hey everyone, I am currently 3 scenes into my first feature length screenplay and I've had an idea which i thought i'd run past the helpful eyes of this board first. But before that I'll give you a brief synopsis.
The story focus's on three 20-something men named Andy, Kevin and Gavin (here is a picture I have drawn of the three http://www.deviantart.com/view/5101734/). It's a very character driven story about 3 friends going against a record company which has forgotten about the heart and soul behind music. Storywise, the film centres around the boys organising the demise of said record company.
Now for the film, i want to show the boys organising the job and such but the audience won't know what the job is. But what I want to do (mainly just so see if i'm capable of it) is jumble up the order of the film (a la Pulp Fiction) but I wanted to see if you guys thought this was to cliche? I plan on making this film myself after film school (assuming I get in) and I don't want it to be something where people see it and go "completely ripped of Pulp Fiction" or something.
So hit me with your comments and advice and hopefully I can begin some serious work on this soon.
04-20-2004, 06:04 AM
oh and something i forgot to mention, Gavin is a drummer in a band that is picked up by the record label that they are destroying
04-20-2004, 09:28 AM
A feature script is a big project and it helps if you do good prep, before you start in on the blank pieces of paper.
As you've already stated your intention to mess with time, I think it's worth using the file card method to organise your plot.
If you think of the story as a set of events linked by the phrase "and because of that ..."
For example ... "The band discovers that they have been ripped off"
... and because of that ... The singer has to sell his car
... and because of that ... The band splits up
... and because of that ... The drummer confonts the record company boss
Each of those events that led from the initial event are scenes in their own right and each of them get written down on a file card. As you can see, each scene will lead to new events as the story unfolds.
By doing this on file cards you can then go back and make sure that the story makes sense. The other thing is, you can now change the order of the scenes by moving the cards around.
Once the whole story is plotted, you can then sit down and knock out each of the sequences, concentrating on visual description, character development and dialogue. All of which should come easily because you already know the story and how the characters will react.
Don't worry too much about drawing influences from existing films, everyone does it. The trick is to take the idea and do something new with it, rather than just producing a bad tribute (copy).
Oh, and because you can't copyright an idea, don't give out your storylines in public, until you've written the script and established legal ownership.
LOGAN L Productions
04-20-2004, 11:26 AM
First of all: It's your screenplay, do whatever you want...these are just suggestions!
I loved jumbled up Pulp Fiction, and I loved sort of Jumbled up Reservoir Dogs...Kill Bill could be better (to me) if the story was straight. It's a revenge film, so there would be more drive if everything happened in order (I'm gonna get hell for saying this). But truly, if the Bride had fought different girls in a different order...the story wouldn't have to be jumbled. The point is: doing that doesn't always make a movie better. Unless there's a twist at the end that actually happened at the beginning; don't jumble the story line...and yeah it might be a little obvious copy of Pulp Fiction.
Again, that's just my 2 cents. If you still feel the same way, do whatever you feel.
04-20-2004, 06:54 PM
It's important that there be a reason for everything. Playing with time sequence has become a really hot method, and it's started showing up in a lot of films, sometimes to great effect. But the question is: why are you doing it? Is it just to get around the audience a little, or can you justify it at a thematic level?
Because it's your first script, it might be a good idea to outline carefully and write it straight through. You can always mess with time sequence in subsequent drafts if it will add style or if you can justify it as an element of the drama. But when you present a story in broken chronology, you leave a lot up to your audience to figure out. It has to be executed really well to result in a satisfying experience.
The first time through a feature-length script, it's really easy to get lost, even with an outline. (What am I saying? The fortieth time through a screenplay it's easy to get lost.) Adding a style element that's difficult to handle will make it even easier to lose your way.
Take it with a grain of salt, though. Creativity has no bounds, and in case I'm addressing this to the next Quentin, you should always follow your gut.
04-21-2004, 07:53 PM
The main reason I want to jumble the story is because I really want to confuse the audience, I am a huge fan of films that keep you thinking even after you have left. That is the reason behind the jumbling.
Also, thanks everyone for your help, i'm going to start doing file cards for each scene this afternoon. Thanks again!
04-22-2004, 02:17 AM
I love Pulp Fiction too and also am a big fan of non-linear story telling, but you need to make sure that your "jumbled" story has a point for being that way. Pulp Fiction is about redemption, and like most movies it has the redemption of the character at the end of the movie, even though it does not happen at the end of the story. Does anybody else get what I'm trying to say? I used to try to distort my stories just for the sake of distorting them. Now I try to make sure that it serves a purpose. You will give the audience more to think about that way.
LOGAN L Productions
04-22-2004, 02:42 AM
Yeah, dimp paddy. Don't jumble your story just for the heck of it. That could ruin a good story. Infact, don't jumble the story unless it absolutely serves a purpose to be jumbled.
04-22-2004, 05:01 AM
don't worry, it does serve a purpose, i'm working it all out in my head now... although, i have nixed the original premise about the record label, i don't think it suits the angle i want to go with this story so I'm thinking up a new one now (which i won't reveal, thanks clive :D)