|Project Title||Hallo Project|
|Section 1: Rationale (Approx. 100 words)|
|In this project, I aim to showcase what it can be like in the head of someone who suffers from schizophrenia, but in a very visually engaging way. It is essential that the audience connects with what is occurring on the screen .
The Narrative revolves around a girl with paranoia who is convinced that a girl that she passed in the street is following her, and trying to harm her.
The dramatic mood that is created by her running desperately away from her victim within a forest and the delusions of this stranger that she keeps will get the audience’s attention and involvement.
|Section 2: Project Concept (approx. 200 words)
|I want to display this project in a video format, as my main aim to focus on the visuals and how I can manipulate it with editing.
I will do research so that I can better understand the facts that my narrative is based on, as well as techniques that will make my filming, lighting and editing of a better quality and most suited to what I intend to portray visually in this project.
The main element within this project includes the subject of schizophrenia or paranoia, and the effects it has on the main character. Another element is the setting of the forest, where a chase takes place.
My project is aimed at an audience between the ages of 12 and 24, as the narrative revolves around a girl around this age, and the audience will better connect with and relate something that is similar to themselves.
My role in this project will involve the director, cinematographer, sound engineer and editor. I will have others who help me with these roles as well, but I will definitely have involvement in all of them.
Technical requirements for this project will include a camera, a microphone, a tripod, artificial lighting and Avid Software.
|Section 3: Evaluation (approx. 50 words)|
|All that I have explained about this project as well as the storyboard that I have illustrated is what I intend to do, there will most definitely be minor changes to angles or shots that I may only recognise I need when physically filming the project.
I will record exactly what I do on each filming day through a written production diary and photographs. Any changes that are made to the narrative or the shots will also be written here.
Also, as I want to spend a lot of time exploring the way I edit this project, I made decide to change certain elements according to how I see fit, and how well they fit together when I see the final project.
|Proposed Research Sources and Bibliography (Harvard Format)|
Video is definitely the best medium that I can use to communicate to the audience what I intend to. Although the visuals are not the only important factor in my Hallo Project, it is this with the combination of sound and editing that tells it’s story and gives the film it’s slightly eerie and thrilling zeal, resonating and connecting with the audience emotionally.
Other communication methods such as Radio or just a narrative writing would not have been able to fully tell my story. They are both certainly important aspects within my film, but by themselves are not capable of communicating what I intended. When sound, narrative and visuals were all combined however, the project would be able to come together appropriately, not lacking anything.
Editing plays a huge part in my Hallo Project and helps to tell the story in a way that I could not have using different communication methods. The use of quick shots that become more and more frequent as the film progresses is a reflection of the characters insanity and paranoia, which intensifies during the course of the film. Also, the combination of music together with the editing plays a huge part in how I wanted the film to come out, and this again, would not have been possible without the visual aspect. The sound of the music serves as a rhythm to the video clips, making the two come together. This further engages the audience.
To begin the first thing to do when planning the Hallo Project was to come up with an idea. However, while planning this film, my ideas for it changed constantly, and I had to keep re drawing story boards and researching different locations, props and ideas for narrative backgrounds that suited the new or changed elements with my idea. In producing this one minute film, my biggest goal was to make it as impactful as possible, so I planned to squeeze as much as I possibly could into that 1 minute. Naturally because of this, my initial ideas were quite complex, and it wasn’t until I was getting ready to film, and planning the shots that I wanted that I realised how hard it would be to squeeze this idea into one minute without it being overly compact. Also, I was worried that it would be too difficult for the audience to understand in the limited time, and instead of the ‘Wow!’ reaction that I wanted, it might be ‘what was that about?!’ instead.
Despite my change in idea, I decided to include my initial ideas in this plan as well, so that one can see how it developed into my final one.
Once I was 100 per cent sure about what I wanted to produce for my Hallo project, I began researching locations, props and facts that would back up the background of my narrative.
