Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Ancillary Task - Poster drafts

This is the final draft of our poster that we have decided on, as we thought that the use of creative darkness is much more effective with the sole poker table instead of the combination of that and the lamp.

Our original idea was to have the lamp shining light down onto the poker table, however we felt that if the table is on its own, then the connotations of loneliness is more stark, and fits better with our film choice.

We also experimented with having a horizontal poster, however since it would hypothetically have to fit inside a magazine/outside advertising it was not a practical idea. The only place this size would be relevant would be a billboard (however the film will most likely not reach that type of publicity)

Ancillary Task - Commentary

We created this commentary to discuss the both the poster and our magazine review. Narration from 3 of our group members was place over the top of examples of our ancillary tasks to match the narration.  We filmed ourselves commenting on the pieces then imported the video to Adobe Premier Pro where we unlinked the audio and video, deleted the video line and embedded the imported pictures into the sequence.

Storyboard Animatic

Once we had created a shooting script we decided to create a storyboard so that we can visually represent the shots we aim to recreate in our film. We then took photos of each individual storyboard picture. Using Adobe Premier Pro we arranged the photos into an animatic. We then downloaded non-copyrighted music from, choosing an harmonica and electric guitar style blues poece feeling that it represented a stereotypical image of the gambling genre.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Film Name - 'Face Down'

During the course of our planning stages we have taken inspiration from various poker themed films and the rules of the game itself to create a suitable and interesting title film. After extensive thought we have decided on 'Face Down', as it connotes multiple meanings, firstly the down on  your luck depressed emotion, and the more sinister connotation of death.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Script

The Poker Film

Written By

Ian Fry
Daniel Norris
Samuel Tyler

Blank black screen, Man narrates

“I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly lucky guy”

Flash of light as the blank screen changes to that of a room, with a dingy overhead lamp shining onto a large poker table. The shot shows a man sat at the table, cards in hand and a stack of chips in the centre of the table. The man’s name is Sean.

“Poker’s a game where luck can come in pretty handy. Take a look (shows his hand of two Aces). But believe it or not this isn’t the type of place I tend to visit often or at all for that matter. First of all, take a look at my fine co-players”

Pan 360 degrees around the table revealing the five players at the table. The man running the game, called Eddie is sat at the end of the table nearest the corner of the room, and a ‘waiter’ is passing him an alcoholic drink from a tray. To his left is the woman dealing the cards, dressed informally. Next to her is sat a thuggish looking man with a shaven head, and in the seat along from him is a businessman in a suit.

“Call” (distractedly)

The dealer lays the flop, showing the Queen of Hearts, 7 of Clubs and the King of Spades

(Narration whilst play unfolds)
“In fact, I’ve never met any of these people in my life before, thankfully. They’re not your average upstanding citizen.


(Narration whilst play unfolds)
“You see, I come from a pretty normal background, at school I wasn’t exactly a genius, but I wasn’t thick either. I wasn’t the coolest kid around but I wasn’t a loser either. I was normal. But there was one thing in life that I loved. The army, it was my life. I was a rifleman in Afghanistan, and served 2 tours of duty. And I was good… (Trails off)
But…I was wounded in the shoulder during operations in the Helmand province; perhaps you’d like to see it”

Flashback scene: (POV) Running facing the ground, heavy breathing, then explosion launching the character backwards.

But I guess all good things come to an end. After that the army gave me a leaving present of a disability payment and an inability to work,

(Puts chips in)
“Play your hand or get out”

(Glares angrily, signals to call)

Middle poker section
(Glaring across at Sean)
“Just take your shit and go”

Sean picks up the briefcase containing the winnings and exits the room

“Hey boss…” (Shows Eddie the ace left in the deck, revealing Sean has cheated”

“What the? That son of a bitch was cheating!”


(speaking to the camera)
“You see, I make my own Luck”
(Reveals an ace hidden up his sleeve)

In the background of the shot, the bouncer from inside is seen approaching him, and grabs his shoulder.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Characters

Main Character - Sean Carter - Ex-Military, wounded in Afghanistan

Wife's name - Grace Carter - Care Worker in a retirement home
We want to create a situation and characters within it that will evoke the audience's sympathy, which will add to the depth and believability of our film.

Sean Carter - Afghanistan veteran who was wounded in the shoulder during his second tour of duty. He can no longer work for the army due to the severity of his injuries, and lives a poor lifestyle with his wife as they attempt to have a baby. However his wife is infertile and their only option to conceive a child is through the expensive £4,000-8,000 IVF treatment. This desperation for money leads him to get involved with the wrong people, who witness him losing at the local gambling shop, and offer him a place at their high-stakes private Texas hold-em poker game.

