I've been struggling to pre-vis the Act Two, as I didn't really know what I wanted to achieve with each shot.
To help with this, I've given myself detailed instructions, both visually and audibly, of the key shots and transitions of Act Two. There will be far more cuts made instinctively when it comes to editing, but this way I have a good tonal jumping off point.
As these shots are incredibly close up and require a fair amount of precision, I may illustrate this scene and splice it in with the existing pre-vis footage, both to save a bit of time and to help establish the contrast in tone between acts.
INT. ATTIC - DAY
> FADE IN:
THE ROOM IS INCREDIBLY DARK, CONSIDERING THE TIME OF DAY. THICK, HEAVY CURTAINS BLOCK OUT ANY USEFUL SUNLIGHT, OBSCURING THE APPEARANCE OF THE OBJECTS WITHIN.
ALL THAT CAN BE SEEN AT THIS POINT IS A STREAK OF LIGHT BLEEDING THROUGH THE CRACK UNDER THE DOOR.
CLOSE UP, LOW, of Attic hatch. The hatch begins to raise and open slowly, light bleeding through the crack.
AUDIO - Loud creaking of the hatch, heavy, muffled footsteps
FRANKLIN ASCENDS THE ATTIC STAIRS, SILHOUETTED BY THE LIGHT BELOW.
CUT TO: WIDE SHOT, Franklin’s figure silhouetted by a shaft of light coming from downstairs.
THE HATCH SLAMS SHUT.
WIDE SHOT, CONTINUED, the hatch slams shut, plunging the room back into darkness, Franklin vanishing along with everything else.
AUDIO - Loud slam of the hatch, footsteps moving across the room.
HE CLEARS A SPACE ON HIS DESK AND PLACES THE BOX UNDER A DIM DESK LAMP.
CUT TO: MID SHOT, an anglepoise lamp switches on, revealing Franklin to be leaning over a desk-like surface. Only Franklin, the box and a selected space on the surface are illuminated. The rest of the room remains in darkness.
AUDIO - Heavy light switching on, buzz of electricity passing through the bulb
IT BEGINS TO RAIN OUTSIDE.
AUDIO CUE: Rain begins to pour down, raindrops on the roof and windows amplified by the attic space.
HE BEGINS TO RUMMAGE THROUGH VARIOUS DRAWERS, CABINETS AND BOXES, PULLING OUT MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS, INCLUDING TAPE, BELT STRAPS AND CABLING, AND PLACING THEM ONE AFTER THE OTHER ON THE DESK.
CUT BETWEEN ACTIONS: The opening and closing actions of drawers, cabinets and boxes act as transitions from one shot to another. The camera is positioned within these containers. They open, low light fills the space and Franklin’s hand reaches in, obtaining an obscured object and removing his hand. The containers closing return the space to darkness, the next shot beginning in the same manner, but with a different container.
AUDIO - Drawers/cabinets/boxes opening and closing, muffled from the inside. Hands manipulating miscellaneous objects, stationary, tools, glass bottles etc.
FRANKLIN MANOEUVRES A CHAIR UP TO THE DESK.
CUT TO: CLOSE UP, LOW, casters of a desk chair. They begin to roll and rotate across the wooden floorboards, moving towards the desk. Franklin’s feet can be seen drifting in and out of frame as he manoeuvres the chair.
AUDIO - Casters rattling across uneven surfaces. Muffled shuffling of trainers on floorboards. Creaking wood and rattling, hollow metal.
EXCITEDLY, FRANKLIN TEARS OFF THE PACKAGING TAPE. THE CONTENTS OF THE BOX STILL UNCLEAR TO THE AUDIENCE.
CUT TO: CLOSE UP of the tape on side of the box. The tape is peeled off, from one side of the frame to the other.
AUDIO - Packaging tape being pulled from cardboard, amplified and distorted.
FRANKLIN FISHES OUT A PAIR OF YELLOW RUBBER GLOVES AND PROCEEDS TO PUT THEM ON.
CUT TO: CLOSE UP of Franklin’s wrist. His other hand is seen stretching the glove down his forearm, the glove snapping back when secure.
AUDIO - Rubber being gradually stretched, squeaking and snapping against itself.
HE REMOVES THE CONTENTS OF THE BOX AND TURNS TOWARDS THE CHAIR.
CUT TO: REAR SHOT of Franklin, silhouetted against the window. With his back to the camera, he removes the contents of the box. Turning towards the chair, the camera pans round, with the back of the chair obscuring Franklin and the contents of the box.
AUDIO - Cardboard lid removed, shuffling of trainers on floorboards, creaking of tensile springs in desk chair, muffled cushions of the chair.
FRANKLIN BEGINS TO FASTEN IT IN THE CHAIR, USING THE STRAPS FROM THE DESK.
CLOSE UP: CONTINUED, a strap is stretched around the back of the chair. It is pulled taut against the fabric. CUT TO: CLOSE UP of the strap being tightened, gripping tightly. CUT TO: MACRO SHOT of the Hamster’s fur, the strap running through it and cutting a path between the hairs.
