For this critical analysis I will be exploring my second artefact which was based on the topic fear. Feed Me is a short film based on the quote “don’t feed your fears’ The Idea behind this film is about fears coming to life and wielding power over you. I was interested in why we let our fears consume us and how fears affect us, physically and emotionally. The intended message of this short film was to show how people waste their energy by feeding these fears. The short film is almost like a metaphor to show the process of actually giving power to our fears by literally feeding them. I am questioning whether we have become a society that has embraced the fears and given power to them, to consume us.
The rise of catchphrases such as the ‘politics of fear’, ‘fear of crime’ and ‘fear of the future’ is testimony to the cultural significance of fear today. (Furedi 2000). Feed Me is aimed at anyone who has been/is affected by their fears. I wanted the audience to question why they are scared of things and WHY it affects up so much up until the point where it stops us from doing things.
As I mentioned before the biggest influence for the creation of this short film was the quote ‘don’t feed your fears’. I thought this would be a good quote to base my film around. Your fears only have power over you because you let them. Even though it says DON’T feed your fears I decided to turn this on its head and make the character in the short film feed his fears. I wanted to highlight that many of us do actually let our fears consume us. There are many ways you can actually feed your fears. According to the website ‘The Bold Life’ (2012) there are six ways in which you can feed your fears. Those being:
- You terrorize yourself with stories of fear.
- You expect the worst case scenario.
- You visualize the worst case scenario.
- You believe that you won’t survive your fear.
- You repeat a fearful story to others.
- Replay old memories of past failures.
This helped me gain insight in some of the ways that we feed our fears, which is something that I was interested to find out in the beginning of this project. The audience can assume that the character is doing one of these things in the beginning of Feed Me, as it is an ambiguous beginning, it’s up the audience to figure out what is going on. There are many contributions that are linked to inflicting fear on us which will be discussed later in this report.
I had a lot of inspiration for this short film one of them being twist endings. ‘A twist focuses on an aspect of the story (a character’s identity, motive, perception, location, an achievement or a moment left to chance). The twist will then turn that aspect on its head and reveal some kind of opposite of the most dramatic, comedic, ironic or horrific kind.’ (Worley 2014) Worley discussed the five types of twist ending, one of them being reversal of motive which is essentially the character doing the opposite of what was previously assumed. This influenced my idea to do something which the audience do not expect. It’s could be said that my short film falls into the reversal of motive twist as the character intentions confuse the audience. The audience question what he is doing when he takes the food outside, they are clueless to what his intentions are. When it actually comes to him feeding his fears the audience will assume that he is feeding a monster or something physical, what they don’t know is that he Is feeding the fears in his head, only until the end where it is revealed.
When I approached this artefact I knew I wanted to make something that was on a deeper level rather than making a conventional horror film, therefore I watched many short films based on the idea of fear. I found that these were all horror based as there is a strong connection to fear in horror films. I wanted to find something that was different. I came across a short film called ‘Fears’ Nata Metlukh (2016). It was creative and clever, in the way that she chose to represent fear. I thought that the animation worked extremely well. It challenged the notion of fear being a negative thing as the main character embraces his fear at the end. After watching this I knew I wanted to create a short film based on fear.
Even though I did not want to follow in the footsteps of a horror film, I did think some of their stylistic elements would work well in my short film. I looked at the idea of suspense and examples of this. One film I looked at was The Eye (Pang Brothers, 2002) There is a particular scene that stood out to me. The scene embedded suspense through the way it was filmed. For example, the main character hiding behind the walls, close ups on certain parts of her face.
I found this scene to be suspenseful therefore I took inspiration from it. For example, Feed Me starts off really slow, the shots are long and everything seems normal. I have emphasised the suspension with the sound of the clock ticking in the background. This gives a sense of a countdown, like he is waiting for something. The first two shots are close ups, one is of the character’s eyes moving side to side and the second one is the character fidgeting with his hands, It’s clear to the spectator that he is uncomfortable about something but no one knows what. I have used the diegetic/non diegetic sounds such sounds of the wind blowing, the clock and the ‘fears’ voices to emphasise the eeriness of the whole film.
In terms of stylistic and technical developments I tried to use the camera in a creative way. For this particular project I wanted to be more versatile with the camera. For this I placed the camera in the fridge and the cupboard. Originally I was going to film an over the shoulder shot of the main character taking the food out of the fridge but I thought this was too boring and conventional. I think using the camera in a different way gave more or a cinematic/unique feel to the entire film. Cinematography is not one of my strong points therefore I seeked help by watching YouTube videos on different angles and movements that looked interesting. This is where I got my idea from, researching this helped me greatly in terms of thinking about my FMP.
