Week 3/4: Treatment

Through the writing of the treatment, the whole idea behind the story has shifted. I found it very difficult to find the story whilst writing to the ‘3 Act’ form, so decided to do away with it and fit the structure in retrospect.

I think now I have the story, and after a conversation with John (taking his suggestion) I have decided to use the structure as an aid when writer’s block sets in or to give a new direction.

Trying to tell the story in this form is tricky, though no doubt I will get used to it. Hitting the right amount of detail whilst allowing the project to grow and stretch in the future is very interesting. I have been trying to put myself in a director or producer’s shoes, seeing a story for the first time. Of course, when it is your project it is difficult to be objective.

In the process, the premise and overview have changed almost beyond recognition. I think the idea is more streamlined, simple and elegant now having done away with the ‘local legend’ aspect and now only using 2 locations. I felt before it was spiralling out of control: now I feel I am in control.

Changing the protagonist into an antagonist and keeping that from the audience until the last minute I really like too. I love a cliffhanger or a twist at the end, leaving it ambiguous for the audience. ‘Always leave them wanting more…’ said Walt Disney (amongst others). In my case, I like to always leave them unnerved, or confused.

I like the fact that this is Sci-Fi, but with very few Sci-Fi elements. It doesn’t shout or scream: ‘TIME TRAVEL’. I think, or certainly, my intention is, that it uses this element to set up the idea in a realistic and naturalistic way.

The character of Amy is essential. She must react in a totally believable way so that an audience can say: ‘I think I’d be like that’ because otherwise, the whole thing falls apart. This is about people, not Sci-Fi. In turn, the Man must be likeable right up to the last minute. We must trust him and allow us to convince us his story is true.

I think I’ll have a look at some of the great con films, see how they do the convincing. One thing is for sure: the dialogue is going to be tough!

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