All entries for Tuesday 11 October 2005

October 11, 2005

Bob Zemeckis Won't Shoot An Establishing Shot

I extracted this from WORDPLAY's article about the Point Of View.

The important thing … was the notion that Robert Zemeckis thought point of view was such a crucial issue. "Oh, yeah," they said. "Bob won't even allow an establishing shot in one of his movies. He'll ask the question — who's seeing it from that spot? Who's point of view are we showing?"
The concept blazed through my mind. Robert Zemeckis … won't shoot an establishing shot. The venerable establishing shot … How many times have you or I blithely dropped in one of those … and Robert Zemeckis wouldn't shoot it. Wow.

And there was I worried all this while because every single filmmaking book mentions the establishing shot as something so inherent and necessary it's an abomination to not want to shoot it.

Still, no eureka moment yet. Am I going to finish this screenplay or not?

The Off–Screen Movie

Okay, so I was reading some articles written by Terry Rossio (who regularly collaborates with Ted Elliott on such movies as Pirates Of The Caribbean, Shrek, The Mask Of Zorro, Aladdin … basically some of the best fun movies in recent times) in his website WORDPLAY. There are lots of things that you can learn from people who've made it and do good work like him, of course, but the one thing that he comes back to a lot, is this …

The off-screen movie.

One way to make a movie that engages the audience, is to have the movie 'start' at every change of scene. Or in more understandable terms – don't show the audience everything. Create a sense that there is so much happening, a lot that we don't see on-screen, that the audience struggles a little to find out what it is they are watching as the scene progresses.

Interesting insight.

Also a nail on the coffin on my story. Sigh.

Eureka! And Then … What? Nothing.

Okay, so, about 24 hours ago, I had a eureka moment. It's one of those rare things that happen in your life, when things suddenly click in your head and you feel this thing building up inside you (one of the side effects being joy). A great idea is born, and you can't contain it – you have to tell people, and you do, and you make sure you don't lose it. You suddenly have a disregard for everything else – I really wanted to get down to selecting that RAE topic … with the eureka moment happening, I said fuck it. Fuck RAE.

What's the idea? Well, by completely changing the personality of the protagonist of the story, I remove the problem of having to develop the boy-meets-girl scene in the middle of the film, and I allow for different things to happen that is potentially more exciting. This also means I now have a character that the audience will like, that makes him easier to sympathise with – rather than a potentially boring character who whines. Besides that, I change the fundamental theme of the character into Guy Who Loses Everything That He Uses To Mask His Vulnerabilities.

So I'm in this head rush, and I'm trying to push myself further – what else can I do with this? What new scenes are there? And I thought of a couple.

And then the damn thing closed up. And I'm still in a head rush, which isn't doing me good.

You see, problem is, in a screenplay, one eureka moment is not enough. And the act of waiting for the next one always mystifies me. I mean, it's all inside me head – and I have to wait for it? What the fuck is that?

So now, I solve one problem, but potentially untie many of the connections and associations that I have formed before. What to do next? How shall the character proceed?

I need to keep in mind all the things I wanted to keep in mind when I committed myself to doing this film – that is, to make a movie that is not cliched, that is somehow mainstream, that is low budget yet still compelling, that which its primary function is to engage the audience emotionally and, as I've been saying to the people I've met regarding this project – that makes the audience jealous of the character and want to go through this experience as he did.

Time is running short. My deadline is Week 5. That is less than three weeks away. When is the next eureka moment coming? Two weeks?

So screwed.

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