At the end of summer 2016, I was sure of the fact that I wanted my Final Major Project to be personal, and reflecting my own journey of self-discovery. I scribbled the above note about some pivotal moments in my life that have made me, me. The reason I did this is because, I didn’t just want whatever I made to lack depth, I knew I’d have to search within myself for purpose and meaning. So there you have it: the beginning of ‘The Layers’.
Inspired by Joseph Campbell: ‘The Power of Myth’:
“The first part of any initiation must deal with the death of the old self and resurrection of the New”
Andie’s interior life (from birth until present day):
Andie had always felt like an outsider, she never fit in. She took drugs recreationally and rebelled until she left college. When she left, she distanced herself from her old ways, determined to change, live a healthy and secure life, but she’ struggling and likely to slip into her old ways.
Field, S. (2008). The screenwriter’s workbook. 1st ed. New York: Dell Publishing, p.46.
The office scene was filmed in J Block in university; where the graphic and illustration spaces are located. We filmed on the weekend and booked the space to film in, because otherwise on a weekday the area is very busy with staff and students as it’s part of the walkway.
Above: J Block graphic and illustration area
Adella was responsible for dressing the location. We wanted to make it look as realistic as possible. The theme for the first day of the office scene was Valentine’s Day. The reason for this had two intentions: Firstly to make the red colours stand out, and secondly to be ironic (because this office place is not one you would associate with love).
Above: Valentine’s Day theme in the office
The second day in the office had much paler blues. It’s visually less busy as well; as there are less workers in the office, and there are less objects. Also, Andie is wearing a pale blue shirt, so we wanted to make this the focal point. As I have mentioned previously, colours are an integral part of the film. Throughout the film, the colours that Andie and Alison represent the power balance. So at the beginning when Alison is wearing bright red, it signals that she’s the more dominant and overwhelming character. As the film goes on, Alison’s control over Andie weakens, signalled by her colours standing out less. In turn, Andie’s colours become lighter, to show that she herself is becoming lighter and freer.
Above: Day 2 of the office
Another theory of Depression is Julian Rotter’s (1975) concept of locus of control. This refers to the self-belief that you can can affect and alter your situation, which means Rotter terms someone with an internal locus of control and a high sense of self-efficacy. An external locus of control occurs, when people don’t feel in control of their situation and they have a low sense of self-efficacy. Rotter has observed that people with Depression usually have an external locus of control and a low sense of self-esteem.
Rotter, Julian. “Some Problems And Misconceptions Related To The Construct Of Internal Versus External Control Of Reinforcement.”. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. N.p., 1975. Web. 9 May 2017.
Looking back an old project I did, for the Scriptwriting module in the 2nd year of uni:
My story was about a depressed woman called Hannah who goes on a date because she feels pressured to by her Mother who is concerned that her biological clock is ticking. However, the end of the date is a turning point for Hannah, who decides she deserves to be respected and worthy. So she leaves the date, and she realises that she can craft happiness and discover purpose on her own.
My real intention for the piece was to illustrate that someone’s mental health status or lack of relationship at a certain age doesn’t define them as a person.
For someone that is recovering from depression, the key to recovery is small steps. The tendency to stay in bed all day is huge. but for a depressed person, doing small things slowly like taking a shower and having a small stretch can be so beneficial.
In this story, Hannah’s Mother is a big support network, and so she’s very grateful to her for all that she’s helped with and so doesn’t want to disappoint her by not going on a date.
Reflecting on this piece, I don’t think that the script does justice for how it feels to recover from Depression. I don’t think that the reader would feel enough compassion for the protagonist, nor do I feel the ending was resolved in a way that I think justifies Hannah’s want.
With the piece, I tried to put myself in Hannah’s shoes, but I made her ten years older than me, because there was the risk of being too involved in the character. Anyway, the whole process of deliberately thinking in a depressed person’s view had a negative impact on me. It was backed up by medical facts, but these traits are similar to my own, and I felt myself going into a negative spiral.
For this project I wanted to be mindful of Mental illness portrayal on TV, which meant being sensitive so as not to portray Depression as the horror movie trope. My research shows that on the whole there is a a wide ranging spectrum of depressed characters on TV. I watched a wide range of shows from dark comedies, to more serious dramas where mental illness is the main focus. I wanted to consider the fact that many people that are afflicted with illness will be watching, so I wanted to show how you can cope and live with depression, rather than making it something that can cripple you for life. But I also wanted to point out that depression is not a joke, it’s something to be taken very seriously and does in fact impact your whole life. I wanted to get the balance right. I also wanted to portray it those who don’t have it, and illustrate it in a way that people might understand what it feels like to have it.
Foucault and Lacan have inspired the postmodern view of identity by questioning:
- What are the boundaries of the self?
- Can you tell the difference between private/public or inner/outer selves?
- Can the image of the unified self be replaced by a more surface-oriented model?
These ideas have led me to think in more depth about the relationship between Alison and Andie. (Though remember that Alison is not real, she’s just a representation of Andie’s mind). So, with that in mind, Alison is like Andie’s barrier. Alison prevents Andie from behaving in a civilised way.
At work, Andie is very reserved and doesn’t like to express emotion, for fear of appearing weak. Therefore that is one of the reasons she hides in the toilet- because the stress and emotions were too much for her. At home, Andie is finally able to be on her own and so she can let out her true emotions. A productive outcome from this is she tries to express her emotions by painting. Other times, she’s counterintuitive, and cries and has outbursts of anger, spurred on by Alison.
With regards to the final question that Foucault and Lacan have posed, I believe that there isn’t one singular self. I believe that there are multiple layers of self. In society, there are public and private selves; depending on the situation we encounter. Individually, each person has lots of different multitudes of self that take form when experiencing different emotions; for example when excited or bored.
- Bancroft, A., Rogers, S. and Stapley, P. (2010). Identity And Embodiment – Foucault For Beginners. [online] Cardiff.ac.uk. Available at: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/socsi/undergraduate/introsoc/identity1.html [Accessed 7 Feb 2017].
- Vanheule, S. (2011). Lacan’s Construction and Deconstruction of the Double-Mirror Device. Frontiers in Psychology, 2.