Cool, Christina. I’m excited to see the changes. 😀
We can totally put the flower shop in the bar. Or even shoot it in the office location. I need to flesh it out a little more to make sure it works.
I understand your sense of urgency to film. I can’t wait to see it done, either! But I guarantee you that this extra time (April 3rd at the very latest to turn in the script) will be well worth it. Much stronger script. I think you will be pleased.
I think we both have different perspectives since you have been working on this longer than me. 🙂
Tomorrow I will get to you a finished outline that will go through the entire story. It will be in keeping with much of what we already had and a bit of a departure from the original Othello play (but we were on that road already) but still resonating with it and very obviously tied to it.
You have piqued my interest with the flower shop. My instinct says can you keep it in the bar? I have great access to a bar. Flower shops, yes, I probably can get one but my relationship with them is not nearly as good as the bar.
My overall goal of this project is to get it made, finished, and out there. I would rather shoot our current script that is good versus working on something until we “perfect” it but it gets too big to be made. It reminds me of the Patton quote:
A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. – George Patton
I believe finished movies are what people want to see. Writing samples are great but not for directors, actors, editors, and cinematographers. Plus, a finished movie is more powerful for a writer to have under their belt. It meant someone believed enough in their work to invest time, money, and resources to make it into a movie.
I know you know all this and that you are making it the best you can possibly make it. That is awesome and I sincerely appreciate it. But at this moment I am feeling a little concerned that we may be heading down a path that will miss the overall objective of getting a movie made. I’m not terrified but I am concerned enough to mention it here. I just want to take this moment to make sure this project is headed in this direction.
With that said, I still don’t have any firm ideas on title yet. I was thinking something related to photosynthesis, energy, and/or light. But in thinking about it more maybe is should be related to jealousy, fear, suspicion, money etc. I’m ok on naming it after it’s all done. It might be something a character says at one point. Or an idea they have. Maybe we call it Stoma for now. Stoma is a pore in a leaf as well as a natural or surgically created hole in a body that connects to the outside environment.
In terms of genre, yes, I think Sci-Fi Thriller would be right. Maybe Psychological Thriller is more correct. It just has science as a backdrop. I don’t know if it is really science fiction. The technology is real and working today.
Other movies that this is like… really I think this movie is Pi meets House of Cards. Or maybe similar to The Social Network. Or at least aspires to be Pi meets House of Cards.
Regarding the logline you came up with, perfect!
In the overview, who is the self-righteous partner? Is that Ian? And the chief scientist is Michael? So Ian and Oscar are going after Bianca? I’m not sure about the overview yet.
Saw your post on the locs. No problem keeping all as is with those parameters.
I may have one request, which may be a flower shop for Desiree since that’s what she does for a living… but let me see how far I get with that idea first and if I can find a way to work around it.
Also, I have some questions for you that will help.
1) This is a longer term problem, but what about the title?
2) We need a genre. I’m categorizing this as a sci-fi thriller. Do you agree?
3) What other main stream movies do you think this is like?
Logline: A brilliant scientist’s breakthrough project to save humanity leads to a blood bath.
Overview: The movie focuses on a territorial scientist and his self-righteous partner as they investigate together who stole their scientific work. Problems occur when they discover that the chief scientist’s wife has been sleeping with the competition. Now they must go after her and redeem what is rightfully theirs.
I have been using the Pixar Story Tweets as a basis to improve our story. Here are the latest entries:
#9 When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up. Oscar wouldn’t go to bed. Oscar wouldn’t take a vacation. Ian wouldn’t feel guilty. Ian wouldn’t stop trying to take the company.
#10 – Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it. The stories I keep coming back to are: Pi, The Social Network, and House of Cards. I like the drive of Max in Pi. I like the maneuvering and cunning of Frank in House of Cards. Frank is an amazing bad guy. I like how Social Network took something pretty geeky and made it interesting.
Sometimes having limits are a great creative device. When you have a completely blank canvas or blank page, it can be overwhelming. Or sometimes, having to fit within certain limitations forces you to get creative and find a more pleasing solution than you could have come up without the limits.
I know Christina is just exploring with the story in her recent post and I think that is awesome but I want to offer some suggestions. Very strong suggestions. My suggestions come from the standpoint of making the production something we can handle and actually execute.
- Please keep the locations limited. Fewer is better. One location for the whole movie is the best.
- Keep the location at our studio/laboratory/office
- Please do not add new characters. If anything, combine characters or eliminate characters.
- No special effects. No 3d monsters, explosions, guns, knives, blood, etc. I know we have it now but I want to limit it as much as possible.
- Use suspense where possible. Suspense like when the audience knows something our hero doesn’t and we are on the edge of our seat yelling at the hero not to open that door. That’s the best.
Following these limitations will allow us to make this movie ourselves. Once we deviate from these limitations it will require more resources: time, money, people, etc. Then it makes it more difficult to make.
What are your thoughts on this?
This is very low resolution and just as reference. This will help you see the progression of the script. Please do not judge any of this. The actors are seeing this draft for the first time with no direction. I wanted to see their initial off the cuff response. I thought they did amazing for a cold read.
This is from my daily writing journal.
