense and uncomfortable as they are unaware of the upcoming events. However, in some areas of the film, the slower paced shots also build large amounts of tension as it forebodes that something is not right and something bad is about to happen… the calm before the storm.
  • The whole storyline of The Purge: Anarchy is based on murder in a dystopian world. However, the fact that the film has been set in modern day America allows the audience to believe that the film is real and so allows them to empathise more with the characters as they feel nervous and uncomfortable also. The constant murder also allows the audience to feel on edge and uncomfortable throughout the entire film.
  • Masks are used throughout the film in order to create a sense of discomfort and fear. The masks themselves are scary however, the fact that the identity of that character is hidden allows you to feel much more nervous. This is because you are unaware of their capabilities and expressions. You can not clearly see their eyes and so actions made by these characters are highly unexpected which therefore makes the audience feel on edge throughout the whole film.
  • The isolation on the streets is emphasised by the empty buildings and dimly lit streets. The audience feel sympathy for those trapped outside as their fate will most probably be the end of their lives. The fact that people on the inside of secure buildings are also unsafe allows the audience to feel fear as it creates a sense that they themselves are not safe.
  • Throughout the film, diegetic sounds such as news reports, a countdown, gunfire, screaming and shouting are all emphasised and amplified. This emphasises the fact that these people are isolated and also shocks the audience. The constant update of news reports adds a sense of reality to the film and leaves the audience wanting the time period to be over just as much as the characters within the film!
  • The non diegetic soundtrack matches the pace of the film throughout. Often, quiet music is used in order to create suspense and tension before a larger event. The faster paced music could resemble the fast heart rate of the characters, and maybe audience, and also keeps the audience hooked and full of adrenaline.

Although this film left me wondering what would actually happen if this became a reality, I really enjoyed it. I shall take notice of the various features and try to include them in my two minute opening in order to improve the quality of it.

Nursery Rhymes…

Emelia and I have decided to include a nursery rhyme at the beginning and end of our film opening. We have chosen to use a nursery rhyme for different reasons.

We are using a nursery rhyme at the beginning of our opening in order to display the innocence, young age and naïvety of the young girl. We have also chosen to use a nursery rhyme, rather than a pop song for example, because nursery rhymes are widely known and have connotations with the age of the girl. As well as this, in various other films in the genre of a thriller nursery rhymes are often used to inflict uncomfort upon the audience. The girl will hum the tune of the nursery rhyme whilst playing with her toys and wandering around the house. At first, Emelia and I did not think very much about which nursery rhyme to use, however, from the feedback on our first version of the script we have realised that this is in fact an important aspect of our video. Firstly, we chose ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’…

However after listening to this nursery rhyme and receiving feedback from our teacher, we were not sure that this was the correct nursery rhyme for our opening. Our teacher recommended ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’. Emelia and I liked this idea as it could have some creepy connotations and could be made to sound creepy quite easily. At the beginning of our opening, our character will hum the tune as it originally is in order to display her innocence…

For the nursery rhyme at the end of our film opening we have decided to keep the same song as this will tie together our opening. However, we would like to use an altered version that may seem distorted and creepy. We feel as though this would be effective when using the nursery rhyme of ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ as the lyrics in it could be perceived as slightly disturbing. Here is an example of a creepier version of the popular nursery rhyme…

The song is simple as a man is simply singing the original nursery rhyme. However, when sang in a mellow and minor key with a hushed, slow voice the song sounds a lot more creepy. Without the upbeat music and with various uncomfortable sounding squeaks and noises in the background you can focus upon the strange lyrics. This adds tension and a sense of horror…

If you go down to the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today
You’d better go in disguise!

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain,
Because today’s the day the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about.
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears

Every Teddy Bear who’s been good
Is sure of a treat today.
There’s lots of marvelous things to eat
And wonderful games to play.

Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
‘Cause that’s the way the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them frolic on their holiday

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears.

If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better not go alone!
It’s lovely down in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home!

For ev’ry bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day the
Teddy Bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for Teddy Bears
The little Teddy Bears are having
A lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them frolic on their holiday.

See them gaily gad about
They love to play and shout,
They never have any care;
At six o’clock their Mommies and Daddies
Will take them home to bed,
Because they’re tired little Teddy Bears.

Colour Palette

In order to make our film opening as realistic as possible we decided to do a survey on SurveyMonkey to see what most people would expect from a thriller movie. We think that having a strong colour palette is extremely important because it will help to portray the right atmosphere and emotions in our film.
The results from the survey say that most people would expect the colour palette to be either cold colours (such as blue and grey) or dark colours (such as black and brown.)

