Narrative Visual Perspective in Film

ANALOG STU

Analog Stu directed by Katherine Sun & Cristian Pilling
5 months. For 5 months my co-director and friend Cristian Pilling and I poured our hearts into creating a narrative short from start to finish. From the pitch to post-production editing, lots of kettle-corn was consumed out of stress.

PRE-PRODUCTION

THE PITCH/THE LOGLINE

This film was originally pitched as a rom-com about a man looking for a record, but finding love instead (aww) needless to say, this story is vastly different.

PRE-LIMINARY SYNOPSIS

Stu is socially disinterested but obsessed with records. He works in a record store with his co-worker that he despises. The two are sitting in the breakroom, clearly not interacting with each other. They don’t like one another, and his co-worker seems to be a bit off. It’s dead silent.

Sheila barges in to the breakroom. She is insanely loud. (She’s obsessed with Stu, and always hangs around the record store) She clunks down a radio and turns up the volume. It’s a radio broadcast of a man talking about the one record that stu could never collect, but before Stu really hears what the radio is saying, he goes over and turns it down. Note: an important detail , the audience can hear the rest, but stu cannot because he’s busy being annoyed with Sheila.

Stu closes the shop and is heading home. He passes a couple on the street, which are his friends who ask him for a double-date dinner. He says no and holds up bag of cleaning products for his record collection. “I must go clean.” His friend says, “you need a girlfriend.”

Stu finishes cleaning his records, and climbs into bed. A radio that is just barely audible is sitting on his nightstand. The camera focuses on the radio, and the crackle turns into vague words relating to the record. Everything’s fuzzy for a moment. Reality is warped. He’s falling asleep.

We’re in a dream, he sees the record everywhere, and we hear the voice of radio guy. He’s very taken aback; he’s frantic.

In the dream world, he *opens the toilet, and sees the record inside for a brief moment. It’s confusing and blurry, but we see illusions of the places he dreams he’s in as places flash by and record appears/disappears. We note the place’s unique features, for example, there’s a yellow mickey mouse poster against a green wall.

We cut out of the dream scene early, it’s the next day at work.

He begs girl to tell him the details from the radio. The quest starts. She says she wants to go with him, and he reluctantly agrees.

In the journey not only does he ignore her radio lead, but he ignores her smaller suggestions in following his lead, because he saw the poster in HIS dream.

In all his trials and failures, he’s looking for a room with the poster. Stu is so close. We see what looks like the poster from far away, but as Stu gets closer they realize it’s fake. He rips it off in frustration.

He looks around frantically, and there’s epic music, but he realizes his lead was false. Maybe he gets really angry at the girl, runs around, even looks in the toilet for the record. He’s about to give up and has his little temper tantrum like the absolute child he is.

SCRIPT
SHOTLIST
A spreadsheet of every shot needed during production. Each shot is given a name like “1A”
SCHEDULE
A glimpse at our schedule. We had over 10 shoots to create Analog Stu.
LINED SCRIPT
Planning the cinematography. Each line is a shot. A squiggle signifies the camera is not on the subject and most likely means they are not present in the shot.

PRODUCTION

Greenscreening for the truck sequence.
On set!
Shooting Backstreet Boys.
Set is for this.

LEARNING TECHNICAL SKILL

Prior to producing our films, we went through a series of exercises from lighting to acting to understand the full scope of each department on a film set.

LIGHTING EXERCISE
From left to right, top to bottom – Improper white balance (too cold) ; Lit with flourescent lights ; Mixed lighting ; Simulated golden hour ; Lit with gels ; Romantic lighting ; Scene including practical lights; Shot with clear shadows ; Improper white balance (too warm)

DIALOGUE SCENE

Practicing to shoot and edit a dialogue scene.
This is an experience I don’t know if I’ll ever get again, maybe I’ll come close to it, but I know nothing will compare to Senior Narrative. Being a co-director taught me to be not just a better writer and organizer, but someone with perseverance and unafraid to pursue their craziest creative endeavors. To be able to have such vast access to resources, materials, and the privilege to work with such an amazing partner Cristian, I am immensely grateful. Some would wonder, why spend hours writing and re-writing; Why spend long hours on amateur film sets; Why spend hours in the editing room? Well, I couldn’t have imagined how boring my last year of high school would have been without this beast of a project.

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