Evaluation Behind Closed Doors
Courtenay’s Film Idea
Behind Closed Doors
Courtenay's story was one of child abuse. Its target audience would not be
particularly specific to age or gender, but however, it would work well as an
educational video for children, to be on the safe side it was decided to keep it as a
“The story describes a girl living with her stepfather; we are introduced to her in her
bedroom, dreaming. We hear narration over the top taken from the story as she sits
on her bed with non-diagetic music. We then hear the stepfather
downstairs, shouting at her to leave the house for school and this is then followed by
seeing her rushing and running downstairs. When she comes downstairs, she slows
down when seeing her stepfather, and there is a sequence of shots between the two
of them as he shouts at her.
The audience is now aware of the situation being of a fairly sinister nature due to the
narration as well as the mise- en- scene. The scene ends with the girl leaving the
house; we see her walking down a narrow path, representing her closed and difficult
situation. The final shot would be of her walking out to an opening area, into a field
type place to represent her attempting to open up into a better life, meaning
quot;Behind Closed Doorsquot;
the opening sequence would successfully summarize the films plot in these first two
Will’s Film Idea
(this was the second idea)
quot;Follow the Beatquot;
Will’s second story touched upon the idea of following your dreams. In this
case the dream is to be a musician.
The story was about a teenage boy who we see alone at school, he seems
withdrawn and uncomfortable. We then see him at home, and the non-
diagetic sound becomes diagetic as he begins to play his guitar in his
room. Here the audience are introduced to they boys talent and we see
the transition within him as he picks up his guitar and begins to play. (this
would be the opening 2 minutes)
He is reformed, a new person when he has his music and this sequence
reflects the idea of the story, following what is meant to be. The story
would go on to have equilibrium as his music career takes off, followed by
disequilibrium where he would loose everything only to resolve and work
hard on his own to be back up at the top of his game.
Sophie’s Film Idea
(this was the second idea)
Sophie's idea was an imaginative, fiction psychological drama.
The idea for the opening shot was to have a close up of a girl's face looking blankly at the
camera, then to have her hold up a camera and take a picture which would flash the screen
out, allowing a transition into the following shot. The sequence would continue to follow the
idea that the girl has a special gift that means she takes pictures of everything she
sees, allowing her to follow the voice telling her something is going to happen...
In this production meeting, we analyzed each of our ideas and began taking into consideration
which one would be easiest to convey what we wanted to achieve. During this
production, we also thought about which idea would be easiest to carry our successfully.
We began deciding on actors for the characters in each film idea. We agreed that Chris from
Henley College, would be able to play in any of the films, and that we would be able to use
various actors which are friends of ours to play other roles in each film. This meant we did
not have to worry about actors when deciding on which idea to produce, we just had to
decide which we all preferred and felt would be best to carry out.
Amber’s Film Idea
Amber’s initial story idea was about a teenaged boy who lived alone with
his mum and lived an ordinary life. He starts to have dreams or
premonitions of things happening and they start to become true. He
continues to have dreams and they continue to come true and he can’t
ignore that fact, such as, winning a small fortune on the lottery. So
when he has a dream his mother is going to be killed by a stranger he
steps in to protect her, but by doing so he accidentally kills her himself;
only then does he realise the person he was dreaming about was
himself. He eventually ends up in a mental institution and the story is a
surreal, slightly psychological disturbing film concept.
We decided that Courtenay’s film was the best and easiest to
film (only after much deliberation though).
We also agreed that it was best to film this outside of college and
with actors and actresses that weren’t from the class.
Later on due to technical problems just before shooting we had
to change this main idea and tried filming spontaneously
going from the idea straight to filming and later writing the
script and other pre shooting procedures.
Forms and Conventions
The voice of Michael’s vision was added in
post production, and we used a sound
editor to adjust the tone to a
low, surreal and scary-sounding voice.
The texture of this voice was inspired by
the character Frank the bunny rabbit in
the film Donnie Darko.
One of the most important cases of non-
diagetic music to us, was during the
scary flashback sequence where
Michael first sees his vision. We
developed this further, and used a
nursery rhyme music, playing eerily in
Our production’s storyline structure was
done considering the theories of Robert
McKee and Levi-Strauss.
Referring to Levi-Strauss’s theory of binary
opposition, the subject of the film
touches upon the idea of schizophrenia
which is directly referring to his idea of
using opposing ideas within a film.