Also, I suggested that if the stakes were heightened in the business that they are out of money and that it was a struggle to pay the bills it could be a way for Othello to take more action. Some ways to illustrate the struggle: laying off people at the beginning, they create a kickstarter, Cassio reports that the kickstarter failed, creditors are calling Emilia, Othello is dodging the calls or takes them and assures them that they will be paid back, Iago suggests big oil purchase them, people are sacrificing and living off their savings. Othello and Cassio are living off their savings. Iago weaseled his way to get some money. Roderigo works there for free because Iago told him he could get closer to Desdemona this way.
Othello could get a bill in the mail for the electric bill. A final notice printed in Red. A pile of bills on his desk. What else? Othello works on selling the project but refuses to get big oil involved. He is launching a kickstarter maybe it is a kickstarter that is about to fail.
They are just too far away from a final product. Plus, the perks are not that great. T-shirts and old cells.
What else can Othello do? He could ask his family for money. They could be tapped out. He could ask friends but they are tapped out as well. He could try a bank loan. He could try microfinancing. He could try crowdfunding. He could try selling blood. He could try selling his stuff on ebay. He could try to cut costs. He could lay people off. He could recyle old chemicals and materials. He could try to branch off in other businesses.
How do we make Othello more likeable? I am reminded of the Pixar tweets, we admire someone for trying. It’s like Frank Underwood in House of Cards Season 3 is starting to become likeable because he was no longer manipulating so much and murdering but instead was trying really hard.
How can Othello try more? He would be working super hard. He would never leave the office. Desdemona has to drag him away. He can refuse because he has to get stuff done. Maybe in the office it’s not a big announcement but smaller.
From the Pixar story tweets, what is interesting to the audience? For Pi, I liked the idea of Max trying to unlock the secrets of the stock market. It would lead to riches.
A different voice over for Othello could be like Max from Pi. It could journal entries on his frustrations and discoveries. 3:28am I am still at the lab. Or at least what we call the lab. We have tried the dichlorine hexabromide solution but to no avail. I’m at an impasse. What am I missing? On top of it all, Ian and Michael are arguing again. I know everyone is tired but we must press on or this project will die on the vine.
What is the theme of Othello? The theme of Othello is jealousy and revenge. There is also appearance versus reality.
How do we show this? He actually gets pulled over for being brown. He sees Desdemona doing her job then getting jealous.
I have been referring to the Pixar story tweets. I think I will cycle through all of them. Once upon a time there was a Filipino-American Scientist and Entrepreneur. Every day, he worked on creating affordable artificial photosynthesis to replace fossil fuels. One day his engineer, Iago, became jealous. Because of that, Iago set out to trick Othello and steal the technology for himself. Because of that, Othello became jealous of his best friend and fought with his girlfriend. Until finally he fires his best friend and murders his girlfriend.
Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
This is interesting. The first thing that comes to my mind is what if Ludovico and Brabantio were combined? What would that look like? Would that raise the stakes? Would Desdemona still work at the bar? Does Ludovico own the bar? Maybe Ludovico buys the bar from Brabantio. When Brabantio is chewing out Othello in the beginning. Ludovico talks to them. He asks Brabantio what his involvement is. Brabantio tells him he is the investor and owns the bar downstairs. Brabantio also says this chink is see his daughter behind his back.
Ludovico calms him down a little bit. Then asks how much is in invested in Ingenhousz. He tells him. Ludovico asks how much return did you expect and if that would make him happy if he got it. Brabantio tells him. Then Ludovico offers that amount to him to buy out Brabantio. Brabantio hesitates. Ludovico explains, look our firm is in this for the long haul. We’ll be able to ride the bumps. You have the bar to take care. What if I add 10%? Ludovico sticks his hand out to shake on it. Brabantio shakes his hand. They strike the deal. Does Ludovico buy the bar? Maybe Brabantio makes an offhand remark like, “Wanna buy a bar?” Ludovico, “I have always wanted my own bar.” They strike up a conversation about that too.
What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
What is Othello good at? He is great at ideas. He is great at technology. He is great at inventing. He is not great at finishing. He is not great at relationships with people. I am not sure but I think this is true.
Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front. I know the ending but is there a way to make it better? I don’t know. What are ways to make it better? It could have more of a surprise. Maybe we really think that Cassio is dead and that Iago is going to get away with it.
Then Cassio saves the day. What else? I thought of that already. What are other ways to make it better? Maybe Othello takes his time to kill himself. It is long-ish and drawn out as he realizes everything that has happened. He killed his own love. He is delirious from the sleep deprivation. Finally he kills himself and sleeps.
Othello suffers from chronic sleep deprivation.
The following conception of the story is based on the Coffee Break Screenwriter book (p.33) by Pilar Alessandra:
1. Oscar’s brilliance triggers someone to steal his greatest scientific accomplishment.
2. The theft of the project triggers Oscar to call the police who can’t do anything about it.
3. The police’s inability to help triggers Oscar to figure out who did it and where it went.
4. Oscar’s investigation triggers hatred and jealousy when he finds out his girlfriend is sleeping with the competition.
5. Disgust for his girlfriend triggers Oscar to kill her.
6. Killing his girlfriend triggers a confidant to prove to Oscar that his girlfriend didn’t do it and was set-up by Ian.
7. Ian’s set-up triggers Oscar to hunt him down and kill him.
8. Killing Ian triggers Oscar to kill him with his technology and then kill himself.