Hello hello and welcome to the first day of HOME SCHOOL!!! This is an account of writing a feature with the help of my friend and smart cookie, Zach Wigon. Zach's the writer/director of The Heart Machine, among other things.
Now, in what may not be the pinnicle of his young life, Zach's helping me to structure my screenplay - for now we call it Mallwalkers - over Skype, while I'm back in Canada with my sweetheart, waiting/praying on a glorious 01 Visa.
ORIGIN OF MALLWALKERS
Recently, one of my best friends mentioned that she'd seen a sign advertising a mall-walking group's search for a team coach. I don't know why I thought this was funny, but it is. And not in an ironic way - she's got a wicked sense of humour, but something else called her to mall walking... I guess that's the way it is with vocations. She went as far as contacting the people from the poster, but alas her work schedule prevented her from making the leap.
Still, I thought the premise- of a charming french-immersion teacher who traveled by bus to lead a mall walking team- could be a good start for a comedic screenplay. Plus it meant we could shoot in a mall.
So enter my weekly meetings with Zach. He keeps me on track, strucutually speaking, when I want to veer off to impressions and sketches he reminds me of the dramatic principles - not rules - I need so that the audience can engage with these characters, and the screenplay, as much as I can. The Home School Blog is an account for myself, and whoever else might find it useful, of this process.
To help us along, we're using the language and theory used by the Poetics (stories in the narrative tradition need a beginning middle and end), with an emphasis on 3-act strucuter, particularily the start, the break in to 2, midpoint, break in to 3, twist and end, and Dan Harmon's story circles.
Once you're familiar with those things, especially the story circles, check out Zach's breakdown of Rosemary's Baby.
As you can (almost) see, Zach's broken down the story into two circles, each divided in half. The top/bottom is CERTAINTY/UNCERTAINTY & from side-to-side is DANGER/SAFETY.
In terms of Rosemary's journey through the story, we can say she goes from a world of CERTAINTY/SAFETY to one of CERTAINTY/DANGER.
At the beginning, Rosemary is CERTAIN of her life. It is SAFE. She's got a new pad to decorate and a hunky husband. All she wants is a baby...
Break into Act 2 - Rosemary realizes something is amiss in the building (SAFE/UNCERTAIN)
Mid-point - Rosemary solves the anagram, revealing that Roman Cassavettes' a bad dude (UNCERTAINTY/DANGER)
Break into Act 3 - Rosemary fleas the building, and her husband (CERTAINTY/DANGER)
So, this week, as I work on structuring Mallwalkers, Zach's recommended that I look at the structure of the following movies:
Results by Andrew Bujalski, Larry Crown by Tom Hanks, Anger Management by Peter Segal. Also, I started thinking about how awesome Walter Matthau was in the shower this morning, so I'm also going to check out Don Siegel's Charlie Varrick.
Thanks again to Zach, who's the best, and back with more in a week :)