An important part to this project is exhibiting my work and gathering crucial feedback from an audience.
I decided to hold several screenings of my short films, using a variety of demographics which ranged from teenagers, students and the older generation.
In each screening I had half the audience watch both short films with full sound and the other half watch the films without any sound. This was so I could analyse how much of an impact editing has on the audience. After both audience’s had viewed their specific screening I had them answer several questions so I could gain an understanding of how effected they were by the films.
The questions I asked were:
- Did you understand the plot?
- Did you feel connected to the main protagonist?
- What emotions did you feel when watching the film?
I gained some critical feedback from these questions. For example, the group who watched the films without any sound said that the film was “boring” and they ” couldn’t understand what was happening”. They also said they felt no emotion and couldn’t connect with any characters. On the other hand, the group that watched the films with sound expressed they were “scared”, “sad” and “on the edge”. They also said that they felt as if they were “in the protagonist’s shoes” and that they easily understood the plot.
As part of my research, I have been looking into different movie scenes that are considered very emotional.
One of the scenes that is discussed regularly online is the reunion scene from The Impossible, a film that is based around the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and focuses on the experience of Maria Belon and her family who all survived the catastrophe.
In this end scene it focuses on the family being reunited again after searching for one another. I have watched the scene several times and each time I have watched it I have written down the different factors that made me feel emotional.
Here are the reasons:
- I found that the music was the key factor that had the biggest impact on me. The music in this scene is very dramatic , slowly building up to a climax as the brothers rush to meet one another. The music , as well as being emotional, created a tense atmosphere as well. Throughout the whole film you are waiting for the family to be reunited and as I was waiting for the music to grow faster and louder, I felt myself becoming more tense as I was waiting for another disaster to keep them seperated.
2. Even though this film is set around a Tsunami which many audiences would not be able to relate too, the fact that it is based around the struggles of a family is something that audiences will be able to relate too. The loss of family is something that many people are fearful of, so putting the audience in a situation where they are confronted with a family losing one another really plays to their emotions and puts them on the edge.
3. The cinematography in this scene is very effective in creating emotion. The film uses a variety of shots ; however, I found that the most emotional shots were the close ups. This is because the camera really captures the emotion on the actors faces, meaning that we can really relate to the characters and feel the same emotions that they are.
The same way I did for my horror / fear movie, I have spent time researching into music and sound effects that are going to have the biggest impact on my audience and in my film.
Here are some of the music / sound effects that I have managed to find that I believe will work for my film.
This music is perfect for the beginning of my film. At the beginning everything is perfect, sunny and happy… all three emotions and feelings that are portrayed throughout this music. This instrumental uses higher notes and a quicker tempo to help give the emotions of happiness. I particularly like the bird tweets that are placed in various places throughout the instrumental as it gives it a natural feel and also the illusion of being outside, which is where the beginning of my film starts.
When my protagonist drops her food I want to edit the shot into slow motion, with this sound accompanying it. The reason for this is I believe slow motion can really highlight a problematic situation and by adding the slow motion sound effect as well it will increase the dramatic feel and pull the audience into the story further.
This piece of music is what I am hoping to use for the sad / emotional part of my video. I think this music will work well as it’s very slow and sticks to lower chords which give a depressing and upsetting feeling. It is also a well known pop song that includes emotional lyrics, so by using the instrumental of this song the audience will instantly relate it to the version they know which will increase the chances of them feeling emotional.
I asked my project partner for feedback. Here is what she had to say :
“I love the slow music one, it instantly made me feel sad as I know the original version with the sad lyrics so I instantly put two and two together. The happy music is perfect as well, made me think of a sunny day and made me all happy and giddy. I think the slow motion sound effect will work well as long as it is used appropriately, it could be quite difficult to incorporate but would be really effective if managed!”
As before, I wanted to try and capture some test footage so I knew that the camera I was using was appropriate for what I wanted to do and also to make sure that the environment / locations I picked were beneficial to my film.
Here are a few un- edited shots that I took to establish a connection between me and my actress. This test footage also gave me an idea of how the actress worked and get her used to being in front of the camera, which in the long run is beneficial as it means she will be more natural and realistic when it comes to shooting the final piece. I also practiced capturing shots that I could use to fill in spaces of the film that will determine the mood of the short film, for example by capturing the shot of rain it connotes the idea of misery and audiences are more prone to feel negative emotions when viewing it. The same occurs the other way round, so for example when I am shooting video of colourful flowers and sunny weather it makes the audience feel positive and more upbeat.
I asked my project partner for feedback on this test footage. Here is what she had to say:
“I love how clear you have managed to capture everything in. The lighting is super good so makes everything much better definition ! I especially liked the rain and flower shots as they are stark contrast which reflects what you are trying to do in your own movie. The only thing I suggest is getting more of a variety of shots, don’t be scared to incorporate more close ups and tracking shots as I think they could really work well!”
When it comes to producing a media project, there is always the threat that you will not be able to rely on actors/ actresses/ production assistants. This is exactly what has happened with my own project.
Before I started filming and was in the first stages of production I was adamant that I wanted to use a male actor for my sadness video. This was for several reasons:
- I would be pushing myself harder as men are seen as being strong and good with their emotions so it would have been a bigger struggle to edit in a way which denies the audience stereotypes and actually shows the male as an emotional, sad actor.
- On the other hand, because we are not used to seeing a man be emotional , it could work in my favour as the audience could be moved by it more and become more upset due to witnessing something out of the norm.
However, unfortunately the male actor I was supposed to be using has not been able to commit to my project because of his own work commitments/ deadlines so it has forced me to re-think the path that I want to go with my characters.
The most important thing for this project is that I am able to rely on my actor, so I have chosen an option which is convenient for me and definite to commit to my project.
I have chosen a female actress who is not a university student or someone who works full time , meaning they have a lot more free time to help with my filming schedule. This actress has also had acting lessons so is used to being in front of the camera which will give a more natural feel for my movie.
After re-evaluating my character, I realised there were benefits of having a female protagonist. One of them is that she is much more expressive than my original actor and so gets the emotion across on the screen a hundred times better. Also, female protagonists are often thought of as more vulnerable so by using her I am opening the audience up to more situations that could happen, for example I could use my actress to have a meltdown and it wouldn’t be questioned about whether it was considered realistic or not.
I have shot some test footage which can be seen here, in which I have experimented with the new actress and practiced shooting her to see how she reacts with the camera.
Another emotional theory is by pyschologist Richard Lazaru, called cognitive appraisal.
His research shows that people’s experience of emotion depends on the way they appraise or evaluate the events around them.
A key example he uses is :
“If Tracy is driving on a winding road by the edge of a high cliff, she may be concerned about the danger of the road. Her passenger, on the other hand, thinks about the beauty of the view. Tracy will probably feel frightened, while her passenger may feel exhilarated.”
I think it is key for me to address a piece of research I completed at the very beginning of my project before I revamped my project idea.
I researched a theory which focused on three different emotional theories and I just wanted to use this post to address the previous blog post.
This blog post ‘Three Emotional Theories’ can be seen here.
It is a key theory for my own Sad short film.