Fortnightly update: Week 2

Update By: Jamie Bolger, Matthew Kennedy, Isobell Roberts and Riah Stanley

In the first week we eased into the class nicely. We all got to know each other and what the course was going to be about. We had a reading on script development and got stuck on the idea of having a ‘cause’ and a ’symptom’ in a script, and what that meant. After a few opinions we all agreed that a ’symptom’ in a screenplay was something you noticed that wasn’t working, but the ‘cause’ was what character, setting or event that had lead to that. So if you were giving feedback on a screenplay and pointed out a little thing that wasn’t working, it would be the author that would now where exactly the cause was a could work it out from there. In our second class we watched a short film and spent the rest of the lesson brainstorming what the rest of the story would be about if that was an opening scene. It was interesting to see how easily we picked up trends in plot and characters. There were a range of different responses from thrillers to romantic comedies.

As we ventured into week 2 we began to further tease out some of factors that are involved in developing the character’s world. Some of the points of discussion included:
Using the character’s backstory as tool for exploring limitations and responses to the world and exploring boundaries of the world.
For example, this is evident in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, 2012 Dir. Stephen Chbosky. The abuse Charlie was a victim of as a child, resulted in a deep guilt that impacted his ability to form friendships, and how he reacts to current situations of conflict.

War Stories from the Writing Trenches – Australian Writer’s Guild

We were all encouraged to attend this event after class with Stayci on Wednesday during week 2, where Australian screenwriters Jan Sardi (Shine) and Andrew Knight (Hacksaw Ridge) discussed their passion for writing and experiences working on film, television and other mediums. They offered a lot of useful advice to us, expressing their opinions on tropes and problems that exist within the screenwriting industry, where it is currently at and how it will continue to evolve, stating that it is an exciting time for writers right now. Topics that were discussed included describing fictional worlds, the battle between plot and character, how modern TV has changed writing and more. This was a great opportunity for all of us in the studio, allowing us to meet as well as learn from two great Australian screenwriters.

In our final class of week 2, we focused heavily on the quote; “It is characteristic of the vast majority of cities in the movies that they focus not on architecture per se, but on architecture as it affects, and is interpreted by, citizens” (Thomas 2003, p. 410). We were given the task to explore RMIT as a third character, making 5-9 frame photo storyboards in groups. In our group we decided to use the location of RMIT, being the city and the dangers of a highly populated area and explore montage and tragedy, in a non-ambiguous narrative sequence. We found that creating a narrative through images seemed to be an easier task than to create a written piece, as there seemed to be more roles and it focused more on physical collaboration.

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