Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Opening lines II

As the first shots of the film are seemingly unconnected memories I could basically choose any shots I liked from ones not already included in the film. However I knew there was a certain atmosphere and sensation that I wanted the audience to feel at the start of the film so as usual I went on instinct and assembled the shots in a way that felt right. This only took a few days.

Then it was time to slap on the narration - someone is remembering these images... But what should be said? How does one approach writing the first few lines of a film? Again I went on instinct and pent up ideas. The result? It sort of worked - but it was confusing and lacked the 'attack' that I wanted. I showed it to a friend (a rare occurance) and got the response: "It feels passive". Heartbreaking proof there was a problem with it.

The film relies on an extreme synergy between the narration and the image. This means you have to really look at the images and find ways of interpreting them before you can find a interpretation that works as piece of narration. This is the hardest part of the editing - You've got 10,000 (I'm not joking) shots to choose from and you've got to find the right one and the right interpretation in order to keep the story moving shot to shot, memory by memory.

I thought of all the classic opening lines of films "I dreamt I went to Manderley" (Rebecca), "I believe in America" (The Godfather), "It's Monday morning and I'm in pain" (Cries and Whispers). They were encouraging but didn't really help. After 10 days of attempts (mornings with pen and paper, afternoons with Skype headset talking to myself like a nut aka recording the new ideas) I got seriously peeved. There just seemed to be limitless options and none of them really worked!

And then I gripped the sides of my chair, looked down at my notes and in a flash of rage the words just came out. Not quite the perfect words but the approach:

"Did you think it was chance, that lead you to this place?"

Yesterday I refined it into a more suitable but equally conspiratorial:

"Did you think you were alone, when you first came upon this place?"

Well, I'm not sure its up there with "I believe in America" but seems to match the image and the film rather well. I hope it will stick.

So one down but there's still another 10 or more lines to cover before the beginning of the film is complete...and then its back to the ending. why didn't I just write a script to begin with???


Post a Comment

<< Home