Hannah Holden and Sian Williams, Short Film TreatmentSection 1As directors of a media piece called ‘The Set up’, we aim to create a five minute short film in thegenre of horror. Within this horror genre we are going to explore the psychological aspect and playon key conventions of this specific theme to lead the audience into a false sense of knowledge. Theintended audience will be those who enjoy the ‘edge of your seat’ type horror that has the viewer inconstant suspense of what is about to happen. The main concept of the film is the build up to theclimax whereby the audience will be shocked by the twist to the plot. Key horror conventions willtake place to signify the supposed genre and only until the very end will it become clear that thestereotyping of society has allowed the viewer to become caught up in the theme and make thewrong assumptions as to the ending of the piece.Section 2It is evening signified by the dark setting, a man returns to his house from work signified by thebriefcase he is carrying. A low angle shot follows his feet up to the isolated house and he comes intofull view as he stands at his front door, using a key to open the door. The only accompaniment usedin this short scene is footsteps, the sound of keys as the door opens and a creaking of the front door.As the door slams shut behind him, a loud orchestral sound such as a ‘boom’ will sound.He entering the house in darkness the light is now on signifying a small time change from when heenters the house to going about homely routine. After turning on the lights he sets about relaxingafter the long day following through with usual actions such as taking off his coat and hanging it up,going upstairs to the bedroom and taking off his shoes. Possible slow and quiet instrumental soundis playing to signify a building of tension. He walks into the bathroom over to the mirrored cabineton the wall and splashes water on his face from the basin below. The camera uses a close up on themirror at this point and we see the protagonist standing in the bathroom. He then reaches forwardto the cabinet, slides the mirror across and reaches in for a pot of pills and shuts the cabinet. Hethen leaves the bathroom and a cut transition takes the audience to a view of him walking down thestairs. Up until the point of closing the cabinet the music will have built up to a climax allowingtension to build and the viewer to expect a usual horror convention when the cabinet is shut. Theaccompaniment suddenly cuts out.A short scene of him running down the stairs will indicate a change of rooms and levels in the houseand only diegetic sound will be used as the footsteps on the stairs.He then enters a side room, possibly the dining room and sees a knife on the table, he walks towardsit looking suspicious and reaches out towards it when suddenly he hears a bell from behind him. Hesharply turns round and sees the cat who he then walks over to and bends down to stroke. Hestands back up as he hears a knock at the door. He stands and walks back through the dining roomdoor towards the front corridor leading to the front door. Instrumental music starts to build startingloud at the very point the knock on the door has just occurred.As the man walks out of the room, the camera is in a medium shot but it is noticeable that the knifefrom the table has now disappeared. A medium shot is used to show part of the hallway with himstanding facing the door. The knock at the door repeats and he slowly walks towards the door asking
‘who’s there?’.The accompaniment is currently only using diegetic sound. As he walks closer to thefront door the camera pans past the wall of the corridor to then face the door. We see the man frombehind as he edges closer and closer to the door before reaching to the handle and slowly turningthe latch. He then quickly opens the door and is presented with an empty door step. The build up tothe opening of the door will use the same technique as the mirror cabinet when it comes toaccompaniment. This will create a link between the two points and allow the viewer to be trickedonce again even after the first convention turned out to be nothing of significance to the plot. Hewalks outside and checks both ways before returning to his house and closing the door. At this pointwe see a long shot of the front of the house and after he has returned inside we see a shadow to theright of the house. A loud orchestral sound plays as the shadow is seen.He walks into the kitchen and takes a glass from the cabinet before running it under the tap andremoving the pills from his pocket. He then takes one out of the packet and swallows it with aid ofthe water. All of this is shot as close ups firstly on the glass being filled, then the pills pot beingopened and lastly on him while he drinks the water. Diegetic sound is present through these points.We then hear the phone ringing and the man looks up and heads towards the phone. Instantly aninstrumental starts to crescendo. He hesitantly approaches the phone as it rings and picks it up andhas the following conversation with the person on the