Froot (n): A slang for a (usually) effeminate homosexual guy.
*To avoid confusion, and with respect to the character, all pronouns pertaining to Adam/Ariel shall be female i.e. she, her. She will be referred to as Adam pre-op and Ariel post-op.
Fairy tale: The Little Mermaid Group members: Iskandar, Kaywerlyn, Matthew
In The Little Mermaid, Ariel traded her voice for legs to be with her lover. In our take, Adam changed her sex and cuts off her ties with her family and friends to be with the guy she loves; to be a part of his world. Both stories are about unrequited love, and the lengths a person is willing to sacrifice for love.
It is also a social commentary on gender identity in our society and the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. Gender identity is one’s concept of self as male, female, or a blend of both that may or may not be the same the as their assigned sex at birth whereas sexual orientation, which most people are familiar with, is an enduring romantic, physical, and emotional attraction to other people.
Tinder is the main modus of conversation in our film, which is apt as the quick dating app needing you to like or dislike a person before you can view the next profile, which makes people to make judgement mostly for superficial reasons (looks and grammatical errors on the extremely short profile caption, pretty much it). Here we see the impact of online social media/dating sites: It allows one to take on another persona/who they want to be in real life but impeded by certain drawbacks (in this case, being born in the wrong gender).
We came out with a brief outline of the story, securing the exposition, climax, and denouement together with events that link up the three parts. In the storyboard, we drew the shots for each scene and how we envision it. Some scenes were added on much later (like the make-up scene) when we viewed the rough cut and felt that it needs to be more substantiated.
The above checklist was made to include a list of the location for each scene together with the accompanying props and sound.
We develop a script after stringing up the scenes together. Some of the conversations are improvised as they are pretty casual and we want to add a certain sense of sincerity in the acting but at the same time preserving the essence of the original intent of the storyline.
We emulate the soft colours and the cafe scene in ‘500 Days of Summer’ and the computer scene from ‘The Orphan’. We are influenced by the symbolisms in ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’, where the colour red is used prominently throughout the entire film and the contrasting clothes worn by mother and son (the mom always wear something loose-fitting while Kevin wears something that fits; implying that Kevin’s mom has little control over him).
The colour scheme of our film is a desaturated ethereal rosy colour, apt for our main character Adam/Ariel, who is rather naive and a little of a hopeless romantic but determined in her undertakings. We also use colours of Adam’s/Ariel’s clothes and accessories as a subliminal way of showing her emotions.
- Full-on blue outfit showing her shyness of meeting someone she met online, perhaps from fear of being stigmatised if the other party knows that she is a he
- She got cold feet later on in this scene
- Blonde wig – artificial
- More confident with herself as can be seen in her outfit choice – a floral kimono cardigan atop a black dress. she does not feel that she has anything to hide
- Able to finally face Eric in person
- Natural hair colour
- Same cardigan as first scene (despair)
- However, Ariel is more determined now (red skirt) as she has made her choice.
Easter eggs pertaining to Disney’s The Little Mermaid can be seen.
The post-credit scene of the mom’s soliloquy is a reply to Ariel’s letter at the last scene, and explains what the woman’s role in the film. The soliloquy talks about Ariel’s fascination with The Little Mermaid as a kid.
The challenge is to reduce all the raw cuts and compose them together to form a film under five minutes. We trawled through Youtube and other sound effects sites to find sounds that best suit the scenes.
Some parts of the audio were dimmed slightly (apparent in the cafe scene post-op) to enable the song to segue in to enhance Ariel’s emotion during the revelation that Eric has a girlfriend.
We fiddled with the pitch as well, making Jodi Benson’s voice into a guy during the end credit.
The mother’s voice after the end credit was also one of our voices; raised the pitch slightly to give the desired effect.
Our team is not exactly proficient with Adobe Premiere Pro or After Effects but thankfully the editing suites are almost similar to Final Cut, which two of us are familiar with.
Getting a talent to act for our leading role is tough as it is hard to find guys that would want to fill the role of our character, so we are extremely grateful to be able to reel in Dyan Hidayat for the role. He is an amazing talent who even took time off work to help us in our production. To prevent a clash in schedule, we try to minimise the number of talents used in the film and we ourselves double up as talents and voice actors. This is so as that we have an easier time filming as more people we bring into the film, the higher chance of somebody’s schedule to be in conflict with our operations timeline.
We had to re-film certain shots because they appear fine on camera but out-of-focus as we played it on the laptop.
Taking a fairy tale and giving it a contemporary twist was an interesting experience. This also gives us a chance to address the issue of gender identity, which often gets confused with sexual orientation. Exploring the use of different camera angles and colour scheme helps us express certain messages and emotions that could not be expressed through acting and voice. Overall, we had lots of fun producing this, and it is interesting to see the fake profiles we created actually getting matches and chats on Tinder. 😉