9 Frame Analysis | Mad Men

I chose to analyse the intro of a TV series called Mad Men, because it it a cartoon, as opposed to regular openings.

The first frame shows a man (a cartoon version of Don Draper) walking into an office, dressed in a black suit. The objects on his desk are only contoured, they are not actually drawn. This could connote the unimportance of whatever he keeps on the desk. A nice touch is the moving blades of the fan, which could show that not everything is dead in the office.

In the second frame, we see a close-up of the man’s shoes as he walks in, but this frame lasts for less than a second.

The third frame shows the whole office falling apart, while the man is still standing. Its intended meaning could be that everything around the man is chaotic, but he is able to resist (at least up to now).

In the next frame, the man is falling from a skyscraper (where his office was) and the entire building is covered in an advertisement showing a woman. A tiny reflection of the man is seen on the building, perhaps suggesting that people pay much more attention to sensual women than to average white-collar worker.

As the man keeps falling, the fifth frame I picked is a wider shot, in which more tall buildings are visible, all having their façades covered in huge billboards. This shows how dominant and aggressive the advertising industry is.

He continues to fall by an ad of a glass of whiskey with the text “Enjoy the best America has to offer”. This could somehow also refer to the man as being the best ad agent in the country. The whiskey is actually moving inside the glass, as if it was just poured.

The seventh frame is a first-person-view of the man falling between three buildings, while photos of what could be famous people are floating through the air underneath the buildings.

In the second to last frame, the man falls on top of the camera, his tie and suit being blown around by the air. When the man fills up the entire frame, the ninth and final frame comes in, zooming out of a black screen which ends up being the man sitting on a couch, with a cigarette in one hand.

Throughout the intro, actors’ names show up on the screen, with the title of the series being shown in the final frame.

Film Opening | Budget Estimates

As you will see below, we estimated a budget of about 1150 lei (£186) for our opening, although we included a margin for contingencies.

Above the line:

  • Cast – 300 lei

Below the line:

  • Travel – 30 lei
  • Food – 50 lei
  • Lighting – 500 lei
  • Locations – 150 lei
  • Props, wardrobe – 100 lei
  • Petty cash – 20 lei

Post production: 0 lei (all done by us, all software on hand)

We hope to end up with spending less than 900 lei, but we put in safe estimates so we won’t encounter any problems during production.

Film Opening | Character Descriptions

In our search for the perfect actors, we had to write accurate descriptions of what our characters should look like:

 

Main character:

• Male, late 30s – early 40s

• Height – at least 1,80 m

• Well built, stiff, maybe a bit overweight

• Deep voice

 

Bartender:

• Male, 20s – 30s

 

Wife:

• Female, 20s

 

As you can see, the bartender and the wife aren’t very complex characters; that is because the bartender only appears in one scene and has a line of two words, while the wife (main character’s wife) only appears in two photos in the actual movie.

 

Film Opening | Scouting Locations – Bar

Two locations are needed for filming the opening of our movie, Square One: an apartment (bedroom, hallway, kitchen) and an old-school-looking bar. We are still searching for a suitable apartment, but we found a couple contenders for the bar scene – two bars called O’Beer Irish Pub and Chelsea Cigar Lounge:

 

O’Beer Irish Pub

Chelsea Cigar Lounge

Film Opening | Script

After writing a plot for the entire movie, we developed the opening into a script that would cover the required 2 minutes. We wrote it in Celtx, using the industry standard format.


INT. BEDROOM

FADE IN FROM BLACK, CAMERA LOW:

MAIN CHARACTER in bed, alarm clock on the bedside table
showing 4:59 AM. A few seconds later, clock shows 5:00 AM
and the alarm starts beeping. MAIN CHARACTER reaches for the
alarm and turns it off within a couple of seconds.

NARRATOR (MAIN CHARACTER)
Every morning is the same. For 7
years, 4 months and 21 days, I’ve
been living a different life. A
life of solitude, perhaps somewhat
similar to that of a grizzly bear
by the frozen lakes of the Yukon.

WORM’S EYE VIEW:

MAIN CHARACTER gets out of bed and puts on his slippers. The
slippers were on the floor, perfectly aligned (right in
front of the camera).
Aerial shot:

He proceeds to make his bed.

