Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Initial Ideas and Feedback

In lesson, we started discussing the ideas we had, but more thoroughly, thinking about ideas for plots and full stories. We started work with looking at the news stories we had already been given, and then combining those ideas with a list of 10 story types, as suggested by Phil Parker. After forming these ideas in groups, we then got feedback from members of other groups.

Video Game Story
Initial thoughts

  • The gist of the plot was about a young person who had been playing video games and their obsession with it caused them to go to hospital.
  • In our discussions the previous lesson, we;d also thought about how the video game could actually cause the main character hallucinations of some sort in  which they actually began to believe their lives were becoming like a video game.
  • Generalizing this story, it would be a film about some kind of recreational activity taking over someone's life to the point of it being harmful, and therefore could tackle a lot of social issues as well as being an interesting narrative to depict. In a sense, it would be a "fatal flaw" story line in which the character makes their situation worse by continuously making the same mistake.
  • Furthermore, if we continued with the video game line, it could be commentary of our growing dependence of technology.
  • As this idea was not fully fleshed out, the feedback was that it needs a stronger plot throughout.
  • There was also positive feedback that the idea of something that;s supposed to be fun having a negative effect on someones life is an interesting story to tell.
  • Lastly, it was said that this story could potentially go in two very different ways- in one way, it could be a comedy or satirical piece that poked fun at this issue, or it could be a much more daker, serious piece which portrayed it in a realistic light.

Balloon Story
Initial thoughts

  • This story was adapted from it;s original form into the idea of a woman who on her child;s birthday goes out to the shop to buy them a balloon and card. However, after returning home, it becomes evident something is wrong and as she enters her sitting room, we find it's filled with balloons she's been buying to console herself after her sons death. 
  • This is a story which deals with loss of a family member and in a sense heartbreak, being a "Gift Taken away" type of story, with the child being the gift that is taken. The balloon is a symbol for that taken person, and her filling her rooms up with balloons represents how she hasn't come to terms with the loss of her child, as well as how she's trying to compensate for the emptiness in her life.
  • There was also the idea that the cinematography would change drastically between when the woman is going about her daily activities and when she comes home with the balloon. This is to emphasize how things are beginning to go wrong and make the final scene in the room with the balloons even more jarring.
  • The feedback for this was that the story was very well thought out and worked very well. The ending in which we find the child had died previously was a surprise and it fit well with the story as well as being made more effective with the use of the balloon props.
  • The whole idea of the change in cinematography was also said to be a good idea, as the contrast showed how the person's whole world was crumbling.
  • However, the feedback said that there may be problems with actually filming this- the idea was that the balloons would be found in a pure white room, however this would be difficult to find a location exactly like this.

Message in a bottle Story
Initial thoughts

  • Another idea which was quite rough. This story was centered around the idea of a person who has a fight with someone else close to them and then runs off to let off steam at a nearby park. There, they find a message in a bottle washed up by a river bank and open it to find a confession by someone who had a problem similar to their own. The person who wrote the letter was unable to make amends and confesses how they wish they could go back, and by reading this the main character realizes their mistake and decides to go back and make amends them-self.
  • This story is mainly about reconciliation and in a sense is a Rite of Passage story or Coming of age story, as it;s about a character learning from a mistake and making a mature decision to resolve the central conflict.
  • Again, the feedback was this story needs to be fully developed.
  • However, there was positive feedback that it could be a very successful plot and the whole message in the bottle idea was retro and unique.
  • There was advice given that there could be a flashback while the main character reads the letter, and this could be shot slightly different so that we can differentiate the flashback and the present time.
  • Furthermore, it's important to decide exactly what the conflict could be as it could be problematic to film if the conflict took too long to explain, or couldn't be related in the form of a flashback well enough.

