The ‘ABC Project’ was where a group of two people got given a letter of the alphabet and told to make a 60 second short film based off the letter. The theme for the overall project was ‘Blood’. So the letter had to have something to do with blood. This is almost identical to the film, ‘ABC’s of Death’, where 26 directors got a letter and made a short. I watched the ‘ABC’s of Death’ quite a while ago so i understood the basic concept for this project however it was quite a difficult process to finish our idea. Our film was called ‘Bruised’ and was showcasing the violence in a relationship.
The most difficult part of the creative process for me and my partner was actually coming up and agreeing on an idea. We got the letter B and decided to do a short list of what concepts could work with that letter. After agreeing on a few words, we expanded each of them into stories so we could see which would make the best short film. It took us quite a while to agree on the concept for ‘Bruised’. I eventually caved in as it was my partner’s idea and he seemed very interested in it and thought that it would be the best one to execute effectively.
Although my partner was very confident in our abilities for this project, it was a difficult process to organise and film. I’m used to doing most of the pre-production work (i’m a producer) and he is an editor so the actual production aspect of our project became an issue. As neither of us are proficient in camera use or directing, we separated the roles. The final look of the film was a bit different to what we originally envisioned because of this. We had to change some of the shots so they were all extreme closeups rather than wide or mid shots because we didn’t have professional actors. Our initial vision had many more types of shots, different locations and the edit would’ve included flashbacks and more visual effects. Due to multiple restraints we weren’t able to execute these ideas. Although a lot of our original concept wasn’t included, the final product still conveyed our idea clearly.
Our concept for ‘Bruised’ was that a young woman was stuck in a violent relationship. It showed her partners growing violence over time and how she was hiding it. We agreed the concept was very simple but also effective. It captured the audience’s attention in a few seconds and held them there as they cared about the outcome of the protagonist. It also related to the overall idea of the project (blood). One of the major strengths for this film was that we didn’t have to write any dialogue or have to physically explain anything in the film because if we captured shots in a chronological order, the story would explain itself.
There were a few weaknesses for this concept that definitely affected how we filmed and how it was received by the audience. Domestic violence is an extremely painful and difficult topic to speak about. As it is such a universal thing, we struggled quite a bit to find a way to write about it in a respectful way that showed the difficulties for those who suffer/suffered from domestic violence. I spoke to a few people who i know have personally experienced domestic violence and showed them my rough script. I got feedback from them about how it was written about and what i could change to not offend or undermine their struggle.
As there were a few struggles in the actual concept of our film, the execution also became a bit of an issue. We were trying to focus more on the female character and her reactions and body language so the audience would pay more attention to her abuse rather than her abuser. To do this we took more footage of her and when she looked afraid, cut it to footage of her partner so it implied she was afraid of him. By not making the film about the abuser, we felt like we were able to make something that spread awareness. Another issue with our execution (as mentioned above) was that my partner and i weren’t very used to actual ‘production’. We both struggled with setting up our set and filming. A few days before we were scheduled to film, our actors, makeup artist and location all quit so we had to find replacements very last minute. Although this set us back quite a bit, we were able to pull a fairly successful film due to how strong the concept was. The script and original idea was definitely the strongest thing we had going into this production. We were able to edit and adapt the script to the various situations we were put into.