Under Pressure – Proposal

  • Programme Title: Under Pressure
  • Synopsis: A thirty-minute episode of the surreal humour genre. In 1982, Freddie Mercury and David Bowie decide to get away from the public eye and live in a submarine. This episode is the introduction of the characters and the show. The programme features musical numbers throughout performed by Bowie and Mercury and the narrative is completely fictitious. Other characters will appear throughout and the main antagonist is Vanilla Ice.
  • Primary audience: Men and women that are aged between 16 and 34. Under Pressure is a surreal comedy, similar to the likes of The Mighty Boosh (2004) and Flight of the Conchords (2007). Because Under Pressure is so different, it will be aimed at an audience that is interested in similar shows. The target audience will have an interest in glam rock/pop, especially Queen and David Picture2Bowie. Under Pressure will also be aimed at the older generation that have grown up listening to Queen and David Bowie. The success of The Mighty Boosh  is largely because of the theatrical visual look with off-beat acting and a witty script which is what Under Pressure is aiming for. BBC Three has an audience share of 1.16% and is aimed at a 16-34-year-old age group which is exactly what Under Pressure is aiming for and it suggests that Under Pressure could be an instant hit if it was picked up by BBC Three, especially with its history of similar programmes. Red Dwarf is a programme that has a similar structure to Under Pressure with two main comedic characters. Freddie Mercury more serious than David Bowie, quite like the relationship between Dave Lister and Arnold Rimmer.
  • Outline: It’s 1982, Freddie Mercury is 36 and David Bowie is 35. Together, they decide to have a break from the public eye and live in a submarine. The show will start with the title sequence with the song Under Pressure. This will include footage of the music video and Queen performing this song with David Bowie. After this, Bowie and Mercury will be in the cafeteria talking about how good it is to be away from the public eye. The dialogue will include references to their own music and puns using the names of their songs. The following scene will take place in the control room. Mercury is talking about his family who lives on Mercury which causes Bowie to ask what life is like on Mars. They both break out into song, singing Bowie’s 1971 hit Life on Mars. The smoke machine and chroma key will be used to make it look as though they are shooting off into space and are actually on Mars. During the song, an animated insert of Bowie and Mercury will be used where they find aliens and who join in with the song as backing singers. This will be a condensed version of the song, to prevent taking up too much time. This scene will use very bright colours in the set, with the lighting bright and getting progressively darker as they set off for Mars. After the insert, smoke and low lighting will be used again to suggest Bowie and Mercury going back to Earth. Upon their return, a siren blares and  camera 2 shakes to show something is occurring. Bowie and Mercury stumble around comically and are confused as to what is happening to the submarine. Vanilla Ice suddenly appears saying “Stop! Collaborate and listen”. Mercury and Bowie do not know what is happening. Vanilla Ice attempts to steal their music to use as his own. Vanilla Ice runs away laughing maniacally and Bowie and Mercury are worried, not knowing what to do.  Eventually, this will get resolved and Bowie, Mercury and Vanilla Ice will move to the stage to perform a mix of Under Pressure and Ice Ice Baby.
  • Background research: Freddie Mercury will wear his classic yellow jacket and white high-waited trousers with the red stripe down the side. The costume can be bought from Amazon for £24.99 or the jacket can be bought separately and the trousers can be homemade. David Bowie will wear his equally well-known Ziggy Stardust costume, with the face paints. This can be purchased online. In the performance scene, the band in the background (not the other members in Queen) will wear clothes that were typically worn in the early 80s such as high waisted jeans, thick black belts and t-shirts tucked in.
  • Studio Usage: The studio will be turned into three sets. The first set will be the front of the submarine, also known as the control room. The second set will be the stage for the performance at the end of the show and the last set will be the submarine’s cafeteria. All sets will be very bright and colourful and won’t be a realistic representation of a submarine. ThePicture1 set design will be very abstract and will be personalised for David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. The first  set will be at the front of the studio, with the second set being in front of the chroma key and the last set being in the back, left hand corner of the studio. This will allow more room for a stage and more room for the performance at the end of the show. The stage will include two different heights of stages, giving good levels and allowing better shots. Flats will be used to separate the different sets. The backdrop will be painted silver and purple, with fake pipes, so that the audience know that they are in a submarine. Matte paint will be used to stop it from creating a glare in the cameras. The handheld camera and smoke machine will be used in the performance. The control room will have a screen in the background with a moving map on. There will be tables around the outside with chairs facing outwards. The control room will be decorated in bright colours to fit the personalities of Mercury and Bowie. Lighting will be used to make the control room more realistic and the sound will be used to reinforce the usage of buttons in the control room. The lighting will be red/orange with a hint of blue to fit with the logo.  Camera 1 will always follow David Bowie, making it easier for the camera person to remember where to move. Camera 2 will be used for the wide shots to use in every set. This will allow camera 1 and 3 to move their shot. Camera 3 will focus on Freddie Mercury. The jib camera will be used in the performance scene at the end to get close shots of the band performing.
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