For those of you who are not familiar my graduation film, which will be ready in June (I pray!!!), will be about a young teenage girl battling with Cancer.
As I am in the very pre-production stage of the filmmaking process, I want to address a few concerns I have about making this film. The primary thing I want to figure out is how to explain cancer in a way that is empathetic yet honest, simple but not patronising, and to find a way of giving as much information as possible, without overwhelming the audience.
The film is supposed to be roughly three minutes long, and in this time a number of things need to be addressed. There are two parts to this film, in my mind, the first is the story of this fictional character and the second is the explanation of cancer.
For the first part I need to show that this character is suffering with cancer, she is a young teenage girl and has just returned back to school after treatment. She is struggling with keeping up physically and mentally at school. She is sporty and is exceptional at football – she is captain of the team. The majority of her teammates do not understand cancer and therefore act in a slightly odd manner around her. One friend does, however understand it and explains cancer to her friends.
The second, and most important, part is addressing what cancer is, why it occurs, what the treatments available are, and how to check your body for any early warning signs of cancer.
Upon looking at sites such as MacMillan and Teenage Cancer Trust it became clear that some of the things that concern young people the most about cancer is that they may have done, thought or said something wrong to cause it, (typically these children are under the age of 10). Children also worry that cancer is contagious. Cancer is a difficult and sensitive topic in itself, but to have to explain it to a young person can be incredibly difficult. The sites I mentioned earlier have good tips on how to talk to your child about cancer. The things they noted was to explain what cancer is, what the name of a certain cancer is, and how it can be treated. Using simple language but also being specific with the explanation can be really helpful. Talking about it seems to be the best solution to ease children’s fear when facing cancer, or when a parent or friend has cancer. I hope that this film can be a tool to help people talk about it to their friends, family and children.
Lastly I am in the process of figuring out how to weave the cancer explanation seamlessly into the rest of the story. (Ideally) The film will be engaging (and actually enjoyable to watch!), I hope to achieve this by creating a strong narrative and creating an appealing and cinematic environment. It critically needs to be informative and correct. Content is King! And without accurate and correct information then no matter how good the story is, the film will fall flat on its face. SO in the next few weeks a fair amount of reading and questioning and analysing needs to be done to ensure the content is accurate.
Will keep you updated with my progress, and if anyone has any tips or ideas of how to better this film or how to talk about cancer please feel free to comment!
Thanks for reading!