The images below are of the assignment sheet for our Introduction to Video class. The assignment is titled “Fiction Moving-Image product (Short Film)”.

As always on this blog, click an image for a larger version of it.

The “Short Film” assignment for our Introduction to Video class requires us to have a look at and research at least two short films that are already out there for people to watch. Below are the short films I decided to have a look at and research.

Short Film Research

“Larry”

A part of the individual element of the “Short Film” assignment is to research a minimum of two short films that are already out there. A quick Google into ‘horror short films’ brought up a brilliant piece of work by Jacob Chase called ‘Larry‘.

It’s a 5-minute film about a character named Larry who lives behind and window and who can see you through the glass. This little tagline is brilliant as it leads you into thinking Larry is going to appear at the window of the car parking booth which the car park attendant is sitting.

I love the whole silhouette and things moving in the shadows effect that many horror films use to scare the viewer. I much prefer not actually being able to make out the bad guy fully as it keeps you guessing. I also love scenes where someone is in the shadows watching the victim but you don’t know this until the end of the scene when something moves and you can just make it out. It’s this kind of thing that makes me rewind the film to watch that scene again to see if I can spot anything. An example of this that springs to mind is the sci-fi film starring Mel Gibson called, Signs. The scene I remember is when there’s an alien on the house roof in the background of the shot. We don’t see it until it moves.

Larry kind of has this in a few scenes, but the silhouette is more blatant. This still works as the guy in the booth looks away for a second and Larry has disappeared. The huge sigh of relief occurs and we all think everything’s fine. I was expecting Larry to then appear at the window to make us jump. This all builds up the tension for the final scene of the film as we are continually lead down the path to believe that Larry is going to appear at the window.

I guess now is the time for me to add a link to the film.

We know it’s a car park late at night because of the unsubtle use of the looking-at-a-watch closeup shot, for a start, followed by a wide shot of the booth which has the single car under the single street lamp and the sign on the booth showing parking rates. This is great as the scene is now set. The guy is also clearly bored in his job and so going rooting through lost and found bag wouldn’t be too far-fetched.

The use of the tablet to tell the story of who, or what, Larry might be is also brilliant. Even though this is just a 5-minute film, I feel that everything was explained and I knew exactly what I was watching without any shoehorning of information.

“Side Effected”

The second film I watched, enjoyed and learnt from was called ‘Side Effected’, by Lev Pakman and can also be found on Vimeo.

I enjoyed the film partly because I recognised some of the things we’ve been taught in previous lessons, such as the 180-degree rule when the two subjects are talking and because it’s a more narrative piece than ‘Larry’, which our assignment brief calls for.

I found that the quick camera angle changes as the two characters are talking helps add to the intensity of the conversation being had and what looks to me like the boss is trying to catch the guy out and he’s having to think quickly.

When the boss offers the guy a drink of coffee, I found myself thinking, ‘Hmm, that doesn’t really fit the intensity of the scene so it must mean something’. I liked that I didn’t suss it out until the punchline was revealed right at the end.

The juxtaposition at the beginning gives us the impression that they are in a tall building of glass frontage which, to me, looks like a place a successful business would reside. There’s a sign on the building which reads ‘Vizer’, so we now have the impression we are watching a business meeting between the boss and an employee of the company known as Vizer.

The scene is then further set by the closeup shot of what we’re to assume are pill bottles, so we know it’s a pharmaceutical company. We’re also getting to know that the boss is a no-nonsense guy right from the start due to the conversation being had whilst the scene is being set visually. This no-nonsense approach continues through the film right up to the end with the punchline with the apples.

Another thing this film does from the start is to show the relationship between the two characters. This is done with the long shots down the massive conference table and the angle with which they are shot. We are looking up at the boss and down at the employee. Due to this, we know exactly who’s in charge here. 

It’s the boss who invites the employee up to the top end of the table which shows he’s in control and we could be being led to believe he’s not actually all that bad. As per the ending, though, we realise that he really is that bad and only allowed the gap to be closed between them for his own gains.

The long shots at the start of the film also allow us to notice the apples on the table just behind the boss. They are positioned so we can’t miss them and we’re shown them a few times so that we notice they’re both red and green ones in the bowl. The fact that the room is sparsely decorated and is of bland colours helps to make sure we see the most colourful things there.

The fact that there are only two characters in the film also adds to its brilliance.