Official Selection for the Berlin Flash Film Festival
3 weeks into isolation everyone is seated at the table in a sombre mood, the table is sparsely set with a single item in front of each of them and a cup or mug of something. Sophie is wearing a hat, no one is happy. (Props. Food item and cup each)
Scene 2 (Flashback sequence 1)
Wide shot of Jaihui, Sophie and David seated at the kitchen table, which is set as if for a party. Everyone appears to be having a good time with Sophie waving/holding an unopened bottle of Prosecco and with each of the others with a glass full of something in front of them. (Props – Bottle of Prosecco, piles of unopened food and tins)
The table is bare of food and drink except. A slightly bedraggled Sophie has an open and empty tin of beans with a spoon in it standing upright in front of her. David is holding his head and Jaihui’s hair is a mess and there is a bump on her forehead.
Scene 4 (Flashback sequence 2)
The last tin of baked beans. All are seated around the table looking at an unopened tin of beans and a spoon. Suddenly they all reach out for the tin simultaneously as they struggle to grab the tin for themselves, Sophie out of nowhere produces a frying pan with which she hits David and with the backswing takes out Jaihui. (Props frying pan) Shoot normal speed and repeat in slo-motion)
All are seated around the table, it is bare except for the empty tin of beans, Sophie’s makeup is slightly wrong, the lips uneven and eye shadow messed. Sophie’s hands are unsteady clawing the table-top, her expression one of near madness. The others look hungry and wary of their flatmate Sophie. (Everyone is wearing PJ’s)
We cannot see Sophie, she’s wearing a large hat and is leaning forward, the others seem to be afraid. Sophie begins to look up and as the hat lifts up and we see the face of the crazy CLOWN as the hat is removed and tossed away. (Close up of the crazy clown) There is a snorting crazy laugh as we cut to black. (Sophie is well/over-dressed, but the others are in their PJ’s and looking desperate, their hands tied in front of them)
Shot 1 (Scene 2)
Wide shot – start left and follow action to the centre, then follow right as dialogue continues – then pan left to centre and track in to Sophie mid-shot to close up.
Shot 2 (Scene 1)
Close up of Sophie (match shot to previous scene) track out to a wide shot, panning left while continuing with track out. Pan left to right following the dialogue end with wide shot of the entire scene.
Shot 3 (Scene 4)
Open with a close up of the unopened tin of beans and start tracking out to a wide shot as they struggle for control of the tin of beans.
Shot 4 (Scene 4)
Follow shot of Sophie hitting David with the frying pan and continue to follow as Davids head hits the table, close up of David’s eyes.
Shot 5 (Scene 4)
Close up of frying pan hitting David from behind
Shot 6 (Scene 4)
Repeat shot 5 using slo-motion camera setting 120fps
Shot 7 (Scene 4)
Follow shot of Sophie hitting Jiahui with frying pan (face on)
Shot 8 (Scene 4)
Repeat Shot 7 using slo-motion camera setting 120fps
Shot 9 (Scene 3)
Close up of opened and now empty tin of beans, track out to a wide shot
Shot 10 (Scene 5)
Wide shot, track in to reveal Sophies badly applied makeup to a close up
Shot 11 (Scene 6)
Match shot, Close up of Sophie wearing a hat – track out as Sophie raises head to reveal the CLOWN face continue to track out to a wide shot showing others seated at the table with their hands tied in front of them.
NOTE: Jiahui’s toilet roll hoard gradually gets smaller in each chronological scene (9 Roll Pack, to single roll, half roll and finally a single sheet)
After writing the script and putting together a shot list I decided to shoot the film using my iPhone 8 Plus. One of the deciding factors was that as the script progressed it seemed that the best option would be to film handheld. As most of the shots would be either following the action or tracking in and out. While this would be possible using my main camera the Canon C300 I didn’t have access to a slider (for tracking in/out) or a stabiliser for steadying the camera in the hand-held shots. Fortunately, I did have my dji OSMO with me for stabilising the iPhone 8’s footage. Another deciding factor was the option to submit the film to Film Festivals specifically looking for short films shot entirely on a mobile device. Finally, the iPhone’s slo-motion option would be perfect for filming the frying pan scenes.
To tie in my research into flashbacks I wrote the script and the shot list to include two flashback sequences the first in Scene 2, which I shot first, the scene a time of plenty set in the beginning of the isolation to which we cut to from Scene 1. The opening scene where we see our protagonists coming to terms with the food and supplies running low and how soon they will run out. The second flashback Scene 4, the last tin of unopened beans and the struggle to own it, which we cut to from Scene 3, where the tin is empty and there seems to have been a fight.
While relatively straight forward, time was short as I really wanted to edit the film down to just 60 seconds to be within the rules of the micro short Film Festivals. This proved to be extremely difficult and still be able to include the entire narrative. Having decided the story was more important than the 60 second runtime I settled on a 90 second limit. For the flashbacks I tested several ways to initiate going into and out of them including; fade to white, blurring a combination of these, cross-dissolves and intertitles but in the end I went with cuts and text overlays as titles showing the audience where in the timeline the scene is set. My decisions were made due to the time constraints as each of the other options used up valuable seconds.
The music was sourced from YouTubes growing licence free catalogue. The selection of the music took as long to make as it took to film. This is always a problem when sourcing music for films that have minimal budget.