Raindance NP1 Notes

These notes are an electronic record of the hand-written musings that take place in a thick notebook that I carry with me at all times. They are recorded here purely as a copy that I can access from anywhere on my tablet and as a secondary record in case the notebook is every lost (that's a horrifying thought...).

They are not in any order, can be repetitive, and may not all be used. They are just ideas and attempts to work through problems without any clear order or coherence.

  • Girl learns about dyslexia and writes a note on each point.
  • The Spanish Mistress (nature may change) is strict, but it is an act to hide the fact that she is helping her students - too much pressure from others to be strict.
  • Easter Eggs - All names of streets, shops etc. are famous dyslexics.
  • Spanish Mistress's wall is covered in famous dyslexic portraits.
  • Father is a secret dyslexic (stealth) but has hidden it for years. Finally admits it when confronted by Spanish Mistress.
    • Girl takes father to meeting, not telling him about real attitude of the mistress.
    • Scene at bench, later, not saying anything till both burst out laughing. Girl has won the joke - attitude between the two changes from this point.
  • Journey by train a lot up to this point - each time the girl gets off train, the name of the station is different (i.e. letters are jumbled up differently, but same name).
  • Taken to see 'specialist'. Regard as a 'Freud' type character. One of the Scientists from Tintin. Does ear and eye tests etc. Eventually recommends a specialist school.
    • Normal school, but with a special group for the 'lazy learners' and 'problem students'.
  • First scene with girl and spanish mistress. Walk around, apparently strict and assessing the girl. Very 'prof. snape'. Suddenly bends close to face, smiles and says, 'Tea?'.
    • Switch to civil tea time. SM talks about the wall, who they are, successes etc. Ends with 'what do you want to be?'.
  • Girl + others follow SM like baby ducks. Others compliment her on her strictness. In reality, a close knit club of dyslexics.
  • Idea to send girl  to school supported by mother, not father, who is reticent to go through with it.
  • Does SM's little group represent a long term team?
  • Is the headmaster the villain? What is the villainy?
  • Villainy and girls learning path are different stories.
  • Environment needs to be timeless - a strange mix of 1950's with some modern tech (e.g. steampunk, victorian computers but with holographic display screens floating in the air). Heavy Metal stylised cars etc.
  • Mix of Wes Anderson, Tintin, Lemony Snicker, Nanny McPhee, St. Trinian's styles.
  • What is hook to medical data? One or two day dreams / thinking in bed, but can this be used all the time? Too much? Look for some varied options.
  • How old is the girl? By time of filming, Sam will be 10! Can I really use Sam as the lean role?
  • All cast to be dyslexics, or at least connected to? Principles.
  • NT properties?
    • Family house
    • School
    • Examination room
  • Would Beamish allow filming, maybe out of season? Is there a southern alternative to Beamish?
  • Wes Anderson style takes -
    • Writing on notepad from above, as girl discovers her skills / attributes.
    • Cartoony medical sketches
    • Lots of side-on, wined-angles, centre framing
    • Dysfunctional family - girl, father, strict mother
  • Characters, based upon script development archetypes:
    • Hero - girl
    • Mentor - spanish mistress
    • Herald - Father. Mother! or the Doctor.
    • Threshold Guardian - Dyslexia as a concept, Head Master as a physical incarnation.
    • Trickster - Threshold Guardian's henchman
    • Shadow - Mother, and mother's expectations.
    • Shapeshifter - Effectively, father who reveals he has dyslexia mid-point.
    • Mother may well represent both herald and shadow.
  • Build budget list as script is being written - a la non-commercial work in IAC philosophy of known what is achievable.
  • Discussion point - balance between developing the script without limitations vs. budget conscious approach. Rationalise in 2nd draft after writing unlimited in first? See Patmore, 2005, p33.
  • Also keep similar notes for cast + crew requirements.
  • Natural light shooting as much as possible, due to possible sets and digital environments.
  • Super 16 @ 13 colour stops (BMPCC). Go Raw? Good for CG due to fewer artefacts. 4K would be too much data. Still, bring in more storage!
  • Anamorphic, or just clip for wide shots? Would be nice to make cinematic by going further than 16:9.
  • Story, plot and propaganda (look to dictionary meaning of the work to confirm there is not a negative here - don't think so).
