The first storyboard idea…

Posted: October 18, 2010 in Media

After analysing  the documentary of behind the scenes of ‘Ghosthunter’ I thought it’d be a good starting point to look at my plot, and begin to think about creating an initial storyboard to get a basic idea of how my trailer could look when I come to film it. This way I will be more prepared when I actually come to the filming process and it will give me more opportunities to show audiences and get their feedback on it. So I created the ‘bones’ so to speak, of my trailer- basically my pencil sketches of the shots edited together using windows movie maker to show how long I originally want the shots to last for on screen etc . I also added captions over the top for two reasons: for dialogue I have not filmed yet and various ideas of intertitles I wish to include within my trailer. In the background I also added some music I thought could help build atmosphere, but I can get  audience feedback as to whether this particular music works or not ( for reference I got the music from www.freeplaymusic.com).

The ‘film’ for my storyboard is below (some pieces of dialogue I’ve realised I have tagged with the wrong character in the film, but I’ve explained it properly and in full, shot by shot, below):    

Overall I thought this whole process will help me analyse my choices for shots/dialogue etc personally and make me think about whether I like my initial ideas or if they could be improved. Making it into a ‘film’ also I think is a better idea as I could get feedback on what I could improve or what is good from different people’s point of view in an easier method than just explaining my ideas to them (as they can literally see what I mean).

Basically I thought it could be useful  to open with a fade from black, and then to an extreme close up of a man’s (the protagonist’s) feet as he walks. This I think could help the trailer make the audience ask questions about the film as soon as the trailer begins. Like they’ll wonder who the character is, where he is walking to and what relevance this has to the film itself. I also thought that music should not start straight from the off as silence can provoke a quite omnimous and sinister atmosphere- which would ultimately grab the audience’s attention and make them tense as to what will happen next. As the character walks a snippet of conversation will play in the background, a character I will, for the now, name Woman1 asking: “So, where you gonna go?” which literally voices the question the audience is going to be asking while slyly not giving the character’s name and identity away in the mean time.

A cut to the midshot/tracking shot in which the camera follows the protagonist as he slowly walks. This gives the audience more of the protagonist to see and an insight into who he is/where he’s going but not too much so his identity is given away completely. And then the conversation carries on, with the protagonist answering: “I don’t know”, thus insinuating more mystery as we don’t know who he is or where he’s going and wonder why he doesn’t know where he’s going himself- is he lying? Or is he genuinely without anywhere to go to? These are the questions I’ll want the audience to be asking.

And then a pan of a house is revealed, which establishes the location for the film (it’ll be the protagonist’s house) and also links to the protagonist carrying on his dialogue, saying: “I think I’ll just go back”. This makes the audience wonder where he is going and why he is being so vague about the exact location? Is he hiding something from the character and the audience to some extent? Again, it makes the trailer more mysterious and the audience tense as they wonder just what is going on.

As the shot cuts to an extreme close up of  a hand knocking, or getting ready to knock on a door, this makes the audience wonder who the character is, whose door he’s knocking on and why he is paying the particular character a visit. Woman1 also answers: “Back? Back where?” to the protagonist’s strange  dialogue which literally voices all the questions the audience will be asking at this point in the trailer. Where is he going? And why? Basically.

There will then be a fast cut to black to add to tension as knocking noises can be heard in the background. This is tension building because we know that the protagonist is knocking on the door but we don’t know why or what the outcome will be- who will answer it? Will it be an important scene to the film?? etc etc generally I thought it’d be a good place to kind of ‘shift’ the time of the trailer and go back or forward like trailers do- so that the audience are left tense in the wonder of what happens and who answers the door to the protagonist.

Here I think the pace will change slightly, getting a little faster as the narrative is opened up a little bit more to the audience. There will be a mid shot of the ‘little boy’ as he puts his hand to a rainy window. This I wanted to establish the fact that the boy is an important part of the film and also that the protagonist is seeming to be keeping him indoors (when really he’s just his innocence morphed into some kind of imaginary friend- but we won’t be saying that in the trailer) and by not showing his identity it again, adds to the mysterious atmosphere of the trailer. As well as this another piece of conversation will begin, this time between the woman who spoke before (woman1 for now) and another woman (woman2 for now). Woman1= “I think he’s lonely” this I thought could confuse audiences as they could wonder who the character is talking about and what has given her this impression of them.

