State of Mind

A short film created to inspire positive change within mental health



State of Mind is a short film that tackles challenges within mental health, intended to inspire positive change through a spoken word poetry approach. The goal of this project was to show the impact of having
perspectives on opposite ends of the spectrum, both negative and positive. The film expresses the idea that everyone experiences moments in their life where it feels as if they are on a downward spiral. However, these moments are only pieces of our story, not its entirety. Refusing to let the negative moments define us can be the drive that moves us forward. 


Nov — Dec 2019 
(1 month)


Film Production —
Research, Ideation, 
Pre-production, Filming, Post-production


Canon EOS 7D, Premiere Pro


Tiffany Chau (me), Selina Chung



In the beginning, we wanted to produce a film that utilized anachronism, which is loosely defined as having some sort of chronological displacement. We realized this could be expressed through rolling the film footage backwards, and the film needed a narrative to make this happen. It was at this point that we discovered spoken word poetry, a style of narration that could move the story forward and empower our audience. Working with the issue of mental health, we then wrote a spoken word poem together inspired by our own experiences in life. 


Through our research, we looked at cinematographic techniques that could really give our film an artistic feel. From interesting match cuts to low key lighting, we wanted to create a contrast between reality and the darker side of what is pictured inside our minds. We took inspiration from short films such as the BTS WINGS series directed by Yongseok Choi (Lumpens) and When I've Wanted To Die directed by Anna Akana.


Writing the spoken word poem was a collaborative process where we wrote two sides to the story. The first side focused on the darker emotions associated with being in a negative mental state, while the second side focused on the lighter emotions of a positive mental state. Going through many revisions, we aimed to build towards a climax situated halfway through the poem, and finish with an open-ended conclusion. 


Pre-production included creating a proposal, shooting script, shot list, storyboard and production plan, further developing the narrative we had constructed from the spoken word poem. 


We shot our film over the course of 3 separate days, primarily on the York University campus. Utilizing a Canon EOS 7D, studio lighting equipment and various props, we were able to bring our film to life.


Bringing our footage into Adobe Premiere Pro, we started editing everything together through rough cuts. We went through several rounds of in-class critique sessions and recordings of the spoken word poem as we continued to refine our work. After the last round of colour correction, our film was ready for release.



The biggest challenge I had was limiting myself to the footage that we had shot over the course of 3 days. As this project was time sensitive, we could not afford to reshoot more than a few scenes. Overall, I had the opportunity to dive into many new experiences with this project, including directing, filming, editing, and writing spoken word. My biggest takeaway was learning not to be intimidated by experimentation within a new field.