In order to improve my skillset, I booked out the track from university. I have never used It before and thought that these artefacts would be a good opportunity to test out equipment before I make my FMP. The day of filming it got dark fast therefore I had to think of alternatives. Luckily I had a LED light on hand, despite using this it still did not look the way I wanted it to look. However, I did gain valuable knowledge on how to set up and track and how to use it.
To develop the story, I carried out primary and secondary research. In terms of primary research, I carried out an interview with six people of different ages, genders and ethnicities and asked them 5 questions. From the interviews I carried out I found that a lot of people struggled when I asked them how they define fear. I also found that the older the person was the deeper they got in terms of their answers, in comparison to people who were younger who talked more about physical fears such as spiders. Many people felt uncomfortable talking about their fears. This research helped me develop my idea further in terms of going somewhere secret where no one else can see you to feed you fears which is what the character does in Feed Me.
In terms of my secondary research I looked into the concept of what is fear, in addition I looked at the science of fear and how it can affect you in different ways. I was also curious to find out if there were any fears that we all share. I found that “Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things” (Layton, 2005) This helped me in terms of preparing the shot list and the actions of the character.
One aspect that I was extremely interested in was what causes fear? I found that the media play a big role in contributing to fear. We are constantly bombarded with news reports/articles about murders, rapists and war. While researching into this concept I found the documentary Bowling for Columbine (Michael Moore, 2002). This documentary explores the Columbine shooting and what influenced the two kids to carry out a massacre. The film highlights that these two kids were influenced by the media. Marilyn Manson’s music was accused for the actions of these kids, Marilyn states that he is just an “easy target’. What I gathered from this research is that It is so easy to feed your fears, because your fears are ubiquitous. We are surrounded by scary things; we consume through fear. Fear is embedded into the audience brain.
Bowling for Columbine (Moore, 2002)
My short film has conventions of suspense thriller; this genre is dominated by Alfred Hitchcock. Derry describes a suspense thriller ‘as a crime work which presents a generally murderous antagonism in which the protagonist becomes either an innocent victim or a nonprofessional criminal within a structure that is significantly unmediated by a traditional figure of detection’ (Derry 1989) This is applies to feed me as the protagonist become a victim by the antagonist which is his fears.
I have been experimenting with using no dialogue so for this short film I decided against having dialogue. The reason that I chose to have no dialogue in the film was because I thought it was unnecessary, I wanted to tell a story that is predominantly visual with little reliance of dialogue. I also chose to add no music in the background as I felt that having music would distract the audience from what is happening. In my opinion the atmosphere sounds such as the clock, opening the doors and the footsteps made the film even more eerie and powerful. Feed Me is purely about the aesthetics of the film and how that makes the audience feel.
This film is different to anything I have ever done, similar to my other artefact. I feel as though I have become more confident with working by myself and developed in terms of trying out different forms of media, such as the soundscape for artefact one and the flash fiction for artefact three. I learnt a lot by exploring how people think and their innermost thoughts about fears and imagination. This is something I plan to incorporate further in my work as I am passionate about documentary and the how the human mind works.
WORD COUNT – 1883
Derry, C. (1989) The suspense thriller: Films in the shadow of Alfred Hitchcock. New York, NY, United States: McFarland & Co.
Furedi, F. (2000) The only thing we have to fear is the ‘culture of fear’ itself [online] available from <http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/3053#.WD635RCLSb8> [30 October 2016]
Kanal von TheAndNicole (2012) ‘The scariest scene ever – the eye – Horrormovie’. in YouTube [online] YouTube. available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb6pLDpbGw8> [1 November 2016]
Kaur, A. (2016) in Artefact 2 – feed me (short film) [online] Kaur, A. Vimeo. available from <https://vimeo.com/191480332>
Moore, M. (2002) Bowling for Columbine [online] available from <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0310793/> [2 November 2016]
Tess (2012) ‘Please don’t feed your fears’ [online] available from <http://theboldlife.com/2012/06/6893/> [30 October 2016]
The Eye (2002) available from <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0325655/> [1 November 2016]
Worley, A. (2014) THE FIVE TYPES OF TWIST ENDING [online] available from <http://alecworley.weebly.com/blog/the-five-types-of-twist-ending> [29 October2016]