Who? What? Why? When?

Active Questions-  Creswick (2016) Director and Writer Natalie Erika James; Writer – Christian White – Available online at <https://vimeo.com/157958148> Accessed on 1 st May 2018

Creswick is the story of a young woman helping pack up her father’s home, while both have the strange feeling they are not alone. The active questions come soon;

Whose was the art book? Possibly her dad’s

Why is the woman so jumpy? Something has happened/is happening that is making her anxious -moving of items, etc

Who do they think is living in their house? They don’t know.

What happened in the woods? Again, we don’t know.

What will she discover? This questions possibly ties in with the last one.

And finally, what is the black body over her dad’s shoulder? Is this something only she can see, her father certainly can’t ‘feel’ its weight. The body looks charcoaled.  Is it representing something in either of their past or the weight of dementia, or is it plain and simply an unknown being. Lots of questions left unanswered which make for great conversations.

Sneaky Speak.

Sneaky Pete (2015) Directed Seth Gordon; Written by David Shore and Brian Cranston.

This is crime drama that Amazon keeps adding to my time line, so I thought would give in to peer pressure and watch it.

Pete and Marius are in prison, Marius a ‘confidence’ man is getting parole, while Pete won’t be sleeping in his own bed for some-time, the consequences of holding up a gun range.  From the opening voice over, we immediately know who the ‘real Pete’ is. He is sentimental for outdoors of his youth, loves his family and knew where he belonged. Marius’s tone and his request to Pete to shut up, that his was probably the polar opposite. By the time he is leaving Marius is ready to switch persona, to Pete.

The dialogue throughout this pilot episode is fast paced, yet wordy, it depicts cultural characteristic’s, in concise punchy lines.  But it’s the ease of the switch, the ability to summarise his potential ‘con’ where Pete I at his strongest. Pretending to be Pete, engaging with his long-lost family, Marius uses careful pauses and listening to understand where a conversation is going and how to respond.  The responses ‘Pete’ receives prove he is believed. His con is working.

 

“One Batch Two Batch…”

Daredevil Season 2 Episode 4 Penny and Dime  –

Dir: Peter Hoar; Written By: John C. Kelly

We watch film and TV to escape, to forget and also to grow.  Through these characters we according to Cohen (2013:183), expand are own ’emotional and mental lives’ beyond that of personal experience.  We identify with both the characters and their situation, we empathise with them and understand their goals, we make a connection, become invested in their outcome and are interest is caught.

Netflix’s, Marvel’s Daredevil second antagonist, Frank Castle, is a war veteran, a US marine corps sniper, he has taken out entire gangs. We know he is dangerous.

Karen, a reporter is at Castle’s home. A regular family home with photos of his wife and kids in various stages of growing up, of castle in fatigues, a medal of Honour proudly displayed,  a book is in his daughters room, the words emblazoned on the pages, the words Castle says before he pulls the trigger “One Batch Two Batch”, his daughters favourite book.  We recognise the kids trainers on the stairs, the box of kid’s toys, we too have family photo’s on the mantlepiece.

Rescued by Daredevil, Castle tells of the murder of his family by a gang in a park. We empathise with him, this could have been any family, this has never happened to you, but your gut wrenches too, we cry.  We understand his needs and goals, we want revenge too.

The story feels real, you have felt raw emotion, mirrored the feelings on screen. He maybe on a rampage, but he has damn good reason. He maybe seen as the antagonist to the vigilante Daredevil but he isn’t evil, he isn’t your typical bad guy. And because of this you have a strong connection for him to get his revenge, to see his goal through to the end, you want it to be alright for him. You have connected, you are invested as much as Castle. You have identified with the character and his situation.

As Cohen (2013:186) points out this is an active psychological state, just one of the many ways we respond to film and TV.

 

 Cohen J. (2013). Chapter 11. Audience Identification with media characters in  Jennings, Bryant and Vorderer, Peter.(eds)  Psychology of Entertainment. London. Routledge

 

The Pitch

Pitching a film for the first time is nail biting!

It’s got to that time already.  The 3rd draft of the script is nearly finished, ready to be submitted.  It’s only natural that now you have written a script you want to sell it, so you need a pitch.

I’m a fair way of selling my script, but I still need to practise my script, and having a really crap short-term memory I knew I was going to struggle. After giving it some thought, I downloaded the TelePromTer app onto my phone, and Voila! I have the words in front of me, and I record, save and review all in one easy go, and even send it anywhere I want, in this case to uni.

Putting myself in front of a camera has never been high on my list, in fact, I avoid cameras, phones, etc as best as possible. The family album is full of kids and the OH, even the dog, cats and garden get a fair few pages, but you won’t find a single pic of me. Call it whatever you want, but it’s mainly confidence. After being a stay at home mum for so long you, you forget how to socialize and talk to grown ups, and you never know how much glitter and glue you are covered in until there is a camera in sight.

Nerves at their worse, I hapazerderly slapped on the old warpaint, removed the bobble and actually brushed my mane.

Having watched numerous pitch’s, I was no more confident in my approach but I had ago, and another, then another… It’s very difficult to capture you best side when you are holding the phone at arm’s length and vanity prevents you from wearing your reading glasses. Eventually I made a  version I was okay with. In a week that has been fraught with rewrites and edits, this is a small win, and I’m going to grab it with both hands.

