The foremost question when making a film is the script. The storyline of the film plays the most important factor in deciding the final outcome of any film. Day 2 at FICCI Frames proved to be fruitful with Screenwriter, Animator & Game Developer David Freeman lecturing on the basics that go into the formulation of a script that defies borders of cast and language to indulge the audience in a visual and intellectual extravaganza.
The sessions, which started off with a brief screening of may be the most known film Lord Of The Rings, took the audience on a virtual tour of what are the underlying factors that go into the making of a script.
The session went on to dispel the age old myth that the script of the film, though an intrinsic part, doesn’t need as much attention as the star cast selection or the marketing strategy used. In fact, Freeman elaborated on extent delving into the six main factors that contribute to making any script and at there characterization of the various players from just mundane to ones that live in the viewers memory as eternal segments of reality.
Freeman stated, “Any character needs to have the basic qualities that elaborate and endear the individual to the viewer.” Like for instance, in the film Lord Of The Rings, the characters of Sam and Frodo though integral parts of the film have etched themselves into the viewers memory, thanks to their co-relation to the general perception of humanity.
This endearing of a character can be achieved through simple yet effective methods, like portraying the character on screen to have conflicting emotions such as a person being faced with the harsh reality of staring impending doom in the face and yet being able to surmount the despair and venture into the zone of life being beautiful of all were normal.
From character deepening, Freeman went on to speak about the methods that can be used to engrave the memory of any particular scene through subtle yet visible undercurrents that tug at the emotional strings of the viewer.
This phase of adding emotional depth to a scene can be accomplished with any method, like creating a stark contrast, between two factions of the same party. For example, one faction can be stranded between a rock and a hard place while the other though still in the picture and very much intertwined with the storyline is a stark contrast and are relatively uninhibited with troublesome worries, like the others.
Another aspect that helps a film develop strong characters and thus a strong script is the use of layering to give a depth that can be emotional, intellectual, visual and most importantly subconscious.
Freeman explained, “What most people see, may and may not be the entire truth to the picture being presented. There is always an undercurrent of subtle nuances being made that though not physically or visibly perceptible is picked up by the subconscious mind while viewing.” This appeal to the sub-conscious mind can be highly effective with the viewers being brought to the verge of tears, in a highly dramatic film without even them knowing it.
Quirks and eccentricities of any given character also play a major role. These quirks could be the normal traits of a person that usually goes unseen as that are generally perceived within the framework of the larger character. Freeman elaborates, “For example paying detailed attention to the characters dressing sense can give the viewer an insight into what type of a personality he/she really is. If the character adopts certain mannerisms, or even for that matter, even the basic speech pattern of the character talks volumes in terms of his standings and persona.”
However, though all of the above hold great relevance to making a character memorable, Freeman stresses on one aspect which he terms as the ‘Character Arc’ that goes a long way in involving the viewer. Freeman said, “This Character Arc is basically the subtle portrayal of the journey that the onscreen character goes through in the film. Like for example, a person with a fear of the world has a mission thrust upon him that forces him to rethink and alter his perception while at the same time taking the viewer on a visual treat.”
Concluding the seminar, Freeman stresses on the ten basics of pain, humiliation, shame and regret, aesthetics, understanding or angled spirituality, wisdom and insight, responsibility, self sacrifice, mystery and intuition, that he considers as vital pointers that helps in giving depth to any character.