In Group STeve our objective from the outset was to invert the script writing process through experimentation with genre. Rather than a focus on the finished product, we were concerned with our process. We completed everything in a very experimental and non-traditional manner. Initially we chose the basis of our storyline (four people living in a share-house, one of which is a housemate’s mother and landlord) and then instead of basing our work knowing what type of show Keeping Mum would be, we worked outside of convention and tried reinterpreting our premise through different genre codes.
We integrated our research, pre-production and post-production knowledge to create drastically different examples of how Keeping Mum would look by exemplifying different genre tropes.
Once we had conceptualised our project plan, we divided up various genres and each wrote two one-page scripts to shoot as rough exercises. For these informal shoots we used ourselves as actors, which ultimately became a crucial factor in our script writing process. After researching the catagorising codes of each genre, we were able to write and produce scenes which held true to these conventions. Using our skills gained through practical studio sessions we were able to edit our footage to typify our chosen pastiche. This is clear when viewing some of our experimentation shoots, including the trailer for Keeping Mum as a thriller/horror and a short scene of Keeping Mum as a sit-com.
Over the course of our research and experimentation, we came to the conclusion that mockumentary was our chosen genre. But despite ending this initial pre-production period of inverting writing traditions, we continued to tweak the standard scripting process in other ways. For once we had chosen mockumentary we then assigned each group member with the task of writing and acting for their character, and consequently created semi-improvised scenes. These scenes were very loosely scripted; we would plan a conflict or motive, a rough sketch for what action would take place, and then trial a few takes. Each would be adapted from the last and result in a scene that seems natural, loose, not over-scripted, and true to character. The scenes shot this way for our mockumentary format are:
Overall we achieved Group STeve’s objective, and throughout the entirety of creating “Keeping Mum” we moved away the traditional script writing process. Our prototype has been a product of experimentation and a labour of love.