 

Leaving-

So we had to write an opening about two people leaving each other…

So we had to write an opening about two people leaving each other. Immediately I thought like most people would, of a relationship ending. But then I thought, what if the leaving was only temporary, who would hurt the most? I came up with this…

INT. KITCHEN- TABLE -MORNING

A young girl, MACY, 6,  sits at the dining table, her head in her hands, elbows resting on the table, while her legs swing faster and faster as her dad talks to her. The radio is on in the background.

PETE

I have to go to work

MACY

but I don’t want you to!

Her father PETE, bends down at the table, sitting on his heels, he moves her cereal bowl away, and copies her actions, head in his hand, elbows on the table.

PETE

darling, I really don’t want to travel either

 

Macy doesn’t move, she refuses to look at him

Pete sticks out his tongue at her. She moves her head to face the other way, but peeks through her fingers at him.

Pete pulls a funny face, Macy lets a small giggle escape, then pulls herself tighter. Pete is not giving up, he checks his watch then catch’s a tune on the radio.

He starts to dance around the kitchen table, arms wafting in the air, he scoops the mop up in his arms continuing to dance with his new mop partner. He dips and waltzes on, he keeps watching his daughter for a reaction.

Still not ‘watching’ she moves around the table, peering through her fingers. Her legs swing slower.

Pete starts to jive, then dancing like Beyonce her reaches for Macy’s hand.

She pulls it away, but drops her hands now to watch him. A smile sneaking up on her face. Her legs have stopped swinging.

Pete puts the mop down, spins like Michael Jackson, and goes in for her chair. Struggling he picks up Macy still in the chair, and lifts in on to the table.

She is now giggling at him.

PETE

ouch!

he rubs his back, this makes her laugh out.

Pete stands up straight, he holds his hand out for her again

PETE

My princess Macy, would you care to dance?

 

Macy giggles, her eyes already dancing, accepts his hand.

 

MACY

Yes, silly daddy

 

She jumps off the table into his arms as he whirls her around the kitchen table. He pretends to trip over the mop, and apologises to ‘her’. Father and daughter continue their waltz.

After the song has finished Pete puts Macy down standing, and kneels in front of her.

PETE

I know you don’t like it princess, but it’s only two nights this time

 

Macy nods.

MACY

I know daddy, it’s just I miss you when you’re gone

 

PETE

how about next time, you come with me, and we can dance on the beach?

 

Macy nods again, tears and snot falling, she wipes them all away with her sleeve.

Pete gives her a hug, she wipes more snot and tears on his shoulder

 PETE

c’mon, then let’s get you ready for school then

Holding hands they leave together.

Act 2 a.k.a. Week 5 begins

The last four weeks have flown by!

From being a total newby to scriptwriting to now being comfortable to use premise, treatments and loglines.

Tagline:               When BFF’s want more they will go to any extremes.

Logline:             ‘Wannabe’ teen wanting her idol’s life of fame and fortune, seeks to make her name through reality tv with dire consequences.

My first short film script in an adaptation of one of my short stories from a collection of ten, called Written in Stone. the first one is named Covet. I don’t to give too much away just yet, but it’s not all plain

As a writer, the transition from creative to script, is more difficult than at first it seems. Leaving the prose behind, is a skill in itself, but with using the step outline and writing each scene by scene really helped.

Being forced into brevity was actually a good thing, it made me focus more on the character arc and the story arc itself, and helped to refine the smaller discrepancies you don’t always notice with your own work.

As a starting point traditional scriptwriting documentation is has been great, will I stick with it? At the moment yes, as I mentioned it is easing the transition from creative writer to script writer, and while I still do both styles, I will use all I can to make my writing work.

And so it began…Week One.

Reflection…

Well it came badly time for me, week one started on the first day of half term, and a planned trip away camping so no wifi. But a quick glance at the lesson plan got me thinking about why I write, why I enjoy storytelling,

This began long before I was a parent, back when my parents had given up reading to me as I often read quicker than them. I wrote to fill in the time before the next book was out, to compliment the author’s story or add my own version of the back story.  I wrote to escape. The same has happened with reading and story telling, escapism. I tell story o my children to escape the potential nightmares, we take imaginary journeys to places  not visited , we are brave and overcome enemies and monsters. We are warriors, protectors, friends, traveller’s. Through stories we can live a thousand lives, and through each of those lifes give us the skills we need to live this one.

Sometimes they are heroes, sometimes the bad guys get away, occasionally there are morals and hidden messages, similarities and shared personalities, that help the listener to make a descison, a choice, lesson learned.

But story telling is also for enjoyment, what other reason is there for picking up a classic horror story, the only lessons to be learned from that are ‘don’t go in the cellar if you hear strange noises’ and ‘don’t wear high heels and a short skirt when you go camping and might have to run’.

The pure pleasure to be gained from a story rich enough that you lose yourself into it and react emotionally, is something totally personal, and can not be predicted until after the event. To be the person responsible for that effect is what it is all about. The satisfaction that your story had moved another human being into action of any kind has to be the highest praise available, and if i can only keep giving my kids peace that the boogie eyed bed monster is not strong enough to beat them, them im happy wih my efforts of narration.