Research Into Short Films

In order to create a professional looking short film, I need to see what other short films look like and understand what makes them effective. I will compare these films to the steps that I have previously researched from Script in order to find out which of these steps are vital in making an interesting and well made short film.

The first film I watched was called From 1994 and depicts a mother typing a letter to her son and placing it in a time capsule; we see him open the box and go about his daily life as the character of the mother reads the letter over the top. At the end of the film the mother says to her son ‘I will see you in another lifetime’ as she walks out of the door away from her child.

I found that this film was particularly cinematically beautiful. Through utilising the calming music with the gentle voice of the mother, the director made this a visual medium. Through the use of a warm filter, the film has a nostalgic aesthetic and suits the happy mood of the film. The film only follows the journey of two interlinked characters, the mother and the son, meaning that the short film isn’t bombarded with characters and we get to build a relationship with the mother and son, making us as an audience more empathetic towards the characters. From 1994 doesn’t include any elaborate props or special effects, meaning that it could be made for a reasonable price whilst allowing it to feel like it was based on your average family. The film doesn’t necessarily include a twist at the beginning but it does at the end, as we realise that the mother has presumably died or run away. I consider this to be a twist as the boy seems to be living a perfectly happy and normal life, despite the absence of a mother in his life. Due to this fact, it also seems highly optimistic too which is another quality of short films according to Script. These characters too are quite memorable; particularly the mother. She seems particularly loving and has a very gentle and calming voice which emphasised her motherly character. Overall, I think this is a really interesting short film and I like how beautiful it looks, which is something I’d like to experiment with in my own short film

This film is a little different to the first one. It follows a man named Ethan, who initially steals a packet of nasal spray and whilst putting it into his coat, he bumps into a man with a broken arm. Whilst bumping into this man, he steals his wallet and takes out his prescription and ID. Whilst waiting for this mans prescription for what presumably seems to be a strong pain killer, he sits next to a woman named Karen and they chat for a couple on minutes. They exchange numbers as Ethan goes to collect the tablets. As he is leaving the drug store, he bumps back into Karen whilst trying to hide from the man who he initially stole from dropping everything from his coat onto the floor. Whilst they both pick up their belongings, she sees that he’s taken her bracelet and she storms off. On his way out, he goes to pay for some crisps, but realises she’s taken his wallet. I wouldn’t say that this film was a visual medium as it uses quite harsh lights and the store is quite grey in colour, it also doesn’t seem to feature any sort of background music. The film does however only follow the stories of three people, meaning that we can begin to learn a little about each of them and build up a relationship with the characters, although Ethan is the clear protagonist. Again, there is only twist at the end of the film, revealing that Karen had stolen Ethan’s wallet, which also relates the film to the title. There doesn’t really seem to be an optimistic ending to this film but more of a moral outcome; what goes around comes around.

I didn’t enjoy watching this film as much as I did From 1994, as the first film seemed calming and more visually interesting which is something I want to replicate in my short film.

This film features a man and a woman in a laundry room. He asks her for change but when she doesn’t have any, he goes to ask a man sat at a desk at the other side of the room. When he returns, he notices a gun in his washing basket that wasn’t there before. Confused, he picks it up and explains to the girl standing opposite him, Amy, that it’s not his. She tells him that she finds guns sexy and asks to hold it, and he gives it to her. With that, she jokingly tells him to ‘put em up’ and to dance whilst pointing the gun directly at him, and he does so. She then asks for his wallet and in the spirit of the joke he gives her it. She then walks out of the laundry room, leaving the man amazed that he’d just been robbed by a girl he gave the gun to. This film had some aspects of a visual medium as it had a jazz sounding background song and a very bright filter over it, giving the impression that something wasn’t quite right. I like the idea of utilising an abnormal soundtrack and a coloured filter that doesn’t quite fit the nature of the setting to portray the sense that something will go wrong. Again, the film only features a small selection of people meaning that we are not bombarded with characters and their background stories, only two young adults who appear to be flirting with one another. There is definitely a huge twist at the end in the fact that Amy actually steals his money when neither the man or the audience was expecting it. There doesn’t seem to be much of an uplifting finish but maybe some underlying lesson that you shouldn’t hand guns to complete strangers.

Both From 1994 and The Laundromat are stylistically very different, I found them both really fascinating and enjoyable to watch. This may be due to the use of post production effects such as filters and appropriate backing tracks which Full Circle didn’t really include. I intend to consider the use of filters and colour pallets when I come to create my A2 coursework, and I will bare in mind not to feature too many major characters so that the bond with the elderly man isn’t weakened by this.

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