'Poster Boy' by Good Shout

First Edit

Poster Boy is a lovely story by Tracey Flynn made by Good Shout/Alladi Films. Starring Stephanie de Whalley as an agoraphobic young woman who fights her fears and opens herself to a world of possibility. Filmed by an ambitious group of young filmmakers in London on a shoestring budget. 

Read 'Poster Boy' HERE

First cut: Producers notes for the filmmakers

  • So this film needs some work, but it can be turned around.
  • When we see her drawing furiously, I feel like I want to see what she is drawing – do you have a cutaway?
  • Use the music to help us feel when she moves back and forth from her manic states. Try it out, it may be too much though.
  • One good comment below is the possibility of a voice over written by Tracey – this may be a last resort, but if done with charm, and NEVER to explain what is happening on screen (rather to reflect in a way that we figure out what’ happening), then it could work.
  • Consider dropping the origami note at the end as it does not make sense as she did not take it from him – or do a pickup shoot where she grabs it. Either way the logic must work.
  • Consider use of atmospheres – or maybe atmosFEAR – when she is in her introverted manic state, it could be oppressive, and when she is in her happy state it could be light birdsong. Support the narrative with audio.
  • Some good notes from people below on possible reshoots if the team can go there.
  • Rather than shortening, we may need to spend more time in her crazy world to really get her fear - sound and close ups will help here.
  • Final note, this was one of my favourite scripts and I would encourage everyone involved to go the distance to see if it can be improved with rediting, remixing, new music choices, possible voice over and possible pick up shoots. I know the screenwriter Tracey Flynn is already reaching out to the filmmakers.
  • If you do consider a reshoot, get in touch so we can properly consider what needs restructuring

First Cut Comments... have YOUR say!

Write a comment

Comments: 13
  • #1

    Stephen Cooper (Tuesday, 06 November 2012 22:22)

    Really liked the script when I read it and think you've done it justice. Enjoyed the tone of the film, very sweet. Could maybe do a bit with the colour in the flat, but other than that I think it plays well. Nice story, well told.

  • #2

    Mark (Tuesday, 06 November 2012 23:09)

    I watched the film having no knowledge of the story. Sorry to say and I know this is annoying but I couldnt work out what happened and didnt get the ending that she had a fear of going out. She just seemed to act strange then stranger then why did she have a poster of the guy and why run from him. Then I looked at Stephens comment and realised. Sorry. Somehow you have to tell the audience in the beginning she has this fear. Maybe the title could say agrophobia. It's no good leaving clues and expect an audience to pass an intelligence test as like me many of us wont!

  • #3

    Mark (Tuesday, 06 November 2012 23:11)

    Sorry I meant your comments

  • #4

    Erica Vogel (Wednesday, 07 November 2012 00:49)

    I loved this script from the start and nearly chose this film to make (made "Tied Up"). I was so happy to see this up today. It's a lovely film and does justice to the story, in my opinion. I like the way the music builds and I like the curtain shots in the beginning and end. The story didn't confuse me. It seemed clear from the post it notes all over her wall that she was building up her nerves to go out. I think the ending, where she sees the number, may be a bit confusing to people who haven't read the script, though. I suppose you could trim the film by 20-30 seconds, for the contest film sake, but I really like it as is.

  • #5

    Mark (Wednesday, 07 November 2012 08:11)

    Yes but those notes could have meant anything. Maybe she had been beaten up Maybe she was reading someone elses notes and she was scared of that person. I really didnt catch any tie in with the notes and thats the problem. Erica Because you already know the story you cannot be a judge. Its better to ask people who have no knowledge and see what they think. If its a guessing game then the question should be firmly answered in the end so the viewer knows his suspicions are confirmed.

    This is always a problem with being familiar and why first time viewers are so important.

    At the moment its just me so would be interesting to see of others who dont know the story catch on.

  • #6

    Nicola (Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:19)

    I love the indoor scenes – they are touching and get Ava across really well. The one sticky note with the double lines (For God’s sake ...) is hard to read, btw. I am not sure the music works. I think the moment she plugs in the headphones, a soundtrack that drowns out everything around her would show her emotional state much better.
    What I think is not really working is most of the bus stop scene. To me, it is a lcoation problem. I think it needs to be in one these bus stops with a roof – Ava is uncomfortable with people around her, that is her problem (for me, agoraphobia is not her issue, or the ending wouldn’t make sense. But that might just be me). You give her too much space to make the audience see that. And the large stretch of space also means that the ovezealous woman hugging Ava actually has to walk over to do that, that looks rather unnatural. And last, Jerome suddenly appearing out of nowhere is a bit odd. But from the moment he folds the paper, I think you’re back with a good interpretation of the script.
    I also see a little room to edit: We don’t need to see her run that much. Her stepping away and entering her front garden should do the trick.
    Maybe, if you cannot re-shoot that bit, can you work with different shots, different music and speeding up and slowing down images to show more of the struggle she is going through and the envy she feels when she sees the couple?

