Friday, February 24, 2006

Tearing up & tearing down

So as I've been writing of late I've been in my WRITING phase, and it always never amazes me on how a story can evolve once pen is put to paper. I've mentioned that the key to writing is re-writing, but how much re-writing can one do until you begin to chase your own tail, and become unproductive. I'm half way through a script when I suddenly make changes and my story becomes something different then what I originally wanted, yet it something I that I was striving for and that is a two character piece. Cinema is a visual medium, and one that should lend itself to visuals, but dialogue and character development can not be ignored. You want the audience to identify with certain characters or their traits. It's how you get the audience involved and how you prevent them from changing the channel or worse yet press the "stop" button on their DVD players or VCR's. Usually I begin to tear up a script after completing the first draft, but here I'm tearing it down before it's halfway done. This becomes frustrating to me, and I sometimes get mad at myself for not planning it out better, but that's the evolution of writing a script. Sometimes the characters you create can and will change a stories focus. Maybe the theme remains the same, but the story takes a sort of detour and uncovers other themes that are buried in the work. In my case it's "redemption" for both characters and how they go about it. Again I find myself in the crime genre which I like. There are no black & whites here, and I like playing with audience's assumptions. I've always hated the Hollywood stereotype of the various characters in movies. The prostitute with a heart of gold, the killer who is sexual repressed, and the clean cut hero with no flaws. Life isn't like that, and I like to show a bit more complexity in characters and story. Sure movies were meant to entertain, but I like to think that the audience likes good stories which deal with real-life type characters, and not stereotypes. Maybe I'm wrong, but I do believe that a story can work if presented intelligently, and realistically. I may be fighting an up hill battle on this, but it's my battle, and one I like taking on.

I hope to be a bit more visual with this film. I am a student of cinematography, and once fancied myself a pretty good camera man, or if you like cinematographer, so along with the character development I'm trying to see the film visually. I do plan on filming in HDV, and by doing so I hope to make it a more visual experience. But the visuals have to work with the story, and though I do write CAMERA instructions into my script I've been taught that one should not do this. Since I will be directing this it's okay, and it gives me more to work with, but it is a directors job to translate the script into a visual reality. This is done after the script is locked, and after seeing where one will film. Locations can provide a good source of visuals for a film, but it is the directors call.

So for now I'm just trying to get it down on paper, and occasionally I'll fixate on a visual that may propel the story forward. But tearing up and tearing down the script before it's finished can be frustrating and make it seem that the script will never get done. It is the STORY that counts and right now I need to concentrate on that. When one wears many hats it's hard to get very objective since one has to also deal with the realities of production and it's limitations in money. The process of tearing up and tearing down a script goes on even into production, and slowly the film takes shape. Most say a script is a sort of blueprint of a film, and it may or may not be followed to the letter since realities of film-making can crop up in all phases of it's production. Maybe that's why I like film-making so much. It evolves over time, and it's that evolution that always amazes me and awes me.

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