Using a cold colour palette would help to show the iciness and intensity that we are trying to portray. Considering that our setting is going to be a frosty field this would be an excellent choice because it would make the frost seem even more intense and threatening, especially considering how the young girl will be shown alone outside.
On the other hand, using a dark colour palette would enhance the thriller aspect to our film and make it seem scarier. We think this would be a good idea because we want to make the thriller genre really evident in our film so that we can fulfil the task properly. This could also make the film seem a lot more intense because the darkness will add to the fear of the unknown.
After carefully considering both options we have decided to use a mixture of both cold and dark colours. We have chosen this decision because we feel like it would enhance the atmosphere that we are trying to portray and help to make our film seem more like a thriller.

Here are a few examples of the colour palettes that we intent to use in our film…

Creating our Fourth Ident: Orchid

Due to the failure of our first two idents, Emelia and I had to come up with a new idea. Ideally, we wanted to do at least one ident as an animation because this would show more skill and would give our film opening a variety. Our previous idea of a dandelion did not work as it was too hard to draw and so this time around we had to think of something more simple. By using an animated and a non-animated ident, Emelia and I are displaying skill across the graphic side to the project. It was clear to us, however, that this ident would be more challenging for us to create as the software, Motion, was completely new to us and had a reputation as a tricky software anyway! Firstly, Emelia and I had to come up with a completely new idea for an ident. We wanted to stick to something simple and similar to the delicate and nature of the dandelion. Emelia and I found it fairly challenging to come up with something that would be both easy to draw yet aesthetically pleasing and delicate. When sat in my living room thinking about what we could do, I looked across the room and had an idea. This is what I saw…

16667322_696665187181472_2140167853_o.jpgIt was from here that Emelia and I decided to base our second and last ident upon an orchid. We felt as though an orchid is aesthetically pleasing and although may not be quite as simple to draw as we had originally hoped, would be possible when tracing. Our next step was to find an orchid photograph that we could trace. After a brief search on Google Images, Emelia and I found this image…17312654-Romantic-floral-vector-card-with-orchid-flowers-Stock-Vector-orchid-drawing-wedding.jpg

Emelia and I decided to go with this image as we liked the shape and layout of the orchid. However, we would not need to also trace the dotted background and writing. Once we had downloaded the image, we imported it into Pixelmatr. We used Pixelmatr at GCSE and so things came back to us fairly quickly as we used the software. In attempt to make the tracing of the orchid an easier and more efficient process, Emelia and I were given a graphic tablet to trace over the orchid. This, at first, proved to be a whole lot easier than using the mouse as it allowed you to move freely. However, for the thicker lines on the orchid it, surprisingly, proved to be easier for us to simply zoom in and use the mouse to trace over. We then added colour to our orchid. We chose to go with a fairly simple, yet elegant colour scheme and decided to keep it fresh and simple. After we had completed our own version of the orchid drawing, Emelia and I exported the drawing into Motion.

Now that our drawing was in Motion, Emelia and I could start animating our ident. Our ultimate aim was to keep it simple and so we wanted to add a glow or blur to the drawing. We sampled both of these and felt as though the glow fit in better with what we were trying to achieve. We decided to have this glow in a fairly bright pink colour. Although this may seem fairly random, the colour matches the inside parts of the orchid and so draws the whole thing together. The pink colour is also fairly striking and so may capture the attention of the audience. By using keynotes, we were able to alter when the glow came in, left and the intensity of it throughout. Emelia and I played around with this for a while but settled on the glow coming in and leaving fairly quickly as we felt it brought the ident to life. Next, Emelia and I had to think of a name and feature it in our ident. Ideally, we wanted a name that links directly to the ident alike other famous idents such as Universal and Lionsgate. The name “Orchid Productions” seemed a bit too short and plain and so Emelia and I settled on “Orchid House Productions” for the name of our second ident. We also thought that an elegant font would best suit the nature of the ident. Emelia and I thought that it looked best for our title to come in with the glowing to leave with it also. In order to achieve this, we had to use keynotes once again. These were the most difficult aspects to the software in my opinion. Once again, Emelia and I have decided to use the soundtrack from the opening over the top of the ident in order to bring it all together. Here is our second and last ident…

Considering how difficult Emelia and I found the Motion software and the tight time limit we had, I am happy with our animated ident. If we had more time, Emelia and I have agreed that the glow should be more subtle and the timings of the glow and titles would need more attention, but overall I am happy with the two idents.

