Monday, 21 July 2014

One Door Ajar: Developing a Script for Production


the importance of the script development stage and why it is vital that you get the story logic set in stone in the shooting script. It might be over bloated and a lot of it may be deleted, or restructured during editing, but at least you have the story there to start off with and something to work with.

This post comes from a highly regarded dissertation length reflection piece I wrote for the Planning and Making a Film module I undertook in the penultimate year of my BA (Hons). The module's practice was undertaken between October 2011 to June 2012 and it provided me with a hugely enriching experience. For a more detailed overview of the module and the projects I undertook as a part of it, see Planning and Making a Film: The student filmmaking experience.


Going through Jenny’s original script we all agreed on three key points:


1. The flashback scenes needed to go.

We removed the flashback scenes because, while they go towards explaining how Amelia has got in the state she is in, they don’t add anything to the immediate story of her stuck inside her house.


2. The story needed to focus purely on Amelia inside her house.

As the film was about a protagonist who suffers from agoraphobia we reasoned we should represent this visually by continuously confining the viewer inside the house. To this end we re-worked the scenes where Richard was on the phone in the supermarket so that we would only be heard on the phone from Amelia’s end. 


3. The mother’s phone dialogue needed to be polished. 

Tish had noted on the Facebook group that: “At the moment her mother seems rather cold towards Amelia, but I'm quite sure that if your daughter was being so strange you might be a little more worried before angry, so we'll add that in.” Therefore, the rewritten dialogue, while still essentially the same, now contains slightly more concern and plausibility. 

With One Door Opened, I know that we gave the script development phase a lot more time and care than was afforded to the Where will it all stop script. I didn’t much care for that script and the only real input for change that I suggested was altering the ending.

I figured with an ending like that we could at least try to give the script a focus and improve upon the “up-for-grabs” ending that was in the original script. As I said in my first reflection: “with our version we are suggesting that Chuck is an old supernatural being who inhabits the bodies of others, hence why he is Joe at the end of our version.”



Although, in the feedback screening, people said they didn’t understand our ending. But with that being the case we have basically retained the intention of the original script! However, it also goes to show the importance of the script development stage and why it is vital that you get the story logic set in stone in the shooting script. It might be over bloated and a lot of it may be deleted, or restructured during editing, but at least you have the story there to start off with and something to work with. 

Rewriting the script for filming I think is off paramount importance; with the shooting script for One Door Opened we ended up removing quite a bit of material from the original script. By doing this we saved ourselves some valuable filming time that we could instead devote to the script material and the major beats of the story that really needed to have that extra time.

Next: Finding our leads: Auditions
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