My initial idea:
Within this film, a girl is seen running exasperatingly through a forest- crying, distressed, agitated and clearly paranoid about something. She keeps looking back as if something or someone is chasing her. And they are- a girl around the same age as her is running some distance behind her, hysterically laughing with a syringe grasped tightly in her hand. Her face is painted as a clowns, and she’s dressed up in an odd, mismatching outfit. While running, the main character of this film keeps getting flashbacks that involve herself and the same girl chasing her. They initially start off as pleasant memories, the two girls laughing together on a beach or sharing a snack in front of the TV. However, these flashbacks quickly transition to horrific memories of the two girls, where the main character is being abused verbally and physically by her ‘friend’. They then switch back to the pleasant memories, and then back to the unpleasant ones, and so on. These flashbacks all occur in between the running through the forest. Eventually the friend catches up with the girl and grabs her screaming ‘Hey!’, but when the main character turns around in horror, to her surprise it is her friend as her usual self, looking innocent and concerned.
After realising that this idea may be too complex to capture in under one minute, I played around with changing some of the elements within it, but tried to still keep the basis of what I had originally come up with.
My final Idea:
The film will begin with a girl walking down a street looking completely detached from everything around her. As she walks, she passes people walking, a child on his scooter, and finally a girl who stands by a wall. As the main character in this film passes her, she gets a strange look form this girl, which makes her extremely paranoid, and she begins to have delusions about this girl following her. She takes a turn from her usual route and walks briskly into the forest to escape who she thinks is following her, but her delusions and paranoia only get worse. As she runs through the forest confused as ever, she trips and falls and when she looks up, the same girl she is now terrified of looks down at her smirking. ‘Hello..’ she whispers.
Location 1 : FOREST
The scene shot here was meant to include our main character, who I named Ali, running away from someone she thinks is following her. As she is meant to be paranoid and confused, I thought a dark and mysterious nature of a forest would be appropriate. Also, the general aura of a forest and the cinematographic opportunities available there made me choose this as a location.
I research forests in both Ashford and Folkestone. I was initially going to film this scene in Ashford, as a colleague who lives there recommended one that she knew of.
(The Conservation Volunteers 2016)
(The Conservation Volunteers 2016)
However, after trying to find out more information about the Singleton Environmental Centre, I could barely find any pictures of it and the ones that I did find did not have the same aura that I was looking for. It seemed more bright and pretty than dark and peculiar, and from what I could tell, it would not have matched well with the other elements within my film.
I then searched for forests closer to where I live, in Folkestone. I searched on the internet but also asked around. Fortunately, someone I know well who goes on walks around Folkestone quite often recommended Lyminge Forest. She assured me that it had a creepy nature to it, and when I went to visit it, I was sold. Below are some pictures that I took of it on my visit there and before shooting.
To get there, I will have to get the number 16 Bus towards Canterbury, from Blackbull Road Bus Stop.
Location 2: Street
As I added the street scene after adjusting my initial idea and it is not a particularly difficult place to find, I didn’t do much online research, but instead thought it best to take a walk around where I live with my camera until I found a street that looked shot worthy. Below are the pictures I took once I found it. It is more of a path than a street, and as my scene involved a child on his scooter, I thought it was actually best if it was shot not too close to a road in order to avoid possible accidents. I also thought the surrounding were aesthetically pleasing, and the trees that lined the path made for some great cinematographic opportunities.
The pills appear in a scene where Ali takes them out of her pocket after having delusions about a girl she has just passed in the street. It is meant to indicate to the audience that Ali has a mental illness.
To find tablets that looked like they were prescribed, I used Vitamin Zinc that I already had in my house. They were small, white and round, and could definitely pass for prescribed medication.
(The Naked Scientists, 2015)
I bought this from the shop Londis, close to where I was filming. It costed 50p.
The phone that ‘the stranger’ in my film is seen holding belonged to the actor who played that character. It was an iPhone 6. Phones are often used as Semiology for the audience to decode the time the film is set as well as details about the character. In my case, the character was an ordinary middle class teenager, and so it was appropriate to use an iPhone.
This prop also belonged to the individual who played the little boy.
