Film Hack

Because I’ve been requested to not share my feelings about Ender’s Game on the internet, I will instead write about the other wonderful experience I had today. Which is actually probably more important, but less exciting.

Today at school we had what’s called a Film Hack. Basically, they assign us into groups, and we have to come up with a film in a limited amount of time.

First, we had half an hour to come up with an idea. The idea could be anything in the world, but essentially we just had to have a main plot line, or even just a character. We had one minute to pitch those, and out of the ten our “panel of judges” chose five. My group pitched a K9 unit policeman who developed a fear of dogs, or particularly his dog. We were chosen to enter the next round.

In round two, we had until 3:30 (at this point that was about four hours) to come up with an outline of the scenes in the movie, the basic tone of the cinematography, the opening and closing images, the feel of the sounds/soundtrack, moodboards (which are visual representations of what you want characters to look like, or the mood of the film, the backgrounds/feelings of the characters, etc.), and a director’s statement (a statement saying why this film should be made). We gathered as much of this as possible (the outline was the only part that was necessary) and then had ten minutes to present our pitch and only one group of the five would be rewarded with “funding,” which is essentially how a real competition, festival, or just plain selling your idea to get a contract would work.

Our group spent a great deal of time trying to figure out the story, so much that we weren’t really sure of all the elements even by 3:00. We changed the policeman to a policewoman, then we added she’s just found out she’s pregnant. We didn’t make her afraid of the dog, but we made the dog sense her pregnancy and become protective of her (with legit science to back this up), at the jeopardy of her job and the dog’s life if she can’t gain control of the dog, because obviously police dogs have to be highly trained and obedient.

In the end, the pregnancy, which was unplanned, and the loss of control of the dog became a symbol for the unpredictability of nature; how no matter how hard you try to control it, nature will always find a way to escape you.

So now what you’ve all been waiting for. Actually probably not, because you probably forgot what the stakes are because this is a blog and not a film and I’m not setting it up very dramatically, I’m actually dragging out this pacing horribly and focusing on details that don’t matter.

Point is, my group won! We got our film “commissioned.” AKA I took home tea cakes.

What I learned: working with people is actually extremely beneficial. If I had developed this story on my own, I would’ve definitely changed some details. And it might work that way. But having a different brain discuss the conflicts of the characters and remind you of the themes and needed elements of the story really helps you throw out the garbage quickly. I really enjoyed this exercise, and it helped me gain a lot of confidence in my problem-solving and story-telling abilities.

I can’t wait to start writing things that will be made, and to watch them evolve from a thought in my head to a picture on a screen.

And in conclusion, Ender’s Game soundtrack is a must-have. That is all.

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