Friday, March 4, 2011

Rough conceptual of movie script

I have been toying with the idea of writing a movie for awhile now. This semester I have finally entered a Japanese film class that has really altered my readings of movies and has made me even more enamored with the older styles of shooting films that have often gone by the wayside in this day and age with the advent of fancy tricks and a comprehensive backlog of films to cherry-pick inspiration from. I'm not sure I ever actually intend to make this movie beyond writing the script, but I am trying to write it in a way that it could be produced with little capital to begin with and using average people as actors, rather than professionals (inspired by the amazing Italian neorealist director Vittorio De Sica). Comments, critiques, criticisms, ideas are all welcome. I have something written for each of the scenes listed below, but they are simply too rough to post at the moment.

My goals with "Stragglers (working title)"

be an ode to Austin
be an ode to my friends and an apology of sorts for how things have turned out at times
be an ode to the great stories of my youth like the Iliad
be a social critique - you cannot take blood from a stone
to work on a shoe-string budget with objects/sets/people we already have access to

1. Austin, modern day, though will not explicitly state the location or time period, it'll have to be inferred, prefer to set in primarily naturally-lit outdoor areas during periods where few people are out in the street (want to convey a sort of loneliness)

2. Austin, past (roughly 4 years), the apartment inhabited by the main trio, want this to constitute no more than 25% of the movie tops and more just to illustrate the once-close relationships between the three and drive home the deterioration. Transitions to past should not be clearly evident (no on-screen text or anything) but instead should be clear from character interactions plus contextual evidence

For each time period, I want the events within those time periods to occupy no more than 12 hours of "real time" each. Preferably modern day scenes should be in the afternoon/evening and end at night, less clear for the other since mostly inside.

Major Character ideas:
(all names are for working purposes only, A/B/C etc. weren't doing it for me)

Alex: originally written as egotistical, moody, intellectual male but I got bored with that idea and have been toying with making this character female since it would be more of a challenge to me (as a male) and because I love crafty women. Self-proclaimed ringleader of sorts, was once the kindest of the three but now the most distant. Want her to be cold, calculating, greedy and ultimately successful. No poetic justice for her. I want her to embody arrogance, idealism and intellectualism taken too far.

Brian: A loud, outwardly-aggressive but internally meek. Would seem brave if you didn't know him, but he works more out of expectations for his friends, rather than pure courage. On the fence about Alex at beginning of movie.

Dan: The level-headed one. Says less than the other two but just as intelligent as Alex, just not willing to project himself in the same manner to his own detriment. Possibility of him betraying Alex to his own ruin, or maybe to his own salvation (though not her destruction). Has moral qualms with what has happened in the past few years and wants nothing more than to return to the past. Not suicidal but doesn't value himself or his own life much.

All 3: were friends originally, all come from middle-class but have little money now, nor do I feel like I should explain why, it should be clear that its just an effect of trying to put themselves through college. Decide to start "bending" the rules in a situation they feel (and have rationalized) they have been unfairly placed in by society (i.e. forced to put themselves through school with minimum money from part-time jobs). They also feel that society has changed and removed their ability to prosper based on their ability and drive. The three were very close (toying with the idea of them all non-sexually sharing one bed at the open to show that they are, by society's standards, unnaturally close) and in the past I would like them to implicitly agree with each other's statements. They are three mouths speaking from one mind.

In the present they have destroyed their friendships and descended into paranoia. Someone is literally out to get them but they will instead spend time backstabbing each other. They all feel some guilt for what they have done and all feel they deserve some level of punishment, though this will be most profound in the Dan character who will basically be the audience surrogate for the modern scenes. They are still forced to work together since an outside force is still out to get them for some perceived wrong (money, drugs, whatever).

Major scenes (more to come):

the aforementioned shared bed scene that starts off poorly focused and very low angle and slowly comes into focus.

Sharing a bottle of vodka and talking philosophy (leading into their delving into illicit areas)

graveyard scene, opening of the modern sequence showing Alex talking to a random grave at the cemetary until other two show up and discuss their options

betrayal scene, in field Alex puts gun to Brian's head and either shoots him or lets him go, cutting off the relationship worse than before and showcasing the underlying innocence and immaturity of these characters playing criminals

paranoia downtown scene, first-person and frantic as character(s) (probably Alex and maybe one other)

and a few others that I am still toying with (will be better hashed out when I determine how I want the past/present scenes to mix or if I decide to axe the past scenes ultimately.

slow, deliberate, wide-angle shots primarily. Suppress cuts in normal sequences though use them for accents during dramatic scenes. Playing with saturation to separate past and present scenes might be a cool option.

Dialogue is there but I don't want it to get too heavily philosophical. Should be bite-sized morsels that still explain where the characters are coming from. Internal conflict will have to be exhibited in some way, but not a fan of voiceovers (except in that first person scene).

Motto: Familiarity breeds contempt

1 comment:

  1. Great post Mike, this project definitely has a lot of potential, and I think youre really in your element here.