‘Flea’

flea

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p01ssqvw/original-drama-shorts-1-flea

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/writersroom/entries/5a00c2c5-7c92-3b6b-8f40-39ab9ad4c4f5

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scripts/flea-iplayer-drama-short.pdf

Production

‘Also the project was under a very tight time schedule so shooting the whole short in three days was extremely challenging but I hope the audience can see how strong our cast and crew were, to produce such amazing work in such a short period of time’ – Alice Sykes

‘One of the biggest challenges was casting the right Flea. Originally she was written as a male. We saw both spoken word artists and young male actors but no one was really doing it for us. I think it was in the second round of casting that I said it might be worth seeing what a girl could bring to the role. Alice Sykes was perfect. She was able to carry the verse and she was a spontaneous and truthful actor. I was actually really delighted Flea ended up being a female character because I am definitely of the mindset that if a protagonist can be played by a female then it should be. There are a disproportionate amount of male protagonists, and anything I can do to shift that I will’ – Vanessa Catwill

‘Flea’s superpower is the ability to think and talk and view the world in a way that’s a bit different from other people. I’d love it if people watching were to think ‘What’s my superpower?’ ‘What’s unique about the way I see the world?’ I think everyone has something special about them that only they bring to the world, something only they can teach the people around them. It would be nice to encourage people to think about that’ – Cat Jones

Audience

‘We talked about the possibility of reaching a young audience, perhaps people who spend time browsing Youtube, who share music videos with their mates, who don’t necessarily think TV drama is for them. We also talked a bit about not underestimating young audiences, not being frightened to take them to uncomfortable places as well as celebrating what is exciting and wonderful about life. From all of that emerged the idea that I’d like to write in verse – there’s lots of spoken word poetry videos online and it occurred to me that you don’t see much of that on TV’ – Cat Jones

‘iPlayer only content isn’t restricted by the length of a particular slot, or the expectations of a particular audience or channel, which made for a very liberating writing experience’ – Cat Jones

‘I watch loads of television drama but most of it not at the time of initial broadcast. Like a lot of people, I spend a fair bit of time browsing iPlayer and unlike the times when I sit down to specifically watch something on TV, I often don’t know what I’m looking for – I end up watching stuff that I never would have otherwise watched. It felt exciting that the BBC were starting to make things specifically for that medium’ – Cat Jones

‘I use iPlayer to catch up on loads of television that I miss as I’m always on the go. I love the BBC iPlayer app on my iPad to catch up on TV dramas that I often miss’ – Alice Sykes

‘As a youth channel, BBC Three is at the forefront of new ways to commission and view programmes and to find up and coming talent both on and off the screen. This new drama strand is exactly the kind of venture BBC Three is all about’ – Victoria Jaye

‘The best thing about iPlayer for me is that I go to it thinking I might watch one thing, then end up watching something completely different. watching TV doesn’t have to be sensible or planned or predictable’ – Cat Jones

Analysis

It is interesting to hear that the character of Flea was originally planned as a male character. This is strange considering that most of the production team were females and that Vanessa the director had said that ‘ I am definitely of the mindset that if a protagonist can be played by a female then it should be. Their are a disproportionate amount of male protagonists, and anything I can do to shift that I will’ I wonder why they had originally planned to cast her character as a male? I think that it was a very important and very good decision that they decided to cast Flea as a female. A female approach to the character seems like it ticked all of the boxes. She was facing a situation where in order to be rid of her dad she needed to be strong and she needed to be a ‘fighter’. As Flea is an underdog, I think it was best for an actress to be cast in this role. Female characters are great fighters in films and I often buy into their characters a lot more than male characters who are trying to defy the odds. But as much as female characters are great fighters, they are also seen as very gentle and soft and so this might have been why they didn’t originally consider a female character. But I think that as I just mentioned, this is an underdog story, and I think that Flea worked very well as a female because of her age. I think that the age of the character put her in more of an underdog position and I think that really supported the fact that she was cast as a female.

Perhaps what sells the short film the most is it’s use of poetry. Poetry like this is not common in films and TV. And the poetry here almost gives the short film it’s entirely own genre. Without it, it would be a regular drama, but the use of poetry means that it is a short artistic film. The poetry really gives another level to all of the characters. Each line of the poetry has really been thought through and no lines of dialogue can go understated. This gives power to all of the characters, because each character has had the same level of treatment from the writers as each other.

I can’t imagine the short film being filmed in a way where Flea doesn’t look at the camera all the time. It makes the short film and the context of it more powerful. It points the fingers at the viewers and aims to make them think about their own situation, can they be doing more? can they improve upon their situation? can they make a change? Even if you think you are ‘fine’, it still gets you to think. I think the fact that Flea constantly looks straight towards the camera really works for what the producers are going for. They said that they wanted to direct the short film towards a young audience and I think that the use of direct camera engagement in the short film gives it a much bigger meaning to young people who are watching.

The music used at both the beginning and end of the video fits what the producers were after, because they said that their was an element of hope to Flea, that not all is lost. The music at both the beginning and end of the video is fast paced music that keeps on building. The music at the end isn’t used to support Flea and her story, but instead it is used to target the audience as Flea is talking to the camera again, but this time, instead of talking about herself and what is going on in her life, she offers advice to the viewers and tells them that they have the power and that the choice is theirs. When she starts talking, she stairs into the distance. This works in support of what I have just said about freedom and optimism because she is gaising on the horizon. About what is to come in her life and what can come of yours if you take it and you make of it what you want it to be.

 

 

 

 

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