Posts tagged "story"

Tutor Meeting Report - Anna Jansco, 2016-05-30

Tutor meeting reports include general discussion topics, ways forward, targets, plans already agreed and decisions regarding how to implement agreed items in no particular order. Some items are agreed targets, others simple actions that have been passed to the tutor as intended ways forward.

  • A lot of the meeting with Ana was confirmation of ways forward that I had already decided to progress, so it was good to get confirmation that I was heading in the right direction.
  • We discussed the tradition of Nordic childrens story and TV and it's similarity of where I was going - good, as I had already been looking into Nordic TV through my CG background and productions such as Lassemaja [1], [2]. Maybe this direction has come from my own viewing of both british and European TV in the 70's when I was growing up, including the Children's Film Foundation. US TV at the moment (and actually at the time, through such this things as Littleest Hobo) leaves me cold.
  • Discussed the CineKid.nl website and festival. In regards to the website (in isolation) it seems very similar to the Into Film project, though far further along.
  • Anna raised funding opportunities via the Wellcome Trust. I'am aware of them through my work in the IT world, but I had not even thought of this avenue for funding (thanks Anna) - though this is probably at present because I am still thinking like an IAC cinemtographer. I had already in the past two weeks established that this is the first film I would actually dedicate a budget to, so I need to start thinking in a different vein.
  • Confirmed nature of the format that I should produce - it is pretty much a given now that I will work on a 3x15min story arc as the product of this module. If needs mean that I should shorten it for product later, then this format should allow me to do so without unnatural breaks.
  • Confirmed with Anna format (or rather, openess) of the format of the treatment that I should be producing. I had already downloaded the treatment pack from the Raindance website and realised the differences between the existing intent that I had (based upon information from Miriam Horowitz). Good discussion over positives and negatives - looks like I'm going to conciously go down the route of a European style treatment (more literary) that the UK/US style (more mechanical and difficult to read, but easy to convert to a later script).
  • From the treatment pack, it also confirms some of the information that I can add to the start of the treatment that I felt that I should leave out in the final submission (based on the Horowitz style). This is important as visual style / propaganda inclusion is a vital part of what the production is mean to achieve, but does not fit well into the body of the treatment.
Format Progression

At the beginning of the module, it was assumed that I would be aiming for a 30-45 minute mini-feature, mainly because my experience putting together shorts in the IAC world meant that I can actually do it rather quickly. A series of decisions however, have meant that this has changed quite drastically, though for quite logical reasons, each being a very small step in a new channel of thought.

It is quite clear that the subject matter is far too large for a single story - this is actually both an advantage and a disadvantage in that while a single story that could be shown to students is probably difficult, or at least prone to having too much crushed into the time available, it does mean that a series of individual 'episodes' can be created, extending the lifetime of the story.

What this of course means, is that in an episodic format a 'theatrical release' for want of a better word is not the way to go. Anything that comes out of this course is going to be incomplete by definition, feeling more like a pilot to something larger than a wholly self-contained film. While several small episodes can be tied together to create a theatrical release 'for effect', a different delivery platform needs to be considered as the release format of choice and design. As television is not a real prospect, a well chosen web-release seems to be the best choice, with collections of the smaller productions collated into packages for school release. This may not even be required, as most educational establishments are able to stream directly from the web in any case.

From a mercenary, business perspective this also has a significant meaning. While recently there has been an attempt by some to create larger format web series (up to 30mins in length), this is actualy counter-productive. A viewer of a any single epsode counts as 1 hit. By halving the episode length from this 30min duration, one is effectively doubling the number of hits without spoiling the viewer enjoyment - web based video on deman means that there is no time lost in switching to the next episode and most platforms can be configured to automatically move to the next episode in line without a break.

Even a cursory attempt to layout out a treatment however, shows that in a 15 minute timespan, it is difficult to fit a series of coherent points that include my aforementioned Story, Plot and Propaganda and an overal format change and level of expectation is required for each target deliverable. While discussion with Rick has revealed a preference for a 15min short at this time (not yet known what Anna would advise - meeting coming up this weekend), I suspect that I will be developing a treatment and initial script based upon a story arc rather than an episode. A 3 x 15min story arc seems to be sufficient to get in as much story and plot that I would need to establish a good 'pilot' arc. In such a format, from a propaganda perspective, a standard of a single major propaganda point of both a positive and negative aspect may be the way to go as this would give a logical framework for delivery in an education establishment as well as provide sufficient running time to deal with the subject properly.