Ali’s Mental Illness:
In my initial idea or the film, Ali was meant to have schizophrenia. The stranger that she has delusions about was originally supposed to be her friend in my first idea, but Ali’s mental condition caused her to have delusions of this friend trying to hurt her. I therefore did a lot of research on the different symptoms of schizophrenia. As my idea changed, my character Ali still has a mental illness, but it is more linked to paranoia than schizophrenia.
Here is the research I did on the mental illness and having delusions in general.
What is a delusion : A delusion is a false belief which a person holds with a strong amount of conviction. The belief isn’t typical of his/her culture or religion, and he/she adheres to the erroneous belief despite evidence and proof which totally contradict it.
I looked up various types of delusions associated with schizophrenia, including Persecutory delusions, Delusions of reference, Grandiose delusions, Erotomanic delusions and somatic delusions.
In my first idea, I was basing Ali’s behaviour on a symptom of schizophrenia where they believe someone they love or are close to is trying to hurt them, or is going against them. However, when realising that my idea may be a bit too complex to fully explain in visuals in under 1 minute, I simplified her mental illness to paranoia, which is also a common feature of schizophrenia. In persecutory delusions, the victim believes that they are being followed, and that someone is going against them. This is what the character Ali experiences in my final Hallo Project.
To get inspiration on how to film a running scene, and to really see how it is usually filmed professionally, I watched a lot of videos that were about this. I also did some sketches based off articles that I read of the angles I should get of the two main characters in my film. I ended up having so much running footage that I could not even use half of it.
(Daniel j. Harris 2011)
(DJI Tutorials 2016)
Sketches of different angles that I could film Ali running, and the stranger in the forest.
Evaluation of Research
The research I did prior to filming my project was extremely helpful in both my editing and filming stages. However, there are a few things that I could have researched further, which would have made my filming process a little easier. For example, there is scene in my film where the character has to transition from the street into the forest, without it looking random. Prior to filming, I had no idea where I would film this. I had looked around the forest on my first visit there, but there was no where I could find that I could make look like the character took a different root from the street, in order to get away from the stranger. It was not until my last day of filming that I found a place and with all the pressure of finishing filming before it got dark as well as the fact that I did not know where I could get this particular shot was quite stressful. Having done sufficient research to be sure about all of my filming locations would have been much better.
The first thing I did to prepare for filming, was to make a list of all of the shots that I needed. My filming took place over the course of three days. The first day was in the forest, where I filmed the character Ali overly paranoid, with running clips and close ups.
Below are some pictures of the lists I made of shots that I needed to get, as well as ideas that I had that I wanted to keep in mind during the filming, so that the shots would come out in a particular way.
On Saturday 19th November 2016, I went to the forest to get the first set of footage that involved Ali, the main character. On this day, the actor who plays the stranger (Katie) swho is also shown in the forest was not there, so I focused on getting all of the shots that involved just the character Ali, knowing that I would come back on the Monday to get more. This was a really successful day. The shots that I collected by the end of it were almost all of the ones shown in the picture above, including emotional close ups of Ali, the establishing shots of the forest, Ali running and shots of the Forest trees.
On the second day of filming, Sunday 20th November 2011, I started filming the street scene. I was meant to film this footage on the Saturday instead, but it worked out better to film the forest footage on that day and the street footage on the next. Although I intended to get all of the shots listed above, I only managed to film the part where a child on a scooter bumps into the character Ali, a few close ups of Ali and the establishing shots. I had no idea how hard it would be and how long it would take to shoot this at all the angles necessary to make the bump look realistic.
In addition to writing down the shots I needed before filming, I also did some research on the camera I was going to use; the Canon 550. As I had little knowledge on how it worked and all of its settings, I researched this so that I could be as prepared as possible when I was out filming. I made sure that it was set to 24 fps with 180 degree shutter speed. (this is the most appropriate for what I intended to film, and in order to give the footage the “film look”) I also learnt how to adjust the shutter speed easily and that the faster the shutter speed, the more contrast the footage would have. This was a great help while filming, as the light kept changing when I moved to different locations.
