Before coming up with my film idea I began to make a list of my strengths and my weaknesses:
Scriptwriting – this is my favourite part of Media, and what I enjoy most. I don’t know exactly why I love creating plot ideas. I just seem to think of random scenes – or scenarios – and the ideas are born from that. My one dream is to create a plot that would move the audience emotionally (the only way to describe it, based on my love of novel reading, is that they care about the characters, and follows them to the end. They laugh with the character, they cry with them, the character becomes a friend to them, and even when the story ends, whether it be a happy ending, e.g. Percy Jackson Series – or a justifiable sad ending, e.g The Fatherland) the story is never forgotten.
Researching – I do love discovering information, whether it be history, or something that is an unsolved mystery, or even looking at what drives a human. (From what I’ve learnt reading about story writing research is vital in some areas of the story – e.g. a character suffering from Amnesia, you’ll need to see what causes it, how it affects a person, ect – or even the whole story – e.g. a romance about a princess and a forbidden lover set in the past eras, you’ll need to know what the standards of the people, their beliefs in what was an appropriate marriage or not, etc.)
Team member – I am good at following orders, and I will state my own opinions when required.
Team Leader/Director – I get uncomfortable at the thought of asking people to help me make my film, especially if it’s people I do not know. (At this point my passion for my idea seems to reach a low point, I think it’s because I’m afraid of my film being no good)
Cinematography – I am not overly good at visualising the film, despite having written the entire plot. This is something I need to work on in terms of lighting, set dressing, clothes, etc.
Dialogue – This is another part that I struggle with, I can visualise what happens in a plot. But I’m never overly sure what to get my characters to say, without revealing too much, or “holding the audience’s hand”.
Editor – Visually my editing isn’t so bad. However I feel that there is a lot I could improve on.
I will have four jobs in this production, on creating a scene based on a film plot which created in my spare time, which are:
Scriptwriter – My plot is a five-minute scene. I will be allowed the chance to get some people to read my script and get feedback.
Cinematographer – Creating the storyboard will allow me to properly plan how the scene’s going to look. So when it comes to finally filming, I will have a clear idea of bring my script to life visually.
Editor – Since I’ll have a clear idea in my head of what happens in the scene, I will be able to challenge myself on getting it exactly right.
Director – This will provide me an opportunity to work at my main weakness. I will have to talk to crewmembers to ensure my idea comes to life.
My original idea to use in this project was a story plot idea created while watching the trailer to the upcoming film ’10 Cloverfield lane’ (see below for the the original trailer I watched)
While watching this I began to think it was about an over protective father, and his two kids. As the story progressed in the trailer I began to see it as that the daughter was trying to escape from her father. But when I saw the title I wondered if the plot was different. So that I wasn’t copying the film I began to look up about the film’s plot and I found the following:
‘After getting into a car accident, a woman is held in a shelter with two men, who claim the outside world is affected by a widespread chemical attack’
– plot synopsis from IMBD website (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1179933/)
‘Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself in the basement of a man who says he’s saved her life from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable.’
– plot synopsis from Lecitser cinema website (http://www.showcasecinemas.co.uk/films/10-cloverfield-lane)
So I began to fiddle with my idea, and I came up with the following.
Dani is a young woman who recently awoken from a coma due to an accident. Her father, John, and cousin, Alex, try to help her get back into the swing of life. And though while everything is fine at the beginning – there are certain aspects that make Dani question her life, and to what is true. With help from Alex, Dani is told that her father is in fact her uncle – whom kidnapped Dani after murdering her parents – upon the believe that Dani should have been his daughter (had Dani’s mother not end things with John, and then date John’s older brother).
However when it came to thinking about writing my script, I then realised there would be restrictions to my idea due to the timeframe I had to create this film.
