Week 1

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Week 1

  1. 1. Charlie WoollardWeek 1: Task 1: MEDIA LANGUAGEAnalyse the short film ‘Smashed’ applying technical terms‘Smashed‘ is a short film written and directed by Peter Snelling in 2009. There aretwo male and two female characters in which are both friends, yet we learn that oneof the female characters had a one night stand with one of the male characterswhen drunk and finds that she is pregnant. Despite this, she feels that alcohol helpsher to cope with the situation, however, any mature woman would know this is notan apt way to manage the circumstances. The film is heavily revolved around theinfluence alcohol and each character has their own dilemma in which varioustechnical terms are used to describe these - without a lot of dialogue used. I amgoing to analyse this short film by applying these technical terms, in order tounderstand how camera, sound, lighting etc. are used to create a successful film.The environment is an important part in setting the scene in any televisionprogramme or film. In Smashed, the beginning shows an egg on the ground, whichcould represent pregnancy, or perhaps fragility. The egg is trodden on without anythought and therefore shows it is a waste product - perhaps supporting the fact thatpregnancy is delicate. We understand that the film starts in the early hours of themorning as we do not see any one in the streets and we would expect it to be busyin an urban environment. We understand this because blocks of flats are shownagainst the sky in a built-up area.The dark grey sky looks miserable and could already connote the lives of thecharacters we are soon to meet. We then see two men walk down a road drinkingwith a full rubbish bin behind them. This supports the fact that it is the morning andwe find it unusual how both characters are drinking at this particular hour. Next wesee a reflection of a shop sign saying ENJOY DRINK‘. This could portray the needfor alcohol in this particular town and how easy it is to access it.The first character we are shown is a girl looking at herself in the mirror. This couldconnote that she could be going through an identity crisis. In television programmesor films, mirrors are a good way of showing a character reflecting on their life or -perhaps - reflecting on something they have done, and, we can tell by thecharacters facial expressions, the type of instance that has occurred - in this case,the girl is looking solemn and in anguish. The second character we meet is also
  2. 2. Charlie Woollardreflecting on something as he looks through a box of letters and photographs. Welearn that these are from an ex-girlfriend as the photograph of himself and her iscontrasted with the expression he has on his face at this point in time. The thirdcharacter appears in a separate location, talking on the phone. We can immediatelytell what sort of character she is, as she is the first character to speak - perhapstrying to portray she is a loud and egoistic character. The fourth character is theone who treads on the egg - this could signify that despite him not reflecting onhimself like the other two characters - his life could be worst off out of all thecharacters. We then learn that the two male characters are connected as they arewalking down the street drinking. They are both casually dressed for their age -perhaps portraying that they are not very mature, and drinking at that time in themorning could support this as they are not commuting to work in which we wouldexpect for men of their age. The two female characters are also connected, andthey are also both drinking at this time - additionally signifying immaturity. The firstcharacter we saw looking in the mirror is dressed all in black and covered, whereasthe other girl looks as if she has made more of an effort and is more glamourous.The way characters are dressed and presented has a strong significance on how theparticular characters personality is portrayed. We can also understand bycharacters expressions on what the character is supposed to represent. Forexample, the girl dressed in black first speaks at 4:21 - reinforcing the fact that sheis a shy character and has a lot on her mind. The other female character uses thephrase Lets get slaughtered, meaning drunk, and seems an extremely confidentcharacter, yet the only time she looks anxious is when she is in someones car, inwhich she thinks is a cab.General props are used in films and television programmes to set a scene or to showsomething of importance. The most common - and probably most important - use ofprop in Smashed is alcohol. Camera shots show alcohol frequently, emphasisingthe importance of alcohol in this short film. Another prop, as to speak, is a baretree which could possibly connote death or danger - making us think whether alcoholis the cause of death, and therefore why it is so frequently shown in the film.The first prop that appears in a characters hands is a crumpled brown package,belonging to the first girl that looks in the mirror. It is evidently causing her anguishas she picks it up and places it back down again, without opening it. The characterthen drinks wine, showing us that she is not coping well as to what is contained in
