27 March 2008

Nobody Nose the Trouble I Seen

Remember way back in the day (which was 10/26/07 [in which I also first shared Zuppa del Giorno's idea for a clown R&J]), when I mentioned wanting to script a clown film? Well, thanks to the gracious support of my fellow Exploding Yurts and Friend Davey, I've actually made a really strong start on it. As with most projects, I'm finding that actually working on it (as opposed to just going on and on about it as an idea I once had) is teaching me a lot and raising interesting questions. I thought I'd share some of these questions with you, Dear Reader, and solicit your opinions. Don't be shy if you're new to the Aviary. I'm an actor. The only thing I crave over approval is attention.
  • Why is it so flim-flammed important to me to make something involving a red-nose clown? (This might be a bit rhetorical to start out with, but it's come up for me lately.) As I write, I see that more and more what I'm writing is something like a silent film, full of visual (physical) behavior and sight gags. And the silent film clowns pretty much proved that no nose is good nose. (Sorry, sorry. That...I really couldn't help it.) And everyone I talk to seems to respect that, from performers to non. Yet for some reason apart even from a clever plot device, I find the nose necessary.

  • Is it important for me to track a specific learning curve for my character? In a conventional story, I would be inclined to quickly reply: Yes. This one, however.... In many of the silent films of yesteryear, the storytellers didn't so much worry about that, and many of such as these films are the funniest and most memorable. Buster Keaton was fond of saying that a good movie should be able to be summarized on the back of a postcard, and then extrapolated upon. That would certainly describe my conceit. It's just possible that the key is to tie it all together in the end in a satisfying way, and make the journey there as unpredictable as possible.

  • Am I screwing myself by planning almost everything to be shot in public places?

  • Should I start filming it as an episodic web series? I'm a little sick of these; everyone I know seems to be doing them, but few do them well (Friend Jason has a good one: Three Percent Enemies) and frankly it seems to me the market is a bit glutted. Still, I understand the appeal. Low budget, near-instant product and feedback, not to mention the ability to disguise oneself as a tourist whilst filming in public places. The outline I'm developing definitely lends itself to this format, too, divided as it is into segments comprised of short incidents of action. Still and all, I have my reservations.

I continue to write on it when I can. The trimming -- which is always the tricky part for me -- will be arduous, but perhaps made slightly easier by the constraints of time and money. Just like at the beginning of a collaborative process, I find myself relishing right now, when all is possible and the ideas fly about willy-nilly.

Update--4/2/08: Friend Davey seems to think that my movie is going to be optioned, taken over by mindless Hollywood moguls with warped priorities, and recast. At least I have to assume that's what he meant when he sent me this link. Thanks, Fuzzy.


Davey said...

As a man with to much time at work, and not enough to do today, let me be the first to put forth quick fix easy answers to your hard fought well thought-out questions:

1) Why do you feel like you need to do it red nosed? For the same reason every time I think about it, you're in black in white. Our first really creative twist on something often ends up being an impression we almost can't shake. So don't try. You're going to be collaborating with people right? So there will be multiple takes. Do the first batch with the nose. When you go over the dailies, you'll look at it and say "yes, perfect
" or "No, just...No"

2) This question ties into 4, so we'll leave most of it there. You don't really have to build to something, but if you don't provide that something, you might dissapoint your audience.

3) Yes, g-d yes. You are so screwing yourself, but hey, you're getting married soon anyway, and from what I hear, it might be the only screwing you're gonna get.

4)Short and episodic wins the race my friend. I don't want to jump down your creative throat, I know it might seem played out, but this is how you get it started anyway. Film a half dozen. If they feel right, well then, you've already got a third of the season in the can! If it seems wrong, then rewrite for a full length or a one reel. When you release the tenth aniversary DVD, you're gonna have some very excited fans when you include the early shorts!

Jeff Wills said...

Wow. Thank you, Davey. That's really helpful feedback, and gives me a better clarity in moving forward.

Everything except the whole "no sex" thing.

Patrick said...

I think, dear Jeff, that you're being forced by some muse, circumstance or SOMETHING to go with your intuition... and I KNOW how you hate that. But yes, ride it out for now, sufficient unto the day and all... the analyzing and shaping will happen. That's when you'll decide it is a single character arc filmed in your bedroom. Apparently you won't be needing it for anything else, so there we go. Should I ask?

Jeff Wills said...

My bedroom is regulated by a strict "dont't ask/don't tell" standard, Padraic.

You're right. Every so often I'll need to check in with someone about this. "I'm having, what do you call them...FEELINGS about my WORK. Is...is that normal?"