The Elevator (a short film deconstruction)

The short film The Elevator is a comedy film following the main characters journey to the top floor of building or floor 9 this is shown through the establishing shot of the main character waiting for the elevator and the following shot of him pressing the 9 key. At this point he is the only person in the elevator and standing relatively close to the doors/the camera. The camera is placed slightly lower than eye level and the subject as the subject reads the floor numbers above the elevator doors this creates a sense of atmosphere subjecting he is quite comfortable.

As the elevator arrives at floor two the once equilibrium is disrupted by three larger people enter the shot through the opening of the elevator doors. As they enter the elevator the main character is forced to move slightly backwards a little further from the camera this creates a feeling of un-comfort for the character.

The elevator then proceeds to level 3 where the same happens again as three larger characters enter shot, again pushing him further into the lift this time there is more visible discomfort as he looks around the elevator almost to take his mind off of being surrounded. This is when he sees the sign which reads “capacity 2000 LBS” followed by a close up of his face aging looking disgruntled as he looks at the people around him. Then comes floor 4, and a final larger character enters the elevator, this last character marks a tipping point, a tipping point where the main character no longer feels comfortable and looks for any escape from this

The main characters search for escape grows to the point in which he wants a way to distract himself from his fear, he first pins this on the fact that the weight of the people in the elevator exceed the maximum weight limit. The next shot shows a birds eye view on the character this shows both his lack of power and the way in which he is surrounded. The character tries to justify his anxiety on the fact of the people around him are In some way creating danger for him instead of accepting his fear of entrapment.

Finally when the character leaves the elevator after deciding it is too full the character proceeds to the elevator next to his current one. when the door opens it appears as if his problem is solved as the elevator he moved to has only a few people in all of regular builds. As the character arrives at the next floor after being in an elevator full of sneezing people he reads a sign saying flu ward realising his mistake the short cuts to black.

When producing my film, one of the key ways in which I found inspiration was through the medium of other works. The research into existing productions allowed me to find effective styles that both I and the target audience would find visually appealing as well as perceive the intended connotations. An example of this is through the way I used jump cuts; the style of Edgar Wright in the Cornetto trilogy allowed me to convey a large amount of crucial information without wasting a great deal of time, which is essential in any short film, without feeling rushed.

In relation to my music magazine, analysing texts such as the Rolling Stones magazine along side the comparative failure of magazines such as smash hits allowed me to shape my genre and audience in response to the contrasting styles and success.

Another way in which research and planning affected my final product was through analysing the effectiveness of particular shots in both still images and film as well as the connotations they may be associated with. A good example of this is one of the opening shots in my film where the protagonist is laid in bed pictures by a birds eye view. The connotations surrounding this is a feeling of emptiness. This was one of the key ways in which I developed the character of Don the implication being he is a divorcee.

In relation to my magazine the connotations of the shot pictured on the front of my magazine were to convey power and control. Through the the research I conducted I found this theme was plastered all throughout the music magazine genre and was achieved in a multitude of different ways. The most prominent however being the shot composition: the image being slightly below the eye level if the subject looking up at the person pictured. This influenced the image in which I took and became the primary way in which I conveyed the desired emotions of the magazine article.

A prominent feature in the improvement of my planning and research is using my own findings backed up by those of others. Through breaking down short films I noticed that the ones which were most effective incorporated minimal characters, events and locations. This greatly influenced me to chose a setting in which there would be limited cast and locations as to make the production less convoluted and difficult making the film overall seem better.

Involving both mine and other people’s finding on producing a good magazine was one of the greatest downfalls in my magazine. I stuck mainly to other people’s findings which felt like following instructions, this, I feel, limited my creative potential as the inspiration I needed were in real life texts. This overall shows that I improved greatly when moving on to my film as I realised a 50:50 mix of research is essential for a good product.

Finally, the way in which I believe improved my planning and research the most was creating and following the path suggested by my asset list. During the production of my magazine I used my research to depict my genre themes etc, however I believe that if I were to have created an asset list as a guideline my equipment available would have been put to far greater use.

