Sunday, 30 June 2013

Scene 63: Another Script Scene Extract

So, I haven't got a film to review or a subject really to discuss this week, and I think another list would be taking the form of listing a bit far - a bit ad nauseam. Instead, I've decided to post up an extract from a script I am working on. 

I know that weeks ago I promised I'd actually post up a scene each week , and I know I haven't, so sorry about that - but I'm putting that little idea on hiatus for the moment as my priority is to edit another script, and get this one finished! 

Here's the extract, enjoy!


INT. KITCHEN, MARION'S HOUSE: AFTERNOON

A large living-room in a Victorian terrace house. Hoovering with headphones on, headbanging to the song Who Do You Want to Be Today? by Sumo Cyco is MARION, 36, wearing an Iron Maiden T-shirt.

She stops as her mobile vibrates. She whips off her headphones, kicks the hoover off with her foot and checks the back pocket of her trousers.

She pulls out a red flip-phone - no. Checks next pocket, black android phone - yes.

MARION
(brisk)
Hello?

CHARLIE V.O.
Hi Marion. Its me.

MARION
Hey, what's up? If you're asking what wine to bring, anything but red.

CHARLIE V.O.
I can't make dinner.

MARION
What?! Of course you can make dinner.

CUT TO:

INT. SOHO RESTAURANT, DINING AREA: AFTERNOON

Charlie plods through the dining area of the restaurant where decorators are painting and electricians fitting trendy lights.

CHARLIE
I can't, I feel sick. I'm going home. 

MARION V.O.
It's probably just stress and overwork. I have yucky days like that too. You probably need a break. Come over.

Charlie pauses in the restaurant's small foyer.

CHARLIE
Look I have a migraine, and a neck ache. I just... I just want to go to bed. I think I have the flu. I even canceled all my appointments.

MARION V.O.
Oh. (beat) You must be ill, how are you getting back to your apartment? Do you want me or Danny to come meet you? Pick you up?

CHARLIE
I'm fine. The subway's not far.

MARION V.O.
If you're sure?

CHARLIE
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm sure. I just want to go sleep. I'll talk to you later.

MARION V.O.
Okay. Bye...

CHARLIE
Bye.

He rings off and walks off into the rain.

CUT TO:

INT. LONDON TUBE STATION: AFTERNOON

Charlie is walking with a stream of people going down steps into the underground. He looks extremely tired, and keeps getting bumped and brushed by other people.

He reaches the platform and leaning against the wall pulls his water bottle from his pocket. Before he can unscrew the cap though a wind kicks up, and the train rockets into the station. It's very full.

The doors slide open and Charlie jumps on.

No seats - he grabs onto the pole above him as more people cram in, leaning his forehead against the metal. Next to him a young man with piercings is listening to thudding music.

The doors bleep and close. The tube train starts off.

There's silence as it roars along. Just the swaying, rocking train.

Suddenly Charlie just collapses. He clips several people as he falls, and smacks into the floor. People gasp, and ask if he's okay. 

The young man with piercings, immediately pulls out his earphones and kneels to check Charlie. He takes his pulse.

He then pulls out his phone and starts dialing.

(C) KCS etc

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Scene 62: My Four Favourite Animated Films - that aren't Disney, Dreamworks or Pixar

Another list this week, and I've decided to look at feature length animated films. However I've also set myself a bit of challenge - I have to choose five films, that I really like, that haven't been produced by Pixar, Dreamworks or Disney! 

I decided to do this, firstly because I thought it would be nice to mention some alternatives to the big three animation companies, which let's be honest, do sort of corner the market on feature film animations, whether 2D or CGI.  

Secondly, over the last few months I've watched alot of reviews on Disney and Dreamworks films and its reminded me that though the films have managed to appeal to a wide audience they are still essentially family films.  

This means they can't deal with or depict certain things and certain issues, whilst films aimed at adults can - for example, Waltz with Bashir (2008) is about war and A Scanner Darkly (2006) is a sci-f thriller about drugs. 

1] Sita Sings the Blues (2008)



Animated films normally need vast amounts of people to make them, but not Sita Sings the Blues, which was animated by only one woman, Nina Paley.

