Monday, 19 September 2016

Major Project Draft Script: Pacing Presented Work

  Considering ways to streamline demonstrating developments in the scripts to make it easier to present what has been done while work is being developed.


  1. Evening Mark :)

    Okay, so I've read all the various drafts on here and I'm just going to give you my thoughts as they occurred to me:

    1) You need to do more work in terms of capturing more successfully the way actual people actually speak and paying more attention to the potential you have here for showing some of the handler's decline through changes in his language. For example, when we first hear him recording, perhaps his language is very formalised and institutionalised; his idioms reflecting jargon and science-speak more obviously. This way, when you have the interjections from his wife, her language patterns can play out very differently. It also means that as he gets more attached, we can see a breakdown of his more institutionalised language and his tone shifting perceptibly. More generally, I think your actual dialogue reads as too literary in places - too authorial - as opposed to coming off the page as convincingly 'spoken'.

    2) I like the inclusion of the interjections of his wife. A thought I had in terms of themes of belonging and attachment. Does it make more sense that playing out in the background of your narrative there is a secondary story about a marriage failing due to the inability to conceive or the death of a child. We understand that a husband and wife are estranged and that the husband is distant, but I'd suggest it's more thematically helpful (and psychologically revealing) if we come to understand that the distance we're detecting between them is due to some personal tragedy of their own. I can see how the death of a child would a) explain the distance, b) perhaps explain why the handler has chosen such an isolated job (looking at moss on some terra-forming outpost!) and c) account for his attachment as he begins to bond with the life-form. There are ways and means of ensuring that this isn't some hammer-blow subplot, but treated very deftly: I think the ex-wife's transmissions are key to this, and alternating between her 'voice' and his observations of the life-form would make for an engaging rhythm.

    So - something like this; backstory - husband and wife - both scientists, both clever people - lose their young child in some accident. Perhaps there is an inference that the husband could or should have been 'watching' when the child died or could or should have been more attentive. Husband signs up for job that is a long way away - you might think he was putting himself under exile - and his job is monitoring moss samples on some distant grey rock as part of a terraforming research project or similar. The action that follows - the attachment and then the 'self-sacrifice' of the handler in order to 'save' the life-form from the other scientists - suddenly snaps together more satisfyingly. There is an atonement vibe here and a sense too of someone carrying a burden of guilt making peace with himself. In this way, your ending whereby 'Four' escapes is suddenly more immediately uplifting because the ending is actually 'about' the handler too.

    Let me know your thoughts :)

    1. Hello Phil.

      My response is a little late in the day but thank you for providing some food for thought. We could discuss more face-to-face but this has helped me refine what I have.

      From your conversations with others I realise I could step up on what I could achieve, and develop more than a monologue style delivery. I'd like to try some dialogue but maybe there could be some extra voice, or I try building the dialogue as if there's a conversation we don't hear. We hear comments that link to a greater discussion.

      I'll give some thought to these suggestions tonight and can get back to you at a later date. Perhaps his wife's voice could have a more prominent role than a single message. A compelling voice that sticks into him. As you say, he might feel remorse over some tragedy and took the post to escape it all only to have this voice form his past follow him to the edge of civilisation.

      There is something of an odd jump in format. The story goes from telling a story with the environment and sound clips to finishing with a frantic chase scene. But finishing using a similar technique to the rest of the story may take away some of the impact of Four's escape as we see less of his struggle. It's a bit of a conundrum as the other scenes give a vague sense of how long ago has happened. A scene with a creature running from guards sticks it slowly in the present. Maybe there is impact to be had from the scientist standing behind his desk as guards surround him and take him into custody. Sacrificing himself with some dignity. While at the same time, his reserved reaction to this indicates a symbolic death.

      Thank you for the feedback. This has helped me consider some ideas of how to touch up the script.