The Poker Game

This is how we have decided the hand of poker will unfold:

Initial Hands -

Sean Carter - Ace of Spades, Ace of Diamonds
Main Rival - Jack of Spades, Jack of Clubs
Character 3 - 10 of Hearts, 2 of Spades (FOLD)
Character 4 - King of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds
Character 5 - 6 of Hearts, 6 of Spades


Queen of Hearts, 7 of Clubs, King of Spades

Sean has - Pair of Aces,
Rival - Pair of Jacks
C.4 - Two pair - Queen and King
C.5 - Pair of 6's (FOLD)


Jack of Hearts

Sean has - Pair of Aces
Rival - 3 of a kind - Jacks
C.4 - Two pair - Queen and King (FOLD)


Ace of Hearts

Sean has - 3 of a kind - Aces (Wins)
Rival has 3 of a kind- Jacks

Ancillary Task - Initial Poster Ideas


As well as peripheral reasearch into our own film idea, we have similarly explored the different ways in which we can create our ancillary poster task. We took inspiration from the 2010 film 'Buried' (poster pictured underneath) which we thought uses simple darkness to excellent effect. The darkness connotes mystery and leaves an air of mystery for the audience. It is very suitable for our film as we wish to give little away in the poster and only reveal the activity is poker - with our poster showing a low hanging, dingy lamp lighting up a poker table strewn with cards and chips, and possibly a spatter of blood. We will probably ask one of schools A level photography students take the photo to get a much more proffesional looking photograph consistent with the film we want to create. We would follow the normal conventions of having the movie website at the bottom but not revealing the film title to again enhance the curiosity of the audience.

Further Film Research - 13 Tzameti

Black and white effect creates tense atmosphere, film noir

European, subtitled and cultural differences in film

Sounds are heavily emphasised, there is little dialogue so footsteps, bike bells etc. are given increased volume.

Smoke more visible in the black and white

Blurred focus at times leaves viewer disoriented.

Evocative music - reinforces enigma, off beat.

Meaningless, awkward conversation as the meaning is in the  visual, in this case a slow start

Panning shot of loading guns and spinning cylinders

Series of close-ups - showing nervous men, 360 degree pan showing men with guns

Uses lightbulb as a reference to build tension (when it goes out they shoot) - shots between men and lightbulb increasingly shorter.

Ignores conventions of time - even though all shoot at the same time it shows reaction one after the other.

Close ups of eyes to show intensity and fear

Contrast between men gambling - professional, rich in suits and pawns putting lives on the line.

Tension builds as fewer people remain in competition, feature we will us in poker film. As competition goes on rivalries build and so does intensity builds. Stakes raise and chance of success raises.

In poker stakes will raise and chance of main characters success will be made to look unlikely but will prevail in the end.

Harsh, brash and impatient organisers shout - reinforces illegality.

Main characters left in are often recognisable - 13 has an obese character thus making the audience able to follow it more easily.

Duel like the last leg of poker - shows two shot initially then - other the shoulder shot of both - moves in closer with OTS - pans audience reaction. (Close up/extreme close up could be used to show intensity.

Second duel, mid shot of each then into close ups.

Attention paid to eyes and reaction - like our poker idea, main character in 13 is novice.  Scared, shivering compared to the composed experienced gambler (shooter) yet he still wins., despite disliking activity.

When packing money the character feels guilt but the packer is clinical, little emotion.

Sweat is a clear signal of nerves and fear, accompanied by a slouched walk, fixed eye and facial expression.

Mood Board

This is the mood board that we have created to research into the themes we intend to explore whithin our film. This will create a visual representation of what we aim to show in our film. We used 'Empire' magazine and pictures found on the internet for the mood board on an A3 piece of paper. There are various gambling related pictures,our film's main theme. The IVF treatment link is shown through one of our pictures and again represents one of the central themes in our film. The other pictures and quotes have more subtle implications for example the text 'In a lonely place' indicating our characters isolation not only at the poker table as an in-experienced gambler but also as someone who has the world against him - unable to conceive a child). We also wanted to represent the types of items and people that are typically associated within the world of gambling and gambling films, such as the bottle of alcohol, the briefcase of money (indicating the winnings) and the typical suit-wearing people that engage in the games. Also, our main character is a previous afghanistan veteran who was wounded in combat, which we represented through the pictures of soldiers on the mood board, indicating his military background.