Th film tells two stories. The first is from the great religious epic The Ramayana, and is about Sita, the incarnation of the Hindu goddess Lashkmi and her exile with her husband Rama and her abduction. The second story is an autobiographical one, about how the animator's marriage fell apart after he got a job in India. 

Sita's story is told in three different styles and through several different narrators. One of these versions is a series of colourful Flash animated musical numbers, using the songs of 1920's jazz singer Annette Hanshaw, and each song relates to a part in Sita's story and her feelings at the time. 

The film is very creative, and for a Western audience is a very entertaining and interesting introduction to the Ramayana. 

2] Persepolis (2007) 


The first time I watched this was late at night. It was in French and subtitled and I had to sit close to the television to make sure I caught all the words. I don't think I was quite older to fully understand it - the politics, the Marxism mentioned in it - but I loved it.

Persepolis is an autobiographical tale. Original a comic book, it is the story of one Iranian woman's life growing up - how the war and revolution in her country affects her, directly and indirectly, and how she grows and defines her own identity. 

The main character is fun, intelligent, strong and relatable, and the aanimation is lovely. It looks bold and simple, and yet there is a lot of detail in there. It is only black and white, but many tones are conveyed. It's really beautiful. 

3] Yellow Submarine (1968)


Yellow Submarine is an old favourite of mine. My father is a Beatles fan and I grew up watching this film in the same way I grew up with Disney films. 

Admittedly the story is nowhere near as epic or thought provoking as the previous two films I've looked at.  Its a simple tale of a bad guy taking over, and how one lone survivor finds a band of heroes (no pun intended), who must go on a journey full of wondrous adventures and eventually defeat the bad guy. 

However, what makes this special, other than nostalgia, is the creativity and the style of the film. The film is like one long series of set pieces or music videos for the Beatles music, using a variety of colourful, imaginative animation and mixed in from time to time with some photography and film. Look at the dull toned city during the song Elenor Rigby and then at the colourful, bold Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  

Though the plot may be quite simple, there's a host of great characters and good dialogue the whole film is just an artistic 60's splash - an enjoyably musical and visual feature. 

4] Waking Life (2001)



This film is very strange. I watched this when after learning about rotoscoping, and wanted to see an example.

Waking Life, seems pretty much plot less, it is basically just a young man, walking around unsure whether he is awake or dreaming, and having a string of philosophical conversations with the people he meets. There is no resolution to the film, it is left very open-ended. The conversations and dialouge is thought provoking though, and it'll certainly leave you feeling intrigued. 

The  film's visuals are worth watching, and the film goes through a variety of rotoscoped styles - from more stylised and cartoony, to almost photographic. A mind-bending piece of cinema, visually and mentally. 






Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Scene 61: Five of My Favourite Film and TV Dresses

In this post I'd thought I'd have some fun and look at some of the costumes I like most from television shows and films. 

Costumes are extremely important in films. They can help tell us about the characters we are watching and even hint at themes in the film. In some cases costumes can even steal  films, right from under the noses of actors, writers and directors - hence 'costume drama' films and television shows, where the costumes are a selling point in themselves, to be awed and drooled over. 

I want to look at a variety of costumes, but today I'm looking at dresses - the ones I've liked the most, and which I think are the most visually striking.

So in no particular order, here are five of my favourites. 

1] Audrey Hepburn's gown from Funny Face




A Funny Face is musical film all about the fashion world that stars Audrey Hepburn as a bookshop owner who becomes a model. All her Paris costumes were designed by Hubert de Givenchy, who had also designed all her Paris costumes in Sabrina, and he created a whole series of beautiful dresses and outfits for the film. The short skirted wedding dress she wears at the end for example, seems to have become a classic, based on the amount of images I found of it online. 

However, out of all the Paris costumes my favourite dress is this gown with a floral polka dot like pattern. She looks so elegant in the long skirt, and the pattern is pretty, but not 
overwhelming. In the film, she wears the dress with several accessories, including a light blue silk cape and gloves. This gown even looks good soaked, as Hepburn proves in this funny scene with Fred Astaire!




