Essay, Pages 5 (1056 words)
Elisha Harrison “Lord, sweet Lord how come she [is] so ugly. Ugly. Ugly.” Imagine being a mere child and having this said to you, from your own parent, with it being such a significant thought that it becomes an all-consuming belief. Constance Briscoe knows all too well of this reality she faced for years of her life, with this being one of the more docile examples of abuse, that both her mother and stepfather took part in. Hello TV executives of channel ten, I am, as you know, Elisha Harrison, a prized documentary producer whose work has claimed many awards.
Today I am pitching to you to turn one of New York’s number one bestseller’s, the moving and inspiring autobiography, Ugly by Constance Briscoe into a documentary, Heartless.
The riveting book follows the trials faced by Constance Briscoe as a child. The alienating abuse she receives from her mother and step father is the result of the ongoing idea that her mother believes she is ‘ugly.
’ That and the fact that she constantly wets the bed which no doubt is the outcome of her abuse. Her mother gives her 10 other siblings love, even if it is lacking it is much more than that of what Constance gets, when her siblings receive presents for Christmas, Constance is left with the same gift, rapped and re-rapped each year. When it is time for school all her siblings receive shiny new shoes and soft new jumpers, Constance receives hand me downs or nothing at all.
She was left by her mother, with two of her siblings, with no food, water or money requiring her to fend for herself all whilst still at school, she got two jobs to pay for rent and the necessities. The attitude of Constance would be endorsed by the audience due to her valour spirit in which she has the ability to, not let her mother’s insults, based off of her ‘beauty,’ affect her later life. As shown now where she is a mother of 2 and one of the first black judges in the UK. These types of values could be mirrored in today’s society, where there is importance placed on young women understanding that the type of ‘beauty’ seen on social media is a warped and unrealistic version. This type of beauty is echoed throughout Ugly as a result of the label Constance’s mum gave her. The topic of child abuse is also important as few documentaries recount any similar stories so clearly.
The style of documentary I wish to create is a tragic memoir. The book would be the perfect documentary as it captures human empathy the minute you peer into Constance’s terrifying past. The happy ending, however, and her success in life then would have the audience in awe of Constance’s incredible perseverance, courage and spirit. It would leave you to marvel at her triumph over the long and extensive list of sufferings she has had to endure. It has people wondering straight from the beginning of the unshakeable core she would have had hidden under the young exterior. I want to position the audience to both sympathise for and empathise with Constance. People may even question their own problems which would in fact pale in comparison to the devastating issues she faced. Therefore, the audience would respond, similar to how they would from the book. The values and idea which would underpin the documentary would be the immense bravery, confidence and strength that was so vividly expressed through Constance’s ability to transcend her terrible conditions.
The documentary will be structured with flashbacks that will appear in chronological order. The overall techniques to be utilised will be interviews, re-enactments, archival footage, dramatic music, narration of the flashbacks and shot types like point-of-view, extreme close up, close up and over the shoulder shots. The majority of these shot types help to allow the audience to see the person’s perspective therefore emotionally connecting the audience to the subject. As a result, the audience will be positioned to see what Constance saw and in doing so ultimately feel some of the sentiments of the devastating events that took place. The interviews and re-enactments will highlight a type of before and after that would also hopefully emphasise Constance’s values and beliefs.
One of the segments that I think would be influential in the documentary would be a scene where it describes one recurring dream Constance has, that in fact stems from her own reality. The scene would start with a dramatic re-enactment, first by showing an old and dusty cellar from the perspective of Constance. She would be holding a pot filled with potatoes. The scene would move on to show her turning around to about seven steps, still from an over the shoulder shot. At the top her mother’s legs are just shadows from under the door, then the audience would hear what Constance did, the door slamming, and see the lights being shut off, from here the shot would be looking down at Constance from the top of the stairs. Her mother would also be shouting or swearing at her from outside the sealed room as per usual. Whilst the room is completely dark Constance’s voice would fade back in and then return to an interview with her explaining how this experience turned into a horrifying and frequent nightmare, where she would be stuck hopeless in the cellar. The audience, through these different shot types, would be able to both see Constance’s perspective which allows them to understand what she went through in that moment. From the top of the stairs the audience is positioned to see how Constance’s mother both figuratively and literally looked down at her daughter.
This documentary is an opportunity that should not be passed by you and your team at Channel ten. As already emphasised, it would be an incredibly powerful piece for your viewers at Channel ten to see as it fits the types of shows you already have on program. So not only will it grasp the audience you already attract but it will also grab the attention of new viewers young and old wishing to know of such an extraordinary story with such an impactful ending about a highly exemplary woman. Thank you all for your time, I hope to hear from you soon.