24 Frames- From Concept to Execution – Lawson Whitford
So my 24 frames was originally about my current workplace, a warehouse, and would’ve been more about how the traditional masculine man is left behind in the industrial civilized world, but unfortunately, my job wouldn’t allow that, so it shifted to more of a “this guy is just bad at college; life is too much for him.”
The shift still carries with it social and economic commentary, but its less pronounced and more specific to the scenario and characters rather than being meant as some sort of catch all. The core story of a man being left by his girlfriend because he just isn’t what society expects of him is intact in the final product.
While shooting and during scouting, my plans changed several times. Originally, I had wanted to incorporate exercising scenes to almost take the place of the warehouse scenes I lost from the first version. My original idea was meant to be a slow 2D zoom on a sweaty warehouse man over multiple shots to reveal tears amongst the sweat, so I wanted to extend that to exercise. Exercising in a gym, however, is not blocking wise as interesting with the 2D and didn’t translate 1 to 1 to the original idea, so I had my doubts going in.
I was concerned it would be visually limiting, as well as the added complication filming in a somewhat private building with large crowds. I asked the UH gym, and it seemed like the timeline to getting approval might not have coincided with my original planned shooting days, so I axed the gym in favor of jogging in Herman park, something I considered much more visually appealing than the 2D gym idea.
Upon filming, ideas came up from others, and seemingly from an empty void, to do multiple frames and multiple setups that weren’t in what we will loosely refer to as a script. Some reaction shots and performances were needed when I hadn’t anticipated them. When filming the last scripted shots in the office, I went off script, honestly not out of laziness, but out of a sense of “this is how this scene needs to go now,” and ended the project early without the jogging segments. I filmed the crying bit of the office when it was supposed to be while jogging. I was continually thinking, “this isn’t going to make it in the final version; this isn’t the script,” sure I was going to film in Herman park the next day, but my subconscious knew better.
The story was about work, college, poverty, and a girl; it wasn’t about exercising or outward displays of masculinity anymore. By trying to add too much and transfer ideas over from a different project, it would’ve arguably made the already complicated story more complicated and worse, and I only realized this when filming the final shots.