‘Alone Time’ Analysis

I have watched a short film of the drama genre, called ‘Alone Time’, as part of my research into short films within the drama genre. It has been directed by Rod Blackhurst and was released on September 29th 2014. 

This short film is based on a young woman who lives in the busy city of New York. She is constantly presented to be busy with work and unhappy with her life overall, therefore she decides to go camping for a couple of days to have some alone time, hence the title. She finally gets the peace and quiet that she needed, only to find out that she has a stalker. She learns this when she looks back at the photos she took from her camping trip. This is quite unexpected for the audience as it is not obvious throughout the film that she has a stalker, unless you look closely. The overall tone is quite calm, which is what makes the plot twist at the end so unexpected and dramatic. The generic conventions of a dramatic short film have been followed, as there is an unexpected twist towards the end, which makes the audience intrigued to know more. Personally, I quite liked this short film as it follows the main conventions of short films, as well the conventions of the drama genre, however it could be a bit shorted and have the same impact. The film is quite realistic and can even be relatable for some people; the audience is left intrigued to know more about her stalker and how she deals with the situation. 

Overall, I believe that this video has achieved its purpose as it leaves the audience with an unexpected turn of events and leaves them thinking about the film. It also gives out the message that it can be good to have some alone time and take a break from the busy lives that people live, as well as being careful and being more aware of our surroundings. 

The camera, editing, sound and mise en scene has evidently been considered and thought through by the director as it all portrayed very realistically. The mise en scene is the most significant aspect of the film as the choice of lighting, costumes and location is what makes the film seem to realistic and relatable, therefore allowing it to have a larger impact on the audience. 

Textual Analysis

The film begins with a black screen with the words “Based on a true story” in white letters presented in the centre of the screen. This instantly creates a dramatic effect on the audience as the audience is now aware that whatever they are about to see is going to be real and has happened to somebody in real life. After five seconds, the actual film begins with a long shot of a ship sailing in the water, in front of many buildings. This clearly reveals to the audience that the main location is based in a city. Diegetic sound is used as the sound of the ship can be heard very loudly. The title then appears on top of the shot of the ship, in white capital letters. This then cuts to an outdoor area, where a woman can be seen facing away from the camera. However, low key lighting is used which makes it difficult for the audience to see the face of this person. Non diegetic sound is used as slow background music can be heard, as well as some chattering in the background, revealing that this person is not alone. A medium shot is used to portray the side of the protagonist’s face, which once again can not clearly be seen due to the low key lighting. However, it is evident that she is in a formal party setting, and is not enjoying herself. 

The following shot is a medium shot of a train going past the protagonist as she waits at a train station. Diegetic sound is used as the sound of the train can be heard. This then cuts to a long shot of the protagonist at her office job. Non diegetic sound is used as phones can be heard ringing in the background as well as some chattering. The camera slowly zooms in towards the protagonist. This then quickly cuts to a close up shot of her hands typing as someone places some files on her desk, making her stop typing. The camera then tilts upwards to her face as minimum dialogue is exchanged between the protagonist and presumably, her boss. This then cuts to a long shot of the protagonist walking down some stairs in a train station. Diegetic sound is used as her footsteps can be heard. She then walks out of the frame, which then cuts to a side view medium shot as she waits for a train. A man can be seen stepping into the frame as he walks past her whilst looking at her, however she takes no notice. He then becomes out of focus as everything seems to be blurred besides the protagonist. The train then arrives and the protagonist enters the train, however the man is still in frame as he watches her enter and then enter himself in a nearby carriage. 

A close up shot is used to present some food in a tray, which then cuts to a medium shot of the protagonist standing in her kitchen with her tray of food. Low key lighting is used, representing the darkness and sorrow in her own life. This then cuts to a medium shot of an alarm clock presenting the time to be 5:13 am. The camera then pans to the right to present the protagonist laying in bed awake. This then cuts to a long shot of the protagonist standing in a crowded city. She has very serious facial expressions as she stands still, whilst everyone around her is walking, except for one man who is standing behind her. The audience can infer that this is the same man from the train station who seems to be stalking her. As she begins to walk ahead, he begins to walk too as if he is following her. A medium shot is used to present the protagonist back at work as she spills coffee over her papers. The camera remains on her face for a few seconds, emphasising her unhappy, stressed facial expressions. 

A long shot is used to present the protagonist in her home as she clumsily drops a bag. Low key lighting has been used, suggesting that she is still unhappy in her life and that darkness is following her everywhere. A medium shot is then used to reveal her facial expressions as she seems to be thinking of something.  This is supported by the next shot of her talking through the phone leaving a message to someone saying that she is going camping for a few days to have some needed alone time. Non diegetic sound is then used as some slow background music begins to play as a medium shot is used of the protagonist driving in her car. A medium shot is then used of the protagonist in a shop as she waits to pay for a couple of necessities for her trip. The camera then emphasises on the disposable camera she picks up and adds to the things she is buying. This is the first time in the whole film where the protagonist can be seen smiling, and high key lighting is used. A side view medium shot is then used of her driving in her car once again, however the scenery through the window has changed from a city to a more country side atmosphere. The camera stays on her face for a few seconds, emphasising her smile as she is finally happy. The background music also speeds up and sounds a lot more cheerful and happier, reflecting the protagonist’s emotions. 

A medium shot is used of the protagonist getting out of her car as she places her camping bag on her back and walks into the trees and bushes. A long shot is used to present the trees and bushes as she walks between them. Non diegetic sound is used as the sounds of crickets and birds can be heard in the background, making it seem more realistic and emphasising the natural environment. Another long shot has been used as the protagonist enters an area where there is a river in front of her. A medium shot is used as she takes out her camera and take a photo of the river due to the beautiful scenery. This then cuts to a medium shot of the protagonist setting up her tent besides the river. A medium shot is then used to present her in the river as she slowly dives in and begins to swim. This then cuts to a close up shot of a camp fire that she has made. The camera then pans towards her, giving the audience a better image of her. Diegetic sound has been used as the crackling of the fire can be heard. This then cuts to the protagonist sitting inside her tent, getting ready to sleep. The following shot is a long shot of the sky, from which the camera pans downwards to reveal the natural atmosphere once again. The protagonist is then presented to be opening her tent up and getting out of it. The camera pans around her as she takes more photos on her disposable camera of the environment she is in. 

Loud sirens can be heard as the location changes back to the city. A long shot has been used to present the protagonist leaving a shop where it seems that she has got all her photos from her disposable camera printed. This then cuts to the protagonist sitting at a table, looking through her photos and smiling. The camera then moves position so it focuses on the photos that she is looking at, allowing the audience to see them too. The camera is constantly cutting between the photos and her reactions to the photos, when she suddenly has shocked and fearful facial expressions. The camera then cuts onto the photo itself, which is an image of the protagonist sleeping in her tent, which means that somebody was stalking her. The camera then focuses on the protagonist’s face through a medium shot as she looks directly at the camera. The screen then goes black and the credits begin to roll. 

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