Learning The Lingo

New Zealand, 2010. 4:25 min.

Team: Brendon McHattie, James Simpson and Luke Matsopoulos.


Learning the Lingo is difficult to watch, but it richly rewards those who stay with it. There’s a wholehearted commitment in every frame towards synthesising the feeling of hopelessness through the eyes of the actors. Although only a trailer the depiction of this snap shot of the film helps illustrate the main character – Joan’s accelerated demise. What starts off as a hard life of anguish slowly builds to a crescendo of unspeakable horror.

Accompanied by beautiful music, a mournful violin helps infatuate  the viewer into a number of sequences – both jarring and intoxicating. The endless creative, innovative and imaginative sequences make watching this trailer an exercise in joyful discovery. It takes you on a brilliant journey through nightmares illusions and hallucinations.


The filming for Learning the lingo was planned to take place over the course of the fist 3 weeks of the project. But due to difficulties with audio and the actors schedule the majority of the filming took place during the last two weeks following up to the due date.

First the first part of the movie we chose to show a montage of  the characters average morning experience. Since it was a movie trailer we used of a lot fade to black effects to crete a feeling of suspense and atmosphere. The shots were cut relatively short to help give out a lot of information in a short amount of time.

The second part consisted of basic close ups and some brief effects of slow motion and zooms.  The close ups were essential in this part because we were trying to convey the emotional distress the character was experiencing.

For the second half of the trailer when their is a change in music we used a different approach. The second half is based around the character getting drugged so therefore we wanted to used filming techniques that expressed his state of mind. The shot were the camera is close up on Joan’s face where the camera appears to move with him is the key shot of the second section. It helps portrays his downfall with a spiked drink and is cut back to during the section for added effect. Short sharp cuts between scenes are also used.  This to again put across the sence that the drugs are effecting what he seeing and how they’re effecting him.

Throughout the trailer we employed a series of slow zooms to set the scene and also to focus in on the emotion on the actors face.  Panning shots were also included to again set the scenic but also to add some diversity to the film. The use of slow motion was also employed throughout the film on parts of the plot that needed to be emphasized. But it was also applied on scenes that we wanted to feel full of suspense.

The film scenes were especially cut the match the music creating a synchronized and professional trailer. To achieve this shots changed were synced up with the orchestra hits creating added impact to those selected scenes.

Character Joan

Our main character Joan portrays a student new to the city who has been raised around straight laced morals who seeks out the “scarfie” life style. His path begins after a sequence of shoves and sneers with a note dropped from above from his soon to be mentor Fleshby Skuxmure inviting Joan to ‘learn the lingo’.

Joan begins several training exercises on his path to the top testing both his physical and mental strengths. His character development evolves into the arrogant stereotype where he gets taught a lesson during his induction to the select scene.

His drink is spiked with a hallucinogen at his final test – the party. His character struggles to comprehend the line between reality and imagination as he is taken on a trip like no other. Flash backs occur and self actualisation takes hold as he pushes through the drugs grip on his perceived reality as he prevails and hits the sexual jackpot – a two girl threesome.

Behind the scenes


In conclusion the film missed a few of its crucial story telling points and was not well received on an intellectual level quote being perceived as “jock humor”. The lack of preparation with storyboarding let the film down making it hard to grasp the plot. Some valuable footage was lost due to microphone error on the teams behalf, which was never re-filmed due to outdoor restrictions. Overall the trailer was made with the footage acquired and managed to remain some integrity with regard to initial planning.


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