Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Why I've changed my Film Idea
I've been struggling to develop more for my Zombie film, but as I've decided to have my TV show set in the same world, I've decided to put my research for my zombie film into my tv show and completely change my film idea.
Last week, Liam (my partner) and I went to the Bristol Animation festival with Uni. John Turner from Killogramme gave a talk on emotion and personality within animation and showed a clip from Dumbo.
The day after the Bristol Festival, Liam said to me that it was only when he watched me, watching the clip from Dumbo that he truly realised and understood how much having PCOS effects me emotionally. I'm an incredibly maternal person and dote on my two nieces, which makes having this condition, but not truly knowing how much it will effect my fertility in the future, somewhat daunting.
Because of how much I've been struggling with developing my zombie film, he suggested looking at something closer and more personal to me, such as PCOS.
The following Saturday on my home from work, I started thinking about what he said, and I came up with the idea of using my own experiences of being diagnosed, and create a film around that.
My original idea came from my personal experiences when I got diagnosed with PCOS when I was 15. These features as a flashback within my first draft.
I have always been aware of PCOS because my Mum has the condition and my parents went through fertility treatment to have my oldest sister. When I was 14, I only had two periods within 12 months. When I was near my 15th birthday (2013), my mum took me to the doctors and I was referred to a gynaecologist, because I was a minor I also had to be seen by a paediatrician. The paediatrician checked my general physical health, while the gynaecologist focused on the reproductive possibility for my missed periods.
I was sent for blood tests, which the Doctor told me shown high levels of male hormones, androgen. This along with my missed periods meant that my symptoms coincided with those of PCOS. I was then sent for an ultrasound to check for polycystic ovaries, but due to my age nothing was visible. The doctor told me that because of how young I was at the time, the polycystic ovaries had not developed yet. However because I had 2/3 symptoms I was officially diagnosed with PCOS.
After the gynaecologist told me that the results of the tests showed that I had PCOS, I pushed my mum out of the room (she's in a wheelchair) and broke down after the door to the Doctors office was closed. I knew before I even went to the GP that I had PCOS, but hearing it and being diagnosed made it all too real for me.
Recently (2019) I went for another ultrasound to see how my condition had progressed, and there was only two cysts visible on my right ovary. I asked the sonographer if the ultrasound results was normal for my condition, and she said that she was expecting to see s 'string of pearls' around the ovary. The results showed that the contraceptive pill I've been on since I was 15 had helped to prevent the development of the polycystic ovaries.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is short for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. A condition that affects 1 in 5 women in the UK and their chances of getting pregnant. The main symptoms are irregular periods, hormone imbalances and polycystic ovaries (which are different to normal cysts).
Some informative links.
(for some reason I am not able to put the NHS link within this post like the other websites I've used)
Pete Bishop - Wednesday
I spoke to Pete about my idea for this film and he suggested that I make some thumbnails.
He suggested to begin the film showing a city landscape and coming in close to a building, the into the toilets to show the isolation that my character will feel.
Sample Script of Original Idea
My Notes - Wednesday
After speaking to Pete, I wrote some notes and set myself a couple of questions that I want to answer for myself.
Sarah - Thursday
I showed Sarah my thumbnails and she pointed out the connotations with taking a pregnancy test in a public bathroom. It signifies that the pregnancy is unexpected and potentially unwanted, which is why the character is not waiting to be in private.
She recommended that I change the environment of the public toilet to the characters home bathroom, which would give me the potential to expand the visuals within the set to show how much this character wants to have a child e.g. previous pregnancy tests in the bin, the medicine cabinet filled with a variety of brans of pregnancy tests, pregnancy supplements, ovulation strip tests etc.
Mario - Thursday
Mario's first comment was the lack of partner shown within my thumbnails. As I'm trying to represent the reality of PCOS and its effects on fertility, he suggested introducing a partner to show how this effects not just the main character, but their relationship with their partner and also how it effects their partner. This would also give me more foundations to create character development and chemistry on screen.
Mario also suggested to research into how miscarriage effects the main character, their partner and their relationship both physically and psychologically. Going through a miscarriage is a reality for many people, with and without fertility conditions, and how this can put a strain on a relationship; 'make or break'.
Mark - Thursday
When speaking to Mark, he also commented on the lack of representation of a partner within the film so far.
He suggested that I explore alternatives fertility treatments for my character within the film, as well as looking into fostering and adoption within my film.
We also spoke about what the drive behind my film actuality is. Do I want to make more people aware of PCOS, or do I want to explore the physical and psychological results of not being able to get pregnant.
The more I think and go into the subject of my film, the more it's becoming more about the physical and psychological aspects of the inability to get pregnant opposed to just about PCOS itself.
We also discussed the potential social stigmas that may come with fertility treatments due to the societal pressure for women to have children.
Liam - Friday
On Friday me and Liam were talking about my film idea, and methods of making it obvious that the fertility issue within it is PCOS, as well as talking about possible transitions, sets and camera angles.
I recorded part of our conversation, but am unable to import the recording onto this blog.
From our conversation, I want to have a voice over of a woman talking about her experience of having PCOS and her attempts of getting pregnant with her partner.
My Mum - Saturday
I called my mum to tell her about my new film idea, and to ask her about her experience during fertility treatment when she got pregnant with my oldest sister.
Initially, she went to the doctors because her periods were irregular, so the doctors did a procedure to find out if her fallopian tubes where blocked. the procedure involved injecting a dye into her reproductive area and using a machine to see where the dye went. Her results shown that her fallopian tubes were not blocked, and they decided to explore other avenues as to why her periods where so irregular.
Ultimately, she was diagnosed with PCOS and was given clomide (it was over 30 years ago so my mum isn't sure on some details) which made her periods regular and caused ovulation.
Her and my Dad decided that they wanted to try for a baby, so they began with trying to conceive on alternative days for one month, and then they switched the days for the next month.
If they hadn't have become pregnant, the next stage for them was to use the rhythm, method recommended by doctors. The rhythm method is regularly checking the woman temperature, and when she has a higher temperature it is meant to signify ovulation and the couple has to have sex within a specific time frame in order to increase their chances of conceiving.
My parents had my oldest sister while using Clomide, my middle sister was conceived within the year after my mum gave birth, and I was born 7 years after. My parents only went through fertility treatment for my oldest sister.
My Dad - Sunday