  3. 3. Charlie Woollardthis package. As previously mentioned, the male character opens a box with lettersand photos. He holds these in his hands whilst reflecting. It is evident that he isalso not coping well as he looks deep in thought. The girl talking on the phone isalso holding a bottle of wine, yet she does not look upset despite having anargument whilst on the phone.When the two female characters are in the Fast Food shop, the second female wewere presented shows a sign of maturity when picking up a cab card with a numberon it. This card is significant, as later in the film - when she is drunk - she loses thismaturity and gets in to a mans car thinking it is a cab.The egg is in focus in the very first scene. Focusing on a particular object shows theimportance of it and attracts the audiences attention to the item. The camera thenfocuses on a package - which has no significance at the start of the film, and we areintrigued to see what is contained inside as the camera zooms in on this packagewhen the girl is about to take it out of her bag to show her friend. There are severalquick over the shoulder shots in conversation to see the expression and reaction onthe characters faces when talking. As previously mentioned, the camera focuses onalcohol frequently and also the quick exchange of money and alcohol signifying howalcohol is easy to access. Despite the reaction we would expect from friends talkingto one another, the girl dressed in black looks vacant and upset and not reacting toher friend at all.We notice that the camera becomes more fluid throughout the film to addexcitement or perhaps to show letting go of yourself‘ when drunk. The camera usesextreme close ups when filming in the night club to signify the lack of space and howstrangers are forced so closely together. We also get to see the charactersexpressions from a different perspective as we are now much closer, as if we are inthe club ourselves. Contrasted to this, the girl is then isolated in toilet – yet there isstill a lack of space. The idea of the girl in a single cubicle could signify how aloneshe feels as she is the only one who knows she is pregnant. The camera thenfocuses on an extreme close up of her eyes looking down. Eyes are an importantfeature to show expression and Peter Snelling uses this for us to understand how thecharacter feels. Another example of this is when the girl is in the car as she looksstartled and upset.Throughout the film, the camera becomes more fluid, particularly when it we arefocused on the man who is on the phone to his ex-girlfriend when drunk. Using a
  4. 4. Charlie Woollardsteady cam helps us to show the disorientation of him being drunk.The editing is fairly straightforward as there are straight cuts at the beginning to setthe scene and there are no unnecessary transitions. The title is shown with the eggsmashed on the floor. I think this is effective as it shows the image as well as textand makes the film more interesting.Red toilets are also shown when the girl is in the night club. This could connotedanger or even prostitution due to the fact she slept with a stranger when she wasunder the influence of alcohol.In the first scene, the egg is in clear focus and it is well lit on the ground. Thissignifies the objects importance to the story and how things can break easily.Throughout the beginning of the film, light signifies it is the morning or day time asit is obvious it is natural light. For example, when the girl is looking at the package,it is nicely lit from one side of her face - where the window would be. In the nightclub there are colourful flashing lights which could portray all the emotions. At first,all of the lights are on the girls face and not on the boy, then vice versa. This couldbe trying to signify the transfer of emotions as she feels confused yet he admits tostarting to like her.After the girl gets out of the cab, the street light is lit on her back whilst she holdsher arms. This connotes her vulnerability and makes her look extremely fragile.The film begins with calm instrumental music and no diegetic sound from thesurroundings. This helps us to understand how early and silent it is in the morningand could signify the calm before the storm. Shortly after diegetic sound is playedas we start to hear cars and more sounds from the atmosphere - connoting thebusier time of the day in this urban environment. We are then transferred to non-diegetic music in the night club and a sudden change of atmosphere. The music isloud and the characters have to talk louder to hear each other. We understand thiswhen the characters are struggling to understand what each other are saying. Ithink it is particularly effective when the sound is reduced to just the bass when inthe toilets, as this music has been edited on after filming. Heavier music is playedlater throughout the evening – perhaps portraying an indication of time. The musicthen becomes more intense with a heavier bass - connoting feelings of panic.After leaving the club, the music gradually returns to instrumental music to the start
  5. 5. Charlie Woollardagain when the girl is in the mans car. This could be a sense of realisation to thecharacter and it could be a return to her sober state.Overall, the elements of camera, lighting, sound etc. work together to create aneffective film and promote meaning to the audience. The film Smashed in particularsignifies the dangers of excessive drinking and the consequences from doing so.

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