Short Film Idea: Questionnaire

I decided to complete a questionnaire about my idea for my short film to get opinions from other people and make sure my idea was understandable and interesting to others. I created my questionnaire on Google Forms, as this was an easy way for me to share the survey and get results quickly. I started the questionnaire off by including the first draft, so that the people answering would know the basic concept of my short film.

questionnaire media 1

Do you like the plot?

Everyone who answered my questionnaire liked my plot.

do you like the plot

What do you like about it?

Many people mentioned how the film should be made more creepy, and perhaps aiming to fit in more with the horror genre. Or, going the other way, people said that I should make the man and woman all in love so that the film is more of a romance film. But lots of people complimented how realistic the film would seem and how disturbing it would feel.

Which of these titles appeal to you most, and fits the plot best?

Of the titles that I suggested, “Hiding” and “A Year in Hiding” got 3 votes each and “The Girl in the Cupboard” got 2 votes. Most people voted for the “other” option, this got 10 votes, and then they suggested their own ideas.

name for film

Please add a suggestion for the short film name below:
7 people made suggestions for names or the nature of the name, multiple people suggested that the name should be a simple, catchy one. A couple of the responses suggested having a one or two word title for my short film. Many people said that the title should be subtle, because this means the audience will not be expecting what will happen, which builds more suspense and adds tension. People suggested the names, “Obsession”, “Hunger”, “The Watcher”, “The Observer”, “The Uninvited”, “Undiscovered”, “Uninvited” and “House Guest”.

How old do you think the two characters should be?

Three of the options got 5 votes each; “Man in his 40’s, woman in her 20’s”, “Man in his 20’s, woman in her 40’s” and “Man in his 50’s, woman in her 30’s”. The fourth option, “Man in his 20’s, woman in her 40’s”, got 5 votes.

age of characters

Would you change anything?

Fifteen people voted no, and three people voted yes, suggesting what they would change in the next question.

would you change anything

If you answered yes, please specify what you would change, below:

Two people suggested involving the two characters in romance, and one suggested one of the characters murdering the other.

Please add any other suggestions or ideas below:

Two people suggested some “creepy” events that the man should experience, e.g. the man being watched as he sleeps. Two people mentioned the ending being made dark and twisted. One person suggested involving them in romance and showing this actively in the film. Several people suggested and thought about other subtle differences that the man could notice, for example, higher water and energy bills and noises in his house at night. A person said that this could perhaps make the man go insane from worry, fear and confusion. Three people suggested that there should be an explanation as to why the woman has been living in his house. The most common response I got was that there should be an aspect of supernatural in the short film.
A very useful response that I got can be found below:
“I think the fact that the woman hiding in his house should not be given away in the title. It would create more suspense and hold the audiences attention more if they saw the events from his perspective and don’t spend the whole film thinking “well it’s just the woman in his cupboard”. The shock/surprise would make it more memorable and spark more responses from the audience. Putting them in his shoes also gets them to think what they would do in his situation. I think that the woman would be a young person as she would have greater skill in hiding/surviving off little means, as well as being more able to fit into a small space.”

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Short Film Idea: Production Submission

Using my knowledge on the uses and gratification theory and previous planning for my short film,  I decided to look at the audience, image, text and interior features of it in more detail.

Who is my primary audience?
My primary audience will be psychological thriller film fans, as well as people who enjoy watching drama and suspense films. I will make sure that all of my content is appropriate and relevant to this group, and most of the age groups who enjoy these film. For example, the film will be tense and scary in areas, but there will not be strong threat or gore. Linking closely to the uses and gratifications theory, I think that the main points will be identify and entertain, but mainly entertain.

The main image on your poster will represent your short film in some way. What will your subject be?
I decided that the subject should be someone who was in the film, rather than an object featured within it. I want it to be a person as I felt this would instantly connect the potential audience and make them feel as if they can relate to the character. I don’t want to use the girl who was hiding, as she is the mysterious aspect of the film that will hopefully draw in the audience’s attention, so instead, I am going to use the main character. I will use a photograph of the main character looking scared or concerned, as this will make the target audience have questions about why they’re scared or concerned, and to answer them they will have to watch the film. The picture should have an ambiguous background, one that will not give too much away to the audience, but shows that the film is set in a normal location, and has hints of social realism. I would want the shot to be a close-up or extreme close-up, as this will then not give anything away about the clothing and therefore the line of work that the main character is in. I think it is important to choose the right subject and image for the poster, as this will set the tone and genre for the short film and may be the reason someone decides to or not to watch it, therefore I need to make sure it will appeal to my primary audience.

