Welcome to my blog that details my studies on 21st Century Media Practice MA that I am undertaking on a part-time basis at Coventry University, along side my full-time employment at a technician and practitioner in photography & media.
Treatment for ‘Black Box’- By Kevin Rossin
A man appears in a series of abstract flashbacks of his life all from a point of view camera angle, like being watched by another person:
A child paying in a playground on the swings and a roundabout.
A teenage boy playing sports with his friends in a park.
A family, mum and dad with young child, window shopping in an arcade.
These memories end in a cacophony of imagery and sound and snap to black.
A man jolts awake. He finds himself in a darkened dimly lit space. He is average 30/40 something. The room is hot and making the man sweat. The dreams seem to have disorientated him and distracted him from his current situation.
The black of his surroundings triggers a claustrophobic reaction and he panics. His senses are dominated by the sound of his heart pounding as if it is going to burst from his chest. His breathing is rapid and shallow. He tries to control it by taking three deep breaths.
His eyes adjust to darkness of the space. He scans his surroundings to try to identify where he is. There are no windows or openings, the darkens almost form the walls of the room. The room is hot, beads of sweat drip down his brow. He reaches out around him to explore his surroundings, his hands feel that is seated on small utilitarian bench.
He hears a sound from the darkness and scans around to see where it came from. He squints his eyes and spots a red light blinking in the distance, suspended high in the air. The light blinks on and off and illuminates his sweaty face like a neon motel vacancy sign. He thinks about going to investigate but doesn’t want to leave leaving the safety of the bench, he gets up but keeps his hand on the bench, he quickly changes his mind about letting go in case he gets lost in the shadows, after all he doesn’t know where he is or what lurks in the black box.
He suddenly realises the light belongs to a CCTV camera. The man questions if someone is watching him and who could it be?
In another room are a bank of CCTV monitors. Some are turned off, some are on and show empty rooms. One screen shows our character sat on his bench. A silhouetted figure moves across the screens. He is a man in his late fifties. The mystery man is seated in front of the screens smoking a cigarette, smoke drifts up his face as he takes a drag. His eyes aren’t visible as the glare from the screens reflect in his glasses, they are the only light source in the room. He watches the screen in silent interest.
Back in the room with the bench, the man’s interest in the camera is suddenly taken away by loud, piercing, strange sounds that come from the darkened corners of the room, they seem to swirl around the space disorientating him. He tries to work out what they are, is it someone or something moving in the shadows or outside of the unseen wall? Is it his captor? Is he in prison? Is he being tortured? Is he dead?
A small hatch snaps open and light streams into the space, punching through the dark. The man is blinded and tries to shield his eyes with his hands. He splits his fingers to try and filter the light to see who is there, but the hatch snaps shut before he eyes can adjust. The man is blinded by being plunged back into the dark, his breathing is heavy and his pulse is racing again. Once his senses recover again, he braves the darkness and tries to find the hatch, not being sure where it is as he is disorientated, fumbles around in the dark searching for the boundaries of the room.
Behind the man, the hatch slides gently open again and a pair of spectacled eyes can be made out looking in. The man inside freezes in terror, he doesn’t dare turn around. There is a sound of a door handle being operated and fumbled with, a door creeps open and the visitor is stood in the door way, his attention is direction of the handle and is mumbling under his breath in frustration and the door.
Our character turns to face the visitor who has stepped into the room is looking around the space. The spectacled visitor puts down a heavy bag and pulls something from it. Our prisoner is a few meters away and is frozen in fear. The visitor walks over and steps up on the bench and fiddles with something in the ceiling. All of a sudden the room is illuminated by a light and revels the visitor to be a handyman who has come to fix the broken lightbulb. The handyman nods to the man who nods back but stands in complete confusion. The room is revealed to be a basement office with small windows with blinds drawn.
Reverse flashback to the dream sequence of the spectacled character being the person viewing our main character in each scene. He appears as a parks department/maintenance worker in each scene.
Outline for ‘Black Box’:
A man awakes to find himself in a darkened dimly lit space. He is completely disorientated and panics. His senses are dominated by the sound of his heart pounding as if it is going to burst from his chest. As his eyes adjust to darkness of the space he scans his surroundings to try to identify where he is, but is unable to work out where he is as there are no windows or openings. The room is hot, beads of sweat drip down his brow, his hands feel that is seated on small utilitarian bench.
He hears a sound and swings his head round to see where it came from and spots a red light blinking in the distance, suspended high in the air. He suddenly realises it belongs to a CCTV camera. The light blinks on and off and illuminates his sweaty face like a neon motel vacancy sign. Who is watching him?
More strange sounds come from the darkened corners of the room, taking his attention away from the camera. He tries to work out what they are, is it someone or something moving in the shadows or outside of the unseen wall? Is it his captor?
A small hatch snaps open and light streams into the space. The man shields his eyes with his hands and tries to see who is there, but it snaps shut before he eyes adjust. The man is temporarily blinded, once recovered he tries to find the hatch but fumbles around in the dark.
A door opens behind the man and a figure walks in with a torch and bag. Our character turns to face the visitor who is looking around the space. The new person puts down his bag and pulls something from it. He steps up the bench and fiddles with something in the ceiling. All of a sudden the room is illuminated by a light and revels the visitor to be a handyman who has come to fix the broken light bulb. The handyman nods to the man who nods back but stands in complete confusion.
A door opens behind the man and a figure walks in and turns on the lights, it is an attendant who has come to collect the dirty towels from the sauna. The man is revealed to be wearing a bathrobe/towel.
Ideas for the ‘Black Box’.
Apocalypse Now – Marlon Brando
Panic Room – Jodie Foster
Buried Alive – Ryan Reynolds
Sauna – short film
BBC Panorama – CIA torture techniques
BBC Horison – 48 hours of total isolation
New semester – new module!
In this module we have to formulate a short film from scratch, from pitch, to script to shooting. This is a first for me, having only ever operated a camera and documented what was happening in front of me. Home work for last week was to come up with pitch ideas and sell them to my fellow class mates:
Close up on the man in the box, sweaty and heavy breathing. No identifiable features in the space, except for the light on the CCTV camera. He is seated. Left with his own thoughts. Is he being tortured? Is he in solitary confinement in a prison? Is he in a sauna and being checked on by an attendant who is collecting towels? No dialogue?
It’s 3.30am, a man is stirred from his sleep by a sound. He gets his bearings in the darkened bedroom. His wife is asleep, so is his baby. He checks the room to locate the sound, it’s not the TV or the baby night light. Is it coming from outside? It takes a few moments to realise that the sound is coming from downstairs and that he recognises it – it’s the baby’s swing. Has his house been broken into and the thieves have set a trap? Has some evil spirit manifested itself in the living room and wants to swallow his soul? He creeps down stairs and opens the door to the lounge to see the outline of swing rocking away in the darkness…
I did find a article on the Art of the Pitch from the Rain dance website.