These restrictions included:
– finding an adult to play the role of John
– the length of my story
So I tried to think of how to cut pieces from my idea to make it shorter, but instead I found an idea from the website Script Reader Pro. On the webpage: http://www.scriptreaderpro.com/short-movie-scripts/ they had an article written on it called ‘How to use short movie scripts to break into hollywood’. In the article is mentioned how “making short movies out of one of the best scenes can help gain interest from potential investors, actors, directors, and producers.” It then explained how the writer/director of the film ‘Whiplash’ Damien Chazelle took “one of the most intense scenes in the script and made an 18-minute short film out of it.”
This then helped me to know what to do with my plot (my tutor Jim said to keep my script to five minutes). And then it was just a case of picking which scene to do.
In the end I chose to do a scene where Dani confronts her father on the strangeness of them having no TV, radio or Newspaper. In order to get a visual idea of how I wanted the film to be, I wrote my scene out as a novel entry (see below):
Dani found herself standing in the living room doorway, and studying John as he sat in his burgundy armchair. His grey blue eyes were reading Paradise Lost at a leisured pace – as if reading a letter from an old friend who he hadn’t seen in a long time. Yet the worn edges said he was a regular visitor. The lamp’s light gave the glow of a circle shape around John. Giving the illusion that he was in a bubble of solitude, a place where time could stand still – and everyday life was but a dream. The only thing that unnerved the peaceful sight was the harsh shadows. They casted John in darkness on one side, making Dani think of Dr Jekyll and his alter ego, Mr Hyde.
Her inner thoughts were at war once again. Logic was telling Dani she was being irrational, and paranoid, while Caution was telling her to look more closely. As if sensing her distress John looked up. Her father was a handsome man. There were times when Dani believed he looked like a modern Atticus from to Kill a Mockingbird, if played by Antonio Banderas with out the tan. Dark locks that casually hung to his chin in slight waves. A strong jawline with not a wisp of hair, though a slight stubble would have suited him just fine. His eyes looked at her from behind his silver rectangle glasses, a smile formed on his soft lips.
“Hey, princess” he said smiling, removing his glasses, and putting them with his book on the tableside “You ok?”
“Yeah” she said returning his smile “Just… not feeling so good”
Concern instantly came to his face, as he quickly arose from his seat. Going around the coffee table, John soon had his hand on Dani’s forehead. She looked up at him since he was at least a foot taller than her.
“Woman problems?” he asked, removing his hand upon feeling she didn’t have a temperature
“No, Dad” replied Dani
“Then what is it?”
Dani shrugged at his words looking at the floor. John instantly wrapped his arms around her. It was like getting a hug from a giant teddy bear – warm, soft, strong and safe. Dani found herself automatically returning the hug, as John kissed her hair.
“Sit down”” he said gently “I’ll put the kettle on, and then we’ll talk.”
John released Dani and went into the kitchen. As the clink of cups being taken from the cupboard, and the kettle being set, filtered through, Dani sat on the sofa near John’s chair. Looking at the tableside Dani tried to pick a book, yet found her eyes drawn to Paradise Lost. As if a puppet she picked up the book, and turned to the title page.
In neat feminine handwriting was a message. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. Grace, 1983. The creak of a floorboard made Dani think fast. Putting the closed book back, she grabbed Fatherland opening to her marked place. John came in, and sat back down awaiting the water to boil, put his glasses back on before returning to Paradise Lost. For a few moments they sat in silence with only the clock ticking, yet Dani was anything but comfortable.
“Dad” she said closing her book
“Yeah?” he replied turning the page of his book
“Why do we not have a TV?”
John stopped reading and looked up at Dani.
“Why watch something when you can imagine it?” he replied smiling, lifting the hand holding his book as if some sort of treasure.
“Well why don’t we have a radio? There’s audio book shows, right?”
“Audio books make you focus on the words, and no time to imagine.”
“But if we imagine then we could create our own stories, with a hint of truth from… say… I don’t know our personal lives… or a newspaper?”