2] Daenerys Targaryen's blue dress from Game of Thrones




Game of Thrones is an epic piece of television. It's story is huge and fully of interesting characters, but it also has amazing production values. Seriously, stop and actually look at the sets, the locations and the costumes that have been created for this show, because it's incredible - and one of my favourite examples is the blue dress Daenery's wears whilst staying in the city of Qarth. The costume department seemed to create a whole style of dress for this luxurious city, with alot of the women's dresses employing the gorgeous gold cut-out bands that are used to hold up the dress and as belts - as shown in Daenery's dress above. 

Of course my favourite is Daenery's, it is floaty and exotic looking, yet at the same time it looks almost medieval, which is in keeping with the rest of the show. Certainly it is one of the most unforgettable costumes a character of Game of Thrones has ever worn!

3] The Black Swan dress from Black Swan 



Ballet costumes in real life are beautifully designed and the film dresses in Black Swan, designed by Amy Westcott, were no exception. I have looked back at the white swan dress too, which is fantastic, but I still think the black swan costume beats it. Why? Honestly it's partly because that eye make-up just makes the whole effect pop! But the dress is still incredible, its edgier and sharper than the white swan dress, and look at that crown, it looks like its made of shards of glass and diamonds! Check the dress out in action...


4] Romana II's Edwardian dress from Shada, Doctor Who


Romana is one of my favourite companions in Doctor Who, and I always liked her vintage style of dress. However, out of all her costumes I've honestly only seen this dress in a few pictures and clips. To be fair though, it didn't get much screen time anyway. The Doctor Who episode the actress wore this dress in was only half shot due to strikes at BBC. 

Nonetheless the outfit, even in this picture, is striking. I do believe it is a dress, though the difference in patterns from the top and skirt could been its a combo. However, I'm still happy to bend the rules a little and put it in my list. The white lacy top and bright red belt, with that lovely the fruity, flowery hat altogether look classy, vintage and elegant. 


5] The Queen's peacock dress and Snow White's orange and blue dress from Mirror, Mirror


Okay, a little bit a cheat here! Firstly, of course this is two dresses, and second I have not seen the film. Though, given that costumes are meant to reflect the character, I should be able to have a good guess at what the characters are like from their clothes.  

Anyway, the reason I include these on my list is because, frankly these dresses sold the film to me. I mean Mirror, Mirror looks like an amazing in the trailers anyway, the designers have really created an extravagant, shimmering fairytale world, but the costumes are what really stand out. 

Strangely, I can't decide which costume I like best, or if I even like either of them. Orange and blue? And those ruffs? And yet, it looks incredible. It works, somehow. The bright colours and interesting shapes just feel fun, and perhaps that's the point. The trailer sells the film as full of fun and humour, so it is not surprising that the clothes reflect this. 

The Queen's dress is more conventional, I'd say. It's not hugely subtle, hell its a red peacock dress complete with a peacock tail collar - it practically yells 'vain' and 'evil'! Perhaps that's what makes these dresses so good, they are so big and crazy and yet so much fun. The red peacock dress doesn't suggest a really dark menacing Queen, it's a bit big and a little silly, like the villain herself. 

Check out the trailer and see if you think these dresses sell to you, as much as it did me.











Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Scene 60: ReWrite Wednesday, Junior

Here's an idea. You remember Junior, which I reviewed last week? You know I pointed out those obvious plot holes and problems - and discovered some more after watching a YouTube review of the film.

Well I thought. I want to be a scriptwriter and/or editor one day. Why not don't I see if I can suggest good ways of fixing the problems with the film - or rather its script - that I found when reviewing it? Not just point and complain, but actually see if I could've done it better. 

So here is my experimentally post, today I rewrite the 1994 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Junior. Be forewarned, you need to have seen the film! 

Let's imagine the film hasn't been produced yet, but is still in the development stage and I am the script editor. First off, what's are the problems with Junior?
  1. Scientifically impossible
  2. Not funny
  3. Arnie/baby face scene 
Well, number three is easy. Scrap that. That's not funny. 

The science problem? Well that's a bit harder. In the film, the Danny Devito character just injects a fertilised egg into a cavity in the abdomen of Schwarzengger's character, which doesn't work because of course he has no uterus. 