Shooting Script

Camera in the middle of the table. Slight low angle, shows the poker chips and main character is holding cards, possible switch of focus.
We then see close up of cards – Aces
360 degrees panning shot of characters around the table starts and stops on main character
Betting starts, series of shots of players putting chips in (possible other the shoulder, mid shot), folding, looking at hands and showing extreme close ups of the eyes revealing emotion. Try to use this shot to make it clear that our Main character is inexperienced, other characters relaxed – smoking – close up.
Flop revealed – burn card face down with 3 cards face up. Close up of the flop.
Remind the audience of the initial hand and what combination he has now – close up of the eyes and reaction (possible smirk in some characters) Narrator (main character) reveals through audio the combination and new hand – This all establishes the setting neatly with the poker game and characters.
Flashback – using after effects (explosion and time-stop) Main character in army uniform running towards camera which then switches to a 1st person camera shot of the character running – facing the ground then sent flying back by explosion.  Dip to white/black.
Start of next round of betting following flop – and turn revealed (incorporate meta-language check, raise etc.) Betting raised some people fold – increases tension as only 3 of initial 5 remain.
Turn revealed after the burn card – again show reactions – narration over the top throughout – flipping the chips between hand.
Attempt a stop-time effect ‘let’s see what everyone has’ just as he starts to turn over the cards switches back to reality – ‘if only it was that easy’.
Next round of betting following the ‘turn’ – ALL IN – calls other guy only 2/5 left now increase tension. Use other the shoulder shot – become tighter on characters faces to indicate increased intensity.
Flashback – Extreme close up of negative pregnancy test, wife of the main character holding it in one hand shown in mid shot – crying. Main character hugs her picks up IVF treatment bill – close up of the documentation – two shot of husband and wife hugging – main character comforting her – use other the shoulder shot for any dialogue.
Changes between shots becomes quicker to show tension – of eyes – and card as it is revealed shown to leave main character winner. Close up of smile. Piling money into rucksack/suitcase close up of the money – wide angle shot of packing money in. Reluctant loser – he leaves in wide angle shot though door – we then see other gamblers realising he has cheated seeing 5 aces for example.
 The following shot is outside with a fixed wide angle, the main character walks towards the camera, a close up of his sleeve as he takes out with narration over the top and then he is unexpectedly shot or dragged back into the building indicating he has been caught.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Ancillary Tasks

To accompany our short film we have to do 2 of the following 3 peripheral tasks; we have decided on doing a poster for the film and a film magazine review. We decided this as we believe the other two tasks would be easier as the logistics of a radio trailer would hamper are ability to do it well. We will have to familiarize ourselves with publisher and other programs to perform the poster task effectively. For the poster and magazine review we would need shots from the film, therefore we would have to think about which ones would best fit the poster and review, thus in depth planning is necessary. Also we would have to be creating the poster during filming so we have the shots from the actual film, or we could think about using a shot that is not included in the film, however it could show the character's personality. For example our character could be holding a pack of cards as it is a gambling film.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Initial Film Idea

After discussion in our group we have come up with an initial short film idea to work on in the coming months. The concept embraces the old-school film noir, gambling film, with our main character involved in a Texas Hold-em poker game in a private.  We plan to avoid the gangster stereotype and modernise the film, with his reasons for money being innocent to evoke sympathy.

He is an inexperienced gambler, holding Ace of spades and an eight of clubs, when the hand manifests itself the main character hits a pair of aces on the flop. Then the character states “I wasn’t always this lucky” and we will use an effect to signal a flashback to a time of bad luck in his life, possibly depicting him being beaten. The parallel narrative in flashbacks will combine with the card game when he is shot at the end.

We are then toying with the idea of attempting a stop-time effect using “After-effects” this would show the main character walking around whilst the others are stationary, the character could then look at everyone elses hands and in an abrupt return to reality state, “if only it was that easy”.

As we see the rest of the hand unfold it reaches a dramatic climax with the river (last card) revealing a an eight of spades, creating the infamous “dead man’s hand” aces over eights (two-pair). His opponent most likely is winning until the last card to increase tension.

The  character stuffs a briefcase full of money and we see him exit with his winnings, as he moves towards the camera he reveals “you see I make my own luck” revealing two aces in his sleeve. Then an abrupt ending, the main character is shot from behind, cutting straight to black to conclude the short film. We still have to consider the aggressors motives but by the fact of having him reveal he was cheating the audience will believe that is the ending twist and his death will come as a surprise.

To find out how to make a card game riveting opposed to stilted we will research films that successfully use tense, exciting card games such as “Rounders”, “21″, “The Cincinnati Kid”, “Dr.No” and in some cases how not to film a card game with “Casino Royale.”

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Revised idea

Originally, we decided on the idea of basing our media project around a Music video about the world cup and re-creating some of the most famous moments in world cup history, however since then we have concluded that this was not a  feasible idea and revised our project completely, instead deciding to focus on creating a short film due to our experiences of creating an admittedly smaller short film project, yet we believe that this experience will allow us to create a much more defined and professional final project rather than attempt an extremely difficult idea when we have no experience of working with a music video. Similarly, we believe that we can encompass a broader range of themes, shot types and detailed analysis of a short film.