On the last day of filming for my Hallo project, on Monday 21st November, 2016, two friends, Katie and Zoe, joined me in Folkestone to help me with the filming. Katie was going to play the part of the stranger, so we all headed back to the same street I was filming at on the previous day, and then to the forest. Above is a list of shots I wanted to get of the stranger in the street. I also had to film the part where the character Ali, and the stranger came into contact for the first time.
After getting all the shots we needed, we made our way to the forest, here, I got most of the shots shown on the list above titled ‘Shots I still need for the forest’. However, I focused more on getting all of the footage I needed of ‘the stranger’, as I already had quite a lot of footage of Ali, and none of Katie as the stranger. However, towards the end of the day, things started to get rushed, as we needed to finish all the sots before it got dark, and the sun was already going down. Because of this, I did not get the perfect shot of the Stranger looking down on Ali and saying ‘Hello’, which is what the film was meant to end with. (and quite an important scene too). It wasn’t until editing that I realised the shots of this did not fit the rest of the film. The ‘Hello’ was quite friendly rather than creepy, and the different shots that I got of Ali falling in the forest, then looking up at the stranger from the ground did not fit together well. It did not flow, and therefore looked unrealistic.
On Set Photos
Critical Perspective Report
For my Hallo Project, I tried to use all of the critical perspectives accordingly to get the messages within it to the audience in an effective way, and in a way in which they will connect and engage with. The narrative was definitely a very important factor, as there was a particular storyline that my film followed and it was important that the audience knew what was going on. However, I really focused on semiology and all they ways I could tell this story effectively using elements besides dialog. The genre, Mise en scene and all of the things that make it up was equally as important in achieving this, and it was the combination of all these factors that made the effective communication between the film and the audience successful.
The genre of this film can be categorized as a thriller. It is meant to give the audience feelings of suspense, tensity and anxiety. It should make them feel uncomfortable rather than relaxed, keeping them on edge and heightening these emotions as the film progresses and the thrill of it becomes more intense. During the film, the character’s own anxiety and paranoia starts off subtle as she walks calmly on her way home. However, as soon as she notices something that makes her feel a little uncomfortable, her anxiety and – as the audience eventually finds out – her mental disability starts to go haywire. It creeps up slowly, ending in quite an explosion of her mental state. The mood created by the strange and slightly creepy music together with the character’s confused and paranoid nature puts the film into the genre of a thriller.
The narrative of this film is fairly straight forward, the events happen in chronological order making it a linear narrative. It is also single stranded, as there is one main story occurring. The story is told through a series of gestures, and events that occur throughout the movie, and dialog plays little part in getting the message across to the audience. It can also be seen as a open narrative, as the audience is left in the dark as what eventually happens to Ali. The story ends with Ali still completely paranoid about this girl who she believes is following her, yet at the same time she seems to know that it’s all going on inside her head. The last view seconds show her exhausted, trying to cope with all of the delusions she is having.
Mise En Scene and Semiology
All of the elements within mise en scene and how the audience decodes it is very much linked, and I made the film with this in mind. In everything that appeared on the screen, I tried to let to tell, the audience something within the story.
There are two major locations within this film, the street and the forest. The film begins with the character Ali, walking calmly on the street. She looks distant but she has not reached her peak of paranoia and acts the most normal here than any other part of the film. The ordinarity and clamness of the quiet street matches her emotions- the boy on the scooter, the breeze in the trees and the very. Everything is very expected and normal here.
However, when Ali is in the forest she is in a completely different state. Her paranoia, anxiousness and confused emotions take over her. This very much matches the atmosphere of the forest. A forest is always seen as an eerie, mysterious place, where things are not always clear. It is almost like a parallel universe to the real world, reality is warped and the mind is filled with doubt and fear when it usually would not be. This is quite evident in the film that was based on a play Into The Woods (2014), where everything that is meant to happen takes a turn when all the character end up in the Woods. As their minds and intentions become unclear, they make decisions that they would never do outside of the forest.
In my film, Ali’s confused state because of her mental illness matches the strangeness of a forest. Her delusions of the stranger following her and her inability to tell what is real and what is not is supported by the mood created by this location.
