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Photo Essay Project Proposal (JRB)


February 12, 2012 by joonmarie


Danielle drying Gracie the cat

In life I believe that people gravitate toward animals to heal themselves, find companionship and for comfort. I also believe that some people prefer the companionship or animals rather than making human friendships or connections, suffer from introversion and create for themselves, a cyclical pattern of disconnection to the human race. Whether to cope with a hard or misunderstood childhood, people have “used” pets to fulfill a void that have been caused by dissocializing. For some people, caring for animals offers a way to exercise feelings that they would otherwise suppress from people, for the fear of being judge or shut down.

Gracie after one of her baths

My film will show this in action by exploring an animal lover named Danielle Parker. A self-labeled “hypochondriac” who loves animals, Danielle would rather be in the comfort of her home (with her cat Gracie and dogs Bear and Lady) than to feel the discomfort of being in the eyes of the public that doesn’t seem to understand her. Aside from thinking she is susceptible to catching life-changing illnesses; Danielle suffers from insecurities, some with legitimate roots and has caused her introversion and self loathing, especially when she was younger.

Danielle excited to go skating in public---but later panics, and suffers anxiety and great discomfort to the point of going back home

During her childhood, Danielle went through a period of teen angst that was filled with unhappy memories that can make her cry in an instant. Submissive and always apologetic, outsiders may call her “odd” or “lacking of will”, but to her furry friends and the few people she values, she is golden and indispensable.

My film’s main conflict is a young woman, against herself. Although other people have caused suffering in our lives, we hold the only key to release ourselves from our own cages. And often, we get so used to said cage that we would rather stay fearful, than try new things and fail.

I expect my film’s structure to be determined by proper storytelling technique, quality of sound bites, and the layout of time and space. The subject and point of view suggest a style that is simple and basic.

Terrified and shaking, with a helping hand, Danielle gives skating a try and finds it exhilarating, and not as scary as she thought

Ultimately I want the audience to see introverted people in a new light. To relate to them by finding the reasons as to why they feel the way they do. By identifying with the character, the audience will hopefully better understand themselves and where they stand: whether they feel a connection with the character or not.

Gracie after her bath

Although the main activity in the photo-essay consists of Danielle preparing and giving her cat a bath,  I will be interviewing her about every aspect of her life including her anxiety to try new things, love, friendship, family, the past, hypochondria and most of all the moment Gracie entered her life. I am still debating whether to do the interview and shoot simultaneously or separately. Hopefully, comforting the unhappy cat is therapeutic, as she realizes she is very much like the cat. I’ll be watching out of epiphical moments, during the moments where she will be talking about the  need to reach out for human connection, just as she rescued Gracie the cat from an uncertain faith.

In terms of cinematography, I’m debating whether to use color pass on my main character and her cat, to emphasis how “grey” other things are, in her life. I want to use natural or indoor lighting, and perhaps play with high contrast black and white. At this point, I am still uncertain as to which route I’ll take. In terms of talking about the PAST, I wanted to use old pictures, and even try drawings to illustrate the past. Simple and childish drawings– not embellished to display a plain and mute atmosphere.


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