In contrast to this the production of my short film was based entirely around my asset list, this was useful as it let me use everything I had in an effective manner. This is what gave me the idea of setting my film in school. It also gave light to reworking the commuting to school scene to be reworked to involve drone shots within my production.

The Leveson Inquiry

The leveson inquiry was formed to investigate the actions and publications of the Press, Police and politicians. The aim was to eliminate the shady background of some of these groups especially the media and the way in which they treat morality and ethics. Lord Justice Leveson was provided with the task to inquire into the many scandals brought about by the British press including phone hackings and the invasion of privacy. The final aim being to suggests certain guidelines the press should follow to improve the press and media on a whole.

Sir Lord Justice Brian Leveson became a barrister in 1970,he later a high court judge in 2000 his heavy role in prosecuting multiple criminals he became the chairman of the sentencing council, basically meaning he is responsible for all sentencing within the UK. This made him the key person to be placed at the forefront of the inquiry his knowledge on law and his understanding of morality and ethics made him the perfect character to lead the search for a better regulatory body for the press.

Leveson’s findings within the inquiry stated that the press should remain self-regulated and that the government/parliament should have little to no control over the press, this is to follow arguments of free speech within media. Secondly a new complaints commission was to be formed, which was partly enforced as the PCC disbanded to become IPSO although the new body was just a repackage of the old one. Thirdly it was to be backed by legislation as to act as an independent body, little evidence is in place that IPSO has any more authoritative control over the press than the PCC.           All these were meant to be implemented to ensure that the public felt hat their complaints were being dealt with seriously and were enforced with the upmost justice.

Leveson’s suggestion to have a reworking of the PCC was taken in equal sides by all ranges of groups many that were against the reworking suggested that the press were given the chance to be responsibly self-regulatory but failed. However on the other side many argued that the only alternative would be to have the legislate take control of the media also known as direct parliament control over the media this would almost fully remove the argument of free speech within the press which almost nobody wants to remove.

Many oppositions to the leveson included Hacked Off a group founded to argue that the media should not be responsible for regulating themselves as they are not to be trusted with such a task as it is often abused. Many members of this group joined and funded the movement to highlight the Invasion of privacy and the hacking of phones should have been the last straw for the British press, many of the group being those affected by the press.

In regards to the TV and internet the inquiry was mainly press oriented so did not particularly effect them to any notable degree, broadcasting being controlled by OFCOM, backed by Law and the internet being difficult to regulate both due to anonymity and the freedom of speech within social media.

The Suggestion of a royal charter to be implemented upon the British Press was perceived as a weak move by the inquiry many Including Parliament member John Prescott despised the decision forcing his resignation. The press’ reaction to the charter was to purpose their own weaker charter this was approved by  David Cameron to avoid confrontation with the press. This delayed further investigation into the press and postponed the second half of the Leveson enquiry.

This is a huge upset to many as the Leveson enquiry, to some was a way In which the press could be bent into a better form of media, this upset is only corroborated by the fact of the enquiry being huge waste of taxpayer money as it essentially did very little to nothing to affect the British press.

The Internet: Controlled and regulated

“The internet is not a public sphere. It is a private sphere that tolerates public speech” – Clay Shirky

The internet, whilst it may seem the perfect medium for free speech, the people in charge are often just businesses looking for profit and like all businesses can be often quite corrupt. Take media censorship of the internet in China, many websites are blocked and the ones that aren’t are highly filtered to follow the predetermined restrictions the government puts in place.

You may ask, why would the businesses of china controlling the internet comply? Well, often businesses are just that and their power in comparison to the state is little to none. This power balance is not the only way in which the government control the media for example the ruling bodies go as far as to hand out ‘self discipline’ awards to company’s that comply with the strict regulatory enforcements put in place.

This regulation is not unique to the authoritarian east, the democratic west is also partaking in these regimes, dozens of countries across the east partake in what’s described as state sponsored censorship, where the government funds private sector companies to be self regulatory. This may not seem as if its that big of a deal but when the internet is proclaimed the medium of free speech, it comes into question.

