Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Q versus A

Now then, my Running script.


I was looking at my notes on the train this evening (I didn't get to it last night after all). I had a male protagonist and a female protagonist, brother and sister. I knew this was one character too many but that's how I had originally envisioned it.

Cut to interview with Joss Whedon that I watched last week.

Joss has developed this simple idea about the difference between TV and Film: A TV series is a Question, while a film is an Answer. I'm not going to dwell on this, I shall leave it as an exercise for the reader to understand what he means.

For me it wasn't exactly a revelation, more of a "yeeeeees ... yes ... I see. That's right."

And that's what was wrong with Running and the "one character too many".

If this is to be a film, it has to be an Answer. It runs its course and ends at a satisfying conclusion. But having these two protagonists sets up a dynamic - a conflict - between the two that isn't resolved. Which means it would be remain a Question.

I don't mean, of course, that I think everything in a movie has to be resolved, nor do I think that you can't have an ensemble cast in a film (Joss did it himself in Serenity). But for this film, for Running, the additional character results in this unresolvable conflict.

So I lose a character but do I lose the brother or the sister? That's an easy one for me. I'm like Joss Whedon, I like writing interesting female characters (even Une Nuit a Paris, which is about a stag weekend, has two ... no ... three strong female characters), so the brother is thrust into limbo.

Once that was resolved I had to think about the opening scene, I like to thrust the audience straight into the action, and have them just a little bit confused. I went through various scenarios, and eventually hit on one where the characters began to live, including the apparently dead one. At which point I knew I had it sorted.

The opening scenes await.

But I'll have to wait until Celtx 2.0 downloads and I can get cracking with my exciting new soft toy - I mean software toy.

What's on the turntable? "Blue Motel" by Joni Mitchell from "Hejira"

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