domingo, 23 de octubre de 2011

Cold dishes

Well, last week we had decided to make a documentary focused on the adventures and misadventures of a bunch of skater boys, their lifestyle, their tricks and how they had developed their talent. However, as I had disclosed on my last post, we had to divide our working group into two different groups, so Robert, Laura and I suddenly found ourselves lost without ideas.

I wanted to make a mini TV series using humour and twisted plots, something that could become as popular as the Spanish YouTube show Malviviendo, but we decided that thinking out a good script and shooting different short episodes every week was no longer an option, since it called for a permanent and coordinated effort among many different factors (the actors, the directors- I mean us three, the locations, etc). Therefore, as we wanted to make fiction, a short film became the most appropriate choice. Laura and I had been working on a script for a while, and this was the perfect moment to make it real. We just needed a kitchen, a good camera, a bunch of pseudo-actors (everybody would do, as long as they could speak English and stand the pressure of being in front of a camera, which it’s not as easy as it seems) and some notions of video-edition. Of course we know that a short film was not exactly the kind of content YouTube users search on their free time (as I stated before, the average New Media consumer looks for animal tricks, cheap humour and epic fails), but it was something we just needed to shoot, so we went for it. We also knew that we were going to need a good marketing campaign in order to get viral and achieve, at least, a mild success, so social networks, blogs and teasers were going to be our main tools.

I don’t want to make a typical summary of the story we are going to tell in our short film, not only because the form is just as important as the content (or even more, considering we intend to mix many different audiovisual formats in our “masterpiece”), but also because I don’t want to be a spoiler- they are utterly annoying. However, since I want to create some intrigue around our video, I’ll just disclose the main idea; a Christmas dinner, a dysfunctional family and hidden dark secrets among all of them. We don’t have the title yet, but we have an idea, cut by cut, of how the development of the facts is going to be and we have also planned the final, devastating scene (which, of course, I’m not going to reveal). So the only thing left to do was to distribute the roles, although it was going to be a team work and we are going to share a lot of responsibilities.

Laura: director, post production supervisor (with Robert’s technical advice) and producer. She had to work on one of our teasers for next week. We are going to use graphic poems mixed with brainstorming, following the aesthetics of “Requiem for a dream”. The teasers, which will tell us the story of each member of the family and their twisted relationship with the father on an abstract way, are going to be part of the final video, interconnected with the other stories.

Robert: director of photography (although I will give him a hand with the lighting, which is really important in order to achieve dramatic intensity) and researcher. His first task was to find a nice, cosy kitchen where we could shoot the main scenes, and, most difficult of all, to try to persuade some lovely couple of elders to be our main characters. However, we could also manage without old actors, some make up and little camera tricks will do if we don’t find anybody suitable for the role.

Therefore, I was going to be the writer and the production manager (my job was to coordinate efforts and to keep a work schedule, calling sheets and the rest of the bureaucratic organisation). For this week, I had to polish up the script (which, I must say, barely includes any dialogues) and to create a storyboard for the first of our teasers.

Well, I’ll just leave you with a hint of how our project is going to be- there you have the first scene. Hope to arouse your curiosity!

A seemingly normal family formed by the old grandfather, the grandmother, three daughters and the son is having a nice, cosy Christmas dinner. They are sitting around a warm table, sharing sophisticated dishes and eating them in delight. Nobody is speaking, not even muttering a single word. We just listen to the sounds of the forks beating the plates, an occasional swallowing or water being poured, normal sounds that form a strange, uneasy rhythmic pattern. Suddenly, the grandfather starts to choke making distressing groans, which we are not able to see, because what appears on the screen is just the close-ups of the other members of the family devouring the remaining food and exchanging unworried looks. Nobody seems to care, nor even realize that the head of the family is choking to death, so they just proceed with their dinner without helping him out...

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