“He’s weird” is Woman2’s reply to this  statement, implying conflict and problems in the film itself- who’s weird? Why does she think this etc etc these are the things the audience will be left wanting to know. Also coined with this will be an extreme close up of a black felt pen writing the letter ‘R’. This I thought could link to the big and constant revenge theme of the film itself and could also refer to how woman2 is labeling the protagonist as ‘strange’- as it could seem like he is paranoid and writing things down so that he doesn’t forget (which is one of the main things my protagonist will be annoyed by- people’s forgetfulness of important things) or perhaps various other reasons (because he’s lonely even, like the other character implied previously).

And then this character will continue her evaluation of the protagonist by saying: “he’s not lonely anyway..” which will be teamed with a tracking/long shot of the two characters of the ‘little boy’ and the protagonist walking through a field hand in hand. They will be walking away from the camera so the audience are tense are discover their identities. This can also portray to them how the characters themselves, in the film, will have never seen the ‘little boy’ as he is supposedly permanently ‘locked away’ by the protagonist (which eventually leads to characters not trusting him because of his secretive ways, which I am overall trying to portray to the which will lead them to suspect him too when disturbances occur in the equilibrium). The ‘little boy’/protagonist relationship could also intrigue the audience as they begin to wonder what kind of relationship they share and whether this’ll alter during the course of the film itself.

Woman2’s dialogue “..he’s got a kid with him ain’t he??” then continues into the next shot where the audience is actually introduced to her (establishing/mid shot) while she is having this conversation with woman1. This brings the audience to actually get an insight into where the conversation is occurring and who the characters are. The framing I also thought could useful- by compacting her tightly into a shot it could portray the claustrophobic atmosphere I feel my film would have if it were to be made (because of the whole deal of the ‘little boy’ being supposedly trapped inside all day by the controlling protagonist). I also thought the dialogue would help reinforce that the protagonist does have a kid with him- but lets the audience here little and almost no details of why he has the kid and who the kid is exactly- is he a relation to the character? If not, why is he living with the character?? etc etc

If I was going to choose at any point to add music it is most likely to be here (although on my little film thing of my storyboard I didn’t add it because I could not find the right one in the short amount of time I had) it would ideally begin low and quiet but somewhat sinister. Thus making the audience predict something bad (the disturbance in the equilibrium) is about to occur and they want to watch on to see what it is and how it’ll affect the characters/story. The mid shot would be of woman1 as she sleeps.

Here action would occur as woman1 rolls over in her sleep, turning her back to the audience. This turning her back on a blade that suddenly comes into view. This is intended to make the audience tense as they realise that they are in a state of understanding- they know fully well there is a knife there but woman1 does not- so what will happen to her? It makes the audience even more tense as they sense it is coming but the characters on the other hand, do not. If I was to use any sound effects I’d want a kind of ‘boom’ here as the shot fades to black after the knife is revealed- leaving the audience wondering who the character is with the knife and what will happen to woman1.

On the black screen, this is where I want to place my first batch of intertitles to the audience. The lines consisting of this:

‘We cannot choose what we forget,

But we can choose what we forgive

I quite like these intertitles as I feel they’d really portray how I want my audience to feel about the film. It implies that the film will be about forgiveness (or the lack of it in the fact my protagonist desperately wants revenge) and choices/consequences of them. For example, every action has a consequence- like in my film the people who stole my protagonist’s innocence/childhood (which consists of woman2 and one other character featured in my trailer) forget about the protagonist and what they did to him, which has the consequences of him forcing them to kill themselves with horrific mind games of guilt in order to make them remember and feel guilty for what they did to him and many other children. I thought that white titles would connote the innocence stolen from my protagonist but I would want the ‘forgive’ to be in red to connote the bloodshed that results from what happened to the protagonist.

A fast cut will then bring the trailer to long shot of a character, maybe woman2, looking down a corridor like they are confused and are trying to make out what is at the end of the hall (which will possibly an extreme long shot so as to confuse the identity of the character). I also think this’ll be a POV of another character, but erm…I don’t suppose that really makes a difference as the audience probably won’t realise this.

