Project Brief 4 – Reflection

This semester, our studio has explored screen stories not through their plot but instead through their world, meaning the rules and places and themes that dictate, mould and become a part of a screen story. We’ve done this by looking at how other screen worlds are created and presented, whether that is looking at films ourselves or examining screenplays, and obviously through the creation of our own screen world, focusing a lot on scripting.

It’s been a really interesting way to approach the creation of a screen story, and I think my main take away from this studio is that there are so many things you don’t think about or you don’t consider when you approach a screen story from a plot-centric viewpoint. By approaching our screen worlds from this “world” standpoint, before we’ve even begun to think of where our story is going to go (and sometimes before we even consider our characters), we’ve figured out everything there is to the world, in particular its setting and internal logic, which are incredibly important to understand when you begin to plot the path of your story. I suppose the only downside is at times I found it hard to find direction for my story. I’d spent a long time establishing the world I wanted, but didn’t know how to break it, per se; I feel like most good plots need to introduce something new into the world that needs to be overcome.

I feel like I really excelled at the first half of the semester, where we focused more on identifying aspects of world, how they are represented in film and how one fleshes them out in writing and production. I feel like I already had a solid grasp of the basics of what makes a screen world, but it was a positive experience to reinforce them by applying them to films and to put a name to concepts I knew but couldn’t really identify. I especially enjoyed analysing scripts, particularly Frozen River, as it’s one thing to understand what a director/writer is doing in a film to create and reinforce ideas of world, but another to actually understand how it is done and how you can do it yourself.

The writing was definitely the most challenging part of the studio. I feel like I’m naturally a fairly competent writer, but I didn’t feel entirely comfortable writing a) for screen and b) in a collaborative manner. It was hard adjusting to writing in a screenplay style, particularly with choice of language and thinking about what needs to be said and omitted from the reader for it to translate to screen best. However, it’s this area I think I improved in the most; I feel like I’ve found a really strong screenwriting “voice” that I can definitely take with me. I’m terrible at receiving feedback, mostly because I just hate showing my work to other people, but the advice everyone in the class gave me was really helpful. Often I only feel comfortable showing my work to people I know, but basically everyone I did show my work to, whatever their interests or background, gave me some really good pointers. I feel a lot more confident in showcasing my work no matter how developed it is after the collaborative writing process.

In terms of my final piece, I’m very happy with aspects of it and disappointed with others. I feel like my world is very well realised, and the first half of my script is fairly solid, mostly because it has been workshopped a lot more. I felt very comfortable writing in the world due to the work I did earlier in the studio, and didn’t struggle to make what I was writing fit and adapt to the world. However, I didn’t get to write the full script in the end (the time escaped me although I wish I’d put a bit more time aside to work on it) and the latter half feels a bit rushed and less workshopped than the first half. I’m happy with the conceptual side of my audiovisual element, but I have to say the execution is a bit sketchy; I’m not great at the production side of media at the moment and it’s definitely something I’d like to improve on. However, I did spend some time playing around with Adobe Speedgrade, which is something I’ve never done before, which produced some interesting results that I feel fit my screen world really well.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this subject and I think it’s provided me with some great skills in regards to approaching screenwriting and the actual nitty-gritty process. I also feel a lot more confident in showcasing my work and giving and receiving feedback thanks to the major focus on this in class.

I declare that in submitting all work for this assessment I have read, understood and agree to the content and expectations of the assessment declaration.

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