FMP – Initial Ideas

I have still not decided on a thorough narrative for my final major project, however I have decided that I would like for it to be a short film. Short films have always been my favourite medium to convey a message or story through, as I believe it encompasses every aspect of filmmaking and combines them into one project. Recently, I re-watched Skins, a teenage television drama and thought to myself that I would like to create a short film in a similar style.

I listened to a song called ‘…’ by The Symposium and imagined the introduction of my short film. I envisioned a house in the aftermath of a party and every person that attended is on the floor asleep with various mess around them. There are many shots of typical party sights such as a pizza slice on someones face and beer cans on the floor. As the music begins to fade out, the main character (the host of the party) wakes up, sits up and exclaims “Shit”. Other than this scenario, I have not thought of anymore narrative, however I am sure it will eventually come to me.

This short film would involve particular detail to scriptwriting and character profiling, which I have never spent an extensive amount of time on before. In addition to this, I would like to showcase many editing techniques such as frame blending and masking.





I chose to tackle the issue of stigma around mental health by creating a short social experiment video, in which I asked various people questions related to mental health. The questions asked were meant to receive reactions that would convey to the audience that mental health is a serious problem, rather than something taboo to be brushed aside.

I believe I adequately highlighted my chosen issue by attempting to manage the social experiment in a sensitive and informative manner. Many of the questions were of a delicate nature and so I asked them in a mature tone, in order to receive a mature response from those that I was interviewing. I made the executive decision to not overly colour grade the shots. I managed to make some of the shots look aesthetically pleasing by drawing out some of the vibrant colours. However, I believe this made the shots look chirpy in a way and since I was tackling a sensitive topic, I didn’t want the shots to oppose the tone of the video. I also decided not to include music. The silence created an uncomfortable tension, which allows the audience to think about the content they are consuming. It matched the tone of the video and didn’t draw any attention away from what the people being interviewed were saying.

The audience I intended on reaching, was an audience roughly between the ages of 30 and 40, with a demographic of  a B or C1. I incorporated a lot of factual information and statistics, so I believe the intentional audience would benefit from watching the social experiment. However, I believe that potentially, if I had interviewed people within the demographics of my intentional audience, then it may have peaked the audiences attention further. On the other hand, interviewing a younger generation may have sparked sympathy within the audience.

If I marketed the video, I would most likely use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Facebook is the biggest social media website available and it would be ridiculous not to take advantage of that opportunity. At the end of the video, I incorporated a made up hashtag, along with the twitter logo. Twitter often has many trending social action hashtags. Therefore, if I managed to get the audience on board with using the hashtag, it would not only help spread further awareness, but also allow me to see the audiences views on the video and the topic at hand.

If I was able to redo the social experiment, I would interview more people and ensure those people were of different ages to get a wider response from my audience. Not only this, but I would also film some cutaway shots and spend more time in post-production. I would’ve potentially liked to use After Effects to create a more interesting way to present text and statistics.

Practical – Test Footage

I decided to colour grade some footage to find out what best suited the tone of the video. I did manage to make some of the shots look really nice, however in the end, I decided to go for a natural look. The vibrant coloured shots opposed the tone of the social experiment and the monotone shots made the shots look too artistic, which was not the intention of the video. I put in some sound, however from this, I chose not to have any background music or sound effects because it seemed to draw the attention away from the severity of the video.

Filming Preparation

I plan on having a multi-cam documentary like setup, in order to film interviews to do with mental health. The questions I plan on asking will help people realise the severity of mental health issues.

The first question I plan on asking, is “How many people do you know that have experienced some form of depression?”. Most likely the people being interviewed will say that most of the people they know have experienced some form of depression, which will make people realise how common it is to feel depressed.

Another question I will ask, is “How many people do you think have been diagnosed with depression in the UK?”. I can then compare the numbers given to the actual numbers.

Questions being asked:

How many people do you know that have suffered from stages of depression?
How many people do you think have depression across the world?Have you ever questioned whether the stability of your mental health is below average?
Draw what you imagine depression to look like as a physical manifestation?




Comparative Essay

In this essay, I will be discussing the contrast between two articles, written by two separate newspapers. The subject of both articles is centred around mental health, however both cover the subject in a different light.

The first paper is a tabloid, known as ‘The Sun’. The article in particular that I have chosen is titled ‘1200 killed by mental patients’. In this article, the writer claims that The Sun has gone into investigation and subsequently stumbled upon news that roughly 1200 people have been killed by mental health patients in the last decade, illustrating a flaw in the care system. Initially, my first thoughts are that the title and opening paragraph create a stigma towards mental health patients. This could be potentially harmful, by helping to create a false stereotype for those with mental health disorders.