    • Story - underlying message
    • Plot - What actually happens
    • Propaganda - What additional social message / information needs to be included, regarding dyslexia, experiences and medical research.
  • Propaganda - "Information, ideas or rumours deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation etc." (from Dictionary.com, 2016-05)
  • Issue? In traditional structure, 'resurrection' is quite late, but in traditional best practice dyslexia support, intervention is early. Reconcile by having intervention as the path, with resurrection being the 'I get it!' moment?
  • Act 1 - Ordinary world; call to adventure; confrontation; mentor, threshold.
  • Act 2 - Tests allies and enemies; crisis; ordeal; reward; the road back.
  • Act 3 - Resurrection; Return.
  • Also quote Oglers' seminar / look deeper into alternate story flows.
  • Put together a bullet point list of story requirements and breakdowns.
  • Budget: For first time, actually allocate a budget?!?
  • Historical interest - talk to Maidstone Museum about filming in some of the wood panel areas and Egypt / mummy section. Dinosaurs (in the Horner gallery :D )
  • "...many writers find it helpful to develop their main character while studying a photograph or drawing." [Jordan, Lousie (1998), p116]
  • Headmaster is collecting lots of school fees, but not actually spending a huge amount. What is the headmaster doing with the money? Not just pocketing it, doing something specific?
  • Tunnels beneath the school.
  • Key Dyslexic Traits to show (negative or stereotypical)
    • Riding, letter reversal. jumbled letters, sentence skipping (add an animation or two: two ends of a sentence expanding out to reveal more content).
    • Short term memory - scene that mimics my own 'cooker' and 'locks' experiences.
    • Co-ordination and clumsiness.
    • Visual and Temporal processing
    • Procedural Timing
    • Processing Speed
    • Phonological processing
    • Morphological processing
    • Cognitive skills
    • Metacognition
    • Additional language learning
  • Key Dyslexic Traits to show (positive or surprising)
    • Episodic memory
    • Spacial awareness
    • Creativity
  • Key Accomodations to show (via spanish teacher)
    • quite rooms
    • isolation
    • coloured papers
    • fonts and spacing
  • Plot progression and questions to ask
  • Mother is a perfectionist. She feels that the lack of achievement by the girl is laziness or she is just dumb. She wants little to do with her. The option to send her to a dormitory school is ideal for her plans.
  • Father is the main point of call for girl. Does not exactly show his own feelings, but never gives up trying to move her forwards. Ultimately leads to agreeing to her going to the special school as it gets her away from her mother and external pressures.
  • Father takes girl to specialist for testing. Very Freudian. Eventually recommends a special school but his main interest is money - the headmaster gives him a cut of fees for every one sent. Was not going to recommend until he learnt that the father is a wealthy businessman (the start of the actual adventure plot).
  • Girl sent to school [name?]. Arrives late in a Sunday. Spanish teacher is duty mistress. Fearful first meeting [do silent film title cuts to separate into chapters?] and proper introduction. Head thinks that the spanish teacher is simply 'taking care of' the special children and keeping them quiet (quick meeting with the head on camera before going into room stresses the idea, but also the expected severity of first SM meeting with the girl), then actual meeting in the room (with the Tea). We get truth of the situation.
    • NOTE: There are tunnels beneath the school. What are they for? Whatever HM is doing, must not be brought to a close in 'this episode'. Full story can feel as though it is for an ongoing series for the girl, now with her confident of who she is and what she needs to do.
  • SM explains about dyslexia and the pictures but also about the strangeness of the school and need to act the part. Also gives her suspicions about something going on in the school regarding the school fees and what the head is doing with them.
    • NOTE: Start film with a teenage girl going for an interview (clearly 'later' but still older in style). She is dyslexic and nervous. Interviewer (CEO, director etc,) tells her a story, jumps to the start of the story for the girl. It is her story, but we don't find out in camera till the end (though it may be obvious to the audience). Last words to girl mimic those of the SM. Maybe some visual appearance as well?
  • Possible shooting involvement (definitely for interviewing kids) - Trinity, Frewen, Cobham hall (less important as not dedicated school).
  • Hair and Makeup: Make contact with college Hair and Media Make-Up course. Exchange skills and opportunities.
