Christmas is coming early…

I’ve decided to have a complete overhaul of ideas. The main problem with my previous idea was the music. Unfortunately the coursework specification does not allow for any copyrighted music, and the music would have been the main point of my last idea. The video was created for the music rather than the music being a changeable concept. Furthermore, the idea was very much in the genre of social realism, a genre I wanted to avoid after having done it for my coursework last year. This is why I have decided on a completely different concept and theme. Read on…

Concept

My film would be based on the themes of social etiquette at Christmas, choosing to focus on three main characters. These characters are all female and of the same age in order to create the feeling of a clique. Each Christmas, they meet up on the 23rd of December, keeping in with the idea of a Christmas Eve Eve. My film would follow the final five (or possibly four, to allow for timing) Christmases that the girls (or women as they would become) share. Over the years the audience sees the girls relationship deteriorate slowly but surely. In a take on British attitude, the girls choose to keep tradition alive rather than not meet up because they’re not really friends anymore. In the final Christmas an argument or something similar erupts and the audience is to assume that this is the last time the girls/women see one another.

My film would focus on Christmas etiquette and the difficulties of friendship

Justification

There are many reasons why I chose Christmas. Firstly, this offers an obvious reason as to why the girls meet up on the same day every year. Christmas is also generally seen as a time of reflection, which gives a reason as to why the girls are reflecting upon the events in their lives on this certain day throughout the film. I also chose it for ironic reasons. Christmas is stereotypically seen as the happiest time of the year, this film would focus on the possible negatives associated with this time of year.

Furthermore, I believe I would be taking the portrayal of Christmas a step further. As far back as modern Chrtistmas traces, there has always been media which presents it’s negative side, from A Christmas Carol (1843) to Miracle on 3th Street (1947) to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) to Bad Santa (2003). However, most of these films show redemption and eventual happiness at Christmas time. This would not occur in my film and obviously this message would be impacted.

The negatives of Christmas have long been portrayed in the media, from the Victorian novel A Christmas Carol...

...to modern films such as Bad Santa

Characters

As yet, the identity of all three girls is unknown to me, however I’m taking tbis as an advantage at the moment, as this is where I think the most room for improvement lie with my idea, which is always a good thing to have for a production. Interesting, engaging, relatable characters along with what they do and say is where the appeal of my film lies. However, I have decided that one of the girls will grow up to become a character like Louise Oriole. I think her abrasive attitude is most likely to cause an argument in the climax of the film. I may even consider calling this character Louise to make this connection obvious. The identities of the other girls would be my main priority for research. For simplicity the girls would be the same age. This also leads into the assumption that the girls met in school, where they would have been grouped by their age, making their relationship more plausible. I was thinking that the audience would see the girls age from 17 to 21. I imagine this to be mostly achieved through make up and costumes, however this would obviously require research.

One of the girls would grow up to become a reinvention of Madonna's Louise Oriole

Aging effects are something I will have to research carefully. Even with state of the art CGI, the aging effects in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were largely criticised

Main problems

The following is a list of problems I can see so far (highlighted in red) with my idea, along with how I hope to solve them (highlighted in green):

  • Keeping audience attention will be a big problem. The film will mostly be constructed of simply five conversations, and unless my audience is targeted correctly, it will be all to easy for the audience to lose interest. I will mainly try to overcome this problem with extensive script work so the writing is as sharp as possible. I also have a possible editing technique in mind. I’m tempted to show the Christmases in the reverse order. This way, I can have a dramatic beginning, with the argument. Also, a sense of irony will follow the characters. The audience will see the girl’s relationship grow stronger the younger they get, all the time knowing that their relationship is ultimately doomed. However I have not made a final decision on this. I may consider showing the events immediately before the final argument first, then continue the narrative from the beginning. The beauty with this production is because it is filmed in blocks, they can be easily changed if necessary.
  • I’m also worried about the location in the production. I had originally intended all five years to take place in the same room, either a living room or a cafe, mostly so as not to confuse the audience. This way, the audience could see a subtle change in interior design over the years. However, I feared that this would simply add to the possible boredom the audience could experience.  But on the other hand, I wouldn’t want to change the location each time, as this would be confusing and distracting for the audience. I think I would have to make a compromise. Perhaps change the location once or at most twice or maybe during one year the room could simply act as a meeting place before going on to a restaurant or something. However, this is something that could be decided via audience research.
  • I think the cinematography could possibly be another problem. Given that most of the action would take place in a room, there is not much allowance for a variety of shot types, letalone movement. I figure I would have to make up for this by making the most of the shots I can easily use, which includes anything from a long shot down to an ECU. This could possibly include HAS and LAS. Panning and tracking could be used wherever possible.
  • My film also doesn’t have a clear target audience. Unfortunately this is obviously one of the few problems which cannot be solved through audience research, at least not specific audience resarch. I think the only way to overcome this problem is to initally target those who could relate most to the central characters, middle class females aged 17-21.

Further necessary research

So far, my biggest inspiration for my general concept has been the book (and by extension, film) of One Day. However, clearly this cannot be the only inspiration, as my film contains many themes not touched by One Day, the most obvious one being Christmas. Now that I have my idea, I have the advantage of being able to tailor my research, so that the only things I watch in regard to research will most likely be helpful. Obviously the most helpful and inspiring piece would be that of a short Christmas film, as this would help me in the condensing of this theme into a shorter narrative. Also, I’m going to have to write a script which shows a gradual breakdown of a friendship mostly through the medium of conversation. This is going to be difficult, so anything which can advise me in terms of this would be invaluable.

The concept for my film is largely inspired by the book One Day

... and by extension the film

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