Well: as ‘Reading week’ starts this is only my second post. however I have a fair reason for this. I missed the first few weeks due to circumstances beyond my control, also I don’t have a clue when to ‘Blog’ and thought it would be best to wait until I am able to put my experiences clearly and concisely. Which I can now do.
I was presented with a well tried and tested exercise for character creation. which involves a ‘fill in the blanks’ approach. a character is lying on a bed. in a room. they get up and cross to the dresser, that’s it. My job as a student is to fill in all the blanks. who are they? where are they? why are they there. what do they want? what… in short… is the story?
I found it difficult to come up with anything that had legs at first. My initial ideas all seemed to be ‘minute and a half’ comedy sketch plots at first. I found the whole thing rather frustrating. As a fiction writer, I am happy enough to go my own way. however my own way is very much with children’s fiction (6-12 years) and does not lend itself well in my opinion to the short film. With scriptwriting, I much prefer to have an Idea what is wanted from me. what direction to go in. I would make a much better ‘jobbing’ scriptwriter I feel then someone who works from a solo creation point of view.
However after many unsuccessful attempts I tried looking at things rather differently. I imagined the room itself, a hotel room, dirty and dishevelled. full of ashtrays, pizza boxes and drug paraphernalia. once I had that the story grew organically. It was while fleshing out these characters that I had a eureka moment. I have heard it said many times that you always need a character the audience can sympathise with. However, I have never believed it. Indeed a tutor in another module has said you can base a story upon unlikeable characters, just so long as they are interesting enough to keep the audience engaged till the end of the piece, and so that is what I have ended up doing. I have now finished the first draft of the script and am now deciding to change the gender of the principle characters. The reason? I think it is more interesting. If the sexes are ever to be truly equal, then that can also mean equally unlikeable. Fingers crossed it’s good.