 

INT. HALLWAY

MEDIUM, PAN:

There is a dusty, crooked cork board on the wall, with
cut-out newspaper articles (“MISSING”), receipts, and photos
of a woman in her late 20s. A handwritten note is in the
middle of the cork board. As the camera is panning and the
cork board disappears from the frame, MAIN CHARACTER walks
back towards the bedroom, with a bath towel wrapped around
his waist.

NARRATOR (MAIN CHARACTER)
The world is just a series of
flashing lights and static noise. I
can see it, I can hear it, I can
smell it. But I’m just a bystander,
not sensing the days going by. I’m
not there.
That rainy autumn day is when the
volume got turned down.

 

INT. BEDROOM

OVER THE SHOULDER:

MAIN CHARACTER is buttoning up his shirt, while looking in
the mirror. Looks himself in the eyes. He does everything
automatically.

NARRATOR (MAIN CHARACTER)
Two minutes ago, I got out of the
shower.

MEDIUM, PAN:

The camera is panning from right to left and we can see the
alarm clock behind the MAIN CHARACTER, showing 5:11 AM.

NARRATOR (MAIN CHARACTER)
In exactly five minutes, my toast
will be ready and I will sit down
to eat. This is just another
ordinary morning.

 

INT. KITCHEN

LOCKED-DOWN SHOT, WAIST LEVEL:

There is a toaster on the kitchen counter. As soon as two slices of bread pop out, MAIN CHARACTER walks into the frame, his back towards the camera, and picks up the toast.

CLOSE UP:

MAIN CHARACTER drops the two slices of bread on the plate.

NARRATOR (MAIN CHARACTER)
Perfectly crisp. I remember when
she used to bring me breakfast in
bed. Scrambled eggs. Bacon.
Pancakes. Lately, I had to get used
to the austere taste of salty
butter.

WIDE:

MAIN CHARACTER grabs the plate and walks to the table. A
wall clock is noticed in the background, showing 5:16 AM.

EXTREME CLOSE UP:

MAIN CHARACTER is spreading butter on the toast using a
butter knife. The sound of the knife against the
almost-burnt toast is clearly audible.

NARRATOR (MAIN CHARACTER)
Ever since she left me that note, I
fell through a black hole. After a
few months, I gave up hope. Today,
I breathe your oxygen, I eat your
food. I am very much like a
vegetable on life support,
witnessing life without
participation.

MEDIUM:

MAIN CHARACTER is washing the plate and knife. An old photo
of him and his wife is on the counter. His back is facing
the camera, and you can notice his arms moving as he does
the dishes. He then puts the plate & knife on the drier.

 

INT. BAR

MEDIUM:

The bar is empty, MAIN CHARACTER walks in and sits on a bar
stool. BARTENDER is pouring a glass of whiskey.

MEDIUM CLOSE UP:

MAIN CHARACTER
Single malt, neat.

BARTENDER smiles at him while cleaning a glass with a towel.

BARTENDER
As usual.

BARTENDER hands him the glass he previously poured. Right
when the glass hits the table, the screen goes black. The
title of the movie comes up on the screen, in red letters
resembling the digits of a digital clock. The letters are
flashing as a beeping sound (like that of the alarm clock)
is audible.

Film Opening | Plot

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote the first draft of the plot for our movie. Since the main character has a psychological disorder, we consulted with a psychologist to find out more so that we could create a story that is as realistic as possible. From our audience survey, we learned that people enjoy adaptations of true stories; we couldn’t find a suitable one, so we set out to write a very realistic story ourselves.

The movie is entitled Square One, as it is a story about a man who almost broke from his PTSD-induced obsessive routine, but ends up right where he started after his mentor, his source of motivation suddenly disappears.

Here is the plot, with the opening in bold.

Character (male, late 30s – early 40s) has a very clear routine after his wife disappeared without a trace, leaving behind a note.
Every morning, he has a very strict schedule – he wakes up at 5 AM, always makes the bed, eats the same meal and heads for the same bar down the street.

One day, he meets a man (20-ish) at the bar and sees in him a younger version of himself.
As he spends time with the young man, he subconsciously starts breaking from his routine. A few days later, he leaves a few dirty dishes in the sink. Slowly but surely, he loses all of his habits. After a while, he acknowledges this and does his best to improve himself, to lose his old routine.