Your double-page spread needs to include a review of your short film. What will you write about?
I will write as if I am a film critic writing about a brand new short film that I recently watched. I will talk about how the production team is all female (and in the end, how the cast were all female too) and link this to International Women’s Day, which is the release date for the film. I will mention the people involved and the film’s budget. I will talk about the genre of psychological thrillers  and how m short film relates too it, following typical and non-typical tropes, such as being based on a true story. I will also talk about the name and tagline that I decided on and why, and the meanings behind them. I will write about the plot and how it hints at the idea of there being a supernatural or paranormal force within the short film.

What film techniques (cuts and transitions) will you include? What existing films use these?
To help me discover examples of films, I created a YouTube video of feature film references.

I will use transitions such as fade to black and dissolve, this way I can successfully cut between scenes and shots that normally would not fit together and make these flow; these technique is used in The Godfather (1972), Apocalypse Now (1979), Psycho (1960), The Hustler (1961) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Using the dissolve transition can help to make objects or people seem to slowly fade out of the shot; this can be seen in films such as Election (1999), Nosferatu (1922), and Field of Dreams (1989). I am going to use cut away shots to show objects being moved, and perhaps whilst mundane tasks such as the main character eating; this technique is used within It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) and Back To The Future (1985). These can be put together too, such as the match cut and the dissolve transition, these allow the scene to change to something completely different but to seamlessly do so, some films that use this combination are The Green Mile (1999) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Short Film Idea: Synopsis

Based on true events, this real life story of a man and his disappearance of food ends with a strange twist… He has had a woman secretly living is his kitchen cupboard for over a year! An short thriller that’ll have audience checking their houses for weeks.

Jonathan is a typical office worker, living alone in his small one-bedroom terraced house in Westbury. He unknowing actually lives with homeless 23 year old Olivia Shacklesbury, a girl who dropped out of university after her parents passed away.

In the first couple of scenes, we see Jonathan living at home as usual but occasionally seeming to be confused when getting out food. He mutters to himself “I’m sure I only ate 4” when he fulls out a pack of half-empty digestive biscuits, and “I only bought this loaf yesterday” when there are only 5 or 6 slices of bread left in his bread bin. The audience will just assume this man is old and forgetful, or perhaps just isn’t realising how much he is snacking on the food in his house, but as they see him put out mice and rat traps all over his kitchen, it becomes clear this is a larger problem that initially thought. A shot of the clocks hands speeding around is used to show the passing of time and the viewers then see that the traps Jonathan had left out have not been set off. This should make them rather confused, along with Jonathan, who is now becoming more suspicious of what this may be. He talks to a friend on the phone about his house having been potentially robbed then goes online to order a video camera. When the camera is delivered, he sets it up in his kitchen and leaves it on overnight. Jonathan plugs the video camera into his laptop and finds that there is someone inside his house stealing his food, as he suspected. The plot twist is, this woman climbs out of and back into one of the cupboards in his kitchen. He glances up towards the cupboard, and a close up is shown, before he goes to call the police. He police investigate his house and find her, a young woman drop-out who had lost her parents and her home, and had been living in Jonathan’s home for the past year. The police charged Olivia Shacklesbury and a now rather paranoid Jonathan changed his locks.

Potential name: Undiscovered Girl ?

Short Film Idea: Draft of Chosen Plot

I chose the second idea out of the three initial ideas that I mind-mapped:

A man who lives alone in his house begins to realise his food is disappearing and firstly, believes it is animals. After putting out mice and rats traps for a week or so, he has no luck and get suspicious that it may be repeat burglaries, so installs a video camera to watch over his kitchen whilst he is at work and sleeping. Caught on tape, he finds a young woman sneaking out of his cupboard and into his kitchen to steal his food. She’s been living in his house for over a year, eating his food and using his bathroom.

(based on a true story: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/2054057/Homeless-woman-comes-out-of-closet.html)

Continuity Editing Short Film: Analysis

Overall, I am happy with the final result of this experimentation. There is one shot in particular that I like, and that is when the character is taking the milk and eggs out of the fridge. To make this shot work, my camera was put into the fridge and the items of food in the fridge were rearranged to make the shot realistic. I also like the tracking shot of the drawer being pulled out and the being pushed back in again, because it makes the audience feel as if they are following along with what is happening.

Later in the film, there is a shot to show that time is passing; this was filmed by changing the time on the oven by hand and speeding it up, post-production.  I think that this was really effective to show that time had passed, and made the scene more tense when overlaid with the sound of the music, then silence, then the fire alarm going off. Shortly after, there are several shots of the fire alarm, slowing getting closer and closer, which I think also helps to build tension.

This being said, if I had spent more time on the post-production work, I feel that it could have been to a some-what better quality than it is. I think that the shots are quite disjointed, in that it is not always clear where in the kitchen the character is. In my opinion, the music works, but is seemingly over-dramatic for the events happening in the film. I voiced this to the people who I was working with and they agreed, however, the issue was that we could not find any music that would have been more suitable than the pieces we picked, so we left it as it is.