Tag Archives: Characters

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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Research Into Storyboards…

The next step in our pre production section of the coursework is to create a full set of storyboards. This aspect of the process is arguably one of the most important parts as it helps us to clearly and accurately map out our film openings. It will most probably be at this point when we decide whether to stick with our original plan, or to start from scratch. The storyboards will also prove to be hugely useful when we begin to film because we can use them as a set of instructions on how to set up the scene and where to position the camera. By following the plan of the screenplay and storyboards, hopefully our filming process will be much easier and more efficient with the best outcome possible. In order to create realistic, accurate and ultimately useful storyboards I have researched into the codes and conventions of a professional storyboard…

Although I had a vague idea as to what a storyboard was, my understanding was fairly limited. Because of this, the first thing that I decided to research was… What ACTUALLY is a storyboard? From a brief search on Google, I found that a storyboard is “a sequence of drawings, typically with some directions and dialogue, representing the shots planned for a film or television production.” From this definition, I learnt that the drawings themselves would have to be drawn in order to display the specific camera shot and composition of the shot. From previous experiences with storyboards, I simply sketched the images in a chronological order in order to display the storyline of the video. I also noted that directions and dialogue would need to be included in our storyboards. Although I gained the main points from this definition, I thought it be best to research deeper into the conventions of a storyboard…

Here are a few of the legitimate storyboards drawn for Disney’s ‘Lion King’ released in October 1994…

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Conventions of professional storyboards… 

  • Film Aspect Ratios – As storyboards are used in order to plan what the audience will see when watching the film, the size of the boxes must match the size of the screen. By matching these sizes, the storyboards can be more accurate as planning of positioning and angles can be made considering the space that would be given in real life. Some common ratios used in film are 1:1.85 and 1:2.2.
  • Camera Angles – It is important to include the camera angles going to be used in reality when planning storyboards as when filming, the storyboards can be used as a prompt and visual aid in setting up the shot. By displaying all camera shots on the paper before filming, the variety and range can also be planned efficiently. Without planning the angles, it could be argued that storyboards would be almost useless. Camera angles may include long shots, close ups and down shots.
  • Camera Movement – Planning the movement of the camera before actually filming allows you to get a sense of the film and how it will flow and work together. By planning movement in advance, rules such as the ‘180 Degree Rule’ can be put into place more efficiently.  Some movements may involve pans, tilts and zooms.
  • Location – The location of a shot can be planned in advance by using storyboards. Not only this, but mies-en-scene within this shot such as positions of props can also be planned out earlier and moved around if not aesthetically pleasing.
  • Characters – The specific characters, their positions and actions can be displayed within a set of storyboards. By having a visual aid, the director’s of the film will be able to see the aesthetics of the shot and be able to alter them if not pleasing to the eye.
  • Sound – Important sounds, including both diegetic and non-diegetic, must be noted onto the storyboards.By planning this out before, you will get more of an understanding as to when what sounds are expected and when.
  • Timing – The length of each shot must be noted on the storyboards. Typically, this is noted in the top corner of each individual box. By planning out the timing, you can easily assess the flow of the film.

After researching the many conventions that are necessary when creating storyboards I was fairly overwhelmed as had not considered many of these before. However, now that Emelia and I have the knowledge of these conventions, we plan to use them when creating our own storyboards for our film opening. In doing so, we hope that our storyboards will be to as much use as possible in future aspects of the task such as filming and editing.