We discussed my workshopping my story with the CGF group (a group of educators who share work through a series of organized discussion procedures or protocols) with which I am involved. None of the other participants self-identify as artists. In meeting we discussed how such a grouping can help create an environment in which people from very varied disciplines can feel free to share and contribute ideas.
I workshopped my story summary with them and received some useful feedback including:
the invitation to ramp up ambiguity in the story.
the may included making ending more ambiguous
also make certain aspects of the basic ‘reality’ of the story and characters’ perspectives more ambiguous
the suggestion that the doctor’s experience having a previous patient under similar care conditions commit suicide would shape his relationship/care for the lead character of the story; perhaps this would haunt the doctor so much that it might impair his ability to be responsive to tlead character.
this made me think that it would be important for the threat of the lead committing suicide would always be foregrounded in the story
there was also the useful suggestion to focus more on the lead character’s relationship with other students in his school, what kind of support network does he have, etc.
2. My plan to finalize master calendar of project tasks to carve out inviolate time to work on project, and balance all existing other responsibilities/projects, including current book project, full time teaching, etc.
3. We discussed an artist/group : Lord Huron that I ran across that might have some use for project: met in Morocco by chance (Ben - lead singer/lyricist).
In particular, the 1st minute of the song Love Like Ghosts (cinematic / has lynch / chris isaac vibe of possible use for project:
4. Choice of blackmagic pocket cinema camera after researching other options and doing interviews with others
5. Awaiting response from author after entertainment lawyer specializing in independent film suggested trying to accommodate author’s request to be able to sell the option to the work to others after I make my film wasn’t in his opinion a good idea. I have asked him to trust me with the work and that he would not be able to have others make it afterwards.
6. I was advised to move forward regardless. Echoing my research advisor, I was advised that since my work is really using it as a departure / a jumping off point to explore personal issues that help shape the direction of the work, esp. my own familial experience with mental illness, to have it be more ‘accurate’ to that experience of what what I saw as a young person. At the same time, with all aspects of the story, the aesthetic experience of the film takes precedence over allegiance to ‘medical’ truth.
7. In the discussion, Caroline helped me articulate that, in the process of this planning now for the work, I am articulating my own theory of narrative: particularly my re-embracing of strict narrative structure / formula vs. art film : as a film student I always looked down on formula pictures. Now i have a great deal of appreciation for them, that they are speaking an ancient language that resonates with the most possible people, that they are somehow sacred that way.
In this work in attempting to have a great deal of freedom in form and have perhaps extended sequences which may be very disorienting and perhaps interpreted by some as unpleasant, it seemed very important to me that these be framed by very strict narrative scaffolding to keep the work relevant to audience.
8. We discussed the possible narrative addition of having us learn through the course of the narrative that the young man experienced a trauma as a child witnessing his father commit suicide. We learn this through a recurring interrupted memory which we experience several times. After the memory is ‘imprinted’ in audience, it then changes and we see it as a living space, with different aspects revealed. This reinterprets and literalizes an aspect from the novel in which the father is presented as kind of dead affectively--this just makes this literal. And in this, coming to terms with this experience will be part of his healing, his ability to integrate his worlds / the real / and the fantasy.
There was some discussion about whether this would require more research to support use of this as narrative frame / trauma theory.
9. We discussed my interest in learning more about lens, as my early film work was not informed by a lot of knowledge of lens technology/issues etc. I wish to broaden my visual vocabulary with better knowledge of lens use.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!