I have done a lot of development for Lost Online and I’ve decided to put most of it into one blog post.
Once I had my basic idea for Lost Online, I wanted to do some location scouting, so I didn’t end up writing my script and then not be able to find a suitable location. This may be backwards to some people, but one of my locations were very important to the storyline, so I needed to make sure I could find it. The setting I needed was a small dingy room, which looks like it’s underground. I wanted there to be no natural light as this is the place I wanted the woman, named Aliya, in Lost Online to be trapped. I set aside a budget of £100 for this location, given that I would only need it for about two hours and the filming would be done on a mobile phone.
I found what I thought to be the perfect place on the website UK Film Location, as it fit my criteria well. I request a recce and received a call the next day. The lady on the other end of the call asked about my project, which I discussed with her. She then asked me what my budget was and when I told her, she said that I wouldn’t be able to find a location to hire under £500-£600 for half a day (4 hours) minimum. This was way over my intended budget, which I didn’t want to change because I felt that no location would be worth that much money considering it was to be filmed on a mobile phone. I stopped looking at websites like this, knowing that they would all be this expensive.
Not feeling too disheartened, I remembered a location I filmed at during my time at college. It’s called the CoffinWorks, and is based in Birmingham. One of the rooms here looks abandoned and is quite dirty, which would work well in my film. I emailed one of the workers, as I was told to do on their website, asking her to use the location. However it’s been 3 weeks and I still haven’t received a reply, so I guess I won’t be using it as a location.
As a last resort, I decided to use a location in the Ellen Terry building in Coventry University. It’s on the second floor and is a small tunnel that leads to an emergency exit. I’ve taken photographs with a mobile, instead of a DSLR camera to try to create the feel I’ll be going for in the final film. I’ll admit this area doesn’t look very threatening and seems like it will be easy to escape from. However this lights will be switched off during the scenes and the light will be provided from the mobile, when the actress is filming herself – for a Blair Witch Project sort of feel. What’s more, when she is filming herself, the stairs will not be in shot and the emergency door will be unable to be opened.
UKFilmLocation.com (n.d.) East London: Industrial film studio and abandoned derelict warehouse for filming ( film / photo-shoot location in East London, United Kingdom). Available at: http://ukfilmlocation.com/Location.aspx?Query=&LocationID=LON2487 (Accessed: 25 January 2017).
This is an updated version of the story maps I have previously created. As you can see it is a lot more developed than the first drafts, but I don’t think this is my final version. I’d like to think that there will be one or two more updates to it. The story starts from the green note on the top left corner and the pink notes are the endings. It starts with Jeremy logging onto his Macbook and closing his lesson plan, to show that he is a teacher. He puts on some music and logs onto Facebook. After responding to a couple of messages, he sees Aliya’s post begging for help. This is where the first point of interactivity comes into play, because the audience are asked whether they believe her post and have to make a choice. The narrative is vastly developed now because I’ve added more than one positive ending, to show that there is more than one way to use social media to help others. However, there are still more bad endings than good ones, with there being five in total, so I may try to make this equal. Making this plan was quite hard and took a long time as I had to make sure everything would link together correctly, yet would still make sense to the overall narrative.
I met with Clifton and showed him my plan. He really liked the story, but suggested I have a few parts which are “red herrings” and distract the audience. For example, someone could comment on Aliya’s post with rude remarks, telling her she’s writing the post for attention. I really liked this idea and I am going to take this into consideration. I may add it into my final story, but my only concern is finding someone (or some people) to do this, as I don’t want to have to pay people just to write a couple of comments. Clifton asked a few questions regarding the characters and I mentioned that it is later revealed, if the audience pick certain choices, that Jeremy is actually Aliya’s ex-boyfriend. Clifton thought that this was good as it added depth to the characters, but suggested that it is brought up at the start, rather than in the middle. I’m not sure whether I will do this because I don’t want to give too much away about the characters early on.
