The boys are planning their final short film and in the last session came up with the following premise – a group of boys are trapped in their classroom inexplicably overnight and experience a series of spooky happenings. There is a discussion between Sam, Chris and the boys concerning to whose point of view they should limit the action. Although this particular clip is largely teacher-led it’s worth pointing out the sophisticated nature of what’s under discussion. The boys are listening and responding to matters of: audience agency and interpretation, maintaining dramatic tension, what’s feasible given the constraints, the nature of perspective, narrative integrity etc etc..
Asif’s idea at the end neatly deals with the issue of parents’ involvement in the plot line by having them ring the boys, but for whatever reason, they can’t hear each other. This is a nice twist which, as Chris says, keeps faithful to the boys’ point of view.
We watch clips from “The Lord of the Flies”, “The Breakfast Club” and the rather more bizarre Werner Herzog offering “Even Dwarfs Started Small”. The clips all demonstrate various dimensions of anarchy, control, weirdness, the surreal, containment, different human responses, punishment, bullying and segregation through the manipulation of, amongst other things, camera angles, sound and body language.
The boys then break out into groups spread around the BFI for improvisation work to concentrate on the development of what might become their character in the film. These are filmed for feedback in the next session. I stay with one group who respond really well to the improv, working on mannerisms, speech and quirks of behaviour which might be exhibited by boys of their age who find themselves incarcerated. They also incorporate a ‘real’ ringing phone, as I’m told another group do; the latter group take it further and continue the conversation with someone’s Dad, still in character, melding it into their narrative.