Week 4: Skills -Screenplay and filming (Gregg)

Skills used this week

This week the skills practiced were much more multimedia based than in previous weeks. Our work this week was focused around creating a short film based around the theme of loneliness. This is something I found very useful, as working with a set parameter and guidelines of what to create while still being given creative freedom, is something that is expected of all journalists and writers in the industry.

Working as a group: One of the most important aspects of this week’s work was to work together as a team in the creative process. This is something I have had little experience with as I am usually working on projects by myself with little to no input from others. This is something I found incredibly useful as not only did it allow me to discuss my ideas and therefore develop them further, but also take on board ideas I had not considered and apply them to the project.

The main way I found this impacting the work was through the generating of ideas. I initially had a basic idea of a script around a person being ignored and slowly disappearing as they were unnoticed by people around them. This mainly  was based around my interest in video editing as I felt this would be a good challenge for myself. However, upon discussion with my group we combined this with another of my group’s idea of it having a narrative based around friends. This eventually evolved into a narrative about a boy being dumped by his girlfriend and how his brain was reacting to this idea of being alone in his head. We discussed how we would portray this bouncing ideas around with each other and taking notes until a fully formed idea was created. Everyone in the group had something to offer from idea generation and creating a narrative to another person creating a story board of which to follow to make the filming easier. My own personal input was more from a directors point of view as I had an idea of how I felt the shots should look and how I could then edit this. For this reason I also edited the piece.

Scripting/ idea outline: As discussed above my group worked together in order to generate and create an idea that eventually evolved into the final product. While one of our group worked on creating the story board myself and another from my group worked on writing of a formal script. This was informed using a script writing guide. As the piece was silent it was relatively short since we were limited to 5 words of dialogue maximum. In order to get around this we used the idea of texting and notes stuck onto a white board to portray inner monologue.

Filming: The filming process itself was relatively simple and easy, we were given an additional team member to work with due to them being absent the day before. I explained how we wished the shots to be done and showed them how each different shot would look ideally. This was made much easier with the help of the script and story board.

Creating a written piece: Using the video we were then expected to write a piece of around 300 words. I originally did this as a monologue. However after tutor feedback I was informed that it may not have had the impact I was looking for. It was suggested I then take the opening paragraph and elaborate on it more and use it as a springboard into a discussion of loneliness in the style of a journalistic feature piece. I therefore looked into some background information regarding loneliness and its link with mental illness. I then used this combined with my own experiences to write a personal account in a journalistic style of my struggle with mental illness when I was younger and how loneliness impacted on this.

Professional examples

https://stephenfollows.com/resource-docs/scripts/dark_knight._The_.pdf

Own example of skills being used

Screen writing

screenplay-week-4-greg (Writersstore.com, 2016)

Story Board

photo (2).jpg

Video

Loneliness written piece – Mr Nobody

Benches are a lot less comfortable when you sit on them in isolation. There’s something about it, it suddenly feels less comforting, and harder. It goes from a place to relax to just watching people walking past you, not noticing you. Until you start crying, then they take a slight detour around you like there’s this bubble of emotional instability they have to stay out of.

But by this point, you’re disassociating from reality anyway. You just replay the events leading up to the bench; all the signs that you’re about to be abandoned. The excuses, the cancelling of plans and the break up is always a pretty obvious sign that things aren’t working. You travel further and further inside your own head. Worthless, pathetic, useless. You crawl further into the grey. Waste of space, waste of time and a waste of a person. You start falling as the ground splits around you and swallows you in the realisation of how you aren’t good enough. And you start to fall. And fall. And fall. Further and further into the black until you’re so far down you can’t see how you got down there in the first place. Then you just sit there, and you accept that this black pit is just an empty bench with Nobody sitting on it. Solitary and completely forgettable. Slowly you start to disappear until there’s nothing left. You become a shell, hollow and empty. Filled with the black empty nothingness. The tears dry up and your skin becomes sand, course and fragmented. Until one day the wind picks up and you just blow away scattered in the wind. With no one left who cares enough to remember you. And even if there were you’re already gone, but there isn’t a you anymore, there was Nobody and he’s gone too. Farewell, no one will miss you.

Nobody Journalistic style piece

Benches are a lot less comfortable when you sit on them in isolation. There’s something about it, it suddenly feels less comforting, and harder. It goes from a place to relax to just watching people walking past you, not noticing you. Until you start crying, then they take a slight detour around you like there’s this bubble of emotional instability they have to stay out of.

A sense of being alone is something many of this generation’s youth face everyday. With a constant bombardment of billboards and songs about how to look and act creating this perpetual isolation. This loneliness can then manifest itself in causing the brain to function differently. Loneliness causes the brain to be in a constant defensive state often becoming defensive despite no actual threat. This can then result in lashing out at those who wish to help causing further separation.

My own personal experience has been a prime example of the affect loneliness can have on ones subconscious. After an extended period of time being ridiculed and berated by my peers at a young age in school I began to separate myself from human contact. I would hide in the toilets, in the part of the school no one liked enough to venture to. It was here I would sit for 45 minutes in silent isolation everyday 5 days a week. When I returned home I would go and do my homework and then go onto the computer until I was told to go to bed. While I have now improved considerably, I often find myself in a state of unrest and discomfort when unable to spend ample time alone. My ability to rationalise and understand human interaction was vastly stunted and as a result it took me from the ages of 17-20 to learn how to appropriately make conversation.

