John Wick (2014) Flashforward. The opening scene of John Wick crashing his SUV into a loading dock, he’s injured, his hands are bloody, he crawls to the edge of the loading dock and pulls his phone from his jacket pocket and starts to watch a video of his wife on the beach. He appears to be dying, the shot then fade to black, the main title sequence overlays the scene, JOHN WICK with the sound of an alarm clock. The film is now being revealed in flashback.
In the closing sequence the events that lead to the opening sequence at the docks are played out, the spectator is returned to the opening sequence Johns wife’s voice can be heard from the phone video, “Time to go home John” with this sound cue the sequence returns to chronological time. John breaks into a vets, self medicates and chooses to take a dog home, closing credits.
The flashforward sequence creates a dramatic opening, without this the start of the film would have been John waking up to an alarm clock. While this would have been an acceptable start to the film, the use of the flashforward brings the action that is to follow right to the beginning of the film.
See The Lives of Others (2006) and Oldboy (2003) for other examples of the use of the flashforward.
Flat 3 The Hoarder, another film in the Lockdown Film series exploring flashback in films.
Lockdown continues, food was getting low and sanity was in short supply. Food deliveries arrive and the mood is lifted but there’s no toilet roll. The flatmates sit at the table discussing alternatives; newspapers, magazines even a first draft thesis are suggested as alternatives. But one of them has a secret, a cupboard full of carefully hoarded toilet roll.
The flatmates are at the table there’s a pile of newspapers, magazines and a stack of paper. The discussion is toilet roll alternatives “has no one got any toilet roll”?
Scene 2 (Flashback to the day before)
The flatmates come into the kitchen loaded down with bags full of food which they are excited about as they unpack the bags onto the table. “there’s no toilet roll, did no one order any”? But there is Spam says Spam Guy.
The table is still piled with toilet roll alternatives as the flatmates sit around the table with a cup of tea in front of them. “Anyone got any sugar substitute”? asks Ja. “In my cupboard says David. Ja goes to the wrong cupboard “Not that one, shouts David it’s the bottom cupboard” too late as Ja opens the top cupboard a deluge of toilet roll falls to the floor and over Ja.
Scene 4 (Flashback to another day)
David is on his own in the kitchen adding to his hoard of toilet roll carefully piling them in one at a time. Each one caressed and named as they go in (David’s mental health is not great at this time)
The table is piled high with toilet roll the camera lifts up to reveal David is tied and gagged (with toilet roll). Sophie and Ja sit at the table opposite each other, as Sophie hands a toilet roll to Ja “one for you” and takes one for herself “and one for me”. David makes a growling sound and Ja leans over and stuffs more toilet roll into David’s mouth, “shut up you” says Ja.
Scene 4 Flashback sequence. David adds to his hoard. Close up of David looking through half open door.
Scene 4 Cupboard door. Mid-shot over shoulder as David opens kitchen door to reveal pile of toilet rolls.
Scene 4 Adding each of the toilet rolls to the pile. Mid-shot/close up profile view – camera tracks in slightly.
Scene 1 Alternatives to toilet rolls. Wide-shot of the 3 seated around the table.
Scene 1 David only, catch facial expression. (I only use a few sheets a day). Mid-shot/close up of David reading ‘Inside Wuhan’ magazine.
Scene 2 Flashback sequence. Food delivery arrives (Put box on table to save time). Wide-shot include all 3 in shot and the contents of the box.
Scene 2 Spam Guy. Close up of David holding the tin of spam.
Scene 3 The table is filled with toilet roll alternatives (Sophie reading ‘Make a Will’. Wide shot of all 3 seated at the table, cut off Ja so that she moves out of shot when she stands up.
Scene 3 Ja opens the wrong cupboard. Mid-shot profile view, possible follow shot as the contents are released, as Ja opens cupboard which is set to release the pile of toilet rolls.
Scene 3 Slo-motion shot. Camera set to 120 fps. Over-shoulder shot as Ja opens cupboard, possible follow as the toilet rolls fall to the floor.
Scene 5 The table is piled high with toilet rolls. Sophie is dealing them out. Track up over toilet rolls to reveal all 3 seated around the table.
Scene 5 David only. Close up of David tied and gagged.
Flashback Filming and script decisions.
The overall concept was to continue to explore the concept of the use of flashbacks in the narrative and filming processes.
This film is a sequel to the previous film, ‘Flat 3 does Isolation’ (2020) and so some of the technical decisions were already in place, for example filming using my iPhone 8 Plus using a DJI Osmo mobile stabiliser.
While it appears that it is generally the case that you tend not to film in sequence it does seem to be almost a requirement when shooting flashback sequences, as the time of shooting may be different as will in most cases the location. Although in this case the location is restricted because of lockdown. For example, the sequence of Spam Guy restocking his hoard was actually shot the evening before to save time and costume changes on the main day of filming. I felt it was important to include a slo-motion sequence of the toilet rolls falling onto Jaihui, which unfortunately for Jaihui needed several takes, 2 for the profile shot (she jumped out of the way) and 3 for the slo-motion sequence.
I edited the entire film aiming for a runtime of 90 seconds but due to narrative decisions the final edit had a 1 minute 45 seconds runtime but importantly kept below the 2-minute limit for most of the important micro short film festivals. I also edited a 30 second trailer for sharing on social media.
I had already sourced the music for the previous film and decided to reuse this as it helps to tie both films together, in anticipation of them being used in a web series.