Skills used this week
This week there was a focus on the creating of a script using prompts. We were given pieces of paper and had to all write out two distinct characters, a location and an object and then place them in a hat and they were redistributed among the class. The two characters then had to have a scripted dialogue in which they had a conflict over both wanting the object specified on the piece of paper.
We also had to write an article based around an image and use this to create a compelling 25 words. From this I then created a full brief article in which I expanded from the initial image and used it to open up more discussion and present more information.
Theme: The script we wrote had to be centred around the theme of conflict. This skill was practiced by centring the piece around a randomly object and then having to write a piece in which two characters both required the object thus generating the conflict. By the very nature of this task it focuses around writing with a direct theme in mind, this is something that I can apply to my future work for the coming project in regards to angling an article to a specific theme in mind. This is a skill I intend to use going forward with the creation of my pitch as well as the project itself in the coming weeks. This skill is widely used in the industry in order to open up discussion around a theme from how a story is reported focusing on a specific theme.
Conflict: This skill is vital for the industry. The majority of news revolves around conflict in some form or another and is an inevitability of working in the news industry. All reporters much understand the theme of conflict in order to effectively report on it. Practicing this skill will be vital for the creation of my final project for this project. I will be taking this skill forward and applying it to my next piece in terms of how to present conflict in the spoken word format while incorporating a separate theme.
Character arc: The skill of character arc was touched upon through the use of the characters interacting with one another through dialogue. This helped to show a visual representation of how the character progressed which the audience can see through their reactions and what they choose to say.
This is a also a skill I used for the newspaper article. Reporting on a character arc of a real life situation really engages the audience and helps them to engage and emphasise with what they are reading. It helps to bring home the element of humanity and causes the reader to acknowledge the people they are reading about are real. This is a technique used by many different outlets in the industry based around generating empathy and interest their readers in an article.
Dialogue: This was a skill that focused around the writing of the script. Due to the nature of a script it is entirely dialogue driven for the most part. This was a good exercise in implementing narrative purely from a vocal standpoint and tell a story through the conversation of two people. This is something I would like to take forward and apply as part of my research for my idea for my final piece for this unit. I wish to do a spoken word piece which in tone will be conversational in the style of rhyming prose, being able to write dialogue that is engaging and tells a story is vital for this.
Own examples of skills being used
Evaluation of own work in reference to professional examples
I felt my work this week was done to a good standard. While I did initially find the concept of the scripting task quite difficult due to the unplanned nature of the piece. However, I found this was a good way to practise quick thinking and finding different ways to meet a criteria. This could be a useful skill to incorporate with my final project as well as with journalistic based articles in the future in order to find different angles for a story combining differing factors such as how I combined the different elements of the this piece to explore a theme of opposing characters and anger of the character Jane.
Theme: I feel I explored several themes almost subconsciously while writing my scripted piece. This was mostly due to the nature of the piece being created from differing factors of which I had no control and then finding a way to tie it all together into one cohesive narrative. This is a skill that will be vital in the industry in order to tie different stories together to encourage further reading and keep readers interest and to use as a springboard into other stories. I feel the theme of opposites and of conflict as a whole was well portrayed by the characters in the piece while still maintaining it’s intended comedic aspect. In this regard I took note of the above piece from Woody Allen which can be seen through lines such as “OH BRILLIANT OF ALL THE DAYS TO GET A CONSCIENCE” which I feel was directly impacted from reading the writing from Woody Allen in terms of style. This ironic kind of comedy is reflective of the example of work of Allen’s I analysed before writing the piece itself. I feel this had a direct impact in the writing and therefore also impacted on the theme. I feel considering the scenario I was given I created a good piece of work that reflects my skills as a writer and ties together nicely as a short concise narrative.
The theme of my second piece of writing in regards to the first 25 words is reflective of the continual theme of conflict in Syria and touches upon the journalistic skills I mentioned earlier. Using one image I was able to springboard from this into an article discussing how the ongoing in Syria has had a direct impact on the children in the country. I was then able to make this more relevant by supplying context to the image and give background information the purpose of the image and the photographer to slowly build a full story around this image and the journey that led to it being taken. With information slowly drip fed throughout the article (as I was taught last year) it gives the readers more reason to continue to read the article. I also broke up the first 25 words from the rest of the article using the image as it encourages readers to scroll which then scrolls more of the article into their screen which will directly impact how much of the article they will read. Not only did I apply the skills used this week but also last year to create an article that reads professionally.
