Friday, 10 December 2010

GM - Deconstruction of 'The Shortcut'

This task was to try to convey the genre of horror mainly through mise-en-scene which meant that we had a limitation of only being able to use 17 words of dialogue throughout the opening to the film. I won my pitch for this task so I was directing. I drew up these storyboards before filming to try and save us some time and also planned out the dialogue that would be included.

The Shortcut Storyboard Page 1

The Shortcut Storyboard Page 2

  • It is set in the dark
  • There are shadows everywhere from the tree branches which start to scare the girl
  • The girls are dressed in revealing clothes; short skirts, tight low cut tops, and high heels showing their more sexual side, signifying that they have just come back after a night out partying and we can see that alcohol has been involved from the bottle that the girls are swigging from
  • One of the girls is blond which fits in with the conventions of slasher as it is generally the blond, pretty, popular girl that gets killed
  • The blond girl leaves the others to go on the 'shortcut' home which happens to be through the dark wood late at night. The others leave her on her own (another convention of slasher) and by doing this the audience can tell that something bad is going to happen to her
  • It gets darker the further into the woods she goes but some shots of her phone and the moon illuminate the path and her face
  • We used a range of angles some to she she is being watched, others to reiterate that fact that she is in a very vulnerable position
  • POV shots were used to again connote that the girl is being followed or watched
  • Close ups of the girls face show us really how scared she is and we can see the emotion she is feeling
  • When the phone rings the screen of the phone lists 'unknown caller' which further anchors that fact that the girl is being followed and that something is going to happen
  • Diagetic sound throughout - the main sound is the dialogue, along with the scream at the end and the sound of footsteps in certain places of the film. There was also some laughter at the beginning.
  • We were only allowed to use 17 words so there is very little dialogue. My group used less then 17 words but the ones that we included assisted the audience to understand and engage with what was going on
  • The footsteps crunching on the leaves adds to the mise-en-scene and helped to create the idea that the girl is being followed as these footsteps were heavier than her own would be in her high heeled shoes
Opening Credits
  • Has the characters names and the director's name appear on the screen
  • They fade in and out on a black screen which adds to the mystery of the plot
  • They are written in a sans-serif red font (another aspect that is frequently used in the slasher genre)
  • The film name then follows in bold, sans-serif red font again for continuity
What we have learnt
  • To complete the overall planning stages to a higher level before going out to film as a lot of time can be wasted on set trying to sort this out
  • Use a call sheet in addition to the storyboards so that we know which shots are in the same place
  • When shooting a scene set at night or in the dark start filming at dusk rather than when it is pitch black
  • Between shots make sure that the actors/esses stay warm if the weather is cold
Challenges we faced
  • We slightly misjudged the timings as getting ready and set up took longer than anticipated so it had gotten very dark by the time we started filming. This meant that we had to use alternative lighting like torches and phone lights.
  • It was underestimated how much planning needed to be done to try and be more organised on set
  • It was quite muddy so the shoes of the girls were hard to walk around in rather than sinking into the ground

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