 

Creating our Third Ident: Candle

With our first two ideas for an ident proving to be a disaster, Emelia and I hoped that our idea of the candles would work out well. The original plan was to have multiple candles all lit, flickering in a dark location. However, when setting up the many candles all with varying height, widths and colour the shot was not as aesthetically pleasing as I had originally envisaged. I then tried the same shot using just one, fairly large candle. In my opinion, this looked a whole lot better. It was then when I remembered that one of the features of an ident promoted simplicity. Because of this, I decided to stick with just the one candle. After many retakes and lots of fiddling with the lighting, I thought that it looked most effective when the candle was the only source of light in the room; this meant that when blown out, the room fell into pitch black. I decided to go with this as I thought when the room goes pitch black, the title of the production company could appear. I also played around with the various settings on my phone, for example time-lapse and slow motion. In the end I decided to film using slow motion as, in my opinion, this created a rather eery and foreboding atmosphere. It also looked a whole lot more graceful and aesthetic in my opinion. Here is the original footage that I used before editing…

The next stage was importing the footage into iMovie. After this, I cut the video right down as idents are not meant to be too long. I cut the footage down so that the candle is shown to be blown out into a dark screen. The next thing that I had to worry about was adding the name of the production company. Although one of our original ideas, Emelia and I had not originally come up with a name for this specific ident. At first I was keen to call it “Candlewick Pictures”. However, no matter how much I tried, I could not get this to fit into the text option that I had chosen. Because of this, I went onto thesaurus.com and began looking for alternative words to light, bright, candle, fire, etc. After a lengthy search, I found the word lucent. The definition for lucent is “glowing with or giving off light”. I then asked my Mum for her opinion on the name, she loved the name and also mentioned that it also reminded her of some sort of sorcery or evil/demon; this gave me more confidence with the name as it could be linked into the thriller genre. When I was finally happy with the name, I played around with the various functions for text and chose the “Focus” effect for the text. I then had to choose a font. This proved to be one of the most difficult parts for me as I could simply not decide. In the end, I settled for “Baskerville” in the size 144. After this, I added a fade to make sure that the introduction was smooth and also so that the flickering of the flame was included. I thought this was fairly important as the flickering adds an eery tone and relates the ident to the genre of thriller. Here is the final candle ident…

I am happy with how this ident turned out. I feel as though it sets the tone and flow for the upcoming film opening and relates to our chosen genre well. Emelia and I have chosen to play the soundtrack from the film opening over the two idents in attempt to bring it all together. Because of this, we do not have to search for music for the idents. Emelia and I are now brainstorming, thinking about what we could use for our animated ident.

Creating our Second Ident: Eyes

Our next ident to create was for our “Flicker Pictures”. Emelia and I thought that it would be best to actually film some eyes for this ident rather than to struggle with Motion once again. We decided to simply film my eyes and then use Final Cut Pro to edit later on. To film this, Emelia and I found a pitch black room and used an iPhone camera, with flash, and filmed my eyes…

Emelia and I had originally planned to take this footage and add various colour palettes and effects to it. We also planned to edit it so that the eyes would appear to be ‘normal’ until the whole screen flickered to reveal the rolled back eyes with the veins and then back to ‘normal’. Although Emelia and I were happy with the quality of the video, it is fairly shaky. This is because we filmed at school and so I did not have my tripod for my phone with me. We could have easily filmed again with the tripod the next day, but we came to the decision that our planned “Flicker” ident would not fit in with the rest of our film as well as we had originally hoped. Because of this, Emelia and I decided to move onto our next ident idea…

Creating our First Ident: Dandelion

Emelia and I planned to find an image of a dandelion off of the internet and trace it in order to get a realistic drawing for our first animated ident. After a brief search on Google Images, we had found the perfect image…

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We downloaded this image onto the desktop and then moved it into Motion. After a brief practise using the tools on Motion, we traced the image. After careful tracing, Emelia and I had our finished outline. However, we were not happy with how it looked and so tried a new approach. We then moved the image into Pixelmatr and coloured out the background and turned it black. Although we felt this version looked better than before, we were still not happy with it as some parts of green were still visible and it was clear that we had just coloured the original background…

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Emelia and I decided to drop the idea of a dandelion after we wasted a considerable amount of time trying to make it work. We decided to move on onto the ident of the flickering eyes…

Motion

Emelia and I have decided to try and create the dandelion ident first as we feel as though it will be the easiest to create. We have chosen to create the ident through animation. In order to complete this, we are using an application called Motion. Motion is used to create create and edit motion graphics, titling for video production and film production. Unlike Final Cut Pro, I have not used this software before and have heard that it is quite tricky to get your head around. Because of this, I have watched a couple of introductory tutorials in order to reduce the amount of time wasted in lessons. This will also hopefully help me to create our idents to the best possible quality.