SPACE STATION by Cassie Nikoloska
Link to SP2: SPACE STATION (Script)
My screenplay, set in 1996 at Bells Beach, tells the story of a girl named Orion who travels to the astral plane one night with her friend, Courtney, and things become disastrous when a sinister and mysterious phenomenon taints the minds of the people who visit. It is a cosmic horror/indie short film script entitled Space Station (2020), and is the result of my continued exploration on dreams and 90s shoegaze music.
My creative journey consisted of a lot of trial and error, but that was part of the learning process. I had taken a trip to Bells Beach when coronavirus restrictions had lessened, and I captured many images that I drew inspiration from for my screenplay, collaging these images into a moodboard, and then I got straight into storyboarding. Brainstorming ideas and then capturing them through photographs helped me lean towards what I wanted to write about, but it was drawing the storyboard itself that gave me the ability to really visualise the happenings within my unwritten story. This made writing the script easier and more exciting; I was looking forward to it.
I then began experimenting with the images I took at Bells Beach, deciding to play around with different exposures, contrasts, saturations, and other effects to manipulate the naturally calming setting of the beach in a way that was gloomy and sinister. I had wanted this screen project to be different in tone from my previous one, so I had to really accentuate the dark themes in these images so that they were apparent in my script. In the editing stages of my project, I experimented with the cut-up technique, which is when written text is cut up and rearranged to create a new text. I became aware of this literary technique in our lecture on William S. Burroughs, and I found that it was a great solution in fixing my dialogue scenes within my script. The spontaneity of freeform writing was really enjoyable, and I believe it improved my work greatly.
In one of our lectures, a student had likened my research to the foreign concept of ‘cosmic horror’ after hearing my pitch for SP2. I looked up the definition immediately and found that it is a literary genre that deals with elements of ‘the supernatural,’ with an emphasis not on blood and gore, but rather ‘the unknown.’ These qualities are exactly what I have been subconsciously attracted to in stories, and although I researched many scripts, films, and concepts in relation to my chosen topic, it were the artworks by Gustave Doré and Takato Yamamoto that helped me with developing a distinct style for my story, since they fit the ‘cosmic horror’ aesthetic.
The most interesting aspect of my creative product was putting together my moodboard, since these images acted as a visual guide to accompany the script, and, in a sense, brought the script to life. I found that, week after week, researching the necessary elements needed for the final project has been an immensely educational and enthralling experience. Also, by writing blog-posts consistently, I had time to constantly reflect on my work and, in turn, was able to view the progress I had made. I could see that the effort I put into my research was steadily influencing my knowledge on experimental filmmaking, and it were the workshops that we executed each week that bettered my camera and writing skills in general, which helped to develop and construct my screenplay. This entire process of making a creative product has been so beneficial and insightful, and I have learned so much.