Tuesday, 22 January 2013

From Script to Screen: OGR


  1. OGR 24/01/2013

    Hey Vicki,

    You're nearly there with this.

    Okay - put simply, this reads like a version of A Christmas Carol, in so much as that story was about a character being shown the consequences of his actions in the present and being given the chance to repent/change his ways. Right now, you don't have much of an arc or transformation for your character, though I know you've been inspired by similar stories like The Rake's Progress; right now, you have a drunken character who drinks poison, experiences a hallucination, and then dies. That's not much of a story for him - or for us.

    I'm going to suggest a very small change that puts your story more firmly in the Christmas Carol mode - i.e. creates conflict and choice for your protagonist.

    Let's say that your main character is NOT the gravedigger after all. Let's say your main character is just a young man who has recently taken to drink - his heart is broken perhaps. When we first meet him, he's lying face down on the ground, he's holding an engagement ring, which he throws away in anger and misery (or something like that) Next, we see him enter some grotty shop to buy some grotty gin. Then he's wandering in a graveyard, drunk; it's raining; he's desperate; he's got a bottle of cheap gin, half-empty now; he's just about to finish it when he comes across a grave-digger standing beside a freshly dug grave. The grave-digger is silent and polite, but suddenly pushes the drunk into the hole in the ground - he falls into it and then your Act 2 commences; he finds himself in this wine cellar - a drunk's paradise - he drinks his pain away, but then the environment becomes this place of see-saws and hallucinations (choices made both symbolic and physical) this nightmare place, and then suddenly he's back beside the gravedigger, only this time when he looks down into the freshly dug grave, the young man sees himself - dead, ravaged by booze, in rags - again the grave-digger pushes him, the guy screams and then wakes up - and he's back in the same position as we first met him - face down, the ring in his hand (or whatever), only this time when he approaches the grotty gin shop, he hesitates, before walking straight on...

    By not making the central character your grave-digger, but rather making the grave-digger into the 'fork in the road' I think you can tell one of those cautionary tales, like the Capra movie 'It's A Wonderful Life' or 'A Christmas Carol'. In your previous version, there's no real character development or sense to what we're being shown, just the spectacle of your poor grave-digger accidentally killing himself with a bottle of poison. Anyway - give it some thought.

  2. Thanks Phil, I'll work on my story a bit more. That idea sounds a lot more interesting