Story Beats – The Flood

A story in 8 beats.

The Flood.

Process:

From the beginning, I thought of using a bible story and giving it a little twist. This is because there are many bible stories are pretty well known (eg. David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Jonah and the Whale, Adam and Eve, etc.) and I wanted to choose one and tweak some parts of the story to make it a little more straightforward and humorous. The element of familiarity, mixed with a different adaptation will make the comic more attractive for others to want to read it.

I chose the story of Noah and the Ark, as it is well known to be one that promotes perseverance and determination to attain your set goals. I tweaked the story such that it doesn’t end on a high note, and make Noah seem a little more human, so the reader is able to relate to his carelessness.

rough story outline, before and after breaking it down into 8 beats

Initially, I was a little confused at the project requirements and order, thus I was drawing out the frames that were meant to be in the comic.

I’m not the best at drawing, so it took me some time over the Chinese New Year holiday to create draft after draft and draw out the beats :,)
It was at this point when Alena clarified things with me *BLESS U ALENA*

For the final 8-beat piece, I tried experimenting with different framing angles to make the story more vibrant as a whole. I also made use of the technique of drawing darker lines for subjects in the foreground, and lighter lines for those in the background (thanks Don!). I also used a lot of visual cues to accentuate what each frame is trying to depict.

For example, I drew out the laughter in a bold font, to make the teasing by the villagers more impactful. In the 4th frame, I drew a sweat drop on the side of Noah’s head to show his fatigue and accentuate the hard work that he has put in to building the boat. Also, I drew a frame around the boat, to show how accomplished he felt after the completion of the boat.

The use of punctuations also helps to tell the emotion of Noah at that current state. In the 6th frame, the punctuations ?!?! was used to show his confusion and shock to wake up to see nothing but the horizon. In the final frame, the punctuations !!! was used to show a different kind of shock – more anger and frustration in that emotion as compared to the 6th frame.

All in all, this 8-beat assignment taught me how to tell a story with as little words as possible (in frame, that is), and make full use of angles, framing size, subjects in frame, and other additional elements in order to fully depict the story to my readers, including all the different emotions that I want to convey from each frame.

The Seen and Unseen – Process

 

Tagline: A guy schemingly plots strangers against each other using unconventional means.

This short film has taught me a lot about time management and the importance of being organised and well-prepared. The entire short film was shot over a span of one day, and pre-production was only finalised the morning of the shoot. I only decided the date of the shoot two days before the shoot, and because of this, there were many pre-production issues that I overlooked. Luckily, because I finished production about a week in advance, I had ample time to slowly edit and plan for any possible reshoots. Ultimately, after rethinking the plot of the film and how it is going to be delivered, I was still able to finish the film well, despite drastically changing the style of the short film.

Upon reflecting on my learning experience with this shot film, I fully understand the importance of planning out every single part of the film carefully and thoroughly before diving into production. I was lucky that I was able to craft out my shot film using what I had, however in a professional setting, I most probably will not be so lucky anymore. The worst case scenario  for that would be wasting time and money from the production company, the client and those involved.

On the positive side, this short film has also helped honed my story crafting skills. Keeping in mind the “Simple characters, complex stories” mindset, I was able to come up with a story that incorporated a pop culture trend, along with a very straightforward concept.

I initially had another short film idea in mind, however because of the unavailability of location, I had to scrape the story, especially since the bulk of that particular story would be based in the theatre (that particular short film required filming in a theatre. I planned to use the preview theatre in Ngee Ann Polytechnic, but due to unforeseen circumstances, the theatre was not available for use).

PRE-PRODUCTION

Script and Shotlist

The script and shotlist was finalised within a day. I passed the script around for vetting before finalising it and coming up with the shotlist. Though the production date was very last minute, the script and shotlist was still essential in order to guide the rest of the production crew without straying from the storyline. I manage to print out both copies for myself and the crew during the production.

Casting

Initially, I wanted to hold a casting call for my short film for my main characters. However, as my shooting day was set very last minute, I reached out to my friends in NTU that were free and were able to help me out on the day itself, in the morning, where they were all free at the same time. The protagonist that I casted had experience acting in front of the camera in a previous student short film, thus I was more confident in his acting skills. Despite their availability, we had to do multiple takes for shots 2 to 7 because of their general lack of experience in acting.

For the calefares, as it requires a large group of people, I did not plan for a casting call. Instead, I mass relayed a text message to different groups of friends in NTU. Luckily, I was able to convince about 10 friends to act as calefares. On the downside, as they are not professional actors, they were very prone to breaking out of character while rolling.

PRODUCTION

SHOT 1

This shot was planned as an establishment shot, to set the place, time and demographic of people in the film. This shot introduces the protagonist, and visually show the mischievous personality of the protagonist. The way the groups of people fought in the background, behind the protagonist, is supposed to raise questions and garner curiosity among the audience. How the protagonist smiles at the people fighting, and puts on his earpiece is very peculiar to the situation, and gives the protagonist a very nonchalant personality.