Conflict: The whole point of the piece written was to reflect a theme of conflict. At the very centre of my script there is a core theme of conflict. The whole piece could not exist without the two characters wanted the used tissue for completely different (and in Jason’s case misguided) reasons. I feel due to this I have reflected conflict well and this then later extends to inner conflict such as Jason being a ghost who is alone and scared of other ghosts and Jane who has this inner conflict due to finding things difficult by being short and leading to her aggressive and confrontational nature. The scripted piece portrays a more comedic style of conflict rather than the useful expectation of conflict being quite serious and tense. The whole piece is filled with moments of humour, even the outburst from Jason is comedic in nature due to the whole reason he’s mad being due to his own incompetence due to not understanding the used tissue was just that.
The article reflects conflict in a different nature than usually expected. I took the idea of conflict and instead of discussing it from the usual angle of tension and how this will affect the world, I instead centred in on a more directly impacted area – the children. Conflict will naturally have an impact on those who grow up surrounded by it, but not necessarily in the obvious way. There is a subtly that can be looked at, such as the image of the child having a toy rocket powered grenade launcher, a much more violent toy than usually expected. By exploring this theme from this angle I am incorporating a industry skill in which I find a way to explore a story in a way others haven’t and therefore can directly aim it to a specific audience. So in this case the audience would be those who have children in their family or those who work with or have contact with children. It makes a story relevant to people who may not otherwise be interested. Also by making it more sociologically based it opens it up to even further discussion and can stem out into multiple different stories and feature pieces opening it up further.
Character arc: In both pieces I have used the skill of characters arcs in very different ways. I feel I have done this in both pieces to a high level of success. In my script the characters go through a range of emotions and, while comedic, go on a specific journey through their interactions with one another. Jason goes from shy and scared to eventually building up to lose his temper and standing up for himself becoming slightly more assertive and Jane has moments of calm and opens up slightly between bouts of anger. While this arc is limited due to the length of the piece and its comedic nature the best written scripts have moments of both comedy balanced out by moments of character progression and seriousness. A good example of this is in shows such as ‘Only Fools and Horses’ where the tone would occasionally shift in this way to give good character progression. This is also seen well in episodes of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ as whole episodes could centre around serious topic such as race and gun violence yet still balance the element of comedy and combine these two to create a well structured character arc throughout the episode.
In my article piece I focused my piece around the image as an original point to draw the reader in and then discussed children in Syria and how violence there has affected them from a sociological angle. So in this case the character of this piece in centred both around the children of Syria as well as the photographer. I detail the story of the photographer and his collection of photo’s which initiated the discussion in the article. Including this character arc and effectively reporting on it adds an element of humanity to the article, this is essential in order to keep readers attention and elicit empathy from the readers. In this case I feel I did this to an industry level standard pulling from experience gained from last years lectures and my work experience at The Canterbury Times.
Dialogue: In regards to dialogue this only mainly affects my script piece. I feel I used dialogue well in this piece to creatively portray and express a central theme and show conflict. This again delves into the area of show not tell in terms of using dialogue and how they interact to learn about the specific characters. I feel like I used dialogue to a good standard and my writing style was (as mentioned above) directly impacted by the reading of the Woody Allen piece I read before writing the piece. I feel the piece uses dialogue to good effect and shows a lot about the idea of conflict and how dialogue can cause and impact conflict and how it can even exist without anyone saying anything(such as Jane and Jason fighting over the tissue before either one say anything to the other).
Dialogue was central to the scripted piece due to the exercise itself. Without dialogue the entire piece would not work and therefore the dialogue was the most important element of this piece. This means that if the dialogue is not of good standard the entire piece will be directly impacted negatively. I felt my dialogue both showed conflict and stuck to the characterisation. There were a few occasions where I found myself rewriting certain lines to be more in character as some responses had airs of my own sarcastic nature imbued in the subtext. I had to continually refer to my prompt of the characters themselves to prevent myself from changing how I portrayed the character and not allow elements of myself to creep into the characters. By ensuring I kept this in mind I avoided this issue and stuck to the characterisation well.
Allen, W. (1968). Death Knocks. The New Yorker, p.31.
Abd, R. (2013). Image of Syrian boy playing with a toy rocket launcher. [image] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-22170300 [Accessed 4 Nov. 2016].
BBC News. (2013). Bearing witness to the Syrian conflict – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22342713 [Accessed 4 Nov. 2016].