Wednesday, May 18, 2005

[The 48] Intro

Warning: These 48 Hour posts are going to have way more emotions in them than normal multi-dimensional posts.

I'm wearing Bodil de Rezeney's Red Scarf of Imagination right now. I hope to wear it every time I write from now on.

I am feeling emotionally washed out and vulnerable right now; same as I do every time I finish a big creative project. Watching the last third of Angel Season 5 today, I think I cried for about two hours in total. And because we did a Disney movie, I have been walking around so happy I almost felt stoned for the last two days, thinking about all the new friends I made over the weekend.

This was a big project for me. In terms of the storytelling, I think it's the thing I've helped right that I am most proud of. Lately feel like I have climbed up off the plateau of writing I have been on and discovered a whole new level that will take me a couple of years to explore. 'It's a Wonderful Library' is a big part of that exploration. It has a clear story, clear conflict, it was created in collaboration and it's honest to itself.

So here am, three days later, finally having had an afternoon nap that has gotten rid of the last of my sleep deprivation and I think it's time to start talking about what happened from my point of view.

Friday night, Gino was later than I expected picking me up. I was already nervous, and even more so after the details of our project were delivered while I was in the toilet. 'Disney Family Movie'. To start with I had no idea what we would do. And then my assumption that we would all collaboratively know the essentials of any genre was born out. We quickly established that our movie would involve children, and adventure, and as we worked through our locations it became clear that Jenni's library and the fairytale LARP would be involved.

Our first draft took ages and it was during this that I first began to feel the situation slipping out of my control. We had not set a firm deadline as in our run through. Telling the story had it's stops and starts, as I've written about elsewhere.

However I was pleased that Jenni accepted our idea so quickly. I think we all knew we were telling the right story, immediately. It was just going to be a matter of grinding it out...


Svend said...

I always find it weird to see myself quoted in places I don't read. :)

I think the three key differences between the Superhero practice writeup were that we were more keenly aware that it had to be filmed (and thus more conscious of our locations and actor possibilities); keeping in mind what our DoP had said, we were consciously trying to Bring the Funny; and we were more motivated to make it awesome, because it was real. ;)

(And for what it's worth, I arrived home at about 5:30pm... and then no-one arrived until 7pm. So I started out the evening a little worried myself.)

matt said...

That's not quite true - Debbie and I were there by 6:45pm.

Yeah, there was some extra pressure when it was the real deal. I felt like I was self-censoring, always running my ideas through an 'is-that-possible, can-we-film-it' filter. This probably lead to fewer and less crazy ideas.

This wasn't a problem, as we ended up with a lot more than we needed in terms of both humour and ideas, but it did make the raising of stakes and introducing of conflicts much less overt or scene-shaping.

Svend said...

Yeah, well, it felt like 7pm - I'd done all the vaccumming I could reasonably do, the food was cooked, and I was simply sitting in the main room waiting and trying not to worry too much. It was fine once there was someone else to talk to, though. :)

Jenni said...

I thought everyone had been there since way earlier! You all seemed so settled in by the time Lee and I got there at 7.30!

And yes, I loved the story straight away.

hix said...

I reckon that was due to having the run-through and therefore knowing what we had to do, and in what order. And having come up with a pretty clear idea.

Hey Matt, can you expand on what you meant by, "[it made] the raising of stakes and introducing of conflicts much less overt or scene-shaping."

matt said...

I felt that I didn't want to introduce any epic complications or conflicts - I didn't want to challenge where the story was going - because I didn't want to introduce elements that would need to be cut immediately. The basic idea of "Evil guy wants to destroy library, librarian wants to stop him, he falls into a book" was I think what we started with. That had the central conflict built into it, and I didn't want to introduce other conflicts on a scene by scene basis.

For example, it would have been quite possible to introduce a conflict in the scene where Max meets Bodil of "Max tries to use force to get a straight answer out of Bodil". Whether the attempt succeeded would be at stake, and it would be a physical and power-structure stuggle.

We could have bid traits and rolled dice, and narrated something like - "Max tries to grab Bodil, he looks over Max's shoulder unimpressed. Max takes a swing at Bodil but he bends over to pull something from his rucksack just in time. Bodil stands up sharply, knocking Max to the ground. Max flips to his feet and assumes a kung-fu pose. "Tell me what's going on here!" he shouts.

"The monkeys are angry!" Bodil declares in a camp fashion, then leaps behind a tree, producing an umbrella from his rucksack. Max spins around, and is hit by a banana. Max screams in slow motion as bananas slam into him.

We'd end up in the same place, but with an action sequence that we'd have to cut down due to time constraints.

The main thing is that I didn't want to introduce any difficult to film complications, so I was always second guessing myself. When I did introduce complications, it was always to get the story to the next point that I saw in the progression, not to take it in a new, interesting direction.

I suspect that this was wise for the Disney genre anyway.

matt said...

Oh, and I totally forgot - at about 11pm, you called us babies.

As in,

"OK babies, let's get this second round going."

hix said...


I'd forgotten about that horror myself.

Still, it was a stunning slip of the tongue. Certainly in the top tier of both sexism and patronism that have ever left my mouth. And to do it simultaneously to boot? ... Actually, maybe I should be prouder of it!

matt said...

I thought it was very Hollywood, which made me feel happy. Just like a real script-writer.

I intend to try to use that term more often, with both roleplaying groups and maybe students?