Another convention used by many media products is the
denotations and connotations used in the opening sequences
to summarise the meaning of the rest of the film.
For our production we wanted to use denotations/connotations
as a subtle forewarning of what was to come.
• a warning sign into the very first shot of the film, and it was
behind Michael for the entire opening credit sequence.
• We also gave our character a hoody with the outline of a
strange person on it, another glimpse into what was to come.
We also used an omniscient narrator during
the production to inform the audience
what was happing after an enigmatic
We developed this idea, and used a voice
that could be that of a psychiatrist. In
fact, this became less of a narrator than a
voice of the future.
We agreed that the non-diagetic music was to be very important
to this piece as it would represent, first, the emotions of the
of boy who was struggling with his life and secondly to show
the tension and confrontation with himself.
We decided to use old western movie music as with most
westerns there is a confrontation between the good guy and
the bad guy.
The connotation is that he is facing a battle with something in
this piece and as he is the only protagonist seen in the
opening sequences we believe that it is with himself.
Representation of Social Groups
The main character is introduced to the audience as a young
boy, who looks anxious, worried and concerned. As we see
him running (away from him-self as we find out later) we
become concerned for him, and the audience begin to gain a
By using character representation, the audience are engaged in
the plot as they have put their feelings into the
storyline, towards the character; they want to watch to find
out what happens to this intriguing boy.
For our film we felt it was important for us to challenge the
conventional view of mental illness.
We wanted to make Michael appear as normal as possible, this
therefore makes it more intriguing to the audience when they
are informed that Michael was sectioned, and more shocking
when they first see the vision at the end of the bed.
It could also make our audience think more about mental illness
and how it’s not glaringly obvious upon a first glance at a child
that they have anything wrong with them.
If the film was to be distributed, we believe it
would be screened to a less mainstream
As it is an arthouse film, it may be screened in
smaller cinemas that are targeted at more
serious cinema-goers, such as the cinemas
incorporated into Universities Of Film like
The National Film and Television College. This
particular university has its own cinema that
screens independent arthouse movies like
The feature film could also be screened at film
festivals to network and gain more attention
from serious cinema-goers.
Our film’s aimed audience is a fairly precise targeted group, as
the issue of schizophrenia would only perhaps attract people
over the age of twelve, and who are interested in films with
more depth and realism.
We wanted the audience to feel
sympathy towards Michael, and an Drawing the
association towards him, we made
sure he was the first character to Audience in
appear on screen, in the very first
We also then got a series of close-
ups, including an extreme close-up of
his eyes so that we could really grow
attached to him, as well as tracking
around his whole body, as if the
audience is getting the opportunity to
survey him in full.
The attract the attention of our audience
further was the narrator claiming that
he had been “sectioned”, and so the
audience would become immediately
intrigued as to what is wrong with the
For the production we had access to three
types of camera:
• Sony DCR VX2100E
• Canon XL1
• Sony DHR- SR12E.
Although the Sony DCR VX2100E and
Canon XL1 are semi-professional, we
decided that the opening should be
shot in High Definition, and so chose to
shoot with the Sony DHR- SR12E.
For editing we used Adobe Premier
Elements provided by the
school, as well as Sony Vegas
Movie Studio and Roxio Video
After testing the capabilities of
each, we would have preferred
to use Adobe Premier which
provides the most effects and
offers the most choices, but for
convenience sake it was easier
to edit from home.
We decided up Sony Vegas as this
gave a wider range of
effects, and allowed us to
increase the colour and contrast
to give more of a film look.
We were able to use our knowledge that
we have learnt throughout the year to
its best effect, as we had more time to
experiment and get our teeth into the
ideas that we had put forward.
By watching opening sequences such as
The Italian Job, Sleepy Hollow, Cape
Fear, Thelma and Louise, City of
God, Trainspotting etc. we had a real
foundation to build upon and many
ideas were incorporated into our own
The best case scenario would have been for us to access a
professional/semi-professional HD camera so that we could
use focus pulls. Has we been able to do this, we would have
pulled from a close up of Michael’s face to the warning sign in
the background, to emphasis the denotation.
We believe that the opening 2 minutes tells the story well and
puts the audience in the right frame of mind for the feature
length film that would be slightly surreal and psychological.