Companies as big as Google have been approached by various countries asking to block or remove content, fortunately in 2010 they decided to release data on the requests made by particular governments and how often they comply. This type of governmental control is difficult to avoid for companies especially when they are already under pressure to conform to existing laws, particular countries can almost entirely remove huge corporations for example China.

Analysing A Comedy Short

Saturday Night Live, an American TV show popular for it’s big names and comic brilliance produces many shorts often revolving around current affairs and comedic punch lines some are presented as film trailers whilst others stick to a more conventional TV show/ Short film approach.
The one I will be deconstructing is ‘Election Night’, it revolves around trump becoming president and the white people of the room reacting to trump becoming closer and closer to winning the election and them becoming more and more outraged at the apparent racism of the people of America. The joke is that the African Americans in the room are already aware of the racism in which surrounds America and almost predicted trump to win.

The short is in the style of a 90s sitcom not too dissimilar to a TV show such as Friends. This instantly creates a comedic tone through both the ‘Live Studio Audience’s laughter and the over exaggerated acting. The opening shot pans up on an apartment style building with the non diegetic text on the screen reading “6:00PM” this sets the scene up to express the fact that they are gathered most likely as friends or neighbours, this is important as it shows an air of comfort in the room.

This shot is immediately followed by a long shot which shows the people in the sat down watching presumably the television this shot is affective as at first glance the people in the room seem to be quite comfortable however the African American in the room is distinguished as he is not drinking alcohol where as the other four in the room are, this suggests that he is not at ease possibly that he is aware that Donald Trump could win. This is only furthered by the following two shots in which the Three white people are discussing how they Hillary is going to “be the first female president” and the next shot of the central black character saying why he has his doubts.

As the night progress this outlook seems to stagnate in all parties the way in which the separated character reacts with the other four in the room makes him seem in the know the shots of him seem as if he has accepted Hillarys loss before its happened this is apparent as he stays calm in contrast to the others in the room who are still making excuses or reasons as to why Trump is apparently in the lead.
This, again, is furthered by the next clip in which the white people in the room make a toast for Latinos after claiming their ‘definite’ win of the state of Florida, the reaction of the character in the know shows a close up of him pulling a puzzled face this is an example of a way in which dramatic irony can be used with a close up to relate to a character. The use of this close up allows for the watcher to Empathise with the character whilst not being African American themselves yet understanding that most people do not recognise institutionalised racism.

The mood of the Whole room changes when the second African American played by Chris Rock enters the room. His appearance symbolises the change in opinion or the loss of hope of the others in the room, this makes the separation between the two black characters and the rest of the rooms views on America to become more apparent to the rest of the room. This realisation symbolises the fact that the others were naïve.

The way in which the short is developed and used to create comic effect is useful when showing the way in which comedic situation can be developed from everyday situations it is also useful when considering the way In which the progression of time is shown, this relates with our film ‘After Hours’ as it shows a way in which we can show the progression of time in a short film, by using text and establishing shots.

Narrative Conventions Within Short Film

Short films narrative, whilst sharing some aspects of narrative with feature length film, is often constrained by the time frame of the film. They often follow a singular plot progression with less depth this can mean that some short films can appear to be very different narrative wise when compared to mainstream film.

The first point of difference with the two types of film is the elimination of the equilibrium. Many films follow Todorov’s four act structure consisting of the equilibrium, where all is fine and within natural flow, Disequilibrium, Recognition and Reformation. However when considering short film many decide to leave out an equilibrium as it is the least crucial to the plot, often time consuming and difficult to make interesting.

The second way in which narrative is different is through showing the passing of time. With many feature length films the story is separated into following the progression of many different characters and plot lines this is a useful tool when showing the passing of time as it can be used to break up sections of plotline. However it is often the case that within short film  the linear simple plotline restricts this from being possible without seeming unnatural.

