Evaluation

evaluation

(the date of the Prezi is the 22nd as I had to change the name of it, and this changed the edit date)

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X: Short Film Analysis (Theories)

I decided to look at how my short film, X, related to film theories.

I do not think that it fits Todorov’s narrative theory of the plot being a sequence, as there the film ends the third part of the sequence (“a recognition/ realisation that there has been disruption”) and the audience do not see the fourth and fifth stages (“an attempt to repair this disruption” and “a new equilibrium is reached”). It is common in many short films for there to be a cliffhanger, for the film to end on the pinnacle point of action, and not show the audience what happens next – this keeps them interested and hooked.
Claude Levi-Strauss’ idea of binary opposites can come into play here. The audience see the main character, Gina, as the “good”, whilst they see the girl hiding in her house and stealing her things “bad”. These are binary opposites, however, the audience are in the dark as to why Olivia is hiding in her house – this key detail may change their opinion of her drastically.
Ronald Bathes suggests that ‘codes’ are used throughout films to give them deeper meanings, and also to make them more relatable for those watching. In my film, I purposefully used “the symbolic code” – I used a red rug in the living room to symbolise danger, right before the girl is disobeyed by the main character.
Vladimir Propp’s idea of the seven different character types does not fit into my film, as I only have two characters. Perhaps this theory is aimed more towards feature length films, as it would be hard to fit seven characters into around five minutes, and still make them all important, significant, and play specific roles in the films plot.
Similar can be said for Erving Goffman’s character theory; he suggests there are four main character types. Despite me not having four characters, I think that my two characters do fit into this theory. My short film includes a protagonist (Gina) and a deuteragonist (Olivia).

X: Short Film Analysis

I decided to analyse the final cut of my short film, X.

I think that my short film was fairly successful. All of the audience feedback that I received showed that I effectively made a film that built tension and made the film scary for those who watched it. I am proud of the contrast between normality and the abnormal event, and how well the voice-over builds up to this moment of the film. I managed to capture this normality by emphasising it within the voice-over, and by using beige and dull coloured footage throughout the film. The ending definitely seemed to work exactly how I wanted it to; my audience kept asking for more of the story, and had loads of questions about what happened next.

My film fits into the psychological horror tropes of Mind Screw and Nothing Is Scarier, due to the action within the plot building up to the pinnacle moment, and having no real ending after this. The film just stops in the middle of this scene, to leave the audience wanting to know more. The cliffhanger effect helps to capture the uncertain atmosphere that arises within my film.

I used a range of different shots throughout my film, in an attempt to give my film some variation. I used extreme long shots and long shots to give the audience a sense of the main characters home, and also to make them look for what could be hiding. I used extreme close ups and close ups to show important details within the film. I used tracking shots to give the film a more realistic look, similar to that of films in the social realism genre.

I chose to use sound effects in place of some of the realistic sounds, such as the mouse clicking and the doorbell ringing, as I could then control the volume of these noises to potentially make my audience jump. As for my music choice, I decided that I would use a piece which slowly built until the loudest point (and important part of the film) then stopped. I also used a heartbeat sound effect, to give off the impression that the main character was scared. This works well because the audiences heartbeat eventually follow the same pattern as the music that I used.

X: YouTube Comments

I received some comments on YouTube about X, which I thought were really positive and helped me to realise that people do understand what is happening, as a lot of my feedback has previously come from the people who knew about the film and its plot, which gave a little bias. I am happy to know that people are enjoy and appreciating my film; the comment from Dylan was very complimentary of the films style and my choice of sound effects and music, which I am glad about, because I found that trying to find something suitable was rather difficult.

youtube comments

X: Review (Esme Devoy)

My fellow filmmaker, Esme Devoy, has sent me a video review of my edited version of our film. Although we worked together, we decided to edit the film seperately and therefore our results are different, here is what she thought of my film:

(transcripted from a video that was sent to me):
Hi, I’m Esme and I acted and co-directed in the film that Harriet made, but we edited it separately and I thought I’d give a little review of what I thought of Harriet’s editing and stuff. Um, so, I think Harriet did an amazing job with all the footage that we had and, like, how she created it, um, with the sound especially. So, our film is really, really intense and, how she, like there’s a little bit at the end of the film where Gina and Olivia have a really intense moment and I think that is probably the height of the fear of the film and I think she really, really caught onto that and made that as spooky and scary that she could. Um, the voiceover that she included, I thought was amazing because I only have one at the start and hers, because it kind of goes throughout, a little bit, um, really, really helped clear up anything that was a bit confusing, because it can get a bit confusing, especially in a short film, which, so that I thought that was really good and she definitely kept the mysterious aspects throughout, which I thought was great. So, overall, I thought it was amazing and I don’t know what else she could do to add to it so thumbs up to Harriet.

