LNS 8 & 15 March 2012: narrative development

It’s no easy task to sustain the focus of a dozen Year 8 boys on the collaborative development of a cinematic narrative – for about an hour and a half. Nevertheless, this is accomplished, they conjure up some sophisticated twists and turns and a skeleton framework is established.

Before this however, Sam and the boys take a look at the whole business of scripting. A form of writing with its own a set of conventions, we look at the original script of the opening sequence of Rushmore. We realise it’s a dream sequence when we get to CUT TO: Max with his eyes closed … towards the end. The boys pick up on camera movement to suggest pov and have a detailed recall of many of the opening shots – speculating on their inclusion in the final cut of the film

There’s discussion on storytelling technique eg. starting the movie seemingly halfway through a storyline (with mention of the way “Inception” does the same) to keep audience interpretation alive. See the actual script here and the clip here. Sam mocks up a script and we learn about its structure – how to scatter it with clues as to how the plot may develop eg. props/shots/cutaways/mannerisms that may be alluded to/referenced later. These are explicitly revealed in the script. Chris has written up much of the script writing process in his Film Club blog: see Sam’s mock script here and Chris’ ensuing posts following script progress.

The idea was to split into groups to develop the script but it’s decided to roll with what turned out to be a well-orchestrated, intensive, collaborative discussion, demonstrated in these shots:

Story framework:

1) Students in Detention (one reads Lord of the Flies). [In fact one of the boys in the film club group is in fact in the process of reading Lord of the Flies…]
2) Teacher Leaves (with mobile phones).
3) Students discover they have been locked in.
4) They escape from the room.
5) Dawning realisation that the whole school is empty and they are locked in.
6) The group breaks into 2 factions (good and bad).
7) One group goes in search of the mobiles.
8) The other group goes to the staffroom/canteen.
9) Introduce the sense there is a person observing/manipulating the situation.

OPTIONAL ENDINGS:
a) There was a way out all the time
b) Only a short time has really passed and they encounter a cleaner
c) They develop Stockholm Syndrome and some of them want to stay trapped in the school
d) Rescued by outside forces

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