MA – SCRIPTWRITING #5

This past week I finally began writing the second draft of the WILLEM script. I had to wait for a good comfortable time to begin writing and after getting a cup of tea ready, and with the clock striking the midnight hour, I began.

I followed up on the next day after going to sleep at 3.30am, with being around 10 pages in at that point. And with trusty cup of tea in hand, I began to continue on with this draft eventually reaching a 22 page draft finally. I submitted this draft to the group before the next session and awaited feedback. The major change in this one was transferring the narrative from one day to spread over three instead and whether the emotional core still worked at this point. Personally it works a treat and I’m glad I reworked it for this reason. In the class, we discussed the new draft and came up with more discussion and suggestions;

  • Again, the opening is still wordy and descriptive which I still want to condense down further. I think because this draft is more concerned with getting the three day structure to arrive and set in place, these items I will pay more emphasis on in the next draft. But it is still too wordy and I want to fix that. As Phil comments further, ‘first two pages are still very novelistic. Better to simplify, shorten sentences and leave lots of white on the page’.
  • The use of a bowl of gruel that is thrown into the cell to denote a new day/the next day works as a good indicator too and it allows me to play about with it later in the story with Alexander passes it gently to Willem instead of it being thrown in by a guard. It is an evolving visual display of how the story is progressing as well as how the bond between these two characters has grown. Everyone liked this and how it plays about with audience expectations, because they are looking for a similar throw of the bowl but are instead met with Alexander’s more calmful approach, which will hopefully keep the audience intrigued as to what will happen next and by the end.
  • A few more visual notes, that shot list moment to denote what is going on within the frame instead of overly describing it like a novel. So an example from this draft is to replace ‘he takes another indulgence of food’, with ‘Willem eats quickly using his fingers’.
  • Alexander in this draft engages Willem a lot more now. And while he is asking questions still, it does allow him to express some of his own attitudes and fears in the process more, as well as allowing him to ‘come out’, so to speak, although not entirely, but enough hopefully for an audience to see some further characterisation occurring.
  • Towards the end, I get a bit wordy and descriptive again, so there are some areas there to trim down further, which I agree on for sure.

Overall the response though was that the three day structure works well. And allows the characters to develop even more so than over the shorter afternoon spell that was evident in draft 1. As well as this, I want to work on the metaphorical aspects of the ending, that although Willem has escaped the cell (despite dying), he is free, while Alexander is still trapped in the cell, a metaphorical prison if you will. I want to work on visuals that can bookend the story, so I will have a think about this also, to reinforce the themes and isolation Alexander finds himself in, and which maybe also hint at what he will do next. An ambiguous ending.

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