Debt Devil Story
Initial thoughts

  • This story was based around the whole "Debt that must be Repaid" story type, as well as some ideas my group had had about making a film about a singular character. Prior to discussing this plot style, we talked about what kind of characters we liked and what kind of stories we found interesting. We both said "Fatal Flaw" and "Repaid Debt" were interesting, with my partner also liking "Spider and Fly" and "Gift Taken" while I liked "The Wanderer" And "Rite of Passage". I also preferred characters that weren't very nice or initially lacked positive traits and then learned a lesson through the story or had their comeuppance while my partner said they preffered characters you find out more about as the story progressed.
  •  After this, we came up with the idea of a story about a very jelous young girl who is at first jelous of her best friend who steals her "boyfriend" (when in reality she wasn't actually seeing the boy in question). She then summons a devil who makes her a deal- she will give the demon a precious material posession for the boy to become her boyfriend. This seems like a good deal, so she agrees, but after gaining her boyfriend, she becomes greedy. After the devil reappears to ask for the debt, she refuses and strikes up another bargain, this time for something more costly, and therefore her price to pay becomes more costly too. Eventually the girl becomes more and more greedy and continuosly asks for more, and begins bargaining away the things she intially asked for, such as the boyfriend. At the end, the girl asks for something incredibly big but finds she actually has nothing to give becuase she has traded away everything that was important to her and as punishment is left with nothing.
  • At first we had thought the girl dies or loses her soul but then we thought that would be too easy for her; so we first changed it to she's left totally embarrassed but this wasn't drastic enough and we changed it to the current ending. This ending we preferred becuase it portrayed the message of this story- that one shouldn't be greedy and be grateful for what you already have.
  • This story would be written as a dark comedy, with us wanting to laugh at the girl, and the devil who appears randomly and often comically, but the story would have rather dark undertones.
  • The feedback on this story was that it's very good progression of the plot, and the fact that we see her give away things before the end is really effective as we can then slightly see where the story may end. The idea that she herself doesn't learn until the very end is also quite effective.
  • The downfall of this plot however is how to effectively make the person look like a demon, and deciding on what to have the girl bargain away as it can;t be anything to drastic as it will cause problems with filming.

Voice Story
Initial thoughts

  • This story was again based off our ideas of what kind of character w';d like to use and also the idea of a "Gift Taken" story type. We started brainstorming basic human things that could be taken away, and eventually came to having a person's voice being taken away.
  • We talked about what lacking a voice could mean for someone- not only does it make it harder for someone to interact but it can be lonely, and even feel like their freedom has been taken as they can't speak for themselves. We also discussed how the person could have lost their voice- if it had been an accident, then it would deal with coming to terms with a new conflict, while if they had been born without a voice it could be about dealing and finally overcoming a life long problem. Either way, this piece would also be a sort of Rite of Passage story.
  • This story is again loose in terms of plot, but we had ideas about how it could deal with the person's feelings of alienation and not being able to speak their minds or feeling like they can't contribute becuase of their lack of voice.
  • The feedback for this was that it needed a full plot again and a proper story structure. 
  • However it was said that it could be quite and interesting visual film as it would depend heavily of the actor or actress being very emotive and being able to capture their emotions with the camera. 
  • Furthermore compared to the other ideas this film could be practically much easier to create.
Nice Person Story
Initial thoughts

  • This story was based again on the Fatal Flaw type. However, we had the idea that maybe the flaw couldn't be an actual flaw- instead it could be a positive that's taken to the literal extreme. 
  • In this sense we came up with a protagonist who was literally the nicest person on the planet and was kind and giving to everyone, constantly holding open the door for people and lending them things.
  • The plot could be of an average, happy student who is very helpful and we see them be very kind to everyone, even being taken advantage of by others but still persevering through sheer optimism. However after getting to class after so many people have taken advantage of them, they lend a pen to someone who ends up breaking it. This is the final straw for the student who goes into a fit of rage and goes around giving payback to everyone who took advantage of their kindness that day.
  • This film was also said to be quite easy to film. It was a comical film idea, which was good and it's a nice shock to see a character who was so pleasant lose their cool.
  • However there was the concern it could be too many extras and the story could really hinge on how many extras were available for filming.

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