  • #7

    Devon Avery (Wednesday, 07 November 2012 19:37)

    I thought this was very well cut and acted, but I agree with Mark, and didn't understand what story had just been told.

  • #8

    Evan (Wednesday, 07 November 2012 22:02)

    Well shot and I liked the gesture of the paper flower. She gave a solid performance.
    I have to echo others' opinions that I was baffled by the premise here. I felt she was a little odd girl who developed a scary obsession with the guy at the bus stop at the end. And then there's something about not wanting to look outside. But your post its, photos and sounds of kids playing didn't help explain the concept to me. They just added to the confusion.
    I'd consider deleting the kids playing and working in a voice over of her talking to herself in a way that makes her phobia clear. I bet the writer would help with this if you wanted to explore it.
    I like the overall look, but it's clear the theme was lost on a few people.

  • #9

    Mark (Thursday, 08 November 2012 22:28)

    You could add an insert of her drawing that either bluntly says agrophobia or that alludes to it in a strong way?

  • #10

    Tracey Flynn (Friday, 09 November 2012 12:42)

    Hi everyone! Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. Keep them coming! As Chris has said, I’m working with the filmmakers to help improve the film, but I’d like to say that I think they’ve done a sterling job so far; I particularly love Stephanie’s portrayal of Ava! Great casting!

    I’m concerned by the confusion over what Ava’s problem really is. If I may shed some light on that: Ava has extreme social phobia, not agoraphobia. (Although - having suffered from it myself - I know it often develops into that.) Social phobia is a fear of being judged by others and therefore her life is devoid of human contact. This story sees Ava at a point of breakthrough as she battles her behaviour patterns.

    It’s clear that her problem needs to be established well in the opening scene. It would grieve me to have to write a VO, the visuals are supposed to eliminate the need for that, but I understand if it’s our only option. We’re trying to work out if a reshoot will be possible (they’re all very busy actors in different parts of the country), but they do have lots of material “in the can” that hopefully could work. Maybe some close-up shots of the notes...or seeing Ava write/add one of the notes to the wall will establish her personal connection to them? (I’m referring to Mark’s comment)

    The bus stop scene is also an issue. There needs to be a rising emotional tension between Ava and the couple/commuters for that moment to work. I agree with Nicola that an enclosed space would have served the story better.
    However, if a reshoot is not possible, I’ve suggested trying things to create a suffocating environment for Ava: turning up her music for example, as soon as she puts in her headphones (in the flat). The music is another coping mechanism for her; it’s her way of being able to stand being in the world by eliminating one of her senses.
    Clearly, she’s a complicated girl.

  • #11

    Evan (Saturday, 10 November 2012 15:28)

    You don't need a voice over to clarify her condition, IF the filmmaker can add some pertinent pick ups. Her hand hesitating at the door knob, a clipping of an article on agoraphobia or social phobia, etc. I think this can be all cleared up non-verbally. No doubt if the writer and filmmakers collaborated on a solution this will be a very strong piece.

  • #12

    Nicola (Sunday, 11 November 2012 16:47)

    I’ve just read Tracey’s comment and it triggered an idea for the audio at the bus stop – maybe you like it: you know how, in really stressful situations, your ears ring, or your blood rushes to your head and creates that noise inside your head? Hmm, I sound a bit crazy, but you could replicate that when she takes the earphones off – silcence with the classic heartbeat and maybe some breathing would be classic. All the outside noises at full volume could show how overwhelmed she is. A high pitched noise or, my favourite, a low, strong humming tone (maybe even with slowed down pitcures) would be good. And then, when Jerome creates the flower, the tone could become less and once she’s back home and makes the decision to take down the old picture, it could be replaced by happier music? Just a thought.

    And also, if re-shooting the bus stop scene is a problem, how about re-doing the opening scene? People don't get social phobia from the film and that, in my opinion, must mainly be because of the opening scene. All post-it notes relate to a fear of going out, they don't make people think about the why. And the notes come from the script. So in that sense, the script might have left too much room for interpretation. You could add pictures that show what she wants, happy people, couples ... even be blunt and have a pro-con type of list on the wall: all she wants on one side, all her fears on the other, and if you add notes like “not all people are bad”, or something eloquent, then it should be pretty close to hitting people in the face with what this is about.

    Even a VO could only be a few sentences in the beginning. She could make sarcastic comments about her fear, how even a picture of a person would be a huge step towards letting people in her life or so. Ok, that is rather on the nose, but she doesn’t have to be all shy in the VO, she could be very aware of what is going on with her and comment on that.

  • #13

    Staré (Thursday, 15 November 2012 05:42)

    nice one! would be better in a bus to give the entrapment. good job with the introduction to give us more information about her problem. it wasnt in the script as far as i remember.