Are You Scared Yet?: a film about walking alone as a woman

Mabel’s short film shows what it’s like to be hyper-vigilant as a woman walking the city solo

Walking home at night… not such a big deal, right? Well, it shouldn’t be – but women all over the world feel far more vulnerable to attack after dark, leading to fear and hyper-vigilance that affects the way they live their lives. This is just one everyday way that women feel the oppression of the patriarchy, but it’s a particularly depressing one as it’s one we’ve become acclimatised to. Thanks to this feeling, women may have changed the way they walk home, held a key in their palm as they walk as a weapon, or even stopped walking alone altogether. Filmmaker Mabel Wynne explores this invisible maltreatment in her self-shot short film that follows a woman alone at night.

Tell us a bit about you and your work.

My first few films have been one to two minute experimental pieces with a DSLR, and ‘Are You Scared Yet?’ is my last one before I move onto mini documentaries and five minute films with cinema cameras. The BlackMagic cinema cameras that independent filmmakers use are available to use at college, and I expect they will be at university as well, so I am planning to make the most of my resources! I am also a writer, which goes into my filmmaking, and I am also getting this and my illustration out there at the moment. I find that film is a good way of tying together all my passions for writing, storytelling, creativity and visual arts. I often use my creative work to express specific emotions within unique personal moments, so each film is a new challenge while I look at using new ways of expressing emotions through film. I thought that this time, I could use these interests to express something something about society and to try and make people think.

 Tell us about your film.

This film is an experimental expression of how it feels to have to be constantly on guard as a woman in society. I decided to show scenes of women having paranoid feelings of being followed or watched while walking at night, but this is just a microcosm of the many different experiences which are constantly occurring in everyday life.

Why did you want to make the film?  What do you hope people will take away from watching it?

I wanted to show some of the issues which every woman can relate to from their everyday life, as opposed to worst-case scenarios, because I think it can be very easy to disassociate ourselves from situations such as rape, kidnapping and murder, if we have not experienced it personally. ‘Are You Scared Yet?’ is a way of me expressing that the misogyny in society goes beyond worst-case scenarios – it hampers even the ability to walk home calmly.

Can you tell us about how you made it?

When I came up with the general idea, I went through my whole usual routine of fleshing out the idea for a few pages in my big brown notebook, until I felt ready to start planning the shots. I decided on a couple of locations, and wrote down what I wanted to happen in each scene, but I didn’t plan any of the cinematography. I improvised on location according to the light and angles at the time. I just went over to each of the locations with people who had agreed to act for me. Each scene only took two to three hours to finish off, and then I edited each scene at a time. Once I had completely finished filming and editing all my footage individually, I made the final few edits to edit all the scenes together, including graphics and sounds. I usually do not know exactly how an experimental film is going to end up looking until I realise I have finished it – I just go with my instincts and see where it takes me! I definitely learn something with each project. 

Is there anything else you want to say that hasn’t been covered?

I’d say that I have learned a lot from making this film, specifically that night is my favourite time to shoot, so I need to build up to saving up for an independent filmmaker’s cinema camera so that I can record my debut film in higher quality.

See more of Mabel’s work on her YouTube channel.

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