Well in two weeks we have gone from a broad outline of scenes to having a filmed dialogue improvisation and each scene transcribed ready for tweaking. We reintroduced Laura into the fold as a second detective and saw Jim and Leah exploring the emotions and responses for all the different twists in the tale.
The idea of writing the script in this way seemed crazy when we started but the natural dialogue which included pauses and natural usage of the English language 'warts and all' has generated a very real watch. It will be very interesting if this style is embraced by audiences when the film gets released. (Note to self - look up if and how this has been used by anyone else. Are there any films out using this technique?)
It certainly feels emotional and engenders an edge of the seat sense for both Darren and I as we work on it. Next step is to work the second improvisation footage into the first transcription and ensure all our objectives in terms of twists and plot inclusions are included and overt(or otherwise) enough.
Darrren and I are looking at meeting once a week to fine tune, get a script and then re-introduce it to the actors to fine tweak and see if all works at this stage. The whole project seems to be working but also feels a huge risk as it is so different in so many ways to what we have done before. - All one location, Script created through improvisation and a challenging story which is dependent on very strong actors to carry of the emotional turns.
I love breaking new ground and pushing our boundaries!
Traditional story/script writing suggest you plan your story so you have a beginning middle and end, before you dive in to writing anything. Whilst we didn't have a clear ending with this script, we did always have an ending in mind. This week we have structured our scenes a little more and finally decided who the murderer is.
In the next week or so we will tidy up what we've written ready for our next improvisation session with the actors. This will hopefully flesh out any potential flaws and help get a more natural feel to any dialogue we write after the session.
You never know we may even get the completed script finished by Christmas!
We have had a very productive evening tonight with some real flesh being added to our script. Jim Henson, our police advisor and actor, has been helping with pointers on correct procedures and suggestions which has given rise to a number of twists and additions to the original plan. All very vague but no spoilers from us! We hope to have another improvisation in a couple of weeks to give more natural substance to the various stages of the plot.
It is really nice feeling to be so positive about a storyline and much of today's discussion took place at one of the locations, so a real feel for events could be incorporated to the plot. A bit different to our normal scripting style which hopefully will give more realism to the final production.
So far we have had weeks of talking about a plot which, with hindsight, has drifted a long way from our original 'spark'. Then putting some actors together in a scenario and allowing them to take the story where it feels natural with prompts at stages to keep them along the basic storyline. This was then woven into scenes after each character had their personalities constructed. The events of the story were then mapped so that the scenes could hang together (confusing that bit but the script involves the events being retold so it does work!)
The next stage is to work on the ending so we end up in the right place tying up all the plot lines. After that our second improvisation with a more defined structure than before should enable us with the help of our actors to get a more realistic script before we sit and get it all written down. A long process but one that will hopefully lead to a gripping and entertaining story.
More to come...
The Channel 7 team have been working hard over the last few months, constructing an outline for our latest production.
This week we're holding an improvisation session with a few of our trusted actors to see if our ideas work.
This is not the first time we have used this approach and it has helped in the past see if our ideas are sound before wasting time writing our final script.