So, it’s the last evening of my “Creative Retreat”, two weeks spent away from the usual run of processing photos, editing videos and answering emails that are the day-to-to running of a website.
I set myself the challenge to come up with ten log lines – I did, see previous post.
Then I set myself the challenge to come up with a screenplay, either one feature or several shorts. I did. I wrote three short scripts, half a draft “hour-long” hybrid that might have the kernel of a feature in it, one fully worked out idea with dialogue to be improvised at the shoot (like we shoot now) and a whole stack of index cards which might one day turn into a dense 90-minute feature.
As I thought, the shorts proved more fertile. I want to get more experience working with stories framed as screenplays, with their pared-down style, stripped dialogue, three act structure, etc.. So I’m going to make some of the shorts into films and release them before embarking on a feature.
So now I have…
Bondage Intern – Ditzy blonde intern must run business when boss breaks his leg. Only trouble: business is running a bondage website. This one I decided needed the improv. touch to deliver humour, I’m not at all confident that I can write funny dialogue! That’s now a full story outline, in usual RE style.
The Face Of Metal Bondage – Too old & too tall, lifestyle BDSMer Audrey must defeat the horrid fashion models to be crowned million-pound face of metal bondage fashion. 8 page short screenplay.
Good Time Girl – Good time girl provides service: perfect embodiment of any fantasy. Kidnapped by mob pimps, she must escape; her only client is her husband! 13 page short screenplay.
Friendly Fire – a military intelligence officer kidnaps his cynical civilian superior to prove to her than the interrogation techniques at which she sneers are no walk in the park. But can he defend his honour and integrity when she attempt to seduce her way out of the situation? 20 page short screenplay.
A partial draft of Dating Epic Fail. Ditzy girl installs Bad Idea Bear app to make all date decisions for her. Ensuing adventures lead her to sub identity BDSM. 22 pages, but needs either sharpening up and condensing to a snappier 15 minute short, or expanding to an hour allowing more time for character development. I have extensive notes but the main thing I am missing is the hot BDSM scenes (which curiously are usually the bits which fall into place most easily). If I can think of lots, it’ll become a longer film. If I can’t, I’ll try to make it a super-pacey 15 minute short.
A LOT of index cards and notes for Journalist mistakenly invited to BDSM scene. She goes, intending exposé, finds own fulfillment. Now she must battle tabloid exposé herself. This one I really see as a feature, and one which might be able to appeal to a more general audience… if I can make the characters and the storyline compelling enough. So this is one I’m going to work on steadily and see how far I can develop it, and maybe even look for mainstream involvement down the line.
What of the two most popular ideas from the log lines?
Wile E. Coyote bondage. Incompetent kidnapper keeps trying to grab her victim with bondage traps but keeps trapping herself in bondage instead. This is a great comedy idea, but I decided the first thing that needed doing was trying to figure out some practical ways of actually making the bondage traps. I decided to wait until I had bondage gear (and Ariel!) to hand so we could experiment. Might need to recruit some bondage engineers to get very far with this! I still love the idea but the feasibility/safety on our budgets needs testing to establish.
Nymphomaniac Zombies. Contagion turns young women into sex fiends. Capture and bondage the only option until a cure is found! I wrote a detailed outline, but the more I wrote, the more frustrated I became with the scale on which we’d have to shoot it. My original idea had LOTS of sexy women on screen, and that’s likely to be a budget buster.
I explored a few of the standard horror film ways of making the budget smaller- isolation is the big one. So… a hotel, on an island, with a small group of characters and (say) a convention of makeup sales-girls to bring up the babe quotient. The more I wrote, the more it felt like a less-good remake of The Evil Dead… and there have been enough less-good remakes of The Evil Dead already.
So this one will have to wait until a lightbulb moment which makes the original sexy vision fit in a “zero budget” filming story.
One good thing though is that I’m now confident that will happen, I just need to mull it over long enough. The reason I know that is that I’ve had the Friendly Fire film idea running around in my head for a couple of years. I had some very strong images, a basic story arc, and the main character sitting there… I just couldn’t write down the framing story in a way that a) made sense or b) was possible for us to shoot.
The way I’d originally thought of it, she would be a business bitch character, and the central idea is hatred as a powerful aphrodisiac between her and the dom in the story, who I had down as a policeman investigating her committing a massive fraud in the city. No matter how I sliced it, though, the story didn’t hang together. The things I thought a policeman would do, the things the two characters would have access to, any sense of urgency as the plot unfolded.
When the idea came to me of making them intelligence officers, rivals at a similar level, used to dirty tricks and with a lot more resources to call on, I knew I had it. (Note to self- going for a walk is definitely the best way to solve story issues. Subconscious delivers).
It remains to be seen if these screenplays are any good. Next step is a read-through and re-edit with Ariel, to see if they really do hang together. The dialogue certainly needs tweaking- I’m sure most of the characters talk too much like me, for example. And it remains to be seen whether we can film these more ambitious story lines (and if anyone can/will learn the lines I’ve just sweated over writing!)
The main thing is that I’m very happy at having come up with several stories which have actual third acts, endings, not just fade to black while she’s in bondage. The bondage scenes have somewhere to go, and hopefully it’ll give them more impact as a result because the characters have an emotional arc through the hotness, as well as just the hotness.
It’ll also allow me to do more detailed visual planning before we shoot them, which should help produce beautiful images as well.
Right. Must pack my bags. Hopefully the next you’ll hear of my ramblings is that we’re about to make one of these into a movie you can actually watch!
Which of them sounds most intriguing to you?