For my animation, I am choosing to centre my narrative around commuting and the phenomenon of manspreading on public transport, and convince the audience how uncomfortable and unfair it is to be a commuter to be in this environment. Additionally the narrative is specifically from the perspective of a woman to tie in with my overarching theme throughout my portfolio of work; woman’s mental health and its portrayal in film/digital video. To do portray this I will present a sequence of shots that hopefully show some of the symptoms and feelings of coping with anxiety in challenging environments. It is my intention to inform, educate and hopefully introduce a new perspective to my audience.
My story opens with a wide shot of our protagonist waiting at a train station platform. The background’s colour palette will be composed of predominantly one or two colours, I think this will look aesthetically punchy and I am influenced by the style of The Paper Girl comics. A quick cut to a full shot of our protagonist introduces her properly to the audience, highlighting the details of her appearance, composed of a collage of real photos of myself for skin tone, hair texture and clothes, a creative choice so the protagonist will look dynamic against the background and make her feel more ‘real world’. A following wide shot shows a train pulling into the station and opens its doors and pours light into the scene when our protagonist steps in, as she steps into the light it gives way to our next setting and mid-section of our narrative.
Inside the carriage a wide shot introduces our antagonist of the piece, suited commuters. Looming identical figures that have no faces, populate the train in various positions (manspreading), taking up space and creating an impression of claustrophobia and a threat. The character will be made from a collage of stock paper and newspaper cuttings, apart from a tie that will be made from currency to convey their relationship to the corporate world. Their colour palette will be composed of darker blue tones, except for a green tie. The character will hopefully look very sinister and our character will stand in contrast to them.
Once this visual has been established, then begins conflict. A series of extreme close ups and quick cuts show the commuters looking at headlines, loudly tapping on their phones, spreading their limbs and scratching faces orchestrated with exaggerated folly noises for each action. The quick cuts and close ups will create a feeling of sensory overload, a common symptom and experience of anxiety that makes every day noises unbearable. Including a shot of multiple phones spelling out ‘breaking news’ shoved in the face of our protagonist, it will feel very aggressive and introduce red to the colour palette.
The quick cuts will be interjected with medium shots of our protagonist shrinking, camera tracking down to create the impression of losing confidence and becoming increasingly overwhelmed. The commuters will begin to appear as looming giants over her. Commuting on trains is typically populated with men in suits and it is often these people who take up a lot of room physically or feel more entitled to the space, often unconsciously or even consciously invading women’s spaces. A full shot of our protagonist entirely shrunken conveys a helplessness and feeling, I want the audience to understand how the antagonist’s actions are effecting our protagonist and I want the audience to feel sympathy for her.
The camera zooms into a button and zooms out to show the girl approaching, she lifts her hand and presses the button. Cut to a wide shot show, the windows disappear from the train revealing a background and the commuters are sucked up. The next scene is the train whizzing through the city with the men falling out of the train, to add humour and an exaggerated consequence to man spreading, which is important to my propaganda piece. Cut to credits and finally a shot of the character winking.
I intend my narration to convince the audience that environments still dominated by men can be stressful for some women, especially those with anxiety. I think the piece is topical in our current cultural climate with so much media attention recently drawing attention to harassment and unacceptable behaviours by men. These behaviours in public transport do and should still be addressed, it is an environment where women should feel safe