Summary of Planning

Summary of Final Plan 20/10/08

I have chosen the film brief for my foundation Portfolio, my final piece is going to be the opening to a film biography of Frank Sinatra’s life. This idea was initiated from my personal interest in music and from watching certain films that haves stood out to me e.g. Ray. I originally researched artists such as Eva Cassidy, Joni Mitchell and Tracy Chapman but found that the story of Sinatra’s life would work well and interested me. From the beginning I wanted to do an era film with the use of monochrome and colour footage, so although the film is based on all of Sinatra’s life the opening is mainly going to be based around the 1940’s, which was when Sinatra’s music career was just forming and if I was to do the full length film it then would shoot back to his childhood.

We started by watching past film openings from students overseas, they were all from a E-C grade and thrillers-as it was compulsory to do a thriller last year. None of the films stood out to me but they did show me what I did not want to do and the areas to try and avoid, E.G. Filming amateur actors close up, uncertain story line and making to much happen in a the short period of time. I also watched a section from the film ‘Se7en’ and although I was not thinking of doing a thriller it gave me lots of ideas of positioning and how important the set is.

The scene was effective as it used simple acting with no talking, the main lighting was a spotlight with rays of red light which built the tension within the scene and the set and location were well thought out. I had always had the idea that if I was going to do a film opening my film would be music based, so after researching different ways of doing this and different musicians that I like I came to the decision it would be a biography of Frank Sinatra’s life. I choose to focus on Sinatra because I find his life story and era in which he became famous fascinating as I can also introduce the likes of actor James Dean and Sinatra’s close friend and co-worker Dean Martin.

During my research I looked into different past musicians of Sinatra’s era and up till now including the likes of Joni Mitchell , Tracy Chapman, Dean Martin, Eva Cassidy. I looked into different music feature films including, ‘Ray.’ Ray is a modern film that was made in 2004 yet was set back in 1930 when he was born and up until 2004 when he died, it mainly focused on his active years from 1947-2004. If I was to do a full-length biography I would like to follow this structure and include all of Sinatra’s life stages. I also looked into modern musicians who have made feature films including Eminem’s ‘8 mile’ premiered in 2002 and 50 Cent’s, ‘Get rich of die tryin,’ premiered in 2005. I got my idea of showing Sinatra’s nerves in my opening from the ‘8mile’ opening when you see Eminem in the bathroom jumping up and down in front of the mirror. This will be similar to my idea of showing Sinatra in his dressing room staring into the mirror. I find the intro to ‘8mile’ so effective because of its simplicity and grungy lighting that helps set the atmosphere and enhances the genre of Eminem's music. I also want to use similar camera angles; in ‘8 mile’ they use close ups of Eminem’s face and his feet jumping up and down which i would like to copy by showing Sinatra’s nervous hand on the whiskey glass, his tapping feet and possibly his reflection in the mirror but differently from a distance as I want to avoid it looking amateur by using close ups of the face.

The type of audience i am aiming to target is not a specific age yet targeting an older audience purely because of the content and merely because i imagine the film to be quite intense and where the audience would understand and feel empathy towards Sinatra's situation of stress and alcohol abuse. The audience ideally should be musical or interested in the life of Sinatra but i would hope that the film would be interesting to any mature teenager/adult despite there level of interest in Sinatra and music in general. The music feature films I looked at; ‘8 mile’ and ‘Ray’ are rated a 15 and as I am following similar structures within those films I would also rate the film a 15. I went on the BBFC website,, to look into the criteria of a ’15’ certificate. Under the ’15’ it tells an in-depth list of what you can and cant contain and specifially tells us that ’No-one younger than 15 may see a ‘15’ film in a cinema. No-one younger than 15 may rent or buy a ‘15’ rated video or DVD’ whereas under the ’18’ certificate it has less information of bounderies and states. ’In line with the consistent findings of the BBFC's public consultations, at '18' the BBFC's guideline concerns will not normally override the wish that adults should be free to chose their own entertainment, within the law.’ This rein-forces my reasons for rating my film a ’15’ as there is no need for the content to be as explicit as what you would find in a ’18’ rated film.

I am also using ideas from ‘The Kingdom’ opening by using the idea of a timeline with the use of still images becoming animated. The use of typography to illustrate certain key points in Sinatra’s life. There will also be the sounds of different radio stations tuning in and out throughout, which will include some of Sinatra’s music as well as Dean Martin and other musicians of his time. This is similar to the news readings and facts that are spoken throughout The Kingdom.

I am hoping to film my opening at the Jersey Opera House, due to it fitting the image i hope to portray perfectly as it fits the aged era of Sinatra’s life. It was built in 1865 by Henry Cornwall and was named Cornwall’s Royal Amphitheatre and Circus. The age of the building, although since it has been modernised will help me capture a more realistic flashback of Sinatra's life in the 1950s.

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