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Need inspiration for short film plot!

short film student traces

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#1 Carole Dana

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 06:14 AM

Hello everyone,

 

I am a fine arts student living in Paris, France and I am about to embark on my second short film journey. I need your help to solidify my idea, to get that punch line that shapes the film so that the rest may unravel. 

My theme is "Traces". This can usually be taken into so many directions but the one I think would be interesting is body traces. Such as skid marks on your knee as a child playing soccer; to a teenager getting a hickey, to a person battling depression and cutting themselves, to a man nicking himself shaving, to a woman having a red cheek from getting slapped by her abusive husband, etc...

 

I want to try to stay away from cliches though; and I envision it building up to a big ending.

A lot of artsy films I've seen that have to timeline and just move are interesting, but at some point you feel like "okay I get it" and you turn it off before its finished. That's not what i want my audience to feel. I want my audience to be compelled to watch till the end. And that's what I'm having trouble with; finding that punch line.

 

If you can lend me your beautiful minds to try to help me achieve this, i would really appreciate it.

 

PS: if you feel you have a better idea related to my theme other than body traces, please share! 

All your ideas are valuable to the process.

 

Thank you so much! 

 

Carole Dana


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#2 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 10:52 AM

 

Does this need to have somewhat of an art house feeling? Or can we literally submit just any suggestions?


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#3 Carole Dana

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 10:56 AM

It can be a conceptual idea if you have that in mind, but ill take any suggestion anyway.
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 10:58 AM

Go where you fear to go.


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#5 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 11:10 AM

 

To build on your original concept, maybe try a Slumdog Millionaire type thing, where your protagonist is going about a challenge/challenging day, they accomplish something unique with some prior knowledge, and the camera leads towards a scar on them, thus opening up a flashback to how they got that scar and what they learned from it. A "learn from your mistakes" type theme.

 

Random suggestion:

Had an idea for a dark comedy for a while about a pretty girl who's nihilistic as hell and thinks killing herself is funny. She dips into sociopathic tendencies with her group of friends and any guy they try to set her up with. Usually ugly people have well meditated ugly views on life, so the polarizing hook comes from a pretty person doing it. Maybe she has like a suicide attempt that screws up half her face, and through now looking imperfect, she has a prettier view on life. Would require a great joke-writer so the idea might be limited in that.

Or you could literally kill her off in the end, I'm tired of dudes saying they're unique writers when they don't even have the nerve to kill off a character in a one off film.

 

Let me know if you want more I got a hundred.


Edited by Macks Fiiod, 12 April 2016 - 11:12 AM.

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#6 Carole Dana

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 02:41 AM

NEW DEVELOPMENT!

 

I've chosen to select a few phobias that are related to the subject, which could make for an interesting plot. Here is what i got:

- Ablutophobia (fear of washing or bathing)

- Athazagoraphobia (fear of forgetting or being forgotten)

- Haphephobia (fear of being touched)

- Rhytophobia (fear of getting wrinkles)

- Philemophobia (fear of kissing)

 

I would love to hear what you guys think about this. 

The film cannot be more than 15 minutes. So just choose one and share your plot ideas! Or if you would want to share on more than one thats great too. If you know any other interesting phobias which you think might be relevant please share too.

 

Thanks!!


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#7 joshua gallegos

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 07:12 AM

I think you have to approach the subject-matter through character. Attempting to understand a person's state of mind, maybe see the world through their eyes, do some actual research about it. For instance the short film 'Doodlebug' by Christopher Nolan is interesting, certainly we're in the mind of someone who is isolated and going deeply mad. 

 

The black and white imagery, the sound, the lighting, it all presents a very unnerving atmosphere. Therefore, a film of this subject-matter should be deeply atmospheric, which means you'll need very good technicians to pull it off. And it's only 3 minutes long, which is perfect! The shorter the film the better. Utilizing heavy exposition or dialogue is your worst enemy, never explain things, just look at any Kubrick film, the most effective way to make a short film is by utilizing pure cinematics. 

 

Here's a great example, this are anti-meth ads, directed by Darren Aronofsky. I've learned the hard way to not be boring with a camera, it needs vitality, it needs your energy. I love this ad, because it says so much with very little, just mere seconds of cinema, and we see the darkness of meth-addiction, it's brilliant!   

 

I think you should try and discover what disturbs you most. The world certainly doesn't understand another human being at a glance, but cinema certainly does. An entire life can flash before you in seconds, that's what cinema can do if it's done right and with passion. I had to learn that the hard way. 


Edited by joshua gallegos, 19 April 2016 - 07:16 AM.

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#8 joshua gallegos

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 07:30 AM

I forgot to mention David Lynch's 'Rabbits' series. The whole thing is a single-shot long take. I think this film stresses the utter importance of visual artistry and atmosphere, the role the art department and cinematography plays and the choices the director make will inevitably affect how people see and think.  This is also proof that movies can survive without plot or intricate exposition. 


