Storyboarding and characters

As I wrote this script, I started visualising in my head what it would look like on screen. Seeing as how there are quite a few characters in our short film, we wanted to go with ensuring that more focus is put on the main character – the little girl, Stella.

With that, we decided that we want to capture our short film in a way where the spotlight is on Stella and her interactions with the two other children in the story, allowing viewers to see things more from a child’s perspective.

With this scene, I imagined that Stella’s mother, Mia, is never completely seen. We don’t ever see her face throughout the entire film, but we do see bits and close-ups of her – from the waist down, or just her mouth, or her back.

In a short film about a little girl and her relationship with her parents, ‘The Quiet Room’, director Rolf de Heer uses ‘various techniques to intensify the sense of being inside a child’s head, from stylised lighting to upturned camera angles emphasising adults towering over children’ (Lopate 1997). In our short film film, the children play the most important roles amongst themselves, and so we want to ensure that the focus is always on them.

Scene from ‘The Quiet Room’ (1996).

This shot is an example of how we want the adults to be portrayed in our short film – physically there and still a part of the child’s life, but not entirely a dominant character.


As with the above storyboard, only bits of Stella’s mother, Mia, is seen. The overhead shot with Stella colouring with Sam suggests what it is like from an adult’s perspective, but by seeing it in this way, it is also about how a child expects an adult to view them – in this case, that Sam exists. The close-up on Stella’s face is aimed to ignite a sort of attachment to the character, as we are fully focused on the joy she feels when she is around her imaginary friend.

Lopate, P 1997, ‘When the ‘I’ in a Film is a Child’s’, The New York Times, viewed 11 April 2016, <>.
The Quiet Room 1996, short film, Australia, directed and produced by Rolf de Heer.

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