Haohan (Maggie) Wong
Mei (Annabel) Feng
In the planning and brainstorming stage, the group had set up Google Drive and a Twitter chat group to share ideas.
In the beginning, Ben proposed that each of us should individually create a short video related to surveillance, and then edit and combine into one video. Maggie’s idea was about pet surveillance. She wanted to produce a story to show how the pet owners can monitor their pets by installing a camera at home, so they can watch over their pets’ home activities through mobile screens wherever they go.
The inspiration from Annabel resulted from the function ‘Frequent Locations’ of iPhone. This function of the iPhone means that when the location service is turned on, one’s iPhone will automatically record and store the locations wherever they go. Based on this trace function, Annabel came up with a storyline related to surveillance. The general plot being that the main male character suspects his girlfriend is having affair with someone, therefore, he checks his girlfriend’s iPhone everyday to look at the records of her frequent locations. Maggie created a character map by using ‘Bubble.us’ to gain a clear view of the plot.
All members were favour of this idea, and we decided to create a 5-6 minutes drama genre film together as a group. However, our group was comprised of two girls and one boy, and each of us should have the opportunity to be on camera. Therefore, after discussion on Twitter, the group members decided to adjust the storyline – Anna suspects her boyfriend Ben is having an affair with her best friend Mandy. Anna checks Ben’s phone everyday by looking at his frequent locations. One day, Ben got home late and told Anna he went to his brother’s, but Anna didn’t believe him. She checked his frequent locations when he went out of the room, and found out Ben went to Mandy’s home instead. Next day, she asked Ben angrily how he cheated on her with her best friend. Ben just realised Anna checked his phone every day, he explained to Anna that he went to Mandy’s place for preparing a birthday surprise for her. Although Anna apologised for the misunderstanding, Ben broke up with Anna because she has broken the trust between their relationship.
Pre-production is a crucial phase that sets the overall vision and blueprint of our project. After the group had finalised the storyline ideas for our surveillance film, all members were engaged in Twitter chat and Skype conference call to further discuss the tasks required to prepare for the video.
Because we were going for a short film in drama genre, all members agreed that it was necessary to have a script written so that our key messages can be delivered effectively through the dialogues of the characters. Therefore, one of our group members, Ben was assigned to write the script. The script includes details about the location setting, scene and action descriptions, and dialogues of each character. It was uploaded onto google drive for all members to view, to provide constructive feedback, and to rehearse before filming.
As a group, we believed that having a well prepared storyboard could help the group save time and stay organised when shooting and editing the film. So, based on the script, a storyboard was created by Maggie that illustrated the framing, shot size and camera angle for every scene, so the group members can use it as a guide during production and post-production stages.
The filming location was also decided by the group via Skype call in the pre-production stage based on our storyline. Also, a ring box that serves as an important prop for our final scene was prepared prior to filming by Annabel.
Because the group were well prepared in pre-production, the filming stage went smooth, and we got our shots done within an hour. The film was shot with iPhone because of its ability to record good quality image and audio, also because it is easy for the members to operate. During the post-production stage, Maggie was assigned to trim and merge all the raw footage.
The intended meaning behind this video was to show that while this location tracking technology exists, it could potentially lead to the abuse of this technology. In a relationship between two people (whether they be a couple, mother/daughter, or any relationship where one party has a dominant role over the other), trust is always a major part of that relationship. It was our intent with this video to show how the abuse of that trust can be responsible for the downfall of a relationship.
While the frequent locations tracking feature is a form of surveillance in and of itself, we decided to expand on that by having the story show the extra length that the characters go to in relation to surveillance in the name of a relationship. The character of Anna is scared that her boyfriend is cheating on her, giving her a clear motivation in this story. She wants to make sure that Benjamin isn’t cheating, so she checks his frequent locations. She feels completely justified in doing this, as seen later in the video when she confronts Benjamin, essentially saying that her snooping isn’t a big deal.
Technology can be a great way to keep up to date with what our partners are doing, and can be useful in certain circumstances. With this video we intended to show that a small misunderstanding can escalate when we believe in our technology and surveillance methods over simply talking to people and finding out what is going on. Benjamin may have lied to Anna, but we wanted to show that Anna’s snooping was the more unethical action in the story. Anna’s actions have more dire consequences in the end.
Annabel Feng- Anna
Ben Quigley- Benjamin
Maggie Wong- Mandy
Directed by Maggie Wong
Filmed by Ben Quigley & Maggie Wong
Story concept by Annabel Feng
Written by Ben Quigley
Edited by Maggie Wong