Winner 2009 Audience Choice
New Zealand, 2009. 4:48 mins.
Team: Katie-Jean Bensemann, Grace McCallum, and Rachael Smith
Within the design paper DESI322, we were required to “create a convincing fictional story revealing an unknown reality” which would eventually feature in the True Lies Film Festival. There’s Something About Kev explores the delusional exploits of a young man in search of love. Our aim was to produce a mockumentary that thrived on painful, dry humor similar to that of The Office and David Brent (Ricky Gervais).
The film follows Kev, a young man who has previously been unlucky in love but is spurred on by his non-wavering self-assurance, “good looks” and sexual confidence despite his semi-social retardation. He begins by introducing himself and providing a brief history of his past romances and reasons for his present single status. While he has been through many girls in his time he feels it is time to settle down with a nice ‘female-specimen’. He is set up on a date through a friend and we follow him as he proceeds to put yet another girl off whilst in a firm state of oblivion.
Our initial concept was weak, as we didn’t have a set script or proposed ending for the film, we were determined to rely on the impromptu acting of our characters. In the early stages it was taking the form of another cliché date show similar to the shallow, tacky attempts of MTV and such. It became clear that to achieve a date-like mockumentary that steered away from these sorts of clichés was going to be very challenging.
From the beginning we knew how essential it was going to be to cast an actor who could not only pull off the character ‘Kev’ in a believable manner, but who also had a natural ability for subtle and cringe-worthy humor. Luckily we already knew of the perfect subject- Tim O’Dowd.
With the actors cast we began shooting the interview sequences in The Tin Shed, which provided good lighting and we decided to make use of the available green screen.
Interestingly, it turned out that our idea of giving our actors a loose character profile rather than a set script was right on the money. It allowed them to follow their own instincts and produce natural, organic humor. We discovered that Tim in particular worked best when left to his own devices rather than confined to a rigid script. The final sequence of the film that involved him having to say, “We all know there’s something about Kev” resulted in the most takes of all the sequences in the film!
Luckily on the day of filming the date we were blessed with superb natural lighting for the location of the University union lawn. We had various issues with sound throughout the date (continually dropping the boom into the frame was an issue). After realizing we had filmed a whole hours worth of footage with unusable sound, we had to re-shoot various parts of the date again. Filming the date itself was hilarious and it gave the actors a chance to loosen up and get into their characters a bit better and it also allowed them to produce some gold moments of awkward humor!
At first we had issues with getting the footage off the camera and once we had finally figured it out we discovered that all of the footage shot in the Tin Shed had faulty sound- none of it was usable meaning we had to re-shoot the Tin Shed interviews.
We were disappointed with the wasted use of the green screen. Initially we had the idea of putting plain white in the background however this ended up looking tacky. This meant we were stuck with a big obvious line behind Kev where the two pieces of the green screen joined. In order to fix this we scaled up the images with the green screen in the background so as to illuminate as much of the background as possible. While this didn’t unfortunately eradicate the problem it did make it less obtrusive (see below).
Editing was a long process to say the least. We struggled with constructing the film in a way that deviated from the original chronology of the actual filming itself. Because we had over two hours worth of footage we also struggled with letting go of footage that we loved for the sake of a more polished and concise film. Having the opinions of three different people while editing proved to be frustrating at times but overall we had a clear, collective vision of the film so this overrode any conflicting opinions. Essentially it was good to take a step back at times and get the opinions of others in order to retain the awkward humor and show the date intertwined with the interviews in a way that flowed and was creatively original. We finally managed to look at it with a ruthless and critical eye and cut out approximately four minutes of footage. This made it easier to devise an ending that not only summed up Kev perfectly but also tied up any loose ends concerning the date.
Even though pouring over the film for hours on end made us hate it at times and loose all ability to laugh at it, we are extremely pleased with the final outcome and despite the many hours of frustration and anguish we had so much fun.