However, I suddenly had a brilliant idea on how to get round this. The drug DeVito and Arnie are developing in the film is meant to help stop the body rejecting an embryo. So, possibly it could work as an anti rejection for organ transplants too? So instead of the drug just being for pregnant women, in my rewrite it's for organ transplants too. Its probably more complex and wouldn't work in real life, but it makes sense in the movie. This means there's double the market and double the stakes for DeVito's character with this drug, and it also means we have an excuse to transplant a uterus into Arnie - which sounds weird, I know.

However it does make sense with the new wonder drug. DeVito needs to test the drug not just on a pregnant woman but on a transplant patient. So if Arnie has a uterus transplant then that's practically getting two birds with one stone - and it fills in the science plot-hole. 

Now the second problem, the humour. This film isn't really funny, it's rather serious. But to be honest, now I've introduced transplant surgery, which will mean the need for a blackmarket organ, the film now has to be silly and humourous, otherwise its going to be very dark. 

Examples of jokes I have come up with - which are possibly funny, or not:

INT. AEROPLANE: DAY

LARRY/DEVTIO
Come on. It's only for a couple of weeks. Where's your sense of adventure?

ALEX/ARNIE
No. It's wrong, and immoral, and I don't want...(whispers)... you know. Lady parts.

LARRY/DEVITO
I'm asking you to have a uterus for a couple of weeks, not a fricking vagina. Man up!



OR


INT. SURGERY: NIGHT

Alex sits on an operation table in a gown, waiting. Larry walks in with a pizza box and an ice box.

ALEX/ARNIE
Is that it?  Where'd you find it?

Larry puts down the ice box. He opens up the pizza box and has a slice. 

LARRY/DEVITO
You don't want to know.

Alex looks at the ice box and then the pizza. Realisation.

ALEX/ARNIE
(horrified)
A pizzeria? You bought it behind a pizzeria! 


LARRY/DEVITO
What? Don't be stupid. Of course I didn't get it at the pizzeria. (beat)
I got it from the guy at the 3 cent store across the road.

ALEX/ARNIE
What?!

LARRY/DEVITO
I know. Can you believe the guy charged me more than 3 cent for it? 

Okay, so maybe that is a tad dark. But there are lots of humourous opportunities with a pregnant man. For instance, women get cravings during pregnancy. Why not a joke about that? Arnie eating Oreos and ketchup. Or soap. 

INT. LAB: DAY

Alex is sat at his desk chewing on a small complimentary soap, whilst Larry is working on the computer, checking the results. Banes walks in, all smug, slimy grin. Larry immediately shuts down the computer. 

BANES
Ah...Dr Hesse still here... (beat, sees soap) What are you eating?

Larry and Alex share a glance.

ALEX/ARNIE
Err...

BANES
Is that soap?

LARRY/DEVITO
What that? That's just a candy bar.

BANES
But it has soap written on it.

LARRY/DEVITO
(glances at it)
Oh, yeah...that's because its a novelty candy bar. Looks like soap, tastes of parma violets.
It's something for Alex's country isn't it, Alex?

Alex nods. 

BANE
Oh. May I try some?

LARRY/DEVITO
(fixed grin)
Sure. Go on Alex.

Alex breaks off a piece and gives it to Banes, who puts it all in his mouth and starts to chew. He starts to foam around the mouth. 

Silly I know. But that's kind of what the film needs, some attempt at humour, and to stop taking itself so seriously! So much could be done, with a pregnant guy, especially Arnie. Nostalgia Critic complained he looked to buff to be a scientist. Why not have made him a vain, health freak? That way you could have had him moaning about his appearance.

ALEX/ARNIE
Look at me. I've gone from Duff Man to Homer Simpson. (beat) I don't even like doughnuts. 


Or play on the fact that Arnie is playing it straight alot of the time. 


PROFESSOR
Goodness Hesse, what's happened to you?  (joking) Have you swallowed a basketball!

ALEX/ARNIE
Yes. It was a terrible accident. 

Or perhaps not.

You could have had some physical humour. Fainting is not uncommon in pregnant women. Imagine Arnie fainting and falling onto an old lady, or Banes. It may seem silly, but that's what this film needs. 

So lets review - science stuff fixed, horrible Arnie baby scene deleted and a sillier tone and some actual jokes, some inspired by what pregnancy is actually like, added in. Yeah, it could work. 

Thanks for reading! Please tell me what you think in the comments, and please suggest a movie for me to 'rewrite'!