I created a mood reel to show anyone who wants to get involved with, or learn more information about Lost Online. The intention of it is to give an idea of the feel, tone and look I’m going for. The music used is quite eerie, to indicate that the situation is quite a mysterious one; even in the preferred ending I have created, many questions are not answered. Having said that, this is not necessarily the kind of music that will be used in the film. I may be going for more of a contrapuntal sound, as I told want to tell the audience exactly how they should be feeling. However because this is not set in stone, I haven’t shown it in the mood reel.
Finding existing films that are somewhat like mine was somewhat of a difficult task. Usually when someone is in distress, the story is told from their point of view, but Lost Online won’t be doing that. I have of course used Noah (2013) and Inside (2011) in the reel, given that they are my biggest influences. I have also included a clip from The Blair Witch Project (1999), as I have mentioned earlier that when we see Aliya live streaming, or when she sends a video to Jeremy, this is the style I want it to be in. The horror films SNAP (2015) and Unfriended (2014) are in the mood reel to show that Snapchat and Skype will be used in Lost Online.
Bibliography (Clips used)
Cederberg, P. (2016) NOAH. Available at: https://vimeo.com/65935223 (Accessed: 27 December 2016).
excentricGrey (2010) THE DIGITAL STORY OF THE NATIVITY. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkHNNPM7pJA (Accessed: 26 January 2017).
Hochet, T. (2015) SNAP – short horror film. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrTtgOkA8Zw (Accessed: 26 January 2017).
P2Deerhunter (2009) The Blair witch project – apology scene. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z66RpatHajQ (Accessed: 26 January 2017).
Toni L. (2014) The inside experience – full movie. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJFL5kd6dG8&feature=youtu.be (Accessed: 26 January 2017).
UniversalMovies (2015) Unfriended – 10 minute preview. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8WK35vCJnc (Accessed: 26 January 2017).
TEST SHOOTS & KLYNT
This was my first time using Klynt, so I downloaded the trial version to test it out. It was surprisingly easy to use. I created a new project and within minutes I worked out how to import the videos I made on Premiere Pro and link them to each other. It also didn’t take me too long to figure out how to change where in the first video the options will appear (as they were originally showing throughout the whole of the video). My difficulties began after I had exported the project for the web. In the 3rd image in the gallery below, you can see that I was presented with a number of folders. I didn’t know what to do with these and when I looked online for answers, I learned that I needed an FTP client program and could download FileZilla to do so (Klynt, 2014). However in order to get my project online, I would need to create a domain. I thought that once my Online Production Folder was finished I could add it to this, but I soon found out that Wix does not support this feature. I resolved this issue by recording the project using QuickTime Player and whoever watched would see me choosing the options, instead of doing it themselves.
The test shoot can be seen below. It is the first scene of the film and part of the scenes that come after. I used my own Facebook profile and such to do it, as I am yet to create the characters’ profiles. I am quite happy with the outcome, however there are many improvements to be made. For example, I’m worried about it being boring to watch because the audience will be just watching someone typing. Therefore I want to cut down “the dialogue” throughout the film (side note: is it still classed as dialogue if they’re not actually saying it?). I also think there needs to be more movement on the screen to replicate where Jeremy’s eyes will be looking. There is some movement already, but not as much as there could or should be.
I created the full script for one of the possibilities to the film to get an indication of what the endings would look like. This section also includes a mobile phone, so I wanted to test recording off it. The script can be found here and the test shoot of the final scene can be seen below. As I’ve already mentioned, I think the dialogue is too long and I intend to cut it down. I think the fact that there is no sound, other than the typing and clicking is quite unsettling, which I think is good. I didn’t want the MacBook screen and the mobile screen to be shown at the same time, so I made them overlap each other, to represent Jeremy putting down his phone and using his MacBook. The audience made are aware how many endings there are in the film, to make them want to try and find the other endings (at the time of making this there were 4 instead of 5).
Klynt (2014) 4. Export project for the web. Available at: http://support.klynt.net/customer/portal/articles/183291-4-export-project-for-the-web (Accessed: 26 January 2017).