Ok, as well as theorising I have been working on a narrative which I will I share in this blog. I am not fixed on the idea as it stands, yet, for a number of reasons ( it may be too long – it may be too contrived) but iI think it will help me to get it off my chest and commit it to paper (ok, not paper but similar) so that’s what i will do.
My Story – for now…
My story involves 3 characters, Paul Welles, a name-dropping, insomniac language coach in his 50′s, Toby Flowers, an excitable, successful actor in his early twenties and Peter X (? no idea for name), a 40 year old spiritual bum. The story takes place at Paul Welles’ house in North London where the owner is extremely pleased to have been chosen to give accent coaching lessons to the very successful, Toby F, who is in the UK to take part in an edgy West End Play in which he plays a part of a Londoner with a cockney accent. Toby is not so sure about working with Paul, though, and is concerned that the ‘arty’ play he is has been cast in should be a great success and that his London accent and characterisation is absolutely authentic and not fake. Peter, an itinerant wanderer, who, (depending on your point of view) is either, suffering from a mental illness – or – has achieved a state of satori – or enlightenment – is sleeping rough, unbeknown to the Paul, in the shed at the bottom of Paul’s garden.
I’m not really sure about how the story starts so what would be most useful would be for me to create a step outline of the events in the story to see how they work. I can always tweak and rearrange them afterwards.
Story Outline – Working Title: “Shapes In The Fog”
Peter is sleeping in a shed.
Paul cannot sleep and we show that he is someone suffering from some kind of soul sickness – inner malady.
Not sure how to communicate this (options – symbolism – we see a shrouded character – voice over etc. music)
Paul goes to put his cat out.
Peter is woken by the cat coming in through the shed door. Peter lets the cat in and feeds it chocolate.
He sees a light from Paul’s study come on.
Montage/jump cuts – Paul is reading the script of the play ‘Sea Of Fog’ – he is making notes on a dictaphone. Quite critical reviews. He speaks in a cockney accent. He listens to recordings and video footage of Toby he made the day before. Toby being crazy and madcap. He is aware of the time. He talks to a friend about how good it is to be working with Toby and all they did so far.
Toby arrives hung over.
Toby and Paul talk about their progress. Toby is concerned for the play to be deeply authentic. The play is an enigma (could be fun to hint at a story that we never see – think – Clockwork Orange)
Small talk. Toby reads from the play. His cockney accent is bad.
Paul offers more physiological suggestions – dropping the tongue – palette etc.
Peter is in the shed – he is just staring at something – the shapes made by the trees and the light.
Toby is concerned about Paul’s method – he wants a real person to learn from not just to get the sound right. Paul reassures him and tells him all the people he has worked with. Toby tells him he doesn’t want to sound like Dick Van Dyke. Paul is hurt he watches Toby in the garden. Doing mad stuff and shouting in a cockney accent. Paul feels worthless and a sham.
Peter looks though his bag for food. Nothing. He has a hand full of change. He goes out through a hole in the fence.
Toby, who is practicing his lines in the garden sees Peter leave the shed and go through the fence. He looks in the shed and sees Peter’s sleeping things. He goes back into the house and we see him saying something to Paul.
Peter returns to the shed to eat his fruit and bits. The door opens it is Paul and Toby.
Paul grills Peter about what he is doing in the shed. Peter answers in a cockney accent. Paul starts to call the police when Toby stops him. He takes Paul to one side. Toby is happy – Peter has exactly the voice that Toby is after. He asks Paul to record Peter.
Jump cut to Peter being invited in. Paul looks pissed off but keeps up the sham. Toby gets Peter to speak about anything. Can you say this – he gives him a line from the play.
Toby tells Peter to ‘just talk’ – tell me about your best dream. Peter talks about something spiritual.
Toby is impressed. He speaks to Paul – let him stay here tonight. Toby is making progress. I will pay you more.
Paul listens to Toby talking – he hates him.
Peter stays over…
Observations and reflections on the above.
This is all I have so far but reading through these notes and ideas I am starting to see that this narrative is way too long for a short film that ought to be about between 10 to 20 minutes long. I am also very aware of how I am allowing myself to be pulled into the ‘script first’ approach of mainstream movie making and how i am NOT letting myself enjoy the riskiness of the alternative approaches of Copti, Leigh etc.
Anyway, this was worth archiving and doing so helps me see how important it is that i remain conscious of the film process.