TEOTA has had some really crucial developments over the past two weeks.
First of all, the draft script has been revised with a lecturer who basically informed me that is was too complex, and the whole thing needed re-doing. I have stripped the script down bare, re-written characters, dialogue and events, and soon enough the second draft will be finished – a lot simpler. This wasn’t that the original idea was bad (two convicts trying to kill each other on a jailbreak). It just wasn’t a short film – as I deduced after the meeting, the problem was convincing the audience that these two men would rather try and kill each other than escape; given that if they worked together, there chances of escaping successfully increased. That main plot point was what dragged the script down – it needed to be simpler.
The second draft was originally based around the serial killer – now we have only psychopath Steve Mullen and one of his previous victims in the script. However, the script idea became one of hate, anguish, and really dark overall. However, at this point, Nightwish came back into my life, and one particular track reminded me that ‘seriousness’ is perhaps not what the best gothic films are known for. The situation of a jailbreak is serious enough – perhaps making a lark of the situation would make for a more humourous, light-hearted approach the proceedings.
The next step was thinking about what the script was going to deliver – the first script was about flawed redemption, but again, this was too complicated. I swapped Mullen for the other character John Prior (a ‘nice guy’ convict). I made John Prior a little more like a Robin-Hood-esque anti-hero, who was much more independent than previously. The idea was that he would be an anti-hero of sorts, and so would the angel. Thus we had two not-so-good ‘good guys’, which opened the script up to themes of who is right and who is wrong – who decides what is good or bad in a character?
It is a lightly philosophical approach – The Eyes Of The Angel can now refer to what she sees in this one character. This alos means the script can be solidified down to this one theme and (much like an essay) can go into depth over this one single topic over ten minutes, skipping over the controversy of religion and law in the process.
To make John Prior an anti-hero though, I decided to still use the idea that him and the angel had a past. The two do not know at first glance, but ultimately John Prior plays a part in the murder of the serial killer who murdered the fallen angel (a killer with a new name now, Benny ‘The Butcher’ Morrison). As Prior has killed Morrison, he is in essence her ‘avenging angel’, but since this was the murder that got him caught by the police, his jailbreak is now to break free from bringing an evil man to justice. I liked the plot development of the angel being fallen because of the way Morrison killed her – getting Prior to turn himself in rather than run would thus also justify her own ‘finding peace with the past’. Perhaps Prior is also blaming his childhood for his ways – the past will be another factor in the script.
It sounds complex now, but actually this is a much simpler idea than before. The second draft script shall be written over Christmas, ready for revision when I get back.
On the plus side, a location has now been found – Wainbody Wood. It is a five minute drive from Coventry city centre, down Kenilworth Road. The initial location of Canley Ford has been revoked due to ‘lack of foliage’. Not only is Wainbody Wood a local location, but the forest foliage suits the setting of my film perfectly. I wondered around the medium-sized woodland for an hour, scouting out potential locations for the forest opening. There is a train line located along one side of the wood – this will create audio problems. However, as the train line is the same one that runs alongside the War Memorial Park, I know trains are infrequent. It is a gamble that will need to be heavily considered when choosing the final location – Crackley Wood located further down the same road is another likely candidate – bus routes to that forest have already been identified, and a second recce at that location will follow shortly.
High trees will allow for some more experimental shots and cut aways – important because the film has very few active events.
Large forest openings like this will be useful for the opening and closing scenes, where the audience need to be taken out of the confines of where the convict and the fallen angel are hidden, and brought out into the open to face the police.
This is what I am looking for – a hidden area formed by two trees, where the two characters can sit and face each other. This is the most likely location I have found yet – note the vines on the tree to the right (where the angel will be). With proper lighting, the vines could look ethereal.
Wainbody Wood is also full of ditches and pits like these, which would also be good for the opening shots where the convict is evading the police.