Tutor meeting report - Rick Harvey, 2016-05-25

Tutor meeting reports include general discussion topics, ways forward, targets, plans already agreed and decisions regarding how to implement agreed items in no particular order. Some items are agreed targets, others simple actions that have been passed to the tutor as intended ways forward.

  • Aim for a 15min short pilot targetted at good web distribution.
  • Will look at an initial 3 webispode arc of 3 x 15mins, allowing development of a full pilot of TV length and long term story planning but split of three separate online shows. Possible outlining of a 3 x 3 story arc, totalling about 120 - 150mins.
  • Aim to deliver a treatment to tutor by monday, 13th June, with meetings to usually take place at 13:00 on any given Monday decided upon.
  • Reflective Report - maybe look at continuation of a story line over a 150min period - till now, I have only ever looked at shorts and single-story mini-features of upto 40 minutes.
  • Look at Egri (already in possession and mostly read), but also York (to be acquired).
  • Work on balance of the story / plot / propaganda so as to not imbalance for the audience.
  • Initial plans (generally) - contact Trinity and Frewen to see if I can arrange interviews for real-world experiences.
  • Important - complete an ethics document and get to Rick to sign. Can I really hold interviews before this document is OK'd? Email Rick to confirm.
  • Product to aim for in module as a whole - Treatment and possibly script (from Rick); Full treatment with arc definitions (from Me).
  • With treatment, produce mind-maps of character development and story arcs.
Story, Plot and Propaganda

I have been working on some of the undelrying basic concepts of what is required by the script. Two of the fundemental concepts are Story and Plot, which are actually different things entirely.

Story is the underlying message that the script is trying to portray - exactly the same Love story for example, as typifed by say Casablanca, could have a totally different series of events and yet still have exactly the same underying story. It is this series of events that we normally call Plot - they can be very different, and is usually what most people 'see' in a movie, gradually watching events unfold from begining to end.

Plot is obvious. Story can be equally obvious, or extremely subtle. The idea of watching a film many times and 'seeing something new' each time may be visual, but it can also mean that you are getting closer to the underling story.

The third face

In my project, we need to introduce a third aspect however, which I am calling Propaganda, which is not as subversive as it seems. In common dictionary definition, Propoganda simply means,

"information, ideas, or rumours spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation etc."Dictionary.com [2016-05-23]

 

As the project is intended to to portray the truths of Dyslexia, good and bad, in a drama production, this seems as good a word as any to describe a set of key points about the condition that need to be inserted smoothly into the script.

The first problem...

The first problem that needs to be overcome is that if we are to use the traditional hollywood three act structure, a typical run of events includes:

  • Act 1 - The description of the ordinary world, the call to adventure, a confrontation, the introduction of the mentor, and the first threshold or 'cliff-hanger' of this sequence.
  • Act 2 - The alignment of tests, allies and enemies followed by crisis, ordeal, reward and the road back or a possible end in sight to the trials.
  • Act 2 - The final act includes 'resurrection' after the second major trial at the end of Act 2, which may have seemed insurmountable, and finally the return to normality.

While there is no guarantee that it will be this structure in use, the basic sequence of events is reasonably similar in many patterns. If we were to make this story just about Dyslexia therefore, having help being given to the principle character to assist in her Dyslexia would come quite a way through the story. As we are also trying to indicate best practice however, this is unacceptable. One of the key, fundemental factors that has been discussed for many years and repeatedly being proven in real-world testing (e.g. the Decoding Dyslexia pilot project, 2015) is that early intervention is vital. For our characters therefore, we need to move the 'resurrection' phase to a very early point in the plot. In fact, in the case of the Dyslexia aspect of the storyline, the 'resurrection' and meeting the 'mentor' are essentially one in the same.

The solution to this is going be making Dyslexia the story and deliver it through a plot involving a more traditional trials to resurrection pattern. A balance needs to be struck therefore: Dyslexia is a vital part of the story, what plot can be added that keeps the attention of children but does not degrade the value of the story to extent that vital information is not carried back into the classroom.