The figure ‘1200’ in the title is quite misleading, as only later in the article is it specified that the figure is spread over the last decade. In fact, from a quick google search, I found out that over the years, homicides committed by mental health patients have drastically decreased. There were 33 homicides committed by mental health patients in England in 2010 – the lowest figure since data collection began in 1997. The article never addresses this, which will leave the audience with a misguided understanding of the facts and figures they are presented with. Resulting in an unnecessary negative outlook on mental health patients and the care system trying to help them.

The other paper I decided to review is ‘The Times’ and their article titled ‘Mental Health Matters’. This title is leaps and bounds more positive than the other. It’s short, puts mental health in a positive light and doesn’t use misleading figures to draw in the audience. This article summarises government and NHS plans to fund and help mental health care more by the year 2020 but the trials and tribulations that come with this. The facts and figures used later in the article are presented accurately and do not put mental health patients in a negative light. For example, this fact ‘In 2014, nearly 16,000 teenage girls were hospitalised for self-harm.’ was used in order to clarify the severity of the situation in the hope that people will sympathise.

The majority of The Sun’s article is spent listing victims of a mental health patient homicide. Within these accounts, The Sun fails to present figures that show those suffering from mental illness are up to ten times more likely to be the victim of a crime than the average person. As a result of this, the audience of The Sun’s article will begin to form an inaccurate stereotype of mental health patients and begin to see them as criminals. When on the contrary, people with mental health patients are more likely to be victims of crime, rather than the perpetrators. Not only this, but journalist Alastair Campbell highlights a very interesting point by stating that constant media linkage of violence and mental illness leads to violence against the mentally ill rather than by them.

On the other hand, The Times shows understanding for mental health patients. They even have their own campaign called ‘Time To Mind’ which according to ‘Youngminds’ (an online mental health organisation) ‘Expertly highlights the tremendous challenges children, young people and their families face in getting the care and support they need’.

The ‘Time To Mind’ campaign aids those with a lack 0f understanding for mental health and the system that provides help for those with mental health issues. For example, if a parent had a child with depression but found it hard to understand what they’re going through and how to help, and then they could look on ‘Time To Mind’ and read up about it. The campaign also encourages people to spread awareness and donate money to the cause, as mental health is severely under funded.

The language is noticeably different in both articles. The Sun tends to use dramatic words that exacerbate a situation. The first instance of this comes from the first sentence, in which The Sun describes the situation as a ‘crisis’ despite research proving that the situation has rapidly improved over the years. The Times tends to use less dramatic words and seems to approach the subject they’re writing about in a calm manner. In The Times’ article, they inform the audience that clinical commissioning groups were supposed to be increasing the budget on mental health but instead are doing the opposite. The article describes this situation as ‘dismaying’, which allows the audience to understand the negative connotations being communicated, without the exaggeration.

Unfortunately, this problem stems from the phrase ‘Bad news is good news’. Audiences tend to be more interested in the negative news articles, but if there’s nothing negative to write about, then journalists will often use language to manipulate an audience into believing there are issues where there are not. Luckily, The Times seems to realise the impact they can have on the views of their audience and direct their articles towards an informative approach.

In conclusion, The Times newspaper tackled the subject of mental health in a mature and sensible manner. Whilst unfortunately, The Sun did not. Despite my bias, The Sun’s article was not completely in the mud. They did use many factually correct figures and even had an entire segment written by the chief executive of mind, one of the leading mental health charities. However, due to the language used, the article puts mental health patients in a negative light.



Research #2

My initial research involved looking into the topic at hand and researching the facts and figures related to mental health. I have decided I would like to create a social experiment of some kind and in order to do so, I will need to research prior existing social experiments.

The first social experiment involved a man approaching people on the streets and telling them he was having suicidal thoughts. The aim was to find out whether people would positively or negatively react to a stranger opening up to them.

The responses from people were overwhelmingly positive. At first people were slightly taken aback by the sudden honesty of the man but soon assured him that they were there to listen to his problems and some people even offered him uplifting words of wisdom.

Obviously, this social experiment could be staged and during editing they can choose which clips to show and which clips to not show. In my social experiment, I would like for it to be completely honest with real reactions, even if the reactions aren’t entirely what I had in mind.