Wednesday, 22 January 2014

From Script to Screen: OGR


  1. OGR 23/01/2014

    Hey Ant,

    I think you're onto something here, but I do have a few suggestions. I really like the twist that the competition is between duelling identities in the same person, but my instincts suggest you need a few more in the mix to make this point more poignantly - and also that you need to keep the reveal that the characters are the same to the very end. What I'm going to suggest is complex potentially, but I'm sure there are ways to get it on screen with a lightness of touch and economy.

    First things first. I like very much the Venice-setting and all that gives you in terms of the associations of carnival and masquerade. I don't however think that we should be shown that we're in an attic at this stage. You need to assert the reality of this environment as 'perfect' - so perhaps make the venue a Venetian theatre. So your magician appears ready to perform - we see his face, we like him. There's a lone figure in the audience - he see him, and we know the magician wants his approval. The magician does some stuff, and then he's interrupted by the musician, whose face we don't quite see. The magician and the musician spar (the camera cuts between the magician's face and the man in the audience, so we know the magician is desperate not to be upstaged), and then they're interrupted by a juggler (again, whose face we don't see), and then by a clown (again, a more shadowy presence), until the stage is thonging with voices and noise. You have that final flash of magic and then suddenly we're not in the theatre any more, but in an attic with soft white walls (padded) and we now see that the magician character is on his own and that the figure seat in the audience is a doctor in a white coat with clipboard. The doctor, his face impassive, is seen putting a cross against the patient's name, gets up and leaves the room. We hear many locks being turned. The magician starts to shout; and then we hear the trombone music again, and all the other identities, and this sfx continues as the camera pulls out of the room through a barred window, and we now see that we're in the top attic space of an asylum...

    Or something like that! The point is that you postpone the reveal of your character's split personality until the very end, and I'm suggest a more 'crowded stage' a) because it's more visually descriptive of madness and agitation, and b) because I think the visual spectacle of all those 'dark carnival' motifs will enable you to shift the mood from Pixar to 'Poe' very satisfyingly. The suggestion re. giving the audience an actual purpose in your story (i.e. it's a clinical observation gauging your character's suitability for release from the asylum) also tightens everything up a bit more. Your idea that a man with split identity should imagine himself as a magician is lovely, and in light of his fantasies of freedom, perhaps his tricks revolve around the release of doves? I can see that carrying lots of symbolic import after audiences figure out his real situation!

    Anyway - like I said, I think this has great potential, Ant - but I think you've got to blend in a bit more darkness and a much more disturbing ending. (Great soundscape potential too!).

    1. Hey Phil :),
      Thanks I really like the idea of including the doctor, I felt like it needed something and that is just the thing, I will update the story and the outline to fit these new ideas :)