Short Concepts: The Arts and Their Many Meanings (Part Three)

I’ve always thought about what kind of movie I would want to make if I could pitch a movie idea to a studio. I once wrote a play that was published by an individual publishing company, and what better way to pitch a movie than take an idea I already had and expand upon it.

What if a movie took place in a single room, never shifting scenes and was all done in one take with only flashbacks taking place? Taking it a step further, what if the flashbacks were not actually flashbacks but actual and fictitious events that happened in the main character’s life? My idea is for an author named Preston to tell us a story of him writing a book. The entire movie takes place in his bedroom as he writes the book.

Preston will be the major symbol in this movie. Preston will symbolize the human mind and how it gravitates toward certain emotions, feelings, and actions. A drinker, a smoker, an avid drug user, and partially schizophrenic, Preston will be a reclusive and renowned author currently writing his next big book. His agent, who has yet to be named, will constantly show up to the room with food and encouragement. Even though it will only be a short time between his visits, the timeframe of the movie will have actually jumped several weeks.

Preston will have flashbacks every time he uses drugs. Some of these flashbacks will involve Preston confronting his father, mother, past girlfriends, best friends, grandparents, and different climactic moments of his life. As he uses the drugs, every time he has a flashback, he begins writing. Even though these flashbacks may seem real, it will be up to the viewer to decipher whether the flashback is real or a figment of his imagination as he writes the book.

The human mind tends to play tricks on people, and in this case, Preston’s mind will play tricks on him as well as the audience. Each flashback gives us insight to Preston’s life. He sees the vision of him killing his father for being abusive. He then sees a flashback of him abusing his girlfriend as a product of his father. We then see scenes where he gets a divorce from his supposed wife and his best friend shows up to console him. Each scene would require a foggy, dimly lit effect to indicate that it could be something from a fantasy or a past memory. Each person from his past would symbolize another part of his psyche. His anger at his father would represent hate. The loss of his girlfriend would represent sadness. His grandmother would represent hope.

As the movie continues, we see the deterioration of Preston in terms of aging skin, coughing from smoking, and withdrawals from the drugs. Not only is this actually happening to Preston, but it also represents how everything decent or good can eventually come to an end. In the end, the movie will leave the audience in a state of curiosity and awkwardness. The movie will end with Preston giving a monologue to the screen, breaking the fourth wall, before he shoots himself in the head. His agent will head into the room, grab the book, tuck Preston into bed, and leave. Questions of what was real and fake will swarm the audience’s mind as they attempt to think over the supposed flashbacks in an attempt to decipher what could have been fantasy.

If I was going to stage a scene for producers, I would choose a scene that has a flashback. The set would consist of a single bedroom seen from the side. There would be a bed, a desk, a dresser, a window, and the door on stage right. The scene would involve Preston questioning whether his life was real or not. The scene would drop to dim lighting with a red tint and fog. His father would appear in the doorway and an altercation would ensue. After Preston kills his father, the lights would go dark for a few moments, and the dead body would disappear from the floor. The lighting returns to normal, the fog subsides, and Preston would be right back where he started before the flashback began. This would be one of the main climactic scenes in the movie that could be strongly portrayed on a stage or movie set.

I’ve always wanted to incorporate notions of different genres into a movie. There would be some comedy, tragedy, drama, romance, and action. However, the main genre of this movie would be drama. Overall, the movie could tell an engaging story of love, loss, life, death, and the questions of reality. Everybody would be able to find a piece of themselves in Preston and his life story. Hopefully, it would inspire others as well as give meaning to the life we live every day.

I have always thought of myself as a decent writer. I would always display my writing as a sense of accomplishment and attempt to get others to read my written work. I never did it for editing and revising purposes, but for the reinforcement that what I wrote was great. That is one of my biggest weaknesses.

I have always considered myself a person with thick skin with the ability to take criticism well. When it comes to my writing, I was always judgmental of myself but never willing to listen to what others might have to say. I need to recognize that this is a problem and learn to open up and trust in the judgment of others. Another weakness I have with writing is that I tend to overthink my sentences and try to make my words sound smarter and more descriptive than they need to be. Rather than saying, “The tree swayed gently in the wind,” I would change it to say, “The tree swayed gently in the wind, continually blowing back and forth, bobbing up and down.” The redundancy of that sentence hurts me. It metaphorically hurts me. And I do this in every project I write. I don’t know why.

I also tend to think something that sounds good in principle is better than the quality. If a paragraph has four or five sentences that does a good job of describing the topic, I immediately find a way to add more information because I have a problem where quantity is better than quality. Another weakness that plagues my writing is word counts. If I am given an assignment or project with a word count, I find myself more worried about achieving the word count than I am about writing quality paragraphs and sentences.

However, some of my strengths in writing counter those weaknesses (or so I’d like to believe). One of the few strengths I have always valued is my ability to write with correct spelling and grammar. There are still parts of my grammar that need work, and I recognized this a long time ago. However, I believe that I have the ability to recognize incorrect spelling and grammar as well as using the correct form of both when both prewriting and drafting.

Another strength I possess in writing is the ability to put my visualizations into words. If look at a painting, I believe I do a pretty good job of describing that painting in decent detail with words. Knowing that I can write visualizations well, it only makes sense to assume that I can provide decent concrete details in my sentences.

Once my topic sentence has been written, using this strength will help me provide detail sentences and quality paragraphs. That particular strength may help me overcome my weakness of “adding on to sentences to make them sound better.” It doesn’t matter if the sentence is shorter. The most important part is that the paragraph has a topic sentence with quality, concrete detailed sentences to support it.

I have a long way to go to refine my writing, but I’m going to do my best to continue working on it.

Written by

Sean is currently a freelance writer that spends much of his time worrying far too much. He is a board and video game enthusiast, an avid watcher of movies, a lover of sports, and a certified nerd. While he has no specific writing style, he likes to think he can adapt as needed to different writing styles, tones, and intonations. He likes to cook, read books, play board and video games, and is the Dungeon Master for his D&D groups. He is married and has one step-daughter.

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