AUDIO - Amplified creaking of strap being stretched, slowly dragging against fabric, foam cushions being compressed, mechanism locking, fabric moving through hair and across skin.
THE CHAIR IS RECLINED, THE HAMSTER NOW FACING THE CEILING.
CUT TO: CLOSE UP of Franklin’s hand, slowly turning a dial for the reclining mechanism. The chair reclines incrementally, similar in pace to that of a drawbridge. CUT TO: POV of the Hamster, facing the ceiling, and gradually reclining. The camera shifts as the Hamster fidgets in the chair.AUDIO - Clicking of dial being rotated, chair clunking as it reclines, quiet, panicked breathing, hair moving against fabric cushions.
THE LAMP IS POSITIONED ABOVE THE CHAIR, ILLUMINATING THE HAMSTER.
POV: CONTINUED, the anglepoise lamp swings into frame, positioned above the chair, similar to that of a dentist’s operatory lamp.
AUDIO - Creaking of the lamp swing around, sound of blood pumping through ears when bright light is shone in your eyes, when your clamp your eyelids shut tight.
FRANKLIN FASTENS THE HAMSTERS HEAD IN PLACE, USING ANOTHER SMALLER STRAP AND LEANS IN TO LOOK AT THE HAMSTER, THEIR FACES PARALLEL.
CUT TO: CLOSE UP of another strap being fastened, this one somewhat smaller than the other. Again, the strap is pulled taut against the fabric of the chair. CUT TO: a cotton pad upon the head of the Hamster. The strap runs across, tightening against it and holding the Hamster’s head securely in place.
AUDIO - Amplified creaking of strap being stretched, slowly dragging against fabric, foam cushions being compressed, mechanism locking, fabric moving through hair and across skin, water droplets and sweat permeating cotton wool.
FRANKLIN WALKS TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM, INTO THE DARKNESS.
CUT TO: CLOSE UP, LOW of the back of Franklin’s shoes. He walks away from the camera into complete darkness, his figuring disappearing completely.
AUDIO - Muffled footsteps, reducing in volume as they cross the room.
THE RUSTLING OF DESPERATE SEARCHING CAN BE HEARD, UNTIL OUT THE SHADOWS APPEARS FRANKLIN, PUSHING A TROLLEY COVERED IN A SHEET.
SHOT CONTINUED: Camera focused in place, out of the darkness comes a trolley. CLOSE UP of a single wheel, rolling towards the camera. It rotates as the trolley is manoeuvred. Evidence of scratching can be seen in the floorboards.
AUDIO - Miscellaneous rummaging, amplified rattling of plastic wheels on uneven floorboards, muffled footsteps.
FRANKLIN MANOEUVRES THE TROLLEY PARALLEL TO THE CHAIR.
SHOT CONTINUED: The wheels of the trolley run parallel to the wheels of the desk chair.
AUDIO - Amplified rattling of plastic wheels on uneven floorboards, muffled footsteps.
HE SWIFTLY REMOVES THE SHEET, THOUGH THE OBJECTS REMAIN OBSCURED BY THE LIGHT AND LOW ANGLE OF THE CAMERA.
CUT TO: CLOSE UP of the sheet, fibres and simple pattern can be seen. The sheet is removed with a flourish, covering the frame and obscuring the camera. CUT TO: the foot of the chair, as the sheet relaxes and falls across the contours of the chair, reaching the ground.
AUDIO - Fabric moving through the air, clothing rubbing against itself, fabric settling across multiple surfaces.
THE OBJECTS UPON THE TROLLEY ARE INSPECTED, UNTIL FRANKLIN DECIDES UPON WHAT AT FIRST GLANCE APPEARS TO BE SOME FORM OF OCULAR SPECULUM.
CUT TO: CLOSE UP of the items on the trolley. Only the handles of various scissors and other objects can be seen, as the camera pans across them. Franklin’s fingers are seen, selectively hovering above the items, until he makes a selection and leaves the frame.
AUDIO - Metal objects, such as cutlery, moving across thin, tinny metal surfaces, quiet breathing, fingernails dragging across metal.
HOLDING THE ITEM, FRANKLIN LEANS IN TOWARDS THE FACE OF THE HAMSTER. THE CAMERA PANS BEHIND THE CHAIR FROM ONE SIDE TO THE OTHER, AS SOUNDS OF DISTRESS AND STRUGGLING CAN BE HEARD.CUT TO: EXTREME CLOSE UP of the scissor blades parting. CUT TO: EXTREME CLOSE UP of the scissors against indeterminate fur. CUT TO: the items on the trolley with each snip, Franklin’s hand selecting additional items with each transition. The items are seen accumulating filth with each cut.
AUDIO - Amplified scissors cutting hair, flesh, metal objects moving across thin, tinny metal surfaces, transitions between breathing intensity, permeating and evaporating sweat, distress and fidgeting, blades passing past one another.