Comparison Short Films
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Comparison of Studied Short Films After reviewing several short films, festivals and mini dramas like the Playhouse Presents series, I’ve decided to make a socially realistic film based around family life and the corruption or breaking up of families. Here I’ll explain why I’ve chosen this genre and how I think it will be most effective in the given circumstances, equipment available and time constraints I have to complete the project. Simplicity would seem to be the number one criteria for short films, having a simple storyline and basic idea is common to every short that I’ve looked at. Generally it would seem that this is largely down to time constraints but it also makes each short applicable to a wider target audience. The films that I thought were most effective were Unwind, The Return and Cargese. These three were all dramatic pieces and the latter two were social realism. I found them most captivating and exciting because despite their low budget their combined use of the four key elements (camera, editing, sound & mise-‐en-‐scene) was excellent. The films had clearly been meticulously planned and thought out. Late Bloomer is successful in subverting two genres, it creates a kind of dark comedy that you feel you shouldn’t be laughing at but cant help doing so. This is done by contrasting a delicate and less comical subject matter (puberty), with a brash, in your face display of it. Specific moments such as when the class is circling the boy with an up-‐lit angle so he looks like some kind of teenage monster at 8.43 is an ideal example!
The Playhouse Presents episode, Cargese was described as ‘experimental art house theatre’ by the Telegraph and I would say this is exactly what my short film should be also. Like in art house theatre, the film should be as much a spectacle to look at, as it is a story to witness. The best art house theatre captures a human emotion physically and exaggerates reality by portraying emotions as separate things from the human body, similarly in film the camera can let the audience in on a
characters feelings and emotion. I aim to make the camerawork as dynamic and true to the characters in my film as possible. In doing this hopefully the film will be relatable to an audience and make them feel part of the film. The camerawork in this short and also Unwind I think is most exciting of the ones I’ve seen. More and more in urban cinema it seems important and exciting to make the audience member feel as much a part of the film as possible, especially because in short films they are likely to be watching it on a computer screen. A common idea, most obviously displayed in The Return, is two storylines playing out and then coming together to form one at the end. This method effectively created suspense in The Return and left us unsure of what was going to happen whereas in Unwind for example, it was pretty clear what was happening from the outset of the film.
Because of the obvious time-‐constraints a short film entails most of the short films I watched had a constant soundtrack or non-‐diegetic soundscape throughout the film. This added greatly to the overall effect of the film, Late Bloomer for example is a perfect example of a well-‐timed soundtrack that aids the film immensely in showing the lead characters emotion. The soundtrack replicates the climatic nature of the film by building in volume and use of instruments, by
Comparison of Studied Short Films the moment shown in (the picture left), the film has reached its climax and the soundtrack is at its most dramatic, using a heaving drumbeat and overdriven guitars. Finally the film ends with the same sound of eerie apprehension that it began with, using one echoing instrument. Unlike Late Bloomer, Unwind uses a soundscape of breathing and enhanced diegetic sound to give the same effect of a soundtrack but makes the entire thing feel more realistic and certainly more sinister. Most of the shorts use simple but effective locations, a classroom, a derelict building, a 3-‐bedroom house and other such venues. One thing that certainly does not differ in short films is mise-‐en-‐scene. Its equally important for every aesthetic in the film to work towards the final product just as it does in a high budget Hollywood film. Although it was filmed on a much higher budget than I’m using, Concrete had an excellent variety and choice of locations, the hallway of lockers for example is something that excites the audience because you would never see it in day-‐to-‐day life. Having said this, audiences are often captivated by familiarity and therefore a social realism piece all set in one house, such as Milo can be equally effective. In conclusion, I’ve found the genre of social realism to be most effective and powerful in short films, although I value the quality of other genres of short I think the only one that makes as big an impression as a full length film is social realism and therefore I’m now certain that this is the best genre for me to take also because it can still work effectively on a low budget. In the near future I’m going to look at recommended social realism shorts, from film festivals and do some more research into those aswell as taking a survey of about 50 people, seeing what they like about short films and how they think short films are different from feature length films.