Thursday, April 12, 2007

Script Meeting

So... last lesson of the screenwriting course yesterday - a full day to go over everybody's plots, characters, plans, pitches, motivations, structures, etc,

The nine of us sat down with Andy and went through, one by one, each of our pitches and the planned layout of our work, in what was, actually, quite a fun day. Just like you often see on DVD extras these days, the script writers of one comedy/drama/movie sat round a big table talking to each other about how they evisage the development of said script. Though we only had 30 minutes each, it came out quite inspirational. Certainly, for the nine of us, there were nine very different ideas, very different themes, genres, styles, from lesbian farce, to terrorist-family drama, to coma-based fantasy, to European multi-strand movie, to social dramedy.

I wasn't quite sure what feedback I'd get, especially since I'd personally hit a dead wall (that's a dead stop and a brick wall - for added effect), with where to go with my piece. I knew my characters, I knew the basic plot, and I knew where I'd originally started the idea, and now where it had ended up, but what I didn't know was the focus. As with most of my projects I'd added complication upon complication, and got to a point where I had two separate worlds, and was confusedly going to try maintaining both of them.

The key to the whole day was accepting that I should stick to one pov: main character Sam (soon to change name because of the similarities with Sam Tyler from Life on Mars - you should be getting an idea of the plot by now... I swear I'm not copying. My idea originated about 4 years ago, though admittedly Life on Mars began life as an idea 8 years ago... bygones)!

So, POV = Sam. The world should remain as the coma world, and we should follow Sam through trying to lead his life, but with hints of something very strange and untoward going on. I'd made the mistake of holding back at the beginning of the script on really delivering one of those nice plot-point question marks for an audience, but Andy advised me to put that in as it gives immediate pay off to the teaser section of the story.

Everyone agreed that I needed to focus on this real world situation through the eyes of someone slightly messed up, unhinged. We can then lead the audience with questions about what the reality is - this ultimately takes me a million miles from the original concept, but that is specifically why you are told never to adapt your own material from one form to another... you become precious about it, and you don't see the restrictions that you set for yourself, simply because you refuse to change an ideal to suit a better story framework.

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