Southwest

 

The "Centered Maniac"

In the frenzy of daily life, we seldom pause for a second of “me time,” let alone a vacation. The more that stacks up, the harder it falls. This is true for everyone. So we wanted to make sure the trash gag came across as a relatable moment for the audience.

“We’ve all done it,” Director Daniel Cook wrote in his treatment. “You find your phone in the microwave, put your shoes on before your pants. You can’t even take out the trash without screwing it up. You’re one mishap away from having a meltdown, standing out in the yard in your underwear cussing at the birds. And nobody wants to see that. The trash-plosion isn’t an isolated occurrence, but a microcosm of your life, the peak of an all-too-familiar crescendo of chaos, where more and more, everything you touch turns to shit.

So the moral here is, you don’t just wanna get away; you need to.

To drive home this message, we would use an approach that Daniel referred to in his treatment as “The Centered Maniac.”

Southwest Treatment Reference Image 1

Southwest Treatment Reference Image 2

One-point perspective is a technique using visual symmetry to draw the viewer into the frame. Also, psychologically, it creates the expectation that something is about to happen. Stanley Kubrick uses the aesthetic for a dark, chilling effect in films like The Shining, while Wes Anderson, in films like The Royal Tenenbaums, uses it as a tool for

comedic contrast, where the characters are, in actuality, anything but “centered.” In The Truman Show, Peter Weir uses one-point perspective in conjunction with exaggerated low and high-angle shots to highlight the artificiality of the main character’s world. Our spot uses the “centered” approach to show, in a comedic sense, the way things seem versus the way they are.

And so, in a way, it’s about contrast. An American-Dreamy sort of sunny day contrasts the reality of our character’s life. Shot in mid-May, the flowers are in bloom, the grass lush green. It unfolds in middle-class suburbia, where the houses look almost identical and are equally-spaced with about five feet between them.

“We’ll also use exaggerated angles,” Daniel wrote, “to add to the controlled chaos. In some shots, this will create the sense that our character is under the weight of the world. In others, it’ll simply make him look goofy.”

Southwest-Frame-Jim“Life isn’t meaningless,” he thinks to himself between half-hearted whistles. “Ya know, I think there’s a chance this is gonna be a good day.”

And then…well…you know what happens. It blows up in his face, literally.

Some Storyboard Frame

Southwest Storyboard Frame 6 Southwest Storyboard Frame 1

 

Southwest Storyboard Frame 2

Southwest Storyboard Frame 7