Teddy - a short film by Christiaan Moleman



The original concept for the story, which I wrote on the train to work, looked like this:

Children of Palestine
Two little kids are fighting (over a toy?), adult (parent?) gives the girl a teddy to stop them fighting - EXPLOSION - tanks roll in, soldiers march, one stops and harasses a civilian, girl witnesses… looks at teddy, looks at fight… goes over to soldier, tugs on coat, gives teddy, so he’ll stop fighting, soldier is left looking bewildered as the girl walks away.

There were a lot of questions that needed to be answered: What toys are they playing with? Why does mom/dad not intervene? How to believably go from the calm of the first scene to the scene with the soldier? After some discussion with my mentor and classmates I eventually arrived at a story that felt solid.

Giving the girl the crayons and having the boy take one set up the fight and made the girl more sympathetic. Somebody on the AM forums suggested the film start indoors, which solved the transition problem. Apart from the one soldier, the military presence was pushed completely to the background. My mentor suggested I have the boy try to stop his sister from going outside, which helped cement their relationship - he’s worried about her...

Ultimately, I tried to make the film as simple as possible, without losing anything. Less is more, as they say.


010 - the thought behind the shot 170 - the thought behind the shot

Probably the single best thing I did during pre-production was this: I printed out my scanned storyboards and wrote lines on each panel to show what every character was thinking. If I wrote nothing it meant I was continuing the thought from the previous shot. While this made for cheesy overstated writing like a bad super obvious comic book, it was incredibly helpful in getting the intention right for every shot.

Storyboards on the wall in Alkmaar

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