The performance by the actor who played Ali played a huge part in communicating to the audience just how paranoid she was. I knew that how the actor reacted to the delusions she was having would be a major part of the story. Without the use of dialog, the film was able to encode all of the emotions that Ali was feeling through acting, successfully letting the audience decode that the delusions she was having because of her schizophrenia or paranoia were causing her to feel paranoid, afraid and confused.
Furthermore, the acting of the stranger is also vital. She had to appear like an average person, but also have the capability of being intimidating, as Ali was so terrified of her by the end of the film. This is important as the audience must be able to decode that the stranger really is an ordinary person, and Ali really had no reason to be afraid of her if it was not for her mental condition. Instead, Ali was petrified, and so I had to depict how Ali was seeing this person to make her feel this way. This relied on the actors ability to look as intimidating as possible. Without this, it would be confusing to the audience as to why Ali would be so paranoid of such an innocent looking girl.
Lastly, the makeup that Ali wears characterises her further. In order to make her look more tired supporting the fact that she has a mental illness, I put brown black and red eye shadow around her eyes. I also contoured her face with dark colours, making her face appear slimmer. This simple alter to the actors face, together with her detached and tired expression lets the audience know immediately in the first scene that something is not 100 percent right with her.
The props within the mise en scene include the boys scooter, the pills, the phone, the gum and the headphones. Some of them were mainly used to contribute to the narrative and story line of the film, while others were encoded with messages for the audience to follow.
The headphones that the character wears in the first scene for example, supports the fact that Ali is in her own world and is detached from what is going on around her.
The gum that the stranger chews adds more dimension to her character. It makes her seem as if she has more of an attitude, which goes hand in hand with the way she looks at Ali in their first encounter, giving Ali more of a reason to react negatively to their meeting.
The pills are the post important of all the props in this film. They are the only medium which confirms to the audience that the character Ali is not healthy is some way, and after seeing that she has delusions about the person she has just come into contact with, it is quite clear that it is a mental problem. It is vital that they decode this message correctly in order to understand the rest of the film fully, as it is the neglect of taking the pills which makes Ali act the way she did when in the forest. The gesture of taking the pills out of her pocket, looking at them, and then throwing them to the side of the path is an extremely important part of the narrative, something that holds the entire story line together.
All the sounds that are present in this film play are very important role. Firstly, the most obvious would be the music. There is no denying that this song is creepy in more than one way, and seemed the perfect fit to what my film conveyed. I knew that I wanted a track to go along with the film, as I thought the quick clips that that occur when Ali had her delusions would have an interesting effect if they were in time with the music. The first thing that attracted me to using this particular song (Hot Knife by Fiona Apple) was the way that it got more intense as the song progressed, just like they way Ali’s emotions do. Also, the way that her voice is layered towards the end of the song gave me the same eerie vibe that I thought the film should have. The only disadvantage of this song however, was that the lyrics were not fitting with my own narrative. It was about a lover, and with some parts of the song, it was noticable that it clashed with my film. To fix this, I used different sections of the song a couple times, to get the effect that I wanted from the song without making the narrative of the song clash with my film narrative.
The next most obvious sound within the mise en scene of this production would be whispers that are heard in the forest scene. Although the silent ‘Hellos’ were not a part of my plan when editing, they definitely add to the creepiness of the scene, further show to the audience that she has a mental illness and support the fact that these delusions are all inside Ali’s head.
In preparation for making this project, I researched and practiced as much as I could so that when filming and editing, I could produce my absolute best. I wanted my Hallo Project to be an experiment of what I could do, but also something I could use for the future to showcase my film making skills. Therefore, I wanted it to be brilliant, I was prepared to put in all the time neccary to produce what I had envisioned for this film. I did not want to produce it with the sole aim being to pass, I wanted to make something I was extremely proud of- a great short film to any audience. However, a couple obstacles came in my way during the process of making this film which limited me from doing everything I could with this film, and leaving me a little disappointed. Although I am pleased with how it came together, I know that it could be so much better, and if I had the time to experiment more with all of the ways I could manipulate and edit the footage and sound on Avid, I would have been much more proud of the finished film. My ideas for the film did not come close to how it actually came out.
