After writing my initial plans for the sequence, I had a meeting with the rest of my team and we talked about some of the scenes that we were concerned about, and the ones which we thought may be too difficult to do. Together, we came up with suggestions and new ideas, of which I documented here.
“Throughout the movie, you see someone with an infected scar running down their arm in flashes, and a face where their lip is starting to crust off, slowly getting closer.”
“Some kind of happy figure, like a best friend or something, has some sort of embrace (a hug), then Theo smiles because he feels safe and gives a sigh of relief, and then as he backs out he looks at their face again and it’s all completely mangled and torn and scarred.”
Due to being able to get hold of scar wax, we had to use an alternative. After meeting and talking about it, we decided that the next best idea would be to use white bandages to illustrate the scars, rather than actually creating them. A plus side of this is that as we chose white bandages, they will immediately be associated with and used to denote innocence and purity.
“Locations – All set in Watford. St Mary’s Church, Cassiobury Park (during the evening when it is dark), Watford Palace Theatre/ Watford Colosseum, Oxhey Woods, Hollywood Bowl, a house on Meadowbank.”
We were unable to gain access to St. Mary’s Church during times when services weren’t taking place, so we decided to not do the scenes where we would have needed a church, and instead worked on other shots with similar aspects.
We were also unable to gain access to Hollywood Bowl, so instead recreated similar scenes at Theo’s house.
“Theo picks up the torch, and the camera switches to POV, as Theo flickers the torch around the room. Then from the other side of the room, someone lights a candle, and the scene where the camera pans up from the candle, onto the scarred arm, and finally onto Toby’s face, where we realise that Toby and Scarred Arm Guy are in fact interchangeable characters.”
As explained above, we had to replace the scar wax with bandages, and yet we still tried to stick to the original ending as much as we could. We shot different scenes which I incorporated into different sections of the sequence during the editing process. However, the ending is still almost the same, and we tried to make it as clear as we could that Toby and ‘Scarred Arm Guy’ are made into the same character.
“The face of someone with their lip crusting off starts off in the distance and slowly gets closer with every shot glitch. The scene changes to an abandoned church, which is completely empty. The face reappears from behind a pillar and shouts “boo” and cackles. Another shot cuts to Toby in Cassiobury park, where someone screams in the distance, and then we see an arm with a large infected scar down the middle going out to grab his neck. Another cut to Toby in Gambado, clawing at the wall. Another quick cut to Toby in Watford theatre, frowning, and he is still frowning when the scene changes and he is in the Watford colosseum.”
“He is shaking and breathing heavily, and he calls out to his parents. When there is no answer, his dog comes into the room and whines. “
We replaced a lot of these scenes with ideas that we thought were more realistic and overall better. We believe that the new ideas we incorporated add more of an artsy-style to the sequence, something which we were aiming for. For example, due to the dog being filmed wasn’t trained enough to perform, we replaced the scene with one of Toby running up a hill, and then falling and getting back up all whilst the camera is rolling. Another example is that as we couldn’t gain access to certain places that I’d hoped, we instead decided to improvise a scene completely off-script, which consisted of Toby laying in a muddy field and pouring out the pills from his medication jar, something that with editing we hoped could play backwards.
“Toby lying under the stars, looking up, with smudged mascara under his eyes”
“Blood dribbles out of Toby’s mouth and lands on grass”
“Toby opens a black fortune cookie, and out fall a load of medication”
“Toby staring at the camera with a completely white face, scrubbing the white off to reveal black, harsh words etched onto his face – saying “psycho””
“Toby squeezes a white liquid, and the camera follows the stream down to the ground. When it goes back up, everything is in the exact same position except for the fact that the white stream is now black”
“Toby smashes a black egg against a table and a pure white yolk runs out”
“Scarred Arm Guy wears black gloves and draws black tear drops onto Toby’s face, whilst his right eye twitches”
After further thought and planning, in which we were discussing these scenes as part of the sequence, we decided to go against these shots and cut them altogether, due to not believing it would add anything to the film as a whole.
“Toby is submerged in water, his eyes open as the water turns red.”
“A leaky tap drips on Toby, with the water turning to blood.”
Even after thorough discussion, we couldn’t think of a way to make these scenes happen without completely ruining Theo’s bathtub, so instead we shot a scene with him in a bathtub with what we tried to make look like realistic blood falling down his face.
“An exhibition jar sits on the side of a rock, with white things sitting at the bottom. Toby shakes it, and medication fill the bottle like a snowglobe.”
This is where we shot the scene of medication dissolving in a bowl, because due to the lack of props we had to go with the next best idea, and after experimenting with the clarithromycin breaking down we decided to go with the scenes that we did.
“Toby is running away from Scarred Arm Guy, and sets a swing swinging in the process. As the camera focuses on the swing and has Toby in the background, blood begins to drip down the ropes.”
Instead of this scene, we shot one where the camera is chasing Toby until Toby jumps over a fence and we lose him.
“Toby holds a handful of red fruit and squeezes, cocking his head to the side as the red liquid runs down his arms.”
Instead of this scene, we decided on using a more symbolic bunch of roses, which Theo proceeded to rip up and scatter onto a white sheet.
Since writing this post, a lot of my ideas have changed. Now, I have gotten rid of all scenes that weren’t vital to the plot, mainly the filler scenes that I thought I would need – and this has resulted in what I believe to be an even better production. However, I will keep this post due to the fact that it shows how my ideas changed throughout planning, ending in a development of new ideas that I liked the concept of – and some of which I continued to use in my sequence.