Research Questions

Main question

The main goal is to write and direct a short film which addresses the issue of the quarter life crisis in a way that it sends the message “dealing with a quarter life crisis sucks, but it’s okay to have one” without overwhelming the audience. This because I want to lift the audience up and give them hope, not kick them while they’re down. The short film should be a way of opening up the dialogue about the quarter life crisis. The main question I’ll try to answer with my research in order to achieve this goal is:

How can a short dramedy film about the quarter life crisis be written and directed in such a way that it doesn’t shock, but instead inspire the target group?

The sub questions are:

  1. What are the characteristics of a good dramedy screenplay for a short film?
  2. What should a director pay attention to when directing a short film?
  3. What is the quarter life crisis?

Dramedy: also known as drama-comedy, is a genre of film and TV-series which is a mixture of drama and comedy. Neither of the two is dominant, both element recur on a regular basis.

Quarter life crisis: a crisis which some people have during their twenties. This is caused by several reasons, such as feeling stuck in a job, not feeling ready for adulthood, etc. More information here.

Target group: the target group for ‘On The Edge’ is people in their (early) twenties dealing with a quarter life crisis.

Problem and description

To write and direct this short film, I need knowledge on how to write and direct a short film in the dramedy genre, as well as knowledge on which storytelling techniques will help me get my message across and what kind of characters will fit and help the story. Since I have insufficient knowledge in these areas at this point in time, I need to acquire information on these subjects before I can start making this film.

Project limits

For this project I will be limiting myself to a short film of about five to ten minutes. The research will be conducted in the areas of screenwriting and directing, with the main focus on short films in the dramedy genre. The main focus of the research will be to gain knowledge with will enable me to make the best short film I can within the next five months, so the research is a means to an end. It is a no-budget production, so that needs to be taken into account when writing the screenplay. The short film is going to be set in as few locations as possible, with the least amount of actors possible. The locations cannot be anything big or theatrical, since there is not enough lighting equipment available to light such a setting. We want to limit the amount of locations because of travel costs. We have to limit the amount of actors since we don’t have a budget to pay them, so it’s harder to find them.

Most important terms needed for this research

Short film, dramedy, screenwriting, directing, quarter life crisis.

Dependent and independent factors

The film is an independent factor, the way the audience is going to react to the film depends on the film’s shape and content; that makes the audience’s response the dependent factor.

Qualitative or quantitative?

The research is qualitative, since it’s going to look into which techniques and storytelling elements work best and why.


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