Time was the biggest challenge for me.This is mainly because it was hard to know exactly where to on the Avid editor to get what I wanted, instead it took time to find my way around the software. Also, when I did achieve what I had in my head for a particular clip, it just didn’t fit right or come out as I had expected. This lead me to trying something else completely different until I was 100 percent satisfied. Naturally this took a lot of time. And when it came to the wend of the week that was designated for editing, I had to settle for something that I know could have been better if I had the time to experiment.
Also, I would have liked to learn and experiment with the editing of sound, especially in the scene where Ali could hear whispers inside her head. However, I simply did not have the time.
The filming was also affected by time, as it was often a race to finish before it got dark. On my final day of filming, I felt immense pressure to get the shots involving the stranger and Ali in the forest before it got dark, and this caused some of my shots to not come out as good as they could have.
As I planned this film knowing that I would not have a big budget, the lack of money did not really affect me. I used the resources that I already had effectively.
My final project can be described as a thriller, which puts the audience in the shoes of someone suffering from schizophrenia or paranoia. Her condition starts off subtly, but after passing a suspicious person, her anxiety gets from bad to worse. She begins to have delusions about this person trying to get at her and hurt her, causing her to run away desperately, as confused and paranoid as ever.
My general opinion of my Hallo project is that it could have been a lot better, but it still came together decently. The parts that were most successful in my opinion were the cinematography, the acting, some of the editing and my ability to direct the actors. The main weaknesses however, was some of the editing techniques and the sound effects (whispering hello)
I really thought that the acting of Ali was outstanding and my sister Kyrene, did a fantastic job in showing the emotions that her character was going through. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the cinematography aspect, and the close ups of the characters face, as well as the trees and atmosphere of the forest was quite successful. A lot of the editing also came out well, as I was able to switch from reality to the delusions in a way that the audience understood. It was not confusing as I feared it would be but was a great addition to the strange eerie mood of the film. Furthermore, I was quite proud of how I took control of directing and producing my film. I retook shots over and over until I got it exactly how I wanted, and I did described to the actors the exact emotions they were meant to be feeling and how their facial expressions were meant to come across.
In addition there are a number of things that I would change about my project. In my initial idea as sen in my storyboard and notes taken prior to filming, I wanted to include a lot more short clips of random sounds and activities occuring around the character Ali. This would have been a good practice for sound foley, and would have added to the intensity of her paranoia towards the end of the film. What I wanted to include was something called sensory overload, which is quite common in people with schitzophrenia and even autism. It occurs as certain people are more sensitive to sounds that the majority of people would barely hear or not even register that it is there. The passing of cars, beeping of a horn, dropping of coins or laughing or talking of nearby people can become so overbearing that they cannot handle it. I thought this would be fantastic to capture in my short film, but although I had footage for it, I was unable to include it because of the lack of time to edit, and the fact that the film could only be 1 minute long.
Furthermore, I definitely think that some of my editing, especially towards the end of the film could have been done better. In my opinion, the clips looked messy and rushed.
Lastly, colour correction was another issue that I faced while editing. I wanted to make the entire film have a more mysterious and eerie look to it to match with it’s mood, and so I added more contrast to all of the shots. However, when I exported the video, the quality reduced dramatically, and the footage came out a lot darker than it appeared on the viewer in Avid. I was most concerned about the poor quality, as the many close ups on the characters face did not give the same effect with the way that it now looked. I was told that if one did not be extremely careful with the colour correcting, and make sure that the settings were precise, this was a common thing to happen. As I did not have time to research the best setting that I could put the footage on in colour correction, I took it off all of the footage, and exported it again.
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reddit. 2016. Cinematography tips for shooting a BADASS running chase scene? : Filmmakers. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.reddit.com/r/Filmmakers/comments/pn3qk/cinematography_tips_for_shooting_a_badass_running/. [Accessed 01 December 2016].
YouTube. 2016. To LIve and Die in LA foot chase: Shot list – How to direct – One minute Film School. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBiBGkxgZJY. [Accessed 01 December 2016].
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