The silence that followed was a heavy one, and the ticking now made Dani think of a bomb. John took off his glasses and put Paradise Lost in his lap.
“What’s going on, Danielle?” he asked softly “Why is it such a concern?”
Her heart speed up, and she began to think of a lie. But her mouth failed her.
“It’s just Alex spoke of a new film” she said looking at her lap “and I told him we don’t have a TV, or Radio, or newspaper… he found it a bit odd.”
“Is this the same Alex you met at the clearing? The Alex who wants to be a painter?”
Once again Dani found the ticking of the clock like a time bomb. For a few minutes they said nothing. Then suddenly John sighed.
“Danielle” he said gently “I don’t want you seeing Alex anymore.”
That got her attention and Dani looked to John who continued.
“I think he’s a bad influence on you. Alex is a dreamer, and if he’s lucky he’ll make that dream come true. But it’s still one in a million chance. I think I heard that he’s a bit of a rebel in his family, everyone says that he’ll get no where if he keeps it up.”
Dani felt a rush of anger in her chest, and protectiveness to her only friend.
“How would I know what everyone says?” she snapped, “You never let me go from the house further than the clearing!”
“For good reason” replied John in a voice of steel “Look at you only one day with him, and suddenly he’s a golden boy… Has he kissed you yet?”
Dani felt her cheeks burn at the accusation though it wasn’t true.
“What’s that got to do with any thing?” she hissed
“I know what boys like him are like. They’re only interested in one thing.”
“Just because he’s made me question our lifestyle?”
“I want no more on the subject,” said John firmly putting his glasses back on “You will not see him anymore.”
“Why what are going to do? Lock me in my room because you have something to hide?!”
“And what makes you think I have something to hide, Danielle?”
“Because the dad I know, and love, would give Alex a chance.”
John’s eyes snapped to Dani’s face to see her expression as if she was joking. Yet Dani’s face did not alter an inch. John looked ready to say something; a look of annoyance crossed his face that vanished so quickly, Dani almost thought she imagined it. But just then the kettle whistled John’s right hand clenched into a fist, as he seem to take a deep breath. John arose and went into the kitchen.
Dani knew that he had just closed the subject, but that didn’t mean she had to stop searching for answers.
After rereading my scene again, though I liked what I’d written, I knew that it was the age gap that would have caused restrictions – since I would have needed an adult actor to play John.
So I tweaked with my idea and thought about making John her brother – but this didn’t seem to work with me.
So I made John Dani’s boyfriend. In this story Dani and John have been together for a while. But when Dani finds out she’s pregnant, she is hesitant to share the news – as she can sense there’s something wrong with John. And by accident Dani finds a message from a sender suggesting that John is seeing someone behind her back. But then John reveals that it’s a misunderstanding, and that he the messanger was his friend whom he was asking for advice, as Dani had been behaving strangely – and she reveals her condition. The two, resolved of the misunderstanding, embrace in joy – but then the camera shows a second message either of them is unaware of. It reveals that John was being unloyal and is seeing his friend/lover. So the ending is left open, will he leave Dani? or will he end things with his lover.
(see my draft below)
INT. LIVING ROOM – LATE EVENING/NIGHT
DANI, an eighteen-year-old woman wearing a black tunic top and leggings, reaches the LIVING ROOM doorway. She stops.
Her boyfriend, JOHN, a twenty-year-old young man, wearing jeans, white t-shirt with silver rectangle glasses, who’s sat reading Paradise Lost while sat in his burgundy arm chair. A tall lamp is sat next to him casting half of him into shadow, as if he is two people in one. And also next to the chair is a bedside cabinet with books, a mobile, and book ends on it. A sofa sits to the left of the bedside.
ZOOM IN of DANI as the clock is ticking in the background.
Clock face as it the minute hand strikes 12.
JOHN who looks up to see DANI. He smiles.
(Removes his glasses, and closes his book.)
(Puts items on the bedside cabinet)
DANI still standing in the doorway.
