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Ideas

In the last week, we have finalised our idea, put an advert on Mandy and I have written the script. We have had a few meetings and have taken a step towards creating a good final product in each one. In our first feedback session with the rest of the group, we were told that our original idea may be a bit complicated. This was of a man who had recently suffered from a loss but still saw his wife. The audience would see it from his point of view so would be able to see his wife, but throughout the film she will begin to fade away til the end where the audience finds out that she has died. We were asked questions such as

– What is going to actually happen within the three minutes?

– How will you keep the audience interested?

– Sounds quite complicated for three minutes

– How will the person fade away?

We found it hard to answer these questions which made us realise our idea was not as well-rounded as we thought. Although this has taught me to think about the aspects of the short film we are creating in more detail and to question how it will work more. This will make sure we all have a clear idea of the story which will enable us to make the next step more easily and efficiently. We decided to have another group meeting to discuss our options and thought we should go back to the original idea of an imaginary friend. I think we had tried to complicated the idea to try to make it better but from this I have found the simple ideas can sometimes be the best ones. I thought it could be quite cute to have a child with an imaginary friend because this is the norm. It could be filmed beautifully with the child having a tea party with her imaginary friend. If we did do this it would be in the style of the video below which I saw a couple of weeks ago.

I love the variety of shots in this short film, there are over the shoulder shots, many close-ups and shots that show depth of field. The table must have taken a while to arrange but it looks so natural which helps with the suspension of disbelief. This is believing the audience believing what they are seeing, for example if there is a boom mic in shot then it will jeopardise the suspension of disbelief. I like the small things that signify a child such as when she puts the pipe on as a bracelet and when she just smiles at what she has created. The little girl is a good actress and that would be my main issue if we went ahead with this idea. I thought getting a good child actor would be difficult but I guess if you know where to look it would be easier. Someone in my group then had the idea of a child having an imaginary friend because there was no one at home but I thought this would be too much like a child abuse advert so we decided to flip it on its head and have a male adult with an imaginary friend. He will have this imaginary friend because he is lonely and the story will be about him setting up his birthday party but it ends up with it just being him. The audience will not realise that he will end up on his own with his imaginary friend til the end. I decided to research imaginary friends in children and adults because I personally do not know much about it and would be beneficial if we went ahead with this idea.

I read this article about how parents should re-act towards imaginary friends. I found it quite interesting to read, I have never had an imaginary friend so do not know much about them. This article says they do not necessarily mean the child is lonely, but use them to cope with different situations such as if they are scared of the dark, the imaginary friend will be too. They can be used to test out fears in this way and in emotive ways also. If the child has too many rules then the imaginary friend will be naughty because it is reflecting what the child wants to do. Children will interact with the imaginary friends for social skills and can be used to avoid getting in trouble by blaming the imaginary friend. Adults can sometimes be asked to interact by setting out a plate for them but they must not interfere with the story because it is their imagination that is creating the imaginary friend for a reason. If the child interacts with other people as usual and get real social experiences, the imaginary friend should gradually fade away.

I have found it hard to find anything about adult imaginary friends apart from on forums. I found a few religious references including the picture below.

There were comments on this site saying how God is like an imaginary friend because you cannot actually see him but can be taken offensively by saying religion is child like and suggesting he does not exist. There are various forums and I found one which is actually a script writer asking for experiences of an adult with an imaginary friend which is so similar to ours! Here is the link. Most of the people who responded said they had imaginary friends but did not know why whereas some said it is a coping mechanism. One reply said she has had a lot of trauma in her life, cannot trust anyone and has too much past baggage for a boyfriend, therefore she has an imaginary boyfriend as a coping mechanism. She talks about how he listens to her and responds how she would want a real boyfriend to respond. Others say they talk to themselves but not a particular imaginary friend. One recommended researching DID which stands for Dissociative Identity Disorder. The first thing that came up when I typed it into Google was this video about an ex american football player.

