Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Online Greenlight Review: Storytelling and Commission


  1. This is really good, the script is very descriptive and I can really tell each scene apart.

  2. OGR 24/01/2013

    Hey Peta-gaye,

    Hope you're feeling a little better...

    Okay - well, while your story idea is resolved, I think you've got some further work to do in terms of communicating it effectively to your audience. Right now, there is a gap between your own knowledge of your characters' motivations and what is available to the audience. Personally, I don't think it's particularly helpful or relevant to communicating your story that she used to be his teacher etc. Right now, none of this information is actually in your script - for example, there's no flashback or way of us accessing the backstory - which begs the question of its actual relevance.

    Your story is this in simple terms; plastic surgeon falls in love with female client. They marry. Female client falls in love with plastic surgery. Reluctantly, plastic surgeon operates on wife at her instruction - because he loves her. They grow old together, but she wants to reverse signs of ageing. He is happy. She is not. New machine installed at cosmetic surgery promises 'eternal youth'. Wife wants to enter machine - plastic surgeon says 'but I love you just the way you are' - but no, she demands to go into machine; machine malfunctions and kills and preserves her. Heart-broken, he grows old while she stays forever young; finally, he enters machine and they are reunited in death - as the young lovers they used to be...

    I think you need to re-visit your script and think much more visually; I also suggest, that you make the two characters the same age at the beginning, and get rid of the backstory and age difference, because I don't think it's helping your story get told. I'm also going to suggest that you soften the 'taxidermist' issue for the sake of the story; as far as I'm concerned, your plastic surgeon 'becomes' a taxidermist the moment he creates the effigy of his wife (he preserves the semblance of life in death = taxidermy). I think it's going to complicate and dissipate your story if you try to include his new career as a taxidermist; much better that he covers the machine in a sheet and locks it away after the accident, because when he makes his decision to put himself through the process, him 'going back' to the machine will be communicated much more clearly to your audience.

    In your script, you've got the wife seeing the machine advertised on the television, but as suggested above, I think it more credible that the machine would be installed in the cosmetic surgery clinic and the wife would simply pressure the husband to use it.

    What your script doesn't have is a clear sense of time passing; I want you to look at the first ten minutes of Pixar's 'Up' - in terms of how they accelerate an entire lifestory in purely visual terms. You see, ultimately, I think your narrative is actually a love story; and I think there's real sadness and sympathy here too - indeed, it's getting less creepy the more I think about it. I want you to approach this script as if you're writing a love-story - show me their relationship; show me his love for her, and her anxiety about growing old; for example, the wedding photo - this could be a recurrent tableau; for example, when he looks at it, he sees love and happiness, and when she looks at the same image, she sees the youth she no longer has; perhaps, after she's preserved and dead, she is dressed in her wedding dress; and finally, after he goes through the machine, the last image we see of them is an exact recreation of the wedding photo - they're dressed the same, they look the same, but they're dead; this could be so sad, so romantic - and so creepy somehow.

  3. In more general terms, your script isn't actually a script in the technical sense - i.e. it's missing a lot of information and the layout isn't right; you need to look at Jake or Sam's OGR for an example of script formatting as it's supposed to be.

    I don't want you to worry - your story is there - but I think you need to go back to basics and think about 'showing' your audience your story, as opposed to writing it. And - yes, please look at the opening to UP in regard to both tone, and 'showing' a relationship and the passing of time, because I think this going to be key to the success of your story; after all, despite the creepy factor, there is going to be something intimate, tender and loving about the ways the husband operates on his wife's face - and I think we need to see that too. Perhaps you need to think of both your characters as being sympathetic - but that the wife has a character flaw - not so much vanity, as self-esteem?