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January 5, 2006

story writing experiment

by sven at 2:17 pm

For a couple of months I've been going to "Church of Art" meetings. This is a small group of artists (mostly painters) that meets once a month at World Cup Coffee for a show-and-tell session about what they've been working on. One of the members recently wrote:

"One of my favorite artists, Corita Kent would push her students to come up 50 or 100 ideas for a project. She said that when you scrambled through the first easy ones, then worked harder for the next ones and really had to scrape for the last ones, you found out what you were made of."

I like this idea very much! It's very much in line with my "quality through quantity" ethic.

...Also on my mind, this post from Pjotr Sapegin that I found on the "story" forum. (Pjotr's from Norway -- be nice about his spelling.)

When you write a film-script, the dialog comes last in the prosess. You should write a short Sinopsis first, to have your story strate. Then you write a Treatement, where you brake your story in to the sceens, and there might come a little-bit of the dialog. When you are satisfied with it, you write the actuall script, basycaly, felling up your treatement with the dialog.

Storytelling, admittedly, is one of my weak points. I'm a very visual thinker -- more comfortable quickly sketching a storyboard than trying to work out a film idea using just words. This has led to problems with "Let Sleeping Gods Lie": I find myself now trying to rewrite both the beginning and the ending, because what looked good in pictures stopped making sense when I had to actually explain what was going on. I swore that for the Super8 class' final project, I'd try to do better.

So, with the two quotes above in mind, I set out to develop the "moon baby helps a star" story. I set for myself a goal of writing 50 to 100 different concepts, each with a serial number, and only a paragraph long. ...I spent two hours writing and made it only to 25 -- but it was a good experiment, and served its purpose.

I figured out that I could do a pretty good story about a dragon stealing a star, scared away when Moon Baby -- aided by fireflies -- creates a terrible shadow on the wall of the monster's lair. However, this story would take more puppets and more shots than I have time for right now, in the context of the Super8 class. My second-choice story deals with a solitary artist who nightly looks at the stars, paints them and paints them, and ultimately releases a star into the sky from his own chest. This is much more doable...

But at the end of it all, I've been convinced that I should go for something simpler still. I'm holding onto the Moon Baby concept -- possibly for submission to the quarterly competition? In the meantime, I'm looking into what I can do with animating objects, like blocks. "Something is better than nothing" -- being too ambitious could easily prevent me from finishing anything for Super8.

...Want to see those 25 story synopses I wrote? Read the complete text file.

posted by sven | January 5, 2006 2:17 PM | categories: movies, stopmo, writing