So, it has been a while since I last blogged.
(this is a blogging site whose internal dictionary singles out blog blogging and blogged as needing spell checking. I’m confused).
In the meantime, I have been working on a 6 to 8-page script for this class.
I know what I want from the script. the characters feel right and most of their dialogue sits well. (though some cuts are necessary).
The problem, which is one that as a writer I often have seems to be one of exposition. In order to feel totally disgusted with one of the characters, you need to delve into her past. but in 8 minutes there is not much time. I thought a totally surreal scene was the best way of doing it. using ‘Punch and Judy’ puppets to play out the scenes which are too horrible to film on such a budget.
however though it’s as clear as day what should happen. others reading what I have put do not seem to get it. the problem is clearly mine. but how to fix it.
one, of course, is to describe the scenes better. but these scenes require so may directorial decisions I’m not sure how to go about it. I could describe the character forced to sit in a deck chair while the Punch and Judy show is played laughing more and more hysterically as her evil deeds are played out. even shouting ‘that’s the way to do it’ at the most pivotal and inappropriate moments…
The second involves me making it a more mundane scene, like something ruthlessly stolen from… I mean an homage to, ‘a matter of life a death’ (‘stairway to heaven for you Americans’). This would allow the characters socio-path tendency’s to be discussed with an ‘angel Gabriel/Stephen fry’ like character.
And even break the 4th wall a little with him saying ‘hurry up there are only 2 minutes left’ exactly 2 minutes before the first gunshot. however the short is already dialogue heavy and I have a feeling that my tutor feels a film should be more visual, (though I am on the shelf here)
I am quite torn between my original vision and this alternative. my only recourse is to write them both and see which one stands up best….
or to point my tutor at this entry and ask his advice. I’m determined to get it right.
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.