The Cell

The idea for this next film came from another person in my group. However, the idea was very vague and so I wrote it up into a proper screenplay, changing a few bits as I went. The song at the beginning was something that I wanted to add in as the director. This was the biggest directing job I had done to date in terms of working with actors and whilst I found the cell scenes very stressful because my crew was doing fuck all, when it came the gallery scenes they actually had decided to do there jobs and so it went much smoother.

I also had to direct extras for the gallery scene. Unfortunately though the two main extras shots were cut out of the final cut, however, you can still see them in the first cut.
This film is an art film in my opinion as it has many different interpretations. I’ve shown it to many people, some of them don’t get it and others do, but quite often they don’t get it in the same way. Even I myself have managed to interpret the film in different ways as well. This is one of the reasons I really like this film.
Unfortunately though this film isn’t perfect. There are many shots which are out of focus due to the camera operator. You could say that I am putting blame on the camera operator to avoid putting the blame on myself. However, as the director I never really looked through the camera. For all the shots I would check the framing, but that would be it. I would use my own digital stills camera to find the shots. Take the picture and then show it to the camera operator. I only ever glanced at the camera shot to check the framing. All the technical aspects such as focusing are the job of the camera operator.
Whilst I do find these out of focus shots disappointing when I watch the film I just ignore them, because I know that in the future it won’t happen. When you work on films with a big enough crew, you have a person who’s specific job is to keep the shot in focus, this is called the focus puller.
Another major issue with the film is lighting. I refused to move any of the lights as the director, because I didn’t really have time to between checking the framing on the camera and telling the camera operator to change it slightly if it needed changing; and directing with the actors. The film uses lighting throughout it’s entirety, however, if you watch it, it only really looks like it is being lit when you get 31 seconds in. The lighting crew were awful. When I told them to sort the lighting out they wouldn’t do it. And then when I was ready to shoot after talking with the actors, etc. they suddenly got up off their asses and said, we need to change the lighting it looks shit and so they would. This lost us precious time in our studio shoot (the cell scene). On the other hand, once they had actually bothered to do the lighting it look quite good.
Although this isn’t the reason for the crap lighting from the beginning up to 31 seconds in. That was just down to inexperience with lighting. For the shot 31 seconds in, one of our university lecturers came in to see how we were getting on and taught us how to properly do lighting. She then left and we were able to light the rest of the film quite well. It is just a shame we didn’t have time to re-shoot the first 30 seconds.
There are a few other minor bad points but these are the main ones.

When ever people watch it they never really seem to listen to the lyrics of the song. I wrote the lyrics myself to the The Well theme from Hans Zimmer’s score to The Ring. This is the music you can hear behind the lyrics. There are actually already lyrics to this song and I think subconsciously this is perhaps one of the reasons I chose this song. However, the original lyrics wouldn’t have made any sense and so I decided to write my own. Here are the lyrics as written my me.
Oh so trapped, with in our own world.
Why we can’t, escape when we’re curled
Up so tight I can barely breathe.
Why did you run away and leave
When I was in need of your help?
Please, please, please, will somebody save me.
These lyrics actually sum up the whole film, when sung by Katey (the main character) which they are, and they tell us how the situation she is in and how she feels. Although you might have to watch the film (and understand it) to understand the lyrics fully. Now I’m not a song writer and so I’m amazed that I was actually able to even write these lyrics, as I’ve never written a song in my life. However, some how it just came to me, even if I did have to google “words that rhyme with world and breathe”. I wouldn’t really recommend it as a song writing method though.
If you want to see the first cut of the film then here it is. However it is obviously unfinished and therefore it doesn’t have things in such as the re-recorded dialogue and the children’s laughter when she turns around and looks at the suit case. Although it does contain the full scenes from the gallery, which unfortunately we had to shorten because it made the pace of the film too slow.

I quite enjoy making art films and I’m definitely going to be making more in the future. However, this is the last I can actually show you as I haven’t made anymore yet. But I do have a few scripts that I am developing, so hopefully it won’t be long before I’ll have another one complete.
Next months film is going to be a comedy.

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