The way in which the passing of time is shown within short film is often through the use of cliché filming techniques such as filming a clock in time-lapse or even montages. This is taken into consideration when making our film ‘After Hours’ in the fact that we’re showing the progression of  a full day and night cycle within our short film.

The Royal Family and Privacy

The royal family account for a large portion of tax payers therefore they are on the public interest, right? Although both sides can be argued there’s no doubt that the media often step too far when it comes to the royal family, especially photographs.

In regards to the death of princess Dianna it could be argued that the press were primarily at fault, before her death she even set out a plea to attempt stop the British press from reporting on her and her sons business and life. During her holiday away with her controversial partner Dodi Fayed, the son of the wealthy Mohamed Fayed, the British press were eager to take snaps of the couple this eagerness is what some still believe today that is the cause of the crash which killed the Princess.

It can be argued that the press had a right to be there in the fact the people of Britain pay for the upkeep of the royal family however the exact opposite can be argued with more fruition, the press were involved in multiple harassment claims by Dianna up until her death in September 1997. However her death only sparked more media interest and even more controversy arose through pictures of the princesses’ dying body receiving gas and air arose in 2006.

These highly controversial pictures were even turned down by publishers and editors until in 2006 an Australian newspaper printed a front page article on the princesses death including the picture. The papers argued it was to invoke sympathy and sadness however it did the opposite creating anger and uproar. The editors of the Sun even giving their take on the publishing’s as sick and immoral.

2008: The media yet again caused controversy as foreign papers chose to disobey the agreement that prince Harry was serving in Afghanistan and it must be kept a secret to protect him. This shows the regulation of British media  is difficult without blanket regulation.

Fast forward to early 2012 and the honeymoon of Will and Kate where an Italian magazine published pictures of a topless Kate. The pictures whilst already raunchy and controversial were made even worse as the couple had already agreed to release pictures of their honeymoon taken by a private photographer. The pictures were of Kate sunbathing topless from 2 miles away taken with a telephoto lens which make the situation even worse.

The fact that the pictures were acquired so crude and Will and Kate were not on official business leads no case to suggest the images were in the public interest along with this the pictures were taken on private property on a relations villa in rural France as well as the subjects being unaware of media presence shows a distinct case of press harassment the very thing that was argued that had been stopped after the death of princess Dianna.

Moving even more recently to the pictures released of Prince Harry playing pool naked in Las Vegas, these pictures were taken on a camera phone at a private party then later sold on to newspapers, this is less of an argument of invasion of privacy through the press and more who was at fault, it could be argued that Harry a successor to the throne and a current prince should be more traditional however on the flipside is it really in the ‘public interest’ what goes on behind closed doors.

In arguments for the release of the picture it shows the people of England and the tax payer that some of their hard earned income is being foddered away by improper royals with obscure pastimes. This could be argued to be in the public interest.

The other argument of course is the fact that not only is Harry in his youth but the activities he partakes in behind closed doors whilst being completely law abiding are defiantly not within public interest. Either way the publication of the story shows little evolution of the respect in regards to privacy the press have towards the royal family.

Jumping forward to present day and the media coverage of Prince Harry’s girlfriend and the knock on affects of the coverage are still in play from the previous reports whether they are just or not.

Short Film Audience Regarding NRS Social Grade

The target audience of short film is different to that of regular more mainstream films. The most prominent sectors of target audience are likely to be Film directors, seeking new talent or filmic styles, or those interested in the production and development of film such as students.

The first group, those already established within the industry are likely to be that of the NRS social grade ranging from A to C1, employed and often well respected in there fields it is unlikely that a film company’s representatives watching short films are outside of these groups.

The second group, those interested in film, are likely students falling into the group E however these students are likely from backgrounds A to C1 and although currently unemployed and unskilled are likely to advance into groups A through C1.

The likelihood of other groups being interested in short films is slim however some unskilled or semi-skilled workers may find interest in short film although it is more likely that these groups would be interested in feature length film. This may be because the idea of short film is to be clever with film and to develop and challenge already existing conventions which the remainder classes are unlikely to show an interest in.