Monday, 15 November 2010

Analysis of a Micro Drama

The film from 12A that we were analysing was edited by Alex McCluskey and Sam Boyes. The film is about the kidnapping of a Princess and the search by two others to rescue her.

Incorporated into the film are a number of Propp's Character Archetypes: A hero, a villain, a false hero, a princess and a donor. Each have a key role in the film. The Princess is the prize at the end of the quest and the whole reason for the quest to happen. The donor gives the Hero the magical object to assist them in this quest, in this case the magic object is an apple. The false hero attempts to become the hero by rescuing the Princess in the end, but they are unsuccessful. The Villain commits the bad action, taking the princess, and is in the end beaten and the hero is the one who sets out on the quest and is successful.

Binary Opposition (Levi-Strauss) is represented in the film in the forms of male and female; good and evil.
Todorov's theory of equilibrium is also shown; the state of equilibrium is at start when the False hero is reading, then the Princess is kidnapped and we have a state of Dis-Equilibrium, before the hero rescues the Princess returning us to a new State of Equilibrium.

The film uses a large variety of shots. The shot used most often is the mid shot, although they use a lot of low angle shots, especially of the legs of the hero and the villain, building suspense because you can not see who the person is. The film also uses many shots when the subject is walking towards the camera. Hand held shots are used very frequently which gives the impression that somebody is watching what is going on. Towards the end of the short film, the group use two-shots and three-shots a lot, as well as using wide angled shots and close ups. The speed of the shots from the middle of the film to then end increases building up tension and suspense as the film becomes more flowing. An interesting shot that is included is a moving subject shot, and this stands out amongst the others as been more advanced and challenging.

The film doesn't include many transitions between shots; there is only one occasion where a transition is used, a fade in. Most shots simply cut to the next shot. However the film does incorporate other effects, such as a lightning bolt, non-diegetic sounds, slow motion shots and a shaky camera effect. The lightning bolt is added to show a change in the Hero and it happens when he receives his magical powers. The shaky camera effect is used in the same shot. The slow motion shot happens at the end, when the princess is saved, and it signifies some romance or a relationship between the Hero and Princess.

The setting for the short movie is natural because it was filmed in school. Most of it is shot outside with a small number of shots inside. The clothing tells us nothing about the characters because they are dressed as they are for school. They improvise with their hoods for the Hero once he has the powers and the Villain as well. Apart from the hood, there is very little to understand the characters from their clothing. There are two props that are used in the movie; a book and an apple.

Many different sound effects and music has been added to the short movie, but diegetic sounds are still the most frequently used. Throughout the film Diegetic sounds are dominant, but there are also quieter, less dominant non-diegetic sounds added. The sounds added are informative to the audience as to how they should react; at the beginning of the film the music is deep and scary, and tells the audience something bad may be about to happen. However, later in the film when the princess is found, the music turns very happy and tells the audience everything is good again, informing us of the return to a state of equilibrium. Non diegetic sounds added include a rewind sound, a lion growling, a thunderbolt and a spring over some speech at the end. The reason for these sounds is generally to add effect to the film that can not be added when filming for any reason, but generally because the sound effect is natural, but the group were unable to create it at the time.

Group notes on All the boys love Mandy Lane

Opening credit - Red background signifies blood. Title - blade slash/girl screams - typical for horror.

Blood drops down and the shot pans down to a school – Normal school day.
Song hints at what is to come in the film?
Mandy Lane appears – typical blonde (Looks an outsider or new, by how everyone reacts to her).
Range of shots used: Establishing shot, close up, medium shots, long shots ect.
A typical person that the audience wants dead from the start appears and is immediately offensive.
Shot scrolls up to establish next scene this is a pool party – Normal setting, nothing out of the ordinary, normal swimming pool/party clothes.
Music again – Hint?
Again a different range of shots are used to focus on people enjoying themselves – quite quick shots.
The person the audience wants dead is offensive to Mandy again, her friend water pistols him which turns into a fight, and this is used to build up the tension. Something going to happen with these two in the future? Fight shows who is the strong out of the two. Both want the same thing – Mandy Lane.
Binary opposites of each other – Brain vs. Brawn.
Night – something going to happen?
Mandy’s best friend of roof – shows power? Loner?
Talk about Mandy – argue (never can get along). Best friend tricks him to jump off roof to impress Mandy. Guy slips, clearly drunk – outcome revealed? People are worried about him (the sportier guy) about him jumping off the roof – still drinking, Mandy shocked.
Song again – Hints outcome?
When the sportier guy jumps of the camera is like it’s a PoV (Point of View) of someone falling slower (as he exits the shot).
Hear screams, makes audience tense and want to know what has happened, as the guy enters the pool which blood surrounds him, audience is shocked.
Brains beat brawn.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Lessons from Microdrama

1.   Be organized: Make sure that everyone you are working with knows what they are doing and what they need, and that applies for yourself.
2.   Be prepared for problems:   Consider all eventualities when filming incase you come upon a problem.
3.   Make sure the audience can hear the dialogue.
4.   Pick your camera angles.
5.   Learn to incorporate Propp's archetypes.
6.   Learn to incorporate Todrov's states of equilibrium.
7.   Make sure to include binary opposite
8.   Add bloopers and other extras for higher entertainment value.
9.   Learn how to use I movie.
10. Don't be embarrassed when acting