With this animatic I’ve added an opening and closing sequence to the film. The opening uses the cover illustration from the first zine collection of the short stories. The font is from the cover and website as well. The ending sequence uses pages and panels from the comic to give a sense of the wider world in which the Melancholic Wife exists.
My short film employs a voice over narration to work with the visual storytelling. This narration is an adaptation of the text narration of the original comic. In collaborating with Sadhbh we have tried to be conscious of the power of having a voice describing the story of our protagonist. There is a distance that necessarily exists because she is not speaking directly to the audience of her experience. We further wanted to explore this distance by having a male voice speak the story. Our reasoning behind this is a desire to investigate and play with the conventional dominance of men telling women’s stories. In societal terms the male voice can seem to lend an unconscious authority and we want to use this bias to support the telling of an unconventional story exploring the inner complexity of a woman’s experience.
From the research into my extended essay on the Essay Film genre I have learned of the opinion that voice over can communicate as authoritarian in film. Dictating to the audience what they should think and how they should feel about the accompanying visuals. I also want to be conscious of this by pursuing a storytelling tone to the narration. There will hopefully be a neutrality to it, a separateness which leaves room for the visuals to occupy its own space and leaves a space in-between for the subjective reaction of an audience to reside in.
With this new update I have;
- Changed the narration scratch audio to try and suit the tone of the present visuals more accurately. This audio though feels slower and will need to be updated again. It might be time to approach a professional at this point to begin to lock down the timings.
- Taken away the textured background in the first sequence to make space for another layer of rising floorboards that hopefully then creates a sense of the Melancholic Wife being swallowed by the darkness as the two layers of floorboards open up and she falls between them.
- Scratch sound effects have been added.
- Minor changes and additions to scenes for clarity of storytelling and timing, for example a truck in has been added to the final scene to highlight the notebook and pen on the table.
The Melancholic Wife has escaped the sound waves of remembered shame into a new space in her memory. Ghosts of her teenage self appear above her, expressing freedom and joy. She spreads her arms in an attempt to embrace them, to embrace herself. But the shadow of her shame is still with her. It rises, pulling her back down into the depths of her despair. The Melancholic Wife reaches out and grasps one of the ghosts, taking it with her as she is consumed. The shadow grows, submerging not only her but the entire screen.
For this updated version of my animatic I have addressed some of the issues that I didn’t feel were working from the first draft.
- I added a textured background wall to the first sequence to explore what it might add to the piece, I think it helps to give some context to the action.
- For the sanding and painting sequence I had, before producing the first storyboards, imagined it as an overhead shot but I struggled to visualise this at first, wrestling with the idea of making it as readable as possible. With feedback from Ed, I returned to my original idea for this animatic and am pleased with the results.
- From the first animatic it became apparent that for the film adaptation I would need to signify the learning that the Melancholic Wife takes on that enables her to overcome and access her power in the last sequence. In consultation with Sadhbh, we decided that we would explore the concept of her taking one of the ghosts with her, accepting this avatar of her teenage self into her arms as she’s swallowed by the blackness.
- The final scene has also been changed for this version. Now the Melancholic Wife emerges from the dream space through a door created from the light of her self expression. She re-enters the ‘unromantic walls of her real life’, a space signified by objects and ephemera from the comic stories, ‘striving to hold on to the nuances of her transmutations’ by taking up a pen and journal.
The Melancholic Wife’s foot impacts the wooden floor and the reverberations pulse down upon her, pushing her low and causing her to run to escape the pressure of the remembered embarrassment.
Dwayne – Home for Good
Short Film treatment
The screen fades in from black and we see a photo album sitting on a flat background. The front cover of the photo album is decorated in a key motif, an oval in the centre of the cover contains an illustration of a highly stylised key. A pattern radiates outwards from the oval in strips of warm colours to convey a sense of security and familiarity. The front cover of the album opens by itself to reveal a photo on the first page. Each photo in the album sits on its own page and has its own border evoking a physical picture frame.
‘I was in a hostel……..’
The first photo contains a cut away view inside a hostel, we see two floors of separate rooms in silhouette with a silhouette of a person moving around in each room. The silhouettes are all a single colour. The border of the photo is bright and summery, yellows and oranges, optimistic and hopeful.
‘I can have my family over here now…’
The page turns and we see the next photo which is a panoramic view of a room filled with silhouettes of people standing and mingling over food and beverages. The silhouettes of the people in this photo are different colours, jewel tones or pastel shades. Dwayne stands in the middle of the room taking it all in. The photo border is autumnal in tone; gold, rust red and brown, harvest festival feeling, people gathering to celebrate the positive result of hard work.
‘Cause when you’re in hostels….you can’t have anyone over’
The page turns and the next photo just contains Dwayne by himself in a bare, sparse room. The photo border is cold blues and greys, evoking winter, isolation.
‘I’m able to get me daughter and bring her over…It means everything’
The page turns again and we see a photo of a young girl. The frame is vibrant greens, yellows and pinks. It’s springtime, time for growth. Hands reach down and pick the photo with its frame from the album page. We zoom out and we see it’s Dwayne, he has the photo in his hands and he reaches up and hangs it on a wall containing lots of photos of himself and his family. He places the photo of his daughter in the centre of the arrangement.
This is the video of Dwayne and we’ve been asked to create a short animation from his dialogue, specifically from the twenty-second mark to the fifty second mark, excluding Christmas.
I wrote out a transcript from the video to get a greater sense of the meaning attendant to the words. Dwayne’s repetition of the phrase ‘having (someone) over (to visit)’ was very strong, which gave me the idea of trying to visually represent a form of overcoming, travelling over an obstacle.
A narrative thread emerged for me beginning in a hostel then moving to his home with his family then returning to a memory of isolation in the hostel then returning home but this time just with his daughter which to Dwayne ‘means everything’.