Have you ever turned a blind eye to something you shouldn’t? Novice is a short film that examines university party culture in the cold light of day. This Crime Drama follows Eve - a young girl who stumbles into the middle of a disreputable British house party. Her descent into chaos is guided by a series of hedonistic archetypes who have to answer for their behaviour the following morning. What happened last night? Who hired that God awful DJ? When did everything go wrong? Each party guest tells their version of the story whilst struggling to disguise their guilt and shame over the innocence lost by another.
The transition into adulthood is one of the few universal experiences that unite us all. The characters we meet on that journey are those we remember nostalgically (if not fondly) and in a way, this film is a homage to them. However, coming of age in an era where everything is ‘seen’ brings with it an array of new challenges to overcome. The public persona is modified and filtered, allowing us to gloss over mistakes instead of holding ourselves accountable to them. Novice is a hyperbolic retelling of these mistakes and the consequences of the bystander effect and individualist culture.
When we first met our team of incredible actors, it felt natural to create a film that would play out at an erratic University house party. Somewhere where the line between story and reality could blur and we could introduce characters at their most unscrutinised. Following the trend of successful docu-series, we decided to unravel the events of the evening in juxtaposing interview scenes - meaning that these same party goers could be thrown into an entirely new light. As we switch between two versions of the same character, the truth and story become malleable.
Although this film is first and foremost a tragic social-commentary, there are many aspects of the film that derive from the ‘whodunit’ genre. Splicing ‘scenes of the crime’ with the current day interrogations, piecing together a tale of events from different perspectives, a lack of trustworthy or reliable accounts and a twist to shake the initial false sense of security. All of which add to the element of surprise and forces the audience to second guess what's happened. Only to realise they will never know for certain the events that actually took place.
"The film-maker is no longer the competitor of the painter and the playwright, he is, at last, the equal of the novelist” - André Bazin
The visuals of ‘Novice’ will play a significant role in the telling of our story. Colour will dramatically influence the tone of the scene and so we've spent a lot of time thinking about how we will make use it. Below are some stills from films that we will be using as colour references:
By using sharp and vivid colours, we aim to create a discombobulating effect for the audience during the house party scenes. These colourful moments will be viewed primarily through long-shots alongside sporadic and dizzying pans across and around the room. Camera angles will also be awkwardly scanted to help physically distort, displace and disorientate our characters as well as our audience.
PINK/BEGINNING OF HOUSE PARTY/PAST
In our opening scenes, when the party can still claim playful innocence, the colour pink will prominent. Pink will be a visual cue for Eve, our youngest protagonist, to help accentuate her lack of will-power and self-esteem - a symbol of naivety. As ‘Novice’ continues, the pink tones will gradually change to red (see below) - as if also tainted by the happenings of the film.
Danger, violence, anger, love and passion - the colour red is arguably the most prominent colour throughout ‘Novice’. Whilst the connotations suit our story line perfectly, the gradual change to red from pink perfectly denotes the escalation of stakes. The shots phase red without the audience quite realising what has happened, and when they do, it's already too late. We will take advantage of the colour to create remarkably striking and beautiful shots both in our film and across our branding.
GREEN/END OF HOUSE PARTY AND INTERROGATION SCENES/PAST AND PRESENT
Throughout ‘Novice’, we will utilise green to explore and emphasise the more unsettling and vulgar aspects of the party. It will also feature more subtly in the interrogation scenes, serving as a visual indicator that the sickening elements of the film are far from over. In particular, scenes heavily employing green will primarily be aligned with close up shots.
In direct contrast to the bold and vivid colours during the party, the present day interrogations scenes will predominantly be based on a palette of neutral greys and browns. This will be a sharp visual shift: how will the characters change when put under the spotlight? Throughout the interrogation scenes, the camera will use a combination of extreme close-ups interspersed with with wide-shots. The use micro and macro with help portray the distress of the characters as the squirm under the intensity of the situation.
WHO ARE THEY? Every Monday we will be posting TWO character updates alongside their incredible solo poster art. Introducing our favourite couple, Hana and Jake! Stay tuned for more...
HANA is exactly the kind of person you want to be at university. She's intentional, outspoken and seems to have it all figured out. Between her and her boyfriend Jake and best friend Gwen, she has a pretty 'instagram' perfect life. That is, until her little sister shows up on her doorstep and threatens to expose the persona she's spent so long carefully crafting...
JAKE is the guy you had a crush on in school who's glow-up didn't make you mad. He's a 'nice' guy, the kind who'd have a pint with your dad and tell your mum she looks ten years younger. His banter is harmless and it's easy to brush off the more inappropriate stuff because he's a 'nice' guy...right?
Emma is that one person who knows better than anyone else. Or at least she used to. She knows a version of you before you left home and started meeting new people and living your best life. She's happy for you though, obviously. Why should she care that you're doing so well without her?
Lily is your go to girl for a good story. Somehow, every time you see her she has a new outrageous tale about that guy you were seeing last month or your ex-housemate's latest controversial Facebook comment. She knows exactly how to stir up just the right amount of drama to make a night interesting...
Warren is not the kind of guy you'd want to get on the wrong side of. There should be a warning sign for all the unresolved angst going on in his head to scare off anyone foolish enough to try and 'fix' him. It's too late for his girlfriend Gwen BUT, to be fair, without her anchoring him down who knows what he'd be capable of.
Gwen is the one you just love to hate. She's just too perfect, too unfazed by anyone outside of her immediate circle and her relationship with Warren is just wild. There's a new rumour about her every week and it's just oh so tempting to chip in. I wouldn't let her hear you though, or there'll be hell to pay.
Si is that guy that seems to pop up everywhere. You can't remember the first time you met him but his tragic tunes are a staple at every party you go to. For someone who tries so hard to fit in, you would have thought that this DJ would have learned where he's not wanted.
Abi is the person who never seems to want to leave you alone. No matter where you go, she's somehow still trailing after you or replying to your stories with a few hundred question marks. It's not that she's not a nice person but sometimes you have to spread your wings right? I'm sure she understands...
The team behind NOVICE are a part of the NYFA SetReady Course 2020. This course is designed to test the ability of young creators across the UK to create a short film within a restricted time frame. Due to COVID restrictions, this has meant that every pre-production meeting, every table read, every feedback session has happened online via social media and conferencing platforms. We are exceptionally proud of what we’ve been able to achieve within these parameters so far and we hope you feel able to journey with us on this project.
So where will the money go?
- A large portion of our costs will go towards equipment hire through PROCAM who have provided the NYFA with a 3-tiered packaged deal ranging in quality. Help us make the best possible film we can - lights, camera, ACTION!
- As part of the NYFA's challenge this year, we have been set with the task to hire a 40+ actor. This person will play the role of the 'Investigator' in our film. Can YOU tell me what happened last night...?
- Costume, hair and make-up for our incredible cast who will be attending a themed house party. Be prepared to see lots of whacky fancy dress outfits and face painting!
- Help our team and equipment travel safely to and from location.
- ...and so much more!
To make our film a reality, the team behind Novice are relying on you, our trusted audience, to donate, support and follow us every step of the way. Welcome to the team!
If you are unable to donate, do not worry! You can help by sharing, commenting and liking our film across all social media platforms. Expanding our audience is just as crucial to making our film a success! Help us spread the word by following our social accounts listed at the bottom of our campaign video.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. See you on the other side!