Sunday, 7 April 2013

Week 30 (Mon 19 Mar - Storytelling)

Today, we got into pairs and gave feedback to each other on our story ideas, and whether or not we would think them worthy of being greenlit. Halfway through, we changed partners, and carried on thus. Here are my concepts and what they received (Note: though we did have 12 ideas, we ran out of time, so I can only put the ones that got feedback):

1. 'Viva': Chronicles the entirety of the Second Spanish Republic, from the death of the dictator Primo DeRivera, to the 1931 election, to the Spanish Civil War and the Republic's eventual fall in 1939 to a new dictatorship, that of General Franco and the 'Falangist' Party.

Feedback: It has a very interesting and not often-discussed premise, but what is the hook/investment that the audience is supposed to have. Also, risk of it feeling like a glorified, overproduced History Lesson instead of a story.

2.  'Mindland': A group of scientific investigators are transported into the mind of an insane man and trying to figure out the cause of his insanity.

Feedback: Has potential to be a lot of fun, but the reason for entering the mind of this person needs to be more grounded/defined if we are to care about their journey and these characters.

3. 'Sandford': A 'British-Western', this story tells of an Iraq veteran who decides to settle in a quiet English town, away from violence, only to have to take up the gun, along with a few others, to protect it from a local gang of hoods.

Feedback: Feels generic, and has been done quite a bit before (in fact, the title itself is similar to the setting of Hot Fuzz, which was a British take on American film making tropes and conventions).

4. 'A Story Of Maria': The life story of a young, poor Spanish woman in the 50s (the Franco Regime) who emigrates, first to Belgium, then to England, to find a better life for herself and all the hardships she faces. Based on true stories of real immigrants of the time.

Feedback: Has potential to be very moving and emotional, but what is the investment? Why should we care about this one girl out of the many others who suffered this type of existence?

5. 'Merry Devil': A biopic about the life of infamoous Scottish Magician and con man Dr. Walford Bodie, from his upbringing in Aberdeen, to his success on the stage as 'The Electrical Wizard' and final decline after scandals and trials.

Feedback: Better defined side characters. Who are the people in his life, and how do they influence him and his actions?

6. 'Some Kind Of Wonderful': A musical/teen drama about a young Aspergic's struggle through Higher Eduction, musical numbers being used to show his reactions to the events/his inner thoughts i.e. a very happy, Technicolor Cole Porter/Irving Berlin number when he finds love or when he's achieved something great.

Feedback: Has potential to be very fun and unique, but needs a sense of structure and point.

7. 'Biggest Question': Looking at both sides of the abortion argument in a story that deals with an impregnated teenage girl and her struggles.

Feedback: Can be very profound and powerful, but it's in danger of becoming very black and white if not handled correctly or with grace/intelligence.

Afterwards, we were asked to go away and, choosing one of our ideas, extrapolate and expand them into a full 1 page synopsis. In closing, today was a very enlightening session, as it gave me a chance to reflect on my ideas and how, as a writer, I would approach them when developing them into full stories. Also, it was interesting to hear other peoples' ideas and how they approached them (and there was quite a selection of genres and ideas, including a surreal dark comedy set on a desert island, a small town band who try to make it big and their various antics and failed attempts to live the 'famous' lifestyle, and a story about an Autistic boy who is in fact an Alien sent to Earth). I look forward to see how these are expanded, and best of luck to everyone else.

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