This’ll then fade to a tracking/long shot of woman1 running through a field, scared and out of breath. This’ll be shown as we hear woman2 say: “Someone’s after me” which will really portray the disruption of the equilibrium and make the audience tense as they wonder who is after the character, why and whether they’ll get her or not. Will another character protect her?? I also thought that to confuse the audiences more the dialogue is from one character but the shot is of another, making them wonder whether woman1 will perhaps be involved with whatever is happening to woman to and will perhaps try and help her.

The dialogue from the last shot would also carry on to overlap this extreme close up of a hand clutching an axe (although I was thinking of perhaps changing it into a hammer instead- don’t know why I just was…)  anyway the hand clutches the weapon and thrusts it down violently, which I think could help connote the violent nature of my film without actually risking showing any full-blown violence that may look un-professional due tot he limited equipment/facilities I have. I also thought this more subtle approach would give less of the plot away, therefore leading the audience not knowing just what is happening int he shot and wanting to know more.

As the weapon is thrown down, the sound effect of a ‘boom’ or just a loud noise could be effective and connote violence as we cut to another extreme close up of woman1 staring through a character’s letterbox in the door. I think this is useful to portray to the audience that this character is playing detective in the film and will try and help woman2 as she tries to figure out who is after her and more importantly, why. In the background  there’ll also be woman2 stating “But I don’t know what I’m supposed to have done…” which adds tot he mystery again of why someone is attacking this character and also hints that she will ask woman1 for help in finding out who is constantly attacking her.

And then there will be a close up/reaction shot of man- who has not been fully introduced or established yet  but I don’t want to establish his character as I don’t think it really is vital for the trailer (in the film he would be another man who the protagonist targets on his path of revenge- a man who helped take his innocence/childhood as well as woman2 and a few other people). I thought a close up/reaction shot could add to the atmosphere of the film as he will look confused and a little shocked- making the audience wonder a few very intriguing things: who is he? What is he reacting to? And why has it made him react in this way?

The male character will also say: “Hello?”in a confused manner, which I thought could confuse audiences as they’ll wonder wh he’s talking to. (In the film this relates to how the protagonist is sneaky in his means of getting revenge- he plays mind games on them, making them feel like someone is going to hurt or kill them when really he just wants to make them remember and feel guilt for what they did. So the man could actually be seeing things or he could generally be talking to somebody, but the audience and the character literally have no idea)

Next there will be an Extreme close up of a syringe filling with blood (which I know for a fact I can easily get) which I think could portray to the audience how sinister and dark the film would be and to an extent, how far the protagonist will go to get his revenge. The audience won’t know this but it would actually link to what the protagonist will do to woman2 in about the middle of the film, if I had made the entire thing that is, which is that he’ll mess with her mind so much she begins to start taking dr*gs to try and get rid of her pain/guilt but she ends up overd*sing after being egged on by him and to an extent, her conscience.

Also, over the top of this shot (and the next two) Woman1 will be heard shouting:”Why are you doing this? Why?!”  which I wanted to add because I thought it could help build a tense atmosphere- making the audience wonder who she is pleading with, why she’s pleading and what has caused her distress. It links in, film/plot wise, with the fact that woman1 plays ‘detective’ and tries to find out why the protagonist is doing these horrible things. But of course this piece of dialogue is when she is not in full knowledge of the facts and neither is the audience, leaving them to ask whether she find out eventually and will stop them.

Again, a cut to an extreme close up, which will be of a pair of hands grasping each other, covered in blood. I thought this’ll help add tot he tension and mystery of the trailer (who are the characters, why are their hands bloody? etc) and indicate tot he audiences that the film itself will be quite graphically violent (as blood clearly connotes violence and murder). In link with the plot, this shot would actually be at the absolute end of my film- it is the protagonist saying farewell to the ‘little boy’, having one last glance/grasp at his childhood after he kills the last member of the group that caused all his heartache. The reason I thought it would be a good shot to put in is because i don’t think audiences would insinuate this, and they’d probably be deceived into thinking the shot linked to another character/plot point etc.

