The Woman in Purple
As tasked by our tutors, I am going to make a short film entitled Transformation. the reason why it’s called Transformation because I must pick a genre and transform it into something else. So I will make a Film Noir and turn it into a comedy.
It will be in the vain of Shane Black’s films ( ex Lethal Weapon, The Nice Guys, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang etc…) and the films of Kevin Smith inclulinding Clerks.
But the dialogue will be uncompromisingly gritty and offensive and excessive to a sensitive audience, it would be in the same vain as Irvine Welsh’s Filth and even The Wolf of Wall Street depicting a despicable world filled with despicable characters including the protagonists of the film.
Origins of the project.
Well I wanted to make a sequel surrounding the FMP I made almost a year ago entitled Noir FMP.
This time round I wanted to expand the premise so by doing so I needed more than 1 actor, An authentic script and a location to shoot.
the-woman-in-purple ( script )
The plot of the project focuses on Private investigator Max Railroy hired by his chief boss detective Lucas Falco to investigate the murders of 4 people and a disappearance of an individual. It turns out one of the murdered victims is a Woman Max once knew. Max then takes the case and heads to Brighton.
- Shooting on Location
I wanted to originally shoot this project in Dover with Max Railroy being played by myself and Lucas Falco played by Stephen Coyne, a fellow student who I used to be in the same class with in my first year in Canterbury College.
However Stephen’s new job Is a hotel manager and works continiously guarding the hotel. I thought at first this could be a great idea to shoot in that particular location within a couple of days by building the set and making the hotel look like a police department however by the time we were given carte blanche to shoot the project The hotel was already taken by other customers meaning that couldn’t shoot on location plus whilst expanding the script from 6 minutes to 14 minutes long new characters were in development.
But the people who played the other characters couldn’t be available from travelling to Canterbury via Dover.
So instead with 7 people willing to help me make the project in the location of Canterbury, instead I made a simple choice and decided to use the flat that I use and shoot in that location instead.
- Character development
Max Railroy is a stereotypical noir private detective, scruffy, cynical, sarcastic and deceivingly self condescending. He is heavily influenced by the anti-heroes of the Noir ( neo-noir) world in the likes of Max Payne, Doc Sportello, Bigby Wolf, Philip Marlowe, Harry Angel, Deckard, The characters played by Robert Mitchum, Humphrey Bogart and created by James Ellroy. He is the main character of the Transformation project. Played by myself.
Lucas Falco is Max’s boss detective, Max and Lucas have an up and down history that drove Max to leave his work of duty with Lucas until one night Max gets a call from Lucas to meet him.
Originally Lucas was meant to be played by Stephen Coyne but due to inconveniences he was replaced by George Holmes. Lucas Falco is a calm more delecate detective than Max.
Originally in the script it was meant to feature more than 2 characters aside from Max and Lucas. Especially more side characters who are foreign. But My German roommate Julian Angermann offered to help make the short film so I created more characters thus developing the script with side characters. I also thought It would be a good idea to include 3 characters in the sequence involving the main case. and since I had to transform one genre into another from Film noir to black comedy. Me and my roommates made a joke of a Robin that continuously flies around my flat and we called It Muhammed, So I decided to make a mini side story of Albert’s dead pet named Muhammed.
Michael Coggins plays the role of Jimmy Heat. he is yet another cop with issues and has a gigantic nose i thought be funny to put as the comedy aspect in which was ok about. Michael reminded me of Sean Penn from U turn which gave this sort of edge to his performance but Michael wanted to gain confidence and by doing so decided to drink a couple of glasses of whiskey in order to deliver a suitable performance in the short film. I wanted to put gel in his hair and make wear a black buttoned up shirt to look classy for the world of film noir.
Mitchell Edward Dyer plays Alex Jones. Mitch another roommate of mine who into rockn’roll and heavy metal. Because of Mitch’s appearance i wanted to look cool yet scruffy in the same time. Mitch to write his own character down he wanted his character Alex to be a bruised and battered punk rock cop who has lost his wife and kids after an investigation gone catastrophically wrong. And in the first couple of minutes of the clip we see him snorting cocaine ( which was sugar that he actually) and drinking alcohol. His character is similar to the drug fuelled cops from the likes of Harvey Keitel, Nicolas Cage and James Mcavoy.
