Friday, 2 December 2011

The Gaming Complex - A Short Film Script Idea


The Gaming Complex is a fifteen page script that I am developing for my housemate Michael Kelly, who is a third year Creative Media Practice student in need of a script for his dissertation short film.



This script came about as a response to my earlier script I wrote for him: Xbox Junkie. For that script Mike had given me a basic brief which was concerned with a middle aged man who had abandoned his family and social ties because of his new addiction to playing video games. The idea for this Mike had got from a Guardian article: At War with World of Warcraft. Although, I did find it constrictive to work with that brief, so instead I came up with my idea based around the theme of gaming. However, on the night that I handed Mike the first draft of Xbox Junkie I suddenly realised a way to bring his original idea to life in what has now become The Gaming Complex.

Some notes

Essentially, what I have done with The Gaming Complex is combine the idea Mike got from the At War article with his earlier idea of making a gaming documentary. Therefore, The Gaming Complex is a mocumentary that follows a middle age man who, because of a brain haemorrhage, has a constant urge to play video games and who has left his family as a result. However, instead of having the typical stereotype of an obese, home loving gamer, I have made the middle aged protagonist, Melvyn, into a highly self-disciplined, physically healthy gaming guru; who bases everything in his life around the ideal of playing video games. As a result he lives a stripped back lifestyle wherein all the activities he does outside of playing video games, such as running and eating healthy, are done purely to support and maximise his full gaming potential. The conflict in the script comes when, urged  by the documentary maker, Melvyn considers reconnecting with his wife and kids. But this proves to be something which is not compatible with his current lifestyle.

Something of an outline

With the At War article, I liked the idea of a gamer who was so obsessed with their gaming that it started to change their lifestyle. It was while I was running this idea over in my head that I was reminded of a news report concerning an ex-street fight who, after surviving a brain haemorrhage, found he had a constant urge to paint: Ex-streetfighter, 60, turned into a fanatical artist by a brain haemorrhage thatphysically altered his mind. But I knew if I were to combine these ideas then I would want to steer clear of the stereotype of a hardcore-gamer, which is what Ryan van Cleave from the At War article fulfills. The solution for this came from, of all places, Benny Hill!

Benny Hill (1924 - 1992)

Obviously, Benny Hill is remembered best for the sped-up chase sequences with the famous theme tune, but not many people realise how much of a recluse Benny Hill was in real life. As this article illustrates, he never married, never owned a car, never owned a house and had very few personal friends. Aside from when he would go travelling in France, Benny Hill had an incredibly stripped back lifestyle which revolved around him either filming his television show or sitting alone in front of his television taking notes for new material. I realised that I could take this absolute devotion and stripped back lifestyle and transpose it onto the character of Melvyn.

When I was writing Xbox Junkie I made a point of reading scripts that had styles or elements that I wanted to incorporate into my writing. With this script I made a point of reading the script for The Third Man by Graham Greene. 


I wanted the same upside-down worldview of The Third Man's characters to be present in Melvyn, and in his views towards his family and general attitude to life. In the script the reason why the documentary maker is making a documentary about Melvyn is because he has read Melvyn’s blog; in which Melvyn expresses very radical views about the modern lifestyle and how best to live it, based on his own experiences. Melvyn’s lifestyle, though, is not what the majority of people would consider an ideal or preferable lifestyle.

In many ways The Gaming Complex is the antithesis of Xbox Junkie and like Xbox Junkie it may never get made. The reason for this is because Xbox Junkie may get made instead or Mike may make his original idea of a full-fledged documentary, which is something that he is looking into. 

However, I am still going to keep developing these two scripts because, at the end of the day, they are two more items to add to my portfolio. I’ve also found the process of developing and writing these scripts to be highly beneficial to my writing as a whole and also to my lifestyle. As much as I have been pouring ideas into the scripts they have started to return the favour; In The Gaming Complex Melvyn makes a point of eating healthy and sticking to a strict regime of running - these are two things I have now initiated in my life.

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