Then there will be a mid shot (kind of) of a character’s upper body (but not the face, as I want to conceal their identity) as a rope is put around their neck. This I thought would confuse audiences as well as make them tense. It’ll make them ask who the character is, whether they’re committing suicide or whether there is more to it than they think. Like the last shot, this connotes my film will have a violent and tragic nature, making the audience evaluate for themselves whether they’d enjoying seeing it or not ( I’d like to point out that really, in the film, the character here is committing suicide but only after the protagonist drives him to the point where he has no choice, but I chose to add the shot as I don’t think the audience would insinuate this from the trailer alone)

And then the protagonist’s voice will come in again, making the pace slow down and become more sinister: “You don’t remember me, do you?” I think this was the best thing I could have him say without giving too much away about the plot itself. Afterall, it gives off a sense that the film will be based around memory- the fact that the revenge the protagonist is determined to get is due to the very reason that his old tormentors don’t even remember him, or what they did to him. It could also lead to audiences asking about why the other characters should remember him, and how this all links in to the rest of the trailer. Is he a part of their past? Is he talking to one specific character? etc etc The shot itself I thought could perhaps be black and white to show that it is a flashback into the past- an extreme close up of a hand tightly gripping a character’s shoulder. Which I thought could portray how the protagonist wants revenge for the fact he was abused as a child by these very people. But I thought an extreme close up could be useful not to give too much away- like identities, keeping the audience guessing. I thought it could easily connote the smaller themes of my film which are violence and possession.

The protagonist’s dialogue will also carry on over the reaction/high angle shot of woman1. I thought a reaction shot could again, raise questions and tension in the audience as to what is happening and why. The high angle could also portray her as vulnerable, tricking audiences to think she is the victim of the film when in fact she is, in some ways, the hero.

The protagonist continues his dialogue by saying: “Well when I’ve finished, you won’t ever forget me” which I think sounds intimidating and connotes violence within the film at the same time. It also makes the audience ask a lot of questions a bout the protagonist, like- what will he do to them that makes sure they won’t forget him? Why is he so insistent that they remember him? Will they remember him in the end? And perhaps most importantly: where will this all lead? (will the equilibrium be restored?)

While this dialogue speaks there will be an extreme close up of a  foot on shovel- again concealing identity of the character and insinuating the film will have a complicated plot. It also raises the question of why someone is digging a hole- the most obvious being to bury a body, which again connotes violence and makes us wonder, if this is the case, who has been killed and who has been doing the killing?

Lastly, and the only shot I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do, is an extremely low angle/POV shot (from the body’s POV), looking up as the character shovels dirt into the hole and therefore, over the screen.This is thought would good for the atmosphere of my trailer as it connotes violence and mystery as we are literally left ‘in the dark’ at the end of the trailer, not knowing what will happen next or how the film will end. My only problem is if I will be able to do this without damaging the camera?? I’m not sure, maybe I’ll have to ask for advice here or look to another way of doing it without really putting dirt on the lens… – but I like the idea of this shot as it literally puts audience in (dead) character’s shoes, making them tense and left wondering which character is being buried, why, and what actually is  happening.

And then there are the titles-firstly the name of film, ‘Tainted’ on a  black background, with piercing white letters ( which I thought could link to the title and theme of my film- innocence and how it can easily be tainted). I also thought about splatters of red to connote the film’s violence/ protagonist’s anger and rage at the characters, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do it…

Oh and someting like a tagline of the film I put on the end, inspired by ‘Se7en’s trailer I think:

‘Forgetting can take a second,

Forgiving can take a lifetime

I thought the idea of linking to memory- forgetting and forgiveness especially, would convey the ‘feel’ of my film and provoke a harrowing atmosphere I want to create- as my film, if it were made, would be quite a tragic one. It emphasises the motives for my protagonist’s revenge and makes the audience wonder, most of all, what the characters did to him that was so bad that he wants revenge on this extreme scale. I thought again, the letters could be white to connote the protagonist’s lost innocence, but maybe the word  ‘lifetime’ could be in red connote bloodshed- insinuating perhaps some of the character’s lifetimes are up? Which will leave audiences in tense mood- what have the characters forgotten that’s so important? (which I think, is the biggest question about the film left untold and what the audience’s will be left wanting to know the most).

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