Thursday, 15 December 2011

WS - Casting, Characters, Costumes and Props

From the outset and our original idea we have had an idea in mind that we would need one male, teenage protagonist that would feature throughout the video. This is still the case and has been throughout every sample footage we have filmed. We have also had other potential characters that have featured in sample footage, though these were not included in the final product due to changes in our idea. We also needed a band to cast for the performance side of the video.

Casting for our protagonist was actually relatively simple. Rob Shaw, a member of Swillob was willing to play this role of the protagonist and is the owner of quite a lot of Muse products, such as magazines, music and most importantly, clothing. It is of quite vital importance to our video that the protagonist wears the hoodie with 'Muse' on as well as the suit fitting when the protagonist gets dressed in the likeness of the band. As well as this we knew we would have to film on a number of occasions and this has turned out to be around ten times over the process. For this reason we needed somebody who would be available whenever needed and Rob was confident he could accurately portray the character. Obviously he is not a professional actor, but without a budget we were always going to have to find someone who wasn't professional and in the sample footage we filmed originally we felt that Rob portrayed the character well.

As well as casting for our protagonist we needed a band to perform in our performance aspect to the video. This has proved to be extremely tricky throughout filming. There are a few people who play in bands who we know. The tricky thing has been finding an appropriate time for them and for us to film. The current performance footage that we are using is by the band Ice Cream For Activists.

As touched on in the 'Casting' section of this post, we have always had the idea of a protagonist who is obsessed with Muse. This has been the center for all of our ideas so far with minor details changing and ideas changing about any other characters that we intended to include, until we reached a decision to get rid of any other central characters to signify isolation and loneliness for the 'muse nerd'. Sample footage, for example 'Sample Footage 1', shows that we tested out including other characters who bully the muse nerd about his loneliness and degrade him. However feedback suggested that this didn't work effectively and that we would be better using the idea of isolation rather than bullying. For these reasons we decided that a better option would be to exclude these additional characters. 
As well as a protagonist we obviously needed people in the background in certain shots, for example the time lapse scene in school would really have lacked verisimilitude if there was nobody else about. For this we simply needed people to be acting as they would normally be and so no casting was required, although we did need to ensure that nobody who didn't want to be was caught on camera.

The costume aspect has been referred to in the casting section of this post, although it wasn't discussed. 

It was key to our idea that the protagonist can display constant reminders of their affiliation to Muse. This is simple when they are at home for example as you can see posters and magazines around the characters bedroom that show this obsession. When out of the house and in different locations, which is also important for our idea and genre, we needed a link to this obsession. One simple and obvious link is the hoodie that we used. This keeps the link present throughout all locations in the video, but in a realistic way that doesn't look forced onto the screen/frame.

Another important aspect to costume in the video comes when the main character is getting dressed in the image of the muse band while stood in front of a poster. This idea came about as a result of us looking for more links and ways to portray the obsession and we got this idea during a feedback session. Whilst we have received further feedback when we screened the footage people thought it was a good idea but needed to be edited better (ie. faster paced).

There were a number of props that we required for our music video ranging from magazines and digipaks to park swings and an iPod. A large part of our idea was to zoom into magazine covers/digipaks and then cut to a similar setting. This was the main use for these objects in our video, however there were other reasons for including them in different parts of our video. Even though some sort of sic-fi aspect (and therefore not real life/realistic) would appeal to our target audience, we wanted to keep the parts of the narrative with the protagonist realistic. To do this we needed to create a setting that would look appropriate for a person who is obsessed with a band and music. Magazines and CD/Digipak covers were a good way to do this, therefore creating verisimilitude.

Origin of Symmetry cover
Another prop that has had significance in our idea and planning from almost the start has been the iPod. This can be seen in the scenes on the bus. Another potential idea that we are still thinking about is using the iPod as a diegetic opening, though this is not certain yet. As touched upon in the costume section, we needed constant links to the music obsession and so when the character is out the house, this is a realistic way to show this. It also signifies that he is shutting himself off from the outside world and not socialising with other people.

Props that we used around in the outdoor settings were in some cases spur of the moment things and in others planned. For example when filming scenes on the moor side we saw the telephone poles and the wires stretching across a field. This reminded us of the front cover for Origin of Symmetry so we decided to film some shots of this. Examples of planned shoots and props are the scenes in the park with the swing and down by the river when the protagonist is throwing stones.

Whether we planned certain shots or not the props and miss-en-scene is of vital importance to each setting we have used and has been thought out carefully. The same can be said for the framing of shots, which extends to props and the miss-en-scene as they are all linked closely.

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