Loneliness has a tendency to manifest itself in long term mental health issues in many people, causing anxiety, disassociation and depression.

Loneliness can be much more common among the older generations. With cases of elderly people calling the emergency services purely to hear the sound of someone’s voice. In one such case An elderly man called into a radio station to talk about how he missed his late wife.

(Richards, 2016)

Evaluation of own work in reference to professional examples

Short film: 

I am very pleased with the final product of the short film produced this week. I have received very positive feedback from both my lecturer and peers regarding this. The aspect that was picked out primarily was the use of editing to set the tone of the piece. Such as the use of less colour when inside the boyfriend’s head while he is upset and putting the notes on the board. This effect is then no longer present once he has received the text from a friend to show his mood (as well as the screen) has brightened. I feel this set the tone for the piece well and showed the character’s emotion in a visual way rather than stating it and is a good example ‘show don’t tell’, a skill I have practiced extensively over the past few weeks.

In regards to a comparison with the professional examples showed I feel it stands up well from a filming standpoint and a narrative. The narrative is both clear and well executed using the editing to help show it and tie it together rather than carry the whole of the piece. Such as seen in the black hole short film, there is very skillful editing however the piece itself is not solely driven by this, it is the characteristics and attitude of the character that makes the piece impact the viewer.

While our piece does suffer from a quality standpoint due to a lack of time to film and likely less professional equipment (such as our tripod being quite stiff causing issues with panning shots) I feel this is something that would be easily avoided in the industry due to a longer time frame and likely a larger creative team.

I feel our piece was very effective as telling a story and using this to deliver a message without the use of words. This is something both Cargo and The Black Hole do well through actions speaking louder than words in the films. For example the father getting the balloon for the child and taking the time to make them smile despite knowing his fate, and The Black Hole showing the character well as the first action he takes upon discovering the black hole is to steal chocolate bars. Our piece showed the internal difficulty of someone trying to cope with loneliness and how a friend showing concern can help lift the mood and bring them out of there own head. This combined with the final hanging shot of the Yes written below the initial questions gives just as much impact as either of the professional examples. I feel with more time and better equipment we could have made a longer piece that would rival the two professional examples.

Writing:

While I did enjoy my first piece of writing it was coming more from my personal experience at the time rather than using the initial video as a prompt past the first paragraph. Due to this I opted to write a second piece from a more journalistic point of view, taking my personal feelings but presenting them in a completely different style. This allowed to set a different tone which I feel would give the readers a more human element through my own personal experience.

I do feel it is not my strongest piece of writing as I found myself with little idea of how to approach the subject matter and turn the video piece into something I could springboard off of. Therefore I feel that the first piece of writing, which for all intents and purposes became a stream of consciousness, allowed me to clear my head and focus on a more journalistic piece. This is a skill I have reflected upon in previous blog posts in order to deal with writer’s block. In this case it allowed me to bridge the gap from a video to a more journalistic piece, going from fictional short film to a stream of consciousness and then taking that and re-purposing it for what I had set out to do originally.

When writing I found it helpful to set myself specific time based deadlines, as this not only gave me motivation to beat the challenge I set myself but also helps to prepare myself for the demands of the industry in which deadlines are vital. This also helped to ensure focus and cause myself to self motivate despite distractions.

How to apply these to future projects:

Taking these skills forward in my project I feel the best was to incorporate my final pieces for my project for this term would be to write something creative such as a spoken word piece. This allows me to explore multimedia through audio and potentially video as well as tackle a form of poetry which I often enjoy doing in my spare time. I feel combining these for a theme based around education would also allow me to write a journalistic piece also or perhaps another style of narrative as each persons experience of education is different and personal.

Bibliography

Writersstore.com. (2016). How to Write a Screenplay: Script Writing Example & Screenwriting Tips | WritersStore.com. [online] Available at: https://www.writersstore.com/how-to-write-a-screenplay-a-guide-toscriptwriting/ [Accessed 20 Oct. 2016].

TROPFEST, (2013). Cargo – Short Film. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gryenlQKTbE [Accessed 20 Oct. 2016].

Future Shorts, (2008). The Black Hole – Short Film. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLEv1DPaINTKsHCwDWH-mnAD7T9ddwwEUT&v=P5_Msrdg3Hk [Accessed 20 Oct. 2016].

Nolan, J., Nolan, C. and Goyer, D. (n.d.). The Dark Knight Screenplay. [online] Available at: https://stephenfollows.com/resource-docs/scripts/dark_knight._The_.pdf [Accessed 20 Oct. 2016].

Richards, V. (2016). This is what loneliness does to your brain. [online] The Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/loneliness-makes-your-brain-work-differently-study-shows-a6732056.html [Accessed 20 Oct. 2016].

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Week 4: Skills -Screenplay and filming (Gregg)

One thought on “Week 4: Skills -Screenplay and filming (Gregg)

  1. An outstanding blog post that is effective in showing the writer’s process and therefore demonstrates every aspects of the decision making and choices all writers go through. The honest reflections would be mirrored in any writers reflections and is a sign that you are already writing, evaluating and analysing to a professional standard. Your fictional and non-fiction writing is always a pleasure to read, highly crafted and shows depths of thought and knowledge beyond your years.
    You pinpoint and explain the exact skills from the sessions and how they are universally useful throughout the writing process: idea, aim, development and techniques used plus evaluation and reflection.

    Like

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