Pitching a film to an executive is hard enough but when you say the lines “It’s set in night club…” they might become a little bit nervous. On the face of it a film set in a nightclub isn’t such a bad idea. There is lots of human drama and coming and goings, plus people having a great time. See for yourself by going to Nightclub Cheltenham to see what they offer. However, whilst it might seem like the perfect setting, for a director it’s a bit of nightmare and there are a few points the executives will want answering.
First of all it is notoriously hard to film nightclub scenes, especially if you’re going for a realistic feel. The Moulin Rouge sequence is simple as Baz Lurmann plainly wanted it to be staged and fantastical. However, try and do a realistic film and you generally have what most of us experience in a nightclub, two people shouting at each other over a very loud dance track. This was well executed and realised in the film Trainspotting where the character Spud is practically screaming into the ear of Tommy regarding his relationship with his girlfriend. Spuds girlfriend is doing the same to her bestie and as the two couples approach each other they immediately stop talking and ask the other couple what they’re talking about. “Football! What are you talking about!” shout the boys. “Shopping!” the girls reply.
The other problem that filming requires is the dance scenes. It is nearly impossible to have them without it looking like the whole thing is staged. The other option is that you have a big musical number with lots of professional dancers jumping around making the place look like an episode of The Hitman and Her. It does give the director the chance to fill in some time, especially when there is very little plot or story going on. One of the best examples is that of the Joan Collins vehicle (which should tell you everything you need to know about it) The Bitch, based on her sisters novel. The film is set in and around Tramp nightclub, then a very trendy spot and features couples dancing to disco hits for extended periods of time. The fast forward button has never been used so often (although the eject option might have been a better bet).