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#9 John E Clark

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 12:25 PM

NEW DEVELOPMENT!

 

I've chosen to select a few phobias that are related to the subject, which could make for an interesting plot. Here is what i got:

- Ablutophobia (fear of washing or bathing)

- Athazagoraphobia (fear of forgetting or being forgotten)

- Haphephobia (fear of being touched)

- Rhytophobia (fear of getting wrinkles)

- Philemophobia (fear of kissing)

 

I would love to hear what you guys think about this. 

The film cannot be more than 15 minutes. So just choose one and share your plot ideas! Or if you would want to share on more than one thats great too. If you know any other interesting phobias which you think might be relevant please share too.

 

Thanks!!

 

Philemophobia could be done as a subversion of the 'romcom' trope.

 

My mother was a ablutophobe... could be a study in self-isolation from the 'world'.


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#10 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 07:05 PM

I just saw HUSH(2016) yesterday, and I think it will be worth watching for you too. We get glimpses of how it actually is to live with a disability, which connects us to the story in a deeper way. 

 

As story goes, I like to think that beginning a film with a trauma, can be quite interesting. Throw the viewer into an angst-attack or if they had Philemophobia (fear of kissing), into a POV clip of a lips closing in on the camera, and the person trying to shy away, before one cuts and goes to a more trivial part of the story.


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#11 Carole Dana

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 04:03 AM

 

Philemophobia could be done as a subversion of the 'romcom' trope.

 

My mother was a ablutophobe... could be a study in self-isolation from the 'world'.

Thanks for replying to the post.

do you think you can maybe tell me about your mother? her every day life, habits, maybe some stories you experienced with her or saw her experience in regards to her phobia? We can speak in private if you like.


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#12 Carole Dana

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 04:04 AM

I think you have to approach the subject-matter through character. Attempting to understand a person's state of mind, maybe see the world through their eyes, do some actual research about it. For instance the short film 'Doodlebug' by Christopher Nolan is interesting, certainly we're in the mind of someone who is isolated and going deeply mad. 

 

The black and white imagery, the sound, the lighting, it all presents a very unnerving atmosphere. Therefore, a film of this subject-matter should be deeply atmospheric, which means you'll need very good technicians to pull it off. And it's only 3 minutes long, which is perfect! The shorter the film the better. Utilizing heavy exposition or dialogue is your worst enemy, never explain things, just look at any Kubrick film, the most effective way to make a short film is by utilizing pure cinematics. 

 

Here's a great example, this are anti-meth ads, directed by Darren Aronofsky. I've learned the hard way to not be boring with a camera, it needs vitality, it needs your energy. I love this ad, because it says so much with very little, just mere seconds of cinema, and we see the darkness of meth-addiction, it's brilliant!   

 

I think you should try and discover what disturbs you most. The world certainly doesn't understand another human being at a glance, but cinema certainly does. An entire life can flash before you in seconds, that's what cinema can do if it's done right and with passion. I had to learn that the hard way. 

 

Thank you so much for all your input it is much appreciated.

I really like the feedback and links you've shared, i checked them out and i loved doodlebug. Ive seen the meth adds before and they are super intense. Ill take your advice about the methods and about keeping it short in consideration. 
if you think of anything else, please share :) thanks again


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#13 Carole Dana

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 04:06 AM

I just saw HUSH(2016) yesterday, and I think it will be worth watching for you too. We get glimpses of how it actually is to live with a disability, which connects us to the story in a deeper way. 

 

As story goes, I like to think that beginning a film with a trauma, can be quite interesting. Throw the viewer into an angst-attack or if they had Philemophobia (fear of kissing), into a POV clip of a lips closing in on the camera, and the person trying to shy away, before one cuts and goes to a more trivial part of the story.

I just saw HUSH too! its very intense, can't imagine what living in complete silence feels like.

Yes i think that would be very interesting thank you!


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#14 joshua gallegos

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 04:56 AM

Well, if I were to make another short film, I would make it about mental illness, particularly schizophrenia which is a profound medical mystery. The illness itself presents some very disturbing symptoms such as auditory hallucinations, which makes its sufferers hear threatening and abusive voices. If there's such a thing as an alternate reality, it exists somewhere in the deepest shores of what we call insanity. If you research some interviews on youtube, you can see the people suffering from this illness are full of fear and paranoia, they are haunted by their own thoughts. Sadly, some are driven to commit suicide, since they suffer from racing thoughts of death. Of course if you were to put this into cinematic context you'd have to delve into the person it is affecting. 

 

Some mental health students made this brilliant simulation of what sufferers go through. I actually think it's better than most of the short films on Vimeo or official Sundance selections. I wouldn't exploit such a subject-matter, but this is certainly something I want to make a film about. 

 


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#15 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 09:49 AM

 

 


- Ablutophobia (fear of washing or bathing)

Great comedy potential there. Especially if you've met enough freaks on the internet for the proper inspiration. Just went over to a friends house who had a half-full jar of peanut butter on his carpet for 3 months.


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