By armaan8014 8 Comments
So we're a bunch of 5th year Architecture students, and we've been given an assignment (in a non-core subject) to make a 5 minute short film.
As an aspiring filmmaker (once I'm done with this course) I'm taking this assignment pretty seriously so that I can add to my portfolio and experience. I've done a couple of short films before, and a lot of music videos as well, so the technical parts aren't an issue. But we seem to be a little stuck with the writing.
So I'm hoping for some good insight from you Giantbombers (I've learnt quite a lot from you guys.) especially since most people on here seem to be well informed on a large variety of topics. I remember asking you guys what makes writing "bad" or "good" in this blog here, and got satisfactory responses. I'm hoping I can get similar help again :)
(as it stands)
1. Character, setting, obstacle and our intention
The story is about an architecture student (obviously :P) who is stuck with his design. He's struggling between his emotions that drive what he wants to design/ plan and between being practical. Every time he is about to draw even a single line, he stops himself, as he considers how the jury that he will face the next day might criticize his design intentions that he might not be able to "justify"
(This is a problem we students face all the time. Over the years we learn never to put anything in your design plan unless it is completely needed, even though it might just "feel" good. Every wall, window, column must have a reason.)
So the intention here ^ is to question. There are somethings that we feel personally that can sometimes not be explained, that we ourselves might not know the source of. So we chicken out of putting them in our designs and stick with approved methods of design.
So as this student is stuck on one part of his design, he closes his eyes (in frustration or fatigue) and starts to imagine (as we do for design)
2. The character's childhood - his inspiration
At this point, say he imagines running down moss covered stone steps, his hands grazing a similarly moss covered stone wall as he runs down these stairs. This place is probably where lived as a child. A beautiful home of a beautiful time of his life, at least as he remembers it. He may not know this, but his architectural designs are all inspired from his memories, or his experiences as a child (Our childhood experiences greatly affect and shape us)
So maybe he has an attachment to walls like those, that he faintly remembers touching while running past as a child. The sense of touch has stuck with him, and for this inexplicable reason (for him) he feels a strong emotional need to put a wall that conveys this feeling in his own design. Planning sense tells him otherwise,(maybe put a courtyard instead) but the feeling of running down in that particular way or speed begs him to put a wall .
There would also be him providing Voice over, talking about his experiences as a child ("I would run down to play in our gardens every evening.. etc")
Other similar experiences would be - say, his father who would play the piano for him, but would like to keep the curtains drawn when he did so - leading him to have a specific affection for a certain type of dim - lighting: Affecting the kind of windows or openings that he feels the need to include in his own design. There are a bunch of other experiences, but I won't write them here - Hopefully these ^ convey the point. They reveal his character and history, and try to show the mentality of design and inspiration some of us have.
3. A jury as a companion through his memories - self criticism
Now, at one point, one of his faculty/ jury begins to accompany him through his memories. This basically is a visualization of what goes through our heads when we criticize our own work during the process of design (Whenever I think of creating anything for my design, I am always able to imagine how a certain faculty member would react to it, and accordingly change/ fix what I intend to do)
Here the faculty member walks with him and learns about the character and his history, something the jury doesn't get to do in real life while criticizing our designs from our 2D plans. It gives a new dimension to the interaction between student and jury.
This jury member gets a chance to sit next to the character on his favorite moss covered steps, watch his dad play the piano etc, and talk to him about it.
4. Jury through his design
Next, the student character leads the jury out of the spaces from his memories, and into the spaces he's trying to design. These are basically normal buildings, but have clear inspirations from the experiences shown earlier from his childhood. For example, lighting inspired from the piano evenings, moss covered walls in a more contemporary fashion.
It's something that every student would love to do - take the jury through their designs and show them what they would feel if they actually stepped into their imagination, rather than trying to dissect them unemotionally through 2D technical drawings and 3D models. The experience of walking through the building is, in the end, the most important.
Now the company reaches the point where the student is stuck (funnily, where we are stuck as well). At this point, we plan to show something that conveys the incomplete state of his design, or a mental block. (We'll show this with the help of a cliff overlooking the sea, or a dam or something of that scale. A bit inception-ish here)
1. If we do this on a cliff, we could have them walk over to the edge and see a body sprawled on the beach below. "Who was he?" the jury could ask. "My brother" or "That's me" the student could reply, with a shocked expression on his face.
The idea behind that is that maybe there was such an event in his life, that left him with a "missing piece" in his memories. If it was his brother, maybe he was too traumatized and blocked that part out of his head (A bit inspired from "To the moon" yes) If it was he himself, then maybe he suffered actual brain damage that led him gave him amnesia.
Since for this character -> memory = design, a missing piece of memory is bound to lead him to a mental block in design. Now that he has undertaken a bit of a mental journey through his memories, and through this experience, in a bit of shutter island fashion, remembered what he had forgotten, he is able to overcome the block. Whether he has the courage to actually put it to paper is undecided.
But, since we are not completely sure about whether this is a... good, or atleast, correct solution to the story, we've been thinking of more possibilities.
2. One of my friends suggested keeping the body on the beach a purely metaphorical point. No brain injury, no death. The body on the beach signifies that the student himself has, maybe failed too many times, and is scared to proceed.
I'm not too sure about that though, it seems a bit inconsistent with the rest of the story. Why show the whole thing about inspiration from memories then?
3. Another idea is that he is frustrated, maybe due to his need for perfection. The beauty tied to his childhood is unreachable, pure and ultimate, largely affected by nostalgia. Everything in his memories is filled with life, whereas his representations in design feel like soulless imitations. There are no memories attached to that yet. Maybe that's what keeps stopping him from proceeding with his design. In comparison to his childhood, it's just not good enough.
Help me with a central issue here- Since we are taking the audience through his memories, it would have to be that the conflict relates to his memories somehow right? I mean if it's a confidence or self esteem issue, we wouldn't waste the audience's time with the memory trips would we?
Thanks for any possible help duders. Sorry it was such a long post :P Tomorrow we're going to look for locations, and day after we start shooting. Thanks again!