X: Review (Frederick Redding)

A film enthuast, Freddie Redding, has also reviewed my short film, X. 

“X” is a thrilling and intriguing short film. There is a really exciting contrast between the banal events of the opening and the exhilarating final sequence. I really enjoyed the elements of social realism throughout – the shots of food preparation emphasised banality and the food seemed unappetising, and this was all heightened by the narration to paint a picture of a tediously normal life. I was struck by the distinct lack of colour, with beiges and greys dominating the shots, underlining the boredom of the typically suburban location.                

Despite all this display of dreary normality, the overall effect of the film is exciting and even thrilling. The depiction of drudging routine that dominates the film slowly and very effectively builds up an atmosphere of tension and unease – I felt that the normality of it all could not on forever, something unexpected was surely going to interrupt the routine, though I didn’t know what it would be. This was exciting. This excitement exploded at the end, and the use of pacey shots and the heartbeat sound effect upped the tempo. I enjoyed the way the mystery of the situation was suspended all the way until the end, with the intruder’s face only revealed in the penultimate shot. In final shot the face of the protagonist was shown, and the previously non-diegetic narration merged with the words of the protagonist (“what the F…?”) and this really framed the film as a story told by her.

It intrigued me – from what point in time was the story being told? What had happened next?   

X: Review (Iona Duffy)

A media student from Chippenham College has reviewed my short film, X.

The short horror film ‘X’ by Harriet Moore is a psychological thriller surrounding real events of someone living secretly in an attic. For being a short film, it kept me in suspense and on edge if the stowaway upstairs would ever be found. The voice acting makes everything clear and enhances the story as the main character is recalling her events to the police, making it look like she’s recalling her experience though footage and memory. The shots that were recorded were well captured, ranging from the ‘cctv’ camera shots to extreme close ups at the end, really selling that look of shock.

The production is also professionally edited, making sure that the filler shots of the shopping being put away didn’t drag on, and the end scene where there are fast paced shots that cut back and forth between the main character and the stowaway really makes the realisation that someone is living in their attic hit home even more. The sound also adds a tight tension to the film, especially when the chase scene begins – I could feel the music making my heart beat faster.

Overall I would recommend ‘X’ to friends as it captures all the elements of a real life event with thriller elements.

X: Review (Harry Miller)

I asked for people to review my short film. I got a reply from Harry Miller, who sent me a short review via email. This email was really insightful and useful, because it allowed me to see how the audience reacts to the film, and their initial thoughts of what happens within it. I am also really happy that the subtle shirt detail was noticed!

Audience Feedback: Short Film (Results)

After sending my questionnaire to members of my target audience, as well as advertising it on social media, I got 10 responces in around 2 days. Here are the answers:

what do you like about my short filmwhat dont you like about my short filmwhat would you change about my short film10 outta 10 would recommend

Most people said how the liked the varied camera angles and pace of the shots, and how this reflects the social realism aspects of the film. The voiceover was mentioned as it added suspense to the film. Lots of responses mentioned that the film was full of suspense and was gripping. A couple of people also mentioned the subtle hints throughout the film, which means they were definitely picked up by some if not all audience members. When asked what they didn’t like, many people joked that they didn’t like the ending because they didn’t get to find out what happens. Two people mentioned the change of volume in the sounds, but this was intentional in order to create more tension and suspense. In terms of what to change, a couple of people said that they wanted to see more (the food scenes, the ending, what happens after, etc.) however due to the time limit on my brief, this would not really be possible, and I didn’t want to change the ending as the cliffhanger was intention (and it clearly worked). All 10 people said that they would watch it again!