Director Pre-Production Journal – Chocolate


61, OTS: The over-the-shoulder here (as described in the book) says that tension and intimacy are portrayed through these shot types. These two emotions are being brought our in the scene with that particular one facing Kristen.

67, static shot: This one we actually did use, which is that wide shot that I’ll blab more on later. We cut to it in between Chris and Kristen’s dialogue. The static shot is a good way of showing the uncomfortable reality of something, or portraying a character’s emotions to how they feel when they’re confronted.

58, Close-up: Obvious here, gives us the nice juicy feelings of an uncomfortable scene (like Chris realizing what he’s done).

83, motivated lighting: since lighting is used to symbolize goodness or enlightenment (pun intended) the lights that we’re using shine towards Kristen, to show her confrontation. There’s another light behind Chris to show that he’s wrong somehow and bolstering Kristen a little more.



I would have to say (although take this with a massive grain of salt, since I’m not formally educated on film genre) without a doubt, a drama. You have a social tension between two people, which seems to me from my (again small) film education indeed a drama.

With that out of the way…


A lot of close-ups that build up tension, and we want to settle it we cut to this wide shot. You’ll see what I’m talking about in our storyboard (and the finished project). We want to use this wide shot like an anchor for the tension and build-up between the two characters (Chris and Kristen).

We also threw this ticking clock in there for another tension builder. But we are careful to not overuse it.

Group Intentions

What surprises me most is how on it we are. We all have the same objective, which is to produce a product that’s (well, of course it’s going to be mediocre) relatively decent. A mix of humor, sarcasm with a harsh lighting, we want to get it done and with as much quality as we can.

Film Vision

Create an environment to harshly juxtapose the emotions between Chris and Kristen; confrontational for Kristen, defensive for Chris. Use lighting that will create a tense environment, but using sound to dim the tension and ease us into an uneasy laughter at the end.

Location, Lighting, Mise-en-scene

Using the conference room for filming, and having Kristen standing up while Chris is sitting down.

Let’s have Chris on a book, and Kristen having the left side of her face towards the camera, Chris having his right facing (to show his vulnerability).

There’s a backlight behind Chris, one facing him, and one facing Kristen (we can also put it in the middle to get them both in the light) so we can see the harsh confrontational attitude that we want from Kristen.

Some Influences

Obviously Kane with geometric power dynamics (wow… could I be any more pretentious?). Person in  “power” is standing whilst person who is not in “power” is sitting, crouched up, fearful.

There was a movie my parents and I really love, Little Miss Sunshine. I remember there was a dialogue shot that was getting really heated, and it did reverse shots between the two characters… then when the tension got really high, there was a cutaway to a wide shot facing them both. I thought it would be fun to use this.

Some Evidence of Team Consultation

Here’s the storyboard we finalized with…

 Location Scouting

Here’s the location we used (some photos our cinematographer took)…

Casting Decisions

We had Cassidy and Samantha as our two cast members.

Cassidy was chosen for Kristen due to her sharper features, Sam as Chris for her softer features. Kristen is confrontational while Chris is in defense mode, so we thought this was appropriate and made the most narrative sense.



I forgot to take a picture. Shoot (pun intended).

We did schedule for a Tuesday and Wednesday in the conference room (in the counseling center). I can’t get a picture of the schedule though since it was last month (calendars changing and all). But we for sure scheduled those days (since we have the finished project and all).

Learning and Problem Solving

We definitely learned how to get a good workflow after our first production date, as well as doing multicam shoots properly (which we didn’t).

We filmed the whole shot three times at different camera angles, rather than doing the same scene with all three cameras at once (oops!). Learned that fast when going into editing.

Also, patience for the actors to slide into their shoe that’s too big or small (their role that they’re playing) is really essential. By allowing them time to ease into their part, they were less freaked out being in front of the camera.

Getting workflow down is very key when doing production; making sure everything is planned out and nothing is improvised (which is good for pre-production, from my experience).

Having what shots to do when is really good for pre-production. It reminds me of memorizing a piece of music. Knowing what to play where. It’s not all dictated and there is stuff you will play wrong, but practice before you perform is really key.







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