Sunday, March 17, 2013

Exercise: Shooting a short sequence

The brief is: 

  • You are an alcoholic alone in your home
  • You look around your empty room
  • Nothing interests you
  • You notice a bottle
  • You hold the bottle and unscrew the lid
  • Something attracts your attention, you look round
  • Nothing happens
  • You look back at the bottle and pour yourself a drink

Key areas to consider:

What information you wish to draw attention to?

I want the information to follow the brief fairly closely: empty room, lack of interest in anything except for the booze, finding the vodka, the distraction - an empty bottle falling off the table, pouring the drink.  I want to try to show the alcoholic's love/hate relationship with drink.

How you want each shot to feel?

I want to portray disorientation, fuzziness, quiet desperation. I want the room to seem flat and empty, unrewarding but then with lots of focus on the vodka.

Choice of frame?

I think this will be powerful if the frames stay close to how the protagonist would be seeing things so I am going to avoid using a tripod. I know this will make for a jerky film but I think it will feel more authentic that way.  This will put me right in the action. 

Where are the borders of perception drawn in each shot?

I think it will be fairly obvious that the protagonist has woken up at home (although I guess it could be someone else's place which might change the mood) so there is not much need to show much outside the main focus of the alcoholic which is to find more booze STAT!

The storyboards

I have drawn these up to ensure that I cover the key information and that I have a good road map for the sequence.  The brief suggests that I try and replicate exactly what I have drawn when I create the video sequence.  So that will be hilarious.

This is a view of my desk and the window from the POV of lying down on the sofa - the frame is as a person would see as they open their eyes. I thought this would be a interesting start as not obvious what is it and therefore deliberately disorientating.

Our alcoholic hero now slowly sits up so the view of the world at least becomes slightly more normal.  A bit easier to now see that this a window, chair and curtain.

The alcoholic looks at the bottle they were drinking from last night but it is sadly empty.  Quite close up, not very focused.

Turns to look over to the right in a wide shot to see if they can spot any more booze...

A further scan of the room reveals a half-bottle of Smirnoff, a more close-up frame as here is the really important thing to look at, but still with some context so it doesn't look like an unnatural leap of POV.

The alcoholic goes towards the bottle and holds it rather shakily (maybe a bit tentatively?) ready to pour a drink (or maybe just feeling reassured that there is something for later?).

The empty bottle from the small table teeters off onto the floor and distracts the protagonist - they look round suddenly and stare while the bottle rolls on the ground.

Nothing is broken though, there is no one there and nothing else happens so the alcoholic turns back, now determined to have a drink. They unscrew the bottle.

A view of the sofa and the small table as the alcoholic moves towards the glass.  This wider shot of a comforting part of the room is a small re-orientation for our addicted hero as they get close to achieving their goal.  They are returning to the scene of their last bender.

They pour some vodka into the glass on the small table, rather shakily, close up as this bit needs to portray some of the clumsy desperation.  I also want to somehow show the sinking pleasure that the alcoholic will feel as they dive back into the bottle.

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