Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Seven ideas in seven days - DAY 1!

Creativity needs to be forced. It needs to be kicked around and threatened, it needs to be confined to a room and poked with sticks. It's a lazy bastard who, given the opportunity, will kill itself in front of the TV eating pizza and watching Judge Judy. This is the story of my life - and probably every other creative person I know, but not this week! If this blog has taught me anything it is that I work much better when I have deadlines and challenges and different things to think about. I'm a whirlwind kind of girl, hence the mountains of unfinished novels that litter my life.

As I said in my last post I've set myself the challenge of making a 15 minute film, a good quality one with dialogue and actors and everything. So I'm starting off the writing process with a good old fashioned pitching session to myself.

My challenge this week, starting today is to come up with seven short treatments for fifteen minute screenplays. The only conditions are that they need two main actors and can be made on a shoestring budget (of about £100 if I can even save that much!). Other than that the only thing holding me back is lack of imagination and the aforementioned lazy Judge Judy watching thing. That or if I get hit by a bus.

So here we go, it's day one and here's the first treatment:

The Holiday. 

Edwyn is a hypochondriac in his late twenties, tormented by his own neurosis and the constant condemnation of Googled symptoms, the fear of death threatened by a sore throat, the cancer in the bumps at the back of his tongue, the unusual aroma of his own sweat - he lives a life of perpetual fear. His family stay away from him, his friends no longer phone, he waits in front of the TV for death to overtake him.

One morning Edwyn enters a dissociative fugue state, his memory leaves him. His personality and identity fly out of the window. Leaving all of his possessions behind Edwyn follows the fugue state and flees.

Dissociative fugue states are not only characterised by memory loss but also by flight, movement away from a person's home and, perhaps, the tragic circumstances that led to the state in the first place. Edwyn leaves London in an almost zombie walk - boarding trains to the East coast. He reaches the end of the line on the Suffolk coast and continues to walk, reaching a cliff top and continuing his walk along it.

On the cliff top he encounters Diana, an older woman, high functioning alcoholic and competitive walker, who has walked this cliff top every day of her life. Perplexed at being out-walked by this strange figure who barely acknowledges her, she passive aggressively tries to out walk him over a number of miles. But when she nearly drives him off the cliff she relents and forces him to sit a while with her on the cliff top - before leading him back to town.

Finding he has nowhere to stay Diana takes Edwyn back to her house, a filthy cat lady home characterised by piles of filthy newspaper and windows that block out the light. Pleased when he makes no comment on her surroundings she begins to warm to him.

The next day the two walk further, together in silence for an entire day.

They return and Edwyn switches on the television to reveal a televised broadcast by Edwyn's family, desperately seeking his whereabouts.  In his fugue state Edwyn pays it no attention. Diana calmly switches the television off and continues with her evening.

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