This disorder is also known as multiple personality disorder. Instead of an imaginary friend, you are the imaginary friend. It is when you have a different personality in different aspects of your life. According to this website, you react differently to different situations in terms of emotions, pulse and blood pressure. Some professionals to not think this disorder even exists. It is usually a reaction to childhood trauma. You can forget parts of your day and be somewhere and not remember how you got there. The other mental illness associated with imaginary friends is schizophrenia. This is seeing or hearing things which are not actually there, delusional beliefs, muddled thoughts based on these thoughts and hallucinations and changes in behavior. The most common misconceptions of schizophrenia is the person having a split personality, so are fine one minute and crazy the next. The other one is how it makes them violet; there have been studies to show that they do have a link but people abusing substances are far more violent. Below is a video about schizophrenia, it was so interesting learning about it from someone who has it.

Although this can be related to having imaginary friends, in our short film the person will not be mentally ill, but more having an imaginary friend as a coping mechanism or from being lonely.

Although, we decided this story wasn’t right either. So we decided to merge the two ideas together and make it seem like his wife is there as they prepare for a picnic for their anniversary but it ends up with him going to her grave. I really like this idea and want to write the script even though I have never wrote a script.  I thought the script writing went well considering it was my first time doing any kind of script writing. I used the program CELTX and picked it up quickly, it was quite easy to use! I am quite happy with the first draft of the script and think it went well because we discussed the main ideas clearly before I started the script so I had a well-developed idea in my mind. I have now received feedback on the script. I need to cut off a few of the first and last words and make the directions more like someone speaking therefore less complicated. It has made me think about how we talk, we miss out many words and when it comes to scripting, it can sometimes sound strange in my head but sounds fine when I read it out loud. I changed the script then had another feedback session where the tutors said it might need toning down a bit. At the moment it seemed like Chris was going crazy by talking to someone who was not there. They thought we should either play it a bit more over the top to make it more mental and end the film with the beginning scene so it is like he is stuck in a circle of grief. Although as a group we like the end scene at the graveyard so I toned down the script to make it seem like he is talking to himself more. The only part he specifically talks to her is when he shouts up the stairs but I want to make it seem like he realises he has shouted up to no one. Steve Dawkins suggested researching other people’s grief further and possibly having him call her up at the shop but it is only the answer phone message so he just wants to hear her voice. I like this idea, I think it is quite real to the process of grieving.

‘Grief is like peeling an onion. It comes off one layer at a time and you cry a lot’

This phrase kept appearing whilst I was researching grief. It is quite an insightful phrase for the process of recovering from grief.  I found this in a blog post, but the blog has recently been deleted. It shows a very personal side of grief for a husband.

I’ve also been braving the experience of emotions of Soulmate loss. The feelings of grief were so intense and, at the time so confusing, that I suppressed them furiously. In the intervening years I have indeed been furious with AJ, blaming him for this grief and resolutely refusing to venture into truly experiencing it.
I’ve made some forays into these emotions in the past month but honestly I still struggle with this. There are parts of me that want him to pay for my pain. I want him to prove to me over and over again that he loves me so that I can avoid the crippling feeling that somehow his death was a rejection of me and something I deserved. These feelings are tangible. There is an anatomy to my pain that defies explanation unless I accept that we are indeed these ones who shared a life and great loss in another time. To submit to such emotions of course only triggers more issues about my identity. Sometimes I have the feeling that in order to stay sane I must allow these emotions that are undeniably a part of me but that in doing so I become to the vast majority of the world someone who is not sane.
Here is another one I found that again, is no longer available online.
At the moment of his death, I sat with him, watching all the physical changes that happened so quickly, as if to a stranger, not my beloved husband. I was numb. I stayed numb for quite awhile. I’m sure people at the funeral thought I was really drugged up, but it was that numbness that overtook me. Remember that I had a breakdown…the doctor at the time remarked how folks these days would usually medicate with drugs and alcohol rather than have a breakdown, but that it could have been a blessing as it helped to relieve the stress that might have led to my own cancer or other major illness.

Reading these personal encounters show how people do put up a wall to try to shield themselves from the pain grief causes. They take a while to come to terms with it which relates to our character because he is having a hard time letting go of his wife. I plan to use props to show this by having a very clean kitchen with only a few items out-of-place which are ladies items such as nail varnish.

I am currently in the process of reading these three books to help with my script writing now and for the future. They have been very interesting to read, especially the bottom book Good Scripts, Bad Scripts. This gives examples of films where the script was not well made and tells me why it was bad in a simple, understandable way. It then talks about the good script and what makes it good. By relating it to films I know, it is easier to understand and apply to my own script writing.

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