M103MC 21st Century Narrative Forms
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A work of a semester is ended up. In the last few weeks we have learned the system of narrative forms, also learned how to write a script.
First Cliff introduced ‘open world’, a term of video games, which for player is given considerable freedom through a virtual world, and fictitious main stories, rules, as survive in the world. Knowable open world games include Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Assassin’s Creed or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
The open world lead us to the imagination. For creating a world view in mind for story background, it needs rich imagination and creativity.
The most important thing is your idea. As Cliff said, many of those stories base on a boy meets a girl and then they fall in love, and truly it does, simple love story can always be attractive, it’s like chemical reaction. Even some great films cannot do without love line, whether they were obscure or obvious. For example, Titanic, Wuthering Heights, Gone with the Wind. And yes films like Titanic are adapted by the true shipwreck incident, Wuthering Heights got its original fiction.
While adapting a book need to gain acceptance from original author or just buy the copyright. Some famous directors may either be director and screenwriter.
Adaptation combine by producers and audiences, a popular story is always the classic one. Among as Romeo and Juliet written by Shakespeare, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. These world-famous novel earned numbers of readers from different age since they published. Another advantage of adopt classic is, no need to pay much attention to the copyright, ’cause it have been a long time, also it’s better remade from book sources.
Second adopt sources are biographies: Amadeus, I’m Not There, Marie Antoinette, Aviator and many others. It won’t be one hundred per cent reality but will says is inspire by the leading character’s true life experience.
Then here we go for the screenplay, script writing. And we went step by step.
- Pitch: less than 100 words, mostly summarize your story idea in a sentence;
- Outline: enrich your story line from the beginning till the ending, but not too many words, either;
- Treatment: detailed, informed, complete the characters (age, looks, habits if need), different scenes, subplots, main story, every incident, need to be straight forward, do not need dialogue between characters;
We spent two weeks finishing a 5-10 minutes rough draft, 1 page for 1 minute of screen time. Cliff recommend us an online script writing website called Celtx, which is really convenient for correct format especially capital abbreviations. ‘INT’ short for interior, ‘EXT’ short for exterior, and all that.
Besides, Cliff mentioned ‘plot point’, included 3 point, as a 3 act structure.
- Set up: inciting incident—plot point 1, first one third beginning
- Confrontation: mid point—plot point 2, next in-between content
- Resolution: climax
We had lots of great scripts, we only choice one of more than 10 scripts and spilt to two groups shoot two versions.
At last we decided to film our class mate Luca’s story. He named his script a beautiful name, ‘A promise’, the story talking about a young man who lost his father, after that, he didn’t talk for years until he meet a girl and they fell in love, at the end of the story, he finally said a word. I consider Luca’s story as a feature love story, the point is: because of falling love with that girl, they having a baby, and suddenly this boy who grew to a young father, understand the feeling of his dead father.
To be honestly, everyone would feel much more satisfied if their own script been used. Our group met some small divergence while we are starting in progress, it’s hard to keep clam but I told myself to do so, it’s not easy but for good or not, we went through the day.
Seriously we were facing a problem: we are doing it with Beck and Sean, who did not deeply get to know Chinese culture. As Cliff said, we are doing a Chinese version, it’s the reason we change main characters’ gender.
My role in our group is the ‘continuity girl’, I stayed with clap all the time. Tianqi acted director during the whole shooting process, Tianqi and Shu, Jiwang stayed up late discuss how to create our ‘a promise’ film. Zhejun and Tianqi shoot most of the time, me and Jiaqi were always be with them, so do our leading actors.
We have been to Birmingham for view finding, tried to find something different from Coventry such as flower shop, book store, café. We spent a week to filmed, every day we wake up early in the morning while the sky just bright white, went back home late at night, it’s tough, but I think I enjoyed the working time. It’s like my first experience of shooting a direct real film.
We finished the shooing as fast as possible, we got limited resource, (we were trying not to stay in the same place where the other group had filmed on) and director decided not to find a real baby for the last scene, we were worry at that time, luckily they think over a better idea. And so far, it’s not bad.
In the next two weeks is our post production time. And just the day before yesterday I saw the completed film. It ended in a hurry, you can’t say it’s perfect, actually I believe it could improve. For the reason of some group member get personal emotions, they argued about editing and synthesizing, and we got some technical matters, group members’ personal time management problem as well.
Things getting worse if somebody decide to let himself/herself to be an assistant, and take less care about the progress, only urge the others, it does not help at all.
There are something that I need to say: we are lack of scenery shots for transition effect, it’s a pity. Without scenery shots we might not be able to construct the situation for a artistry feature story;
Car crash is the second difficult scene for shooting. At first we can’t even borrow a car, later Zhejun got her friend who just free to drive, what a great news? That afternoon we got nice weather and warm sunshine, and photographers got good scenes. Everything was just right.
Film clip is composed of a series of lens according to certain rules of the art of editing work, therefore, lens language would be the foundation of script writing. Clearly we did not do very well, and we need a long way to go, either from teamwork or technical function. I’m not sure if I will get another chance in the future, but I can now hope and learn more from now on.
It’s the end of the module, but would not be the end of my studying. Thanks for this unforgettable memory, I’m now become interested and curious in film shooting, script writing, and post production.