My final media product will be a Claymation animation, called ‘The Pain to be Thin’. It is a dark and meaningful short film, based on an innocent teenage girl called Lucy. After being bullied at school for her appearance, the film shows her deterioration when she stops eating, starts excessively exercising and making herself vomit.
I decided I wanted to collaborate with Kelly as we have worked together before on projects, so trust each other that the animation will be our best work. Also stop motion animation is very time consuming so a partnership is overall better for this project. Luckily, we both had the same type of ideas, we wanted to same theme, something meaningful, yet quite dark and perverse. Our film will not include any dialog. We thought the audience would connect more to the character if they have to watch every emotion she makes, the props in the background and the actions they are taking. Having no dialog is quite risky, as if we do not tell the story through the characters emotion, then the audience won’t be able to follow the story. We obviously don’t want this to happen. Therefore, Kelly and I will take great care into being sure we are telling the narrative as best we can through everything accept dialog.
The main aim for our short film animation is to raise awareness about eating disorders, primarily anorexia. After the research we have carried out, we know that many people have a general idea about the disorder, but do not entirely know about the symptoms, effects emotionally and physically, the causes and over to overcome the disorder. We will be indirectly asking the audience, ‘How much do you really know about eating disorders?’ We want them to question themselves; do they know someone with these symptoms? Have they just overlooked it? We intent for our audience to think about anyone they may know who has been acting similar to our character Lucy. Our aim for the film is to help as many people as possible, so getting our audience to associate what they have just seen, with their own lives and their own friends and family, is the first step into making a difference.
The Primary research I have carried out includes; watching films, TV series and documentaries surrounding the topic of eating disorders. The documentaries primarily helped, as the told the real life stories of teenage girls and boy with eating disorders. Although some of them were hard to watch, due to their emotion and truthfulness, I will be using the passion I perceived from them and inject it into my own film. As well as researching about the condition itself and Media that is already produced, I have been researching ‘How To’ videos online to help with my animation skills. I already know the basics of stop motion animation, but my research has taught me tricks and shortcuts to help produce this film not only within the schedule, but also to a professional manor. Furthermore, I have also been researching shorts and full length films which also have no dialog. This films include ‘All Is Lost’ and ‘The Artist’. Although so far I have only watched two, I believe I have already gain knowledge and inspiration about how to shoot a no dialog film, while also being able to capture the audiences imagination and use visuals to tell the narrative.
Kelly and I will be carrying out some secondary research by going to meet with a 25-year-old girl, who suffered from anorexia between the ages of 14 and 21. Although she is still recovering, she is happy to tell us about her experience suffering from the eating disorder. From this, we will be hoping to gain some real emotion from her struggle, which we can invest in our character. We have also contacted other suffers from the forums researched, but they are yet to reply. By talking to as many people who have already had the illness, or currently still suffering, we hope to widen our knowledge of the eating disorder to confirm our research and show the true battle with anorexia.
After discussing the type of production we would like to produce, Kelly and I realised we had similar interests in creating a meaningful piece, which could touch the audiences emotion and make a difference in the world today. We both agreed we didn’t want to just to create a typical fictional love story, which wouldn’t raise awareness for a particular cause or help people in any way.
We aim to explore the issues associated with anorexia. Not only for the sufferer, but for their friends and family too. Our topic fits into the current media environment, alongside films and TV series such as; ‘Supersize Vs. Super Skinny’, ‘True Life: I Have An Eating Disorder’, ‘Dying To Be Perfect’ and ‘Sharing The Secret’. These shows and films are either about anorexia or eating disorders in general. Watching these has shown me how to show the in-depth effects of anorexia, without being distasteful. Furthermore, I have found that watching these shows, tells me what media is already been produced involving my topic, as well as inspiring me to compose mine to be even better. So I know what storylines have already been shared, so I can go for something different. I also know that there are no professional stop motion animations that have been made around my topic, so there is a gap in the market for my Media Product.
This project needs to be made now, as the number of deaths caused by Anorexia is increasing each year. ‘The Eating Disorders Association estimates that about 165,000 people in the UK have eating disorders with 10% dying as a result, but experts believe it could be higher’ (BBC News, 1999). Girls are feeling more body conscious due to how their friends are pressuring to diet alongside them, the skinny celebrities they see on their computer screens and things that may have affected them in their childhood. Although the exact causes of the eating disorder are unknown, my research tells me that these are some of the main causes include; bullying, their parents splitting up, someone passing or simply that it could run in the family. ‘Many people who develop anorexia share certain personality and behavioural traits that may make them more likely to develop the condition’ (NHS, 2013). Not only does ‘The Pain to be Thin’ need to be made for teenagers, but it also needs to be made for the parents and the older generation, for educational purposes. We hope that the parents will empathise with the film, so their knowledge of the disorder increases. We want them to look out for the symptoms of an eating disorder within their child and their other young family members. The film will tap into the current trends of celebrity culture and issues in our generation with girls thinking they have to be skinny to fit in.
Our work has progressed so far by writing a treatment, shot list, a strict shooting schedule, created floor plans for the sets and buying items we will need to create the sets, props and characters. I am happy with the progress Kelly and I have made so far, I think that potentially we could be more ahead, but I’m not worried and think we can stick to our schedule till shooting. The next step in our pre production stages will be writing a script and creating a storyboard. It will be important to write a script for our film, it will be important write a detailed script so we can follow it during shooting to make sure we get each scene needed. Also we will draw up a storyboard, which will be our guide during the days of shooting, to know how each shot should look, what should be in the shot and it’s duration. Furthermore, we will also complete some screen tests during our practice runs before shooting. These pre production elements are keys to keeping us organised and keep to our professionalism.
BBC News. (1999). Health Eating disorders factfile . Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/medical_notes/187517.stm. Last accessed 20/01/2015.
NHS. (2013). Causes of anorexia. Available: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anorexia-nervosa/pages/causes.aspx. Last accessed 20/01/2015