JOHN looking concerned in his seat
What’s the matter?
OVER THE SHOULDER SHOT DANI says nothing, but looks at the floor. JOHN rises from his seat and PAN IN comes to her. JOHN puts his hand to her forehead, DANI then looks up at him. JOHN looks at her before pulling her into a hug, which she returns.
DANI’s face, which looks conflicted.
(Still holding her)
Shall I make a ‘Dani’s mocha’?
(Smiling, then looking up at him)
MID SHOT JOHN lets DANI go before turning to head into the kitchen. DANI follows and heads to the sofa.
MID SHOT DANI gets to the sofa.
She leans down to pick a book
MDI SHOT OF the bedside top as John’s mobile screen lights up, yet is on silent.
MID FORWARD SHOT DANI looking down at the mobile. She looks towards the kitchen, where we can hear the sound of running water. She reaches out, and takes hold of the phone.
DANI sitting on the sofa as she taps the phone, and opens the message.
Close up of text message – Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. G.
CLOSE UP DANI looks confused and hurt.
You want whipped cream?
(Not looking up from the phone)
DANI on the sofa, and puts the phone back. And gets back looking neutral. JOHN walks into the shot and hands DANI her drink. He sits down with his own drink, before taking a sip. DANI looks down at her drink, yet doesn’t take a sip of it. JOHN notices this.
(looking at her)
Not enough chocolate?
DANI shakes her head saying no, but doesn’t look up at him. Her hands tighten on the cup, and tears well up in her eyes. John puts his cup down, and instantly moves to her side he gives her a hug. Yet DANI remains neutral.
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind…
(letting go of her slightly, with a hint of a smile, looking down at her)
And therefore winged Cupid painted blind. I didn’t know you read Shakespeare.
(Looking up at him)
(He stops, then turns to look at his phone. Picks it up, and reads the message.)
DANI looks at JOHN waiting for an answer. JOHN gets up and rubs a hand down his face, PAN OUT he walks towards his chair. He starts to chuckle, DANI looks livid.
What’s so funny?!
(Turing to her)
You think G’s a girl.
DANI crosses her arms waiting for an explanation.
At her expression JOHN begins to laugh, until she gets really angry. He quickly holds his hands in surrender, camera PANS IN, before approaching her.
CLOSE UP OVER THE SHOULDER DANI facing JOHN
This text is from my closest friend, and study buddy, Gary. You remember the “Shakespeare expert” at Samantha’s party last week?
OVER THE SHOULDER JOHN facing DANI. DANI begins to recall, and then looks surprised. However her expression goes back to guarded.
(Shows her his phone)
Look I’ll show you. I messaged Gary because I wanted advice.
CLOSE UP of JOHN standing next to DANI. DANI looks to the screen. She looks relived, convinced and embarrassed. Upon noticing her expression JOHN stops scrolling and turns to her.
(looks at John taking his right hand into hers, then looks confused)
I am so sorry for doubting you – wait why did you need advice?
(he puts the phone on the coffee table, carefully picking his words as he holds bot of her hands)
Well you’ve been… avoiding me the past week… I was getting worried.
DANI looks guilty, but hesitates on saying anything. JOHN takes hold of Dani. He cups her cheek.
OVER THE SHOULDER SHOT from DANI of JOHN’S face
Dani, what’s going on?
OVER THE SHOULDER SHOT from JOHN of DANI’s face
OVER THE SHOULDER SHOT from DANI of JOHN’S face
(Looks overjoyed, the worried)
OVER THE SHOULDER SHOT from JOHN of DANI’s face
They embrace as JOHN gives an exclamation of joy. Camera pans down to the mobile phone while DANI and JOHN still hug in the background. The phone’s screen lights up.
CLOSE UP of the phone screen saying ‘Hope we’re still on for date night. Love you, G.’
The final piece to think about was location, and this solution came from my tutor – Jim – by telling me about the common room.