Right when he is about to kick all his habits completely, walking to the neighbourhood bar to meet the young man at their usual time, he finds a note. The young man is gone.

The final scene is exactly the same as the opening scene.

Film Opening | Target Audience Questionnaire Analysis

My colleague Ana and I created a short questionnaire using Google Forms to find out what movies people like to watch and how they watch them. We wanted to get responses from people with mutual interests to us, so we posted the survey to the /r/filmmakers and /r/6thform subreddits on Reddit. We got 133 responses from people all over the world, so we have quite a good sample. I compiled the results and put them into an infographic using a service called Piktochart.

 

Film Companies Research | Distribution

Love Sick (2006)

In 2006 Libra Film produced the local box-office hit Love Sick, by Tudor Giurgiu, with the support of Romanian Film Center, Hubert Bals Fund, Global Film Initiative and SEE Cinema Network. It premiered at the 2006 Berlin International Film Festival as part of the Teddy Awards. It went on to appear at a number of international film festivals including the Seattle International Film Festival and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. It has been sold worldwide in more than 25 terittories.

Distributor: Transilvania Film

 

The Notebook (2004)

The film premiered June 25, 2004, in the United States and Canada and grossed $13.5 million in 2,303 theaters its opening weekend, ranking number 4 at the box office. The film grossed a total of $115.6 million worldwide, $81 million in Canada and the United States and $34.6 million in other countries. It is the 14th highest-grossing romantic drama film of all time.

The Notebook was released on DVD on February 8, 2005 and on Blu-ray on January 20, 2009. By February 2010, the film had sold over 11 million copies on DVD.

Distributors:

  • New Line Cinema (2004) (USA) (theatrical) (A Time Warner Company)
  • 01 Distribution (2005) (Italy) (theatrical)
  • Alliance Atlantis Vivafilm (2004) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Distribution Company (2004) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • Entertainment Film Distributors (2004) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Fox-Warner (2004) (Switzerland) (theatrical)
  • GAGA (2005) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Humax Pictures (2005) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Metropolitan Filmexport (2004) (France) (theatrical)
  • Pioneer Films (2004) (Philippines) (theatrical)
  • RCV Film Distribution (2004) (Belgium) (theatrical)
  • RCV Film Distribution (2004) (Luxembourg) (theatrical)
  • RCV Film Distribution (2004) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Roadshow Films (2004) (Australia) (theatrical)
  • Village Films (2004) (Greece) (theatrical)
  • Warner Bros. (2004) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • Warner Bros. (2004) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Alliance Atlantis Home Video (2004) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Argentina Video Home (2005) (Argentina) (VHS)
  • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (2007) (USA) (TV) (broadcast premiere)
  • Entertainment in Video (2004) (UK) (DVD)
  • Hollydan Works (2007) (Serbia and Montenegro) (DVD)
  • RCV Home Entertainment (2005) (Netherlands) (DVD) (VHS)
  • RCV Home Entertainment (2008) (Netherlands) (DVD) (limited edition steelbook)
  • RCV Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
  • Tien (2007) (Netherlands) (TV)
  • Warner Home Video (2005) (Switzerland) (DVD)
  • Warner Home Video (2005) (Germany) (DVD)
  • Warner Home Video (2009) (Germany) (Blu-ray) (DVD)

 

Uses and Gratifications:

  • Diversion – escape from everyday problems and routine, getting caught up in the stories portrayed in the two films;
  • Personal relationships – the audience can interact emotionally with the characters of either movie;
  • Personal identity – people can find themselves reflected in the two movies easily;

 

Creative ways to distribute/market a movie:

  • Social media: hashtags, viral videos/images
  • Crowdfunding: Indiegogo
  • Giveaways of merchandise
  • Setting up a Wikipedia page for the movie
  • Watch on demand on Vimeo

How would I distribute my own film?

  1. Create a website and pages on social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc.)
  2. Sign the film up for local and international festivals
  3. Look for independent cinemas willing to show my film
  4. Build up awareness and excitement for the film by making a few short teasers and marketing them through social networks (paid ads)
  5. Send copies of the movie to newspapers and magazines to get written reviews. Ask independent online reviewers to take a look at my film.
  6. After the film has been shown at a few festivals and in cinemas, I would distribute it through an online pay-per-view service such as the one available on Vimeo.
  7. For more exposure, the movie would be free to watch in some weekends.