other end of the line. All is shot as a close upon the man’s face and the instrumental stops for the conversation:Man- Hello, who is this?Other- Are you there already?Man- What do you want?Other- I need to know how to get there, is everything set?Man- Look I don’t know who this is, or what you want with me, just stay away or else.Other- Don’t worry, I found it…. (line cuts to dead tone)A scene takes place where the man quickly turns to the back door noticing it is slightly open; he canhear muffled voices and noises coming from the back room. As he slowly walks towards the backdoor close ups take place of his feet walking on a wooden floor and a creaking is heard. Then, a closeup of his face looking confused as to what is happening in his house happens shortly followed by ahigh angle shot from behind, possible a medium shot to capture him and the door as it is opened. Acut is used to show him from the front now in a close up with the lights off in the room he hasentered. A face is seen on the screen with the only light being a flame from a lighter. The man turnsthe lights on in the room however we can still see the close up of the face. This close up slowly pansupwards and we notice a party hat on the persons head and an out zoom reveals a cake with candleson. A party is evident in this part yet the shock of the people suggests it has not been entirely set upyet. Cuts to a birthday sign and one to balloons signify a party is being set up before the camerazooms out to a long shot revealing the extras standing around the decorated room. They are allsilent for a moment. Then the shot cuts to a further long shot with the protagonist standing in themiddle yet further back from the others and the guests shout ‘surprise’. As up tempo party musicbegins to play the shot zooms out further as greeting takes place and the party begins, a fade is thenused to end the film.
Section 3The specific storyline we are portraying is our own invention using horror conventions to create fearand suspicion of a bad conclusion in the mind of the viewer when really signs were there to indicatethe ‘surprise’ at the end. Our approach to the filming and sound will be the main focus of the film asthese will be what create the most tension whereas props and the isolated setting are things whichthe viewer associates with the genre ‘horror’ and are therefore there to support the predominantaspects e.g. eerie accompaniment, cantid angles to break the equilibrium. The links in the film to the‘surprise’ ending will be cleverly placed to seem like conventions of a horror film. E.g. the knife thatdisappears from the table, we assume that someone is in the house and has taken it therefore wefear for the protagonist. However we know that the knife in the end has been used to cut the cake atthe party and someone has come into the room to take it.Section 4The directors of this short film will be Hannah Holden and Sian Williams, and we will have full controlof the lighting and shooting as well as the soundtrack. We will have one person playing the maincharacter, a male whom has not been specified at this stage, and we will also need many extras,maximum of ten.Through the planning stages both members of the group have worked collaboratively suggestingconcepts for plots of a short film. Although Sian had the initial idea for the ‘Surprise’ psychologicalending, I came up with many of the signs and codes used throughout to make the audience let downtheir guard as to what is actually going on e.g. the phone call with dialogue relevant to both thehorror theme and the surprise party theme. Sian and I shall split the practical work equally to havejoint input into the piece. However as a photographer and with more skill and knowledge of camerausage, she will more than likely be the camera operator for the short film we are creating. We willboth have input into the direction and editing of the film to play off of each other’s ideas and aimsfor the piece.Section 5The project will be funded entirely by the directors being Hannah Holden and Sian Williams withcamera facilities donated by Ravenswood School’s media department. The film must be filmed overa period of time however to stop any continuity error, each scene at least will be filmed all in oneday. The more filming possible in one day, the better as it is important to keep the same lightingtherefore natural lighting may be from natural light which may be different on different and ordifferent times of the day. We hope to film the whole piece in the maximum of a week to have timebefore for appropriate and detailed planning with time after filming to edit and put together as aneffective short film.Basic Schedule for Planning, Filming and EditingOctober- Planning- in depth to address any issues.
November- filming will take place in the middle of this month for the duration of one week. The restof the month is available for any extra filming needed and for planning the editing stages.December- Editing our film which will have started at the end of the previous month. The editingand completion of our film will take place.