Help At Home (Independent Short Film)

by Esme Jones in Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom

Total raised £955

£4,000 target 9 days left
23% 23 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 8th June 2024 at 12:00pm

A high-concept romantic drama Help at Home is a short film depicting the extreme threats of the rapid generation of artificial intelligence.

by Esme Jones in Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom

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In Help at Home, privacy risks losing all meaning as struggling Couple Alfie and Megan open up to Grace, an Alexa-like device that draws on their user data to provide carefully calculated relationship counselling. 

This high-concept romantic drama begins as Megan returns from a holiday to find that Alfie has bought the much-advertised Grace 3.0, and she isn't too happy about it. Noticing their problems manifesting over the dinner table, Grace offers the pair 10 weeks of free couples counselling - is this the right step or are they getting desperate?

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The Director's Vision

Would you listen to your Alexa's advice about your relationship? Well, as millions of households adopt voice-activated home assistants from tech giants like Amazon and Google, as AI becomes an ever-present part of society, and as companies such as BetterHelp commodify therapy to the nth degree by turning it into an online subscription service that sits next to Netflix on your phone, it's only a matter off time before the two come together.

I believe, however, that technology itself will never be a threat, and it is how we as people use it - or misuse it that will determine the impacts it will have. 

Therefore, whilst Help at Home is high-concept and Black-Mirror-esque, for me the main focus is the couple: Alfie and Megan. Their struggle to stay together leads them to take advice from an AI is the emotional driving force of the film for me - Grace is just there to watch.


Visual Style 

CAMERA:

In ‘Help at Home’ visual storytelling is key, we want to use cinematography to reflect the observational nature of the Grace 3.0 system with security footage-esque wide shots and the inner turmoil of Megan’s character through closer, more subjective angles. We start with a soft, close framing that represents the perspectives of the two characters as they navigate their tumultuous relationship. As Grace gains more power over the couple, their modern house begins to feel less and less like a home. Wider camera angles and slow, controlled movement portray our lead characters as though they are trapped in a doll's house. Watched externally as Grace - and by extension, the audience - familiarises themselves with every facet of their relationship. Extreme closeups, alongside POV shots from the device’s perspective, will serve as a visual reminder of the information Grace is collecting on the two as things spiral out of control.

LIGHTING:

By blending naturalistic and expressionistic lighting, we will juxtapose the idealised image of their relationship that Alfie attempts to create for the pair, with the intrusion of Grace as Megan grapples with losing control of her relationship and sense of privacy within the home. The dingy green light emitted by the Grace 3.0 device comes to haunt Megan as Alfie becomes more reliant on its relationship ‘advice’. As the home environment shifts, the lighting appears to become colder and more exposing. Through this shift in lighting we want to illustrate the sense of uneasiness felt as the home they have built together becomes a space in which they cannot hide.

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Over the past decade, people, movies and tv shows have been speculating in fear about the many ways technology and social media might manifest in our lives in the future - but now, today, we have reached that future. We have allowed companies into our homes, and given away all of our data - and now, AI is here. Help at Home’s aim is to show people the world we are now comfortable with, not the world as we fear it might become.

By balancing a science-fiction concept with a nuanced, relatable look at the modern relationship, this film will combine genres and subject matters in a way that we hope will engage audiences, who are not only concerned about the rise of AI and the end of privacy, but also waiting to see more realistic and complicated relationships represented on screen. Because even with AI seemingly taking over, the human experience remains the most intriguing part of any story.

We have a script that has received overwhelming support, that we all deeply believe in and that will provide numerous creative opportunities to all aspects of the production - and crucially we have the team to make it a reality. Our crew is made up of some really talented and experienced filmmakers, who have all worked at this level of production, and our cast is even more exceptional. If we reach our funding goal, we will be able to make a film that’s incredibly important to us, but also a film that many others hopefully find special too.

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To create Help at Home to the scope and quality we believe is possible we hope to allow our team to work without strict money limitations. This does not mean funding towards the film will be splurged but by reaching our target goals the crew will be able to work to their fullest potential while travelling and living comfortably during the process.

This mentality extends to our cast as we would like to compensate their time fairly while providing a comfortable environment throughout the shoot so they are happy, settled and able to perform their best. 

Furthermore, we plan to enter the film in several film festivals and along with this print and craft merchandise, such as the T-shirts, hats, and posters offered within our donation reward scheme.

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Writer & Director - Zac Steiner

Hey everyone! I’m Zac and I’m a filmmaker based in London and Bournemouth, where I’m currently completing my second year of study. My last outing as director, Penrose Road, was a comedy-drama about the dynamics of popularity, friendship and the student party scene, all taking place over one night. Help at Home, however, centres on an adult relationship, and takes place over two nights - so there’s been some growth!
As well as directing, my work includes being the producer for the short films Poncho and For a Friend, and cinematographer for Forever Away. Over the past three years I have worked on around 17 short films across the various departments, and now I’m returning to the director’s chair with all I’ve learnt along the way. This story means so much to me and I’m so excited to bring it to life!

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Producer - Esmé Jones

With continuously growing experience in producing films for screen Help At Home is a project I’m deeply passionate about creating to its fullest potential. I have always been drawn to stories presenting harsh and dark realities of modern-day problems, and Help At Home is no exception. Since being pitched the script and accepting the responsibility of my role it’s been my priority to deliver Zac’s vision to the screen with the high quality the script justifies. My role as producer covers a range of responsibilities, including budgeting, organising the crew, casting, and sorting through mountains of receipts! 

My foremost objective is to establish an environment where the cast and crew feel valued and at ease. Through prioritising well-being, I aim to unlock our collective potential for greatness.

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Producer & First Assistant Director - Evelyn Norman-Rogers

Hiya! I’m Evelyn, the 1st AD and Co-Producer of Help at Home! In the pre-production stage, my job mostly consists of helping Esmé, also focusing on location scouting. And then when we get on the shoot I’ll be helping Zac run the set as 1st assistant director! I’m so excited to be on this project and can’t wait to see the story being brought to life.

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Director of Photography - Will Fleming

Hi I’m Will, the DOP on ‘Help at Home’. I’m a Director, Dop and Gaffer currently studying film production at Ravensbourne University with experience in a variety of different styles of content.  I was intrigued by Zac’s script because of the opportunity it presents for visual storytelling. Throughout the film, there is a fundamental shift in how the characters perceive their environment, which we will understand through both subjective shots from the perspective of the characters and the objective view Grace holds of their relationship. Allowing us to draw implications and foreshadow potential events with the imagery. I’m committed to achieving my best on this project and embracing the creative challenges it brings. I can’t wait to get started on this exciting project - and for everyone to see what we’re able to create!

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Production Designer - Benji Albert

Hi, I’m Benji and I’m an aspiring writer-director and production designer from London. I love stories with a heart and anything magical realist, and my filmmaking (hopefully) reflects this. My last experience as a Production Designer was on “Erebus”, a 1980s set Sci-Fi thriller that posed a number of challenges for the art department, from the period setting to gore effects. Following on from a long collaborative relationship with Zac, I’ll be designing “Help at Home”, and am excited to see what creative opportunities it will bring!

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Editor - Bethany Barr

Hi, I’m Bethany, the editor for Help at Home! With a passion for people-focused stories, I am interested in exploring diverse dynamics through the art of editing. Prioritising storytelling and creativity, I aim to open up new perspectives to audiences with each new project.

If you've read this far, thank you! Your support means the world to us, and we are so excited for what lies ahead!

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£4,000 or more

Executive Producer

WOW! If you help us out THIS much you deserve it all!! Along with all the rewards listed above (Script, Poster, Playlist, Film link & Memorabilia), you will also be recognised and credited as the Executive Producer of Help At Home.

£10 or more

Bronze Subscription

As a Home Help AI's Bronze subscription customer you will receive a PDF of the final script once shooting has been completed.

£15 or more

Special Thanks!

On top of the PDF of the script, you'll receive a special thanks in the credits!

£20 or more

Silver Subscription

As a Home Help AI's Silver subscription customer you will receive a PDF of the final script and an exclusive list of the Help At Home inspired playlist once shooting has been completed.

£35 or more

Gold Subscription

As a Home Help AI's Plus Membership customer you will receive a PDF of the official film poster and an exclusive of the Help At Home inspired playlist once shooting has been completed and a recognition of support in the credits.

£50 or more

Plus Membership

As a Home Help AI's Plus Membership customer you will receive a physical copy of the final script once shooting has been completed and a recognition of support in the credits.

£75 or more

Premium Membership

As a Home Help AI's Premium Membership holder you will receive a link to the virtual screening of the film and a recognition of support in the credits.

£100 or more

VIP Membership

As a Home Help AI's recognised VIP holder you will receive a link to the final cut of the film and a recognition of support in the credits.

£250 or more

0 of 20 claimed

Members Club

As a recognised and respected patron of HomeHelpAI's members club, you will receive a PDF of the script, the final poster, a link to the final cut of the film and a recognition of support in the credits, and a limited-edition Help At Home exclusive zine.

£350 or more

Actionary

As a recognised and respected Actionary of HomeHelpAI, you will receive a PDF of the script and the final poster, a link to the final cut of the film, recognition of support in the credits, and a limited-edition Help At Home memorabilia custom printed T-Shirt.

£500 or more

Associate Producer

Recognised as much appreciated contributor to the project you will receive an Associate Producer credit on the film, with special recognition of this role in the credits. You will earn a PDF of the script and the final poster, a link to the final cut of the film and an item of limited-edition Help At Home memorabilia of your choice (a T-Shirt, Cap, or zine!)

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