Monthly Archives: February 2014

Week 15 (by Liberty Martin)

Term two began with a four week investigation into Digital Media and Dramatic writing led by Nina Steiger, Associate Director at Soho Theatre.

 

Teasing out the difference between the digital and the non-digital proved interesting and surprisingly difficult. Is the opposite of the digital sphere ‘real life’? Can we say that? In a room where almost all of us had checked the internet before getting out of bed that morning, it felt like perhaps we couldn’t.

 

When your Oyster card uses RFID to convert electromagnetic waves into digital data, and misplacing it behind the radiator could mean you forego the chance to see your cousin off at the airport, perhaps your ‘real life’ can’t be so distinctly separated from the digital world. But, as humans are tool-using animals, maybe we can make a distinction between the kinds of technology we use to express ourselves, to work and to interact. If we think about digital and physical as separate things, then we can draw a line between digital and analogue information or signals. Here are some of my own examples of digital and analogue things.

 

Analogue Things: Record players, carpet, cassette tapes, traffic cones, photographs

 

Digital Things: Space Invaders, e-mail, Tweets, html, blogs, dating websites, Flappy Bird

 

Things that are Both: Danger, intrigue, longing, games, espionage, love, pictures of food, stories

 

As a group of writers the focus of our investigation was how to tell stories using digital media. The manner of our investigation was to interact with the Interesting List, a vast and growing collection of awesome stuff to do with telling stories digitally.  From an Altered Reality Game like I Love Bees, an online mystery game with real life players, to The Beckoning of Lovely, a film project involving hundreds of strangers across the world, our Interesting List brings together examples of events created in the digital and physical world.

 

To introduce us to the world of cross platform story telling we met Matt Locke, who spoke to us about his work on multi platform projects around things like Skins, Misfits, the 2012 Paralympics at Channel Four, and his new company Storythings who consult with companies to create interactive projects like Follow Me with Pulse Films.

 

Verity McIntosh also joined us to give us a fantastic insight into the type of work going on at the Pervasive Media Studio at Bristol’s Watershed, where they’re investigating ideas like the Playable City, to create projects like Hello Lamp Post, where Bristol’s street furniture could text and have conversations with the public.

 

Our own project ideas during the investigation incorporated digital media to tell personal and political stories creatively across platforms. Our new vocabulary is informing our work to make a digital media project and event for the London International Comic Festival, Comica at the British Library this summer. This project will use Conductrr, a brand new software tool for managing cross platform story projects, to allow audiences to interact with the theme of Breakdowns in the digital and the physical world.

Week 13 – 14 (by Philip Jones)

I went into Digital Media module thinking: what am I doing this for? I want to be a playwright!! I’ve a hunger for craft. Not storytelling for digital media!

 

I have this leading light of UK theatre, none other than Ms Nina Steiger: the Creative Director of the Soho Theatre, who has a wealth of experience in helping