 

SHOT 2

This shot declares a change of beat and scene, and introduces the protagonist’s next two unsuspecting victims.

Initially, I did not plan for any superimposed text to appear on screen (with exception for subtitles). However after filming, I feel that adding the text would add to the light-hearted mood of the short film, and give the film a quirky twist. This applies to the rest of the shots that includes superimposed text.

 

SHOT 3

This close-up shot is soley aimed to show step 2 of 4 of his scheme.

 

SHOT 4

Shot 4 focuses on his victim’s reaction at the protagonist’s unexpected intrusion of his personal space. His constant darting eyeline shows his current state of emotion, and also leads up to the next shot.

 

SHOT 5

This shot is where the secret is revealed – the way the protagonist plot people against each other is revealed. Shot 5 is shot from the victim’s point of view, where he looks down and sees the OK sign, looks up, and sees the protagonist smirking with satisfaction, and leaning in for a punch in the face.

 

SHOT 6

Shot 6 is a continuous shot from shot 4, where the victim receives the punch, expresses his anger through his facial expression, and leans in to return the punch.

 

SHOT 7

Shot 7 is to end of the short film, where the second plot twist is revealed – the protagonist ducks from the fist flying towards him, and the victim accidentally punches another unsuspecting bystander by accident. This causes the confused bystander to confront the victim, and triggers negative emotions against each other, causing them to use violence against each other. In the background, the protagonist is seen in satisfaction watching the fight slowly unfold.

 

Assignment 1

Before editing
After editing

 

For this particular assignment, I have taken almost a hundred pictures of my friends. This was taken at a bar at novena, and I strategically chose a seat near a pillar with fairy lights, to make the image look more magical. Out of all the subjects that I have taken pictures of, I chose Gerald to be my main subject, as I feel he was more expressive in my pictures.

I have selected this image of Gerald as it best portrays our relationship – being able to enjoy ourselves over a beer or two and laugh about even the most minute things. In fact, it was this exact day that would be the last time in a very long time where my group of friends and I will be able to come together, as many of them would be flying overseas to pursue their studies.

After uploading this image to Photoshop, I filtered the image to make it more cool, and enhanced Gerald’s teeth and eyes to make them pop and give him more life. I also cropped the image to place the subject using the rules of third.

Kinemortophobia

Visual storytelling Assignment 1

 

 Research (fear in general types. Specific phobia)

Fear of Clowns (Coulrophobia)

Fear of Zombies (Kinemortophobia)

Fear of Blood (Hemophobia)

I chose the Fear of zombies because out of the 3, it has the most room for creativity, because of its fictitious nature.

The idea of zombies originally came from Haitian folklore, where a zombie is an animated corpse raised by magical means, such as witchcraft. Modern depictions of the reanimation of the dead do not necessarily involve magic but often invoke science fictional methods such as carriersradiation, mental diseases, vectorsviruses, scientific accidents, etc.

This fear sprouts not only from the actual zombies and the fear of the unknown, but also from being unprepared and unready to handle them. This leads to people becoming overly anxious and always alert in the event of the apocalypse. I have decided to make these digital images focus on the fear stemming from being unprepared for the zombie apocalypse.

 

 

The first image will hint of a zombie’s existence, using abnormal footsteps on the beach, whereas in the background, you’ll notice some high-rise buildings and architecture that hints at a fully functioning civilisation that is unaware of the danger right under their noses. The use of semiotics to show the existence of zombies is more interesting and thought-provoking. Zombie-track to show zombies, tracks walking towards civilization, shows how a person with Kinemortophobia feels, when the world is unprepared for something like this.

 

 

The second image shows a post-apocalyptic world, assumingly quite some time after the first image. The photo has been edited to look more eerie and mysterious. I’ve also added some fog and moss to boost the image. Without featuring an actual zombie, it better portrays a sense of fear (not knowing where they are hiding). A sign saying “Undead Inside” on the right shows how the threat is real.

 

What, why, who, where, when, how

Who: Overly anxious people/people who are hypercritical of the world and what’s around them

What: Afraid of zombies

When: Became more common after the popularization of zombies in pop culture

Why: Too immersed in the fictitious world, cannot separate what is real and what’s not

How: Constant dreams or hallucinations of zombies, believe that a zombie apocalypse will soon come and be the downfall of mankind. Overly prepared for the case of an apocalypse; stocked up with supplies, weapons, and have evacuation plans. Always alert and suspicious of things happening around them.

 

 

Image association & juxtaposition

Zombies – Undead, flesh-eating creatures

Fear – Dark, being afraid, hiding, unable to overcome

Apocalypse – the destruction of mankind, unable to fight back, unprepared to overcome, downfall of civilization, many deaths

 

Cultural inference/Taboos

The Walking Dead, iZombie, Zombieland, Night of the Living Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, World War Z