  • Opening scene - even before the dyslexic girl and the CEO. Track an old motorcycle (see Seve in Spain!) around winding roads. Overlay opening credits. Eventually steps into an old barn or shop, or similar out of the way place. Two men exchange envelopes - motorcyclist gives over money, receives a letter or document. Similar ride home. Pulls up and parks bike, enters house removing gloves. Camera does not follow - just a dark doorway. Tommy gun shots inside. another figure runs out. Fades away with camera still tracking in on dark doorway.
  • SM was the motorcyclists girlfriend. Was due to marry but he was killed prior to her getting to Europe. He was a policeman who was on a special attachment to the police in her own country. Secret: He is the reason that she is in the school - he believed that someone at the school was using the upper school foreign trips to smuggle something into the country, but did not know what. She believes that this is the reason for his death, just as he was getting proof.
  • Audience discovers the relationship when SM is showing the pictures on the wall. Only picture (not on wall, on desk) was the boyfriend - she is asked who he was (believing him to be a famous dyslexic as well) and she explains who he was but not with the secret details.
  • SM has been unable to get onto a school trip - she is kept in the school to manage the 'problem children'.
  • Key Indicators [DyslexiaAction.org.uk (2016-05) ] in younger students:
    • Seems bright in some ways but unexpectedly struggles in others
    • Other members of the family have similar difficulties
    • Has problems carrying out three instructions in sequence
    • Struggles to learn sequences such as days of the week or the alphabet
    • Is a slow reader or makes unexpected errors when reading aloud
    • Often reads a word, then fails to recognise it further down the page
    • Struggles to remember what has been read
    • Puts letters and numbers the wrong way: for example, 15 for 51, b for d or “was” for “saw”
    • Has poor handwriting and/or struggles to hold the pen/pencil correctly and/or learn cursive writing
    • Spells a word several different ways
    • Appears to have poor concentration
    • Struggles with mental arithmetic or learning times tables
    • Seems to struggle with maths and/or understanding the terminology in maths: for example, knowing when to add, subtract or multiply
    • Has difficulties understanding time and tense
    • Confuses left and right
    • Can answer questions orally but has difficulties writing the answer down
    • Has trouble learning nursery rhymes or songs
    • Struggles with phonics and learning the letter-to-sound rules
    • Seems to get frustrated or suffers unduly with stress and/or low self-esteem
    • Struggles to copy information down when reading from the board
    • Needs an unexpected amount of support with homework and struggles to get it done on time
    • Is excessively tired after a day at school
  • Key Indicators [DyslexiaAction.org.uk (2016-05) in 12 to adult:
    • Difficulties taking notes, planning and writing essays, letters or reports
    • Struggles with reading and understanding new terminology
    • Quality of work is erratic
    • Difficulties revising for examinations
    • Struggles to communicate knowledge and understanding in exams
    • Feels that the effort put in does not reflect performance or results
    • Forgets names and factual information, even when familiar
    • Struggles to remember things such as a personal PIN or telephone number
    • Struggles to meet deadlines
    • Struggles with personal organisation (finances/household, arrives at lessons with the wrong books, forgets appointments)
    • Difficulties filling in forms or writing cheques
    • Only reads when necessary and never for pleasure
    • Develops work avoidance tactics to disguise difficulties and/or worries about being promoted/taking professional qualifications
    • Difficulties become exacerbated when under pressure of time.
  • Some features [DyslexiAction.org.uk (2016-05) ]:
    • not just about written words (reading and writing).
    • many have a problem with spoken words, fast retrieval or names, dates, telephone numbers etc. when under pressure of time.
    • short term memory, speed of processing etc. can be more frustrating to dyslexics that spelling.
    • spelling issues can be lost persistent even when others are eased
    • keeping track of conversations
    • following instructions
    • expressing a point of view
  • Add scene where girls throws down pen in frustration at her spellings (I spelt them all correctly this morning Miss, I promise!). SM says that she knows - explains that spelling is a false standard created by people in one place, at one time to record spoken words on paper. The standard is different, in different countries and at different times, and that there are even competing standards of how to do it. Not being able to write down your thoughts in one of these standards does not define who you are or your intelligence. Also go on to give example of Shakespearian verse compared to modern text? Better still, old english?