Wednesday, 21 January 2015

From Script To Screen - OGR 21/01/2015


  1. OGR 22/01/2015

    Hi Charlie,

    Well done on rationalising your story into something with resonance and a strong universal theme. For me, the key storytelling device you need to resolve in terms of 'directing with a pencil' is an ease of transition between past/future and different locations; for example, I don't think you need spend any screen time showing your salesman walking to the zoo; instead, I can imagine a smooth series of transitions that go something like this: salesmen looking at image of tern > still image of tern flapping into life, becoming scene of tern's balletic flight > camera follows tern (camera above tern) then moves down to the ground, where we see a boy on his skateboard, camera moves down so we're know zooming along with him, his hair flying etc, camera moves around to focus on boy's euphoric face > morph transition from young boy's face to salesman's face, his expression melancholy, camera tracks slowly out of close-up of face to reveal salesman is now in the zoo... etc.

    Likewise, I don't think you need to get to hung-up on 'how' the salesman frees the terns from their cage; you could do it very simply with him looking at the cage; looking at the lock; cut back to his face so we see his idea happening; then cut immediately to the flurry of birds as they escape into the sky; then, as we here shouts of outrage and the rush of zookeeper footsteps, we see him back on his childhood skateboard, encyclopaedia pages whirling upwards etc. and perhaps, as the camera pulls back to follow the pages whirling away, we track up a bit further to see the arctic tern whirling higher and higher into the sky...

    This economy of visual storytelling is key, so I really want you to think about graceful ways of getting this done. It has the potential to be very touching, Charlie!

    Only other issue is, when he's looking at the tern info, the audience will need to understand the significance too - so you can use text in the book to 'tell' the audience about the tern's especial characteristics.

    The other important things is your Act 1 set-up: we need to understand immediately that the sale man's job is crap, so we'll need to understand that this a) he isn't new to the job and b) that when the door is shut in his face, this isn't the first time this has happened. You might want to think about using a montage sequence to communicate these things effectively - or alternately, just some clever visual staging to show us how tired and careworn he is.

    In terms of production design/visual concept, I can't help but push you towards Charlie Harper, as there's something about the tern and the sense of flight, and the retro factor suggested by the door-to-door salesman that switches this light on for me:

    Maybe look at 1960s Americana, and advertising illustration for further production design inspiration:

    Looking forward to the next phase, Charlie :) Roll your sleeves up and get stuck in pronto!

    1. Thanks for all the feedback Phil, I will get right on it!