Soundtrack of the film.
Because it was a film noir turned comedy the soundtrack needed a cool jazzy vibe but also it had to sound intense due to the style and plot of Noir so I research all sorts of genres in music. That includes dance music, rap music, Exotic music, scores , heavy metal, country music , jazz etc.. Anything that could match the scenes and mood of the film.
I chose sisters of mercy dominion for the opening sequence of the film because the first couple of minutes of the song featured cool jazz music that felt dreamy playing before the rock starts to hit.
Other songs feature more rock this time from the 50’s in American culture. The first couple of choices I made to pick the second song for the soundtrack of the film which is the sequence when Max Railroy heads into the living room to meet his co working cops. Because these characters are rough and heavy drinking cokeheads. The style needed a rock n roll cool edge to the feel and the song had to play in the background. So by doing so I searched different rock songs from other generations and I came across the way I walk by Robert Gordon which was also featured in the film Natural Born Killers.
Finally the soundtrack I wanted to use was for the end credits because I believe that songs in the end credits for a movie gives a great motivational boost and must match the movie.
By doing so since it was a story about a woman from a scruffy detective’s past I chose a more modern song called Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King to end the credits.
Character influence part 2
In the main story of the film is given a source of information by his boss detective about multiple murders that occurred and one suspect that has gone missing. One of the murdered victims as explained by Lucas Falco is a woman Max Railroy once knew from the past named Esmeralda Plainwright.
Esmeralda Plainwright like all great Femme Fatales in Noir’s is heavily inspired by Rita Hayworth from the film Gilda and as a matter a fact i used a clip of Gilda in a shot for a background as ironic significance. With Glenn Ford inspiring Max Railroy. Esmeralda was Max Railroy’s ex girlfriend and they had a terrible break up until the day Max finds out she has been murdered. The influence of Esmeralda is also inspired by the likes of Jessica Rabbit, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Rita hayworth from The Lady from Shanghai and Bridget Gregory from The Last Seduction.
Other murdered victims in the case within the story include…..
As said in the film Matthew Wittington is a retired Rockstar from a band called Skittles on Pluto after dealing with illegal issues with drugs and alcohol, then went into rehab and came out a writer for a company vertigo. He met Esmeralda and together along with other friends head to a cottage where they have been mysteriously and brutally murdered. Matthew Wittington’s character is a source of inspiration from Mick Jagger’s story of the Mars bar in the 1967. Matthew Wittington is also inspired by writer Neil Gaiman and a character called Spider Jerusalem from Transmetropolitan.
Torque Menandez is a Mexican character and friends of Matthew Wittington he and a woman named Tit Vaincalson fall for each other at the cottage. Until they are mysteriously murdered. The Reason why Torque is Mexican even though it wasn’t mentioned in the film, Was because there is a character in a the film Punch Drunk Love starring Adam Sandler and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson called Lance played by Luis Guzman and for some reason there was something interesting about that character which is inspired the character of Torque Menandez.
Well since this was a black comedy I wanted every character’s name to be larger than life clichés of action films. However Tit Vaincalson is inspiration from Divine in the films of John Waters. And from my own experiences working in Steinbeck every Tuesday night it’s queer night and the wild craziness that happens those nights.
Murders at the location of Somerset.
Influenced by the horror slasher genre set in Cabin in Woods like Evil Dead, the Cabin in the Woods, Cabin Fever and Until Dawn was one of the ideas I used to tell the story of the murders at somerset, that and The Manson Murders in 1969.
The reason why I picked Somerset as a location was because at first I actually wanted to find a location near the town that was in the British TV series Broad church. However last year out of personal experiences I went out with some friends to indeed a cottage located in Somerset. That name and location was the only thing that was stuck with my mind on what location I would pick for indeed a cottage, plus Somerset is in the country side of England and features many forest that you can easily get lost in which is perfect for a horror film.
The Process of Editing
Shooting the Woman in Purple was the longest process I have ever worked on, it took 7 nights in a row to film with a Canon 700D, 2 batteries, 1 charger , 1 charger for the microphone, 1 tripod, 1 microphone and a boom pole.
Editing was extremely fun and addicting but also incredibly frustrating. Editing also took a week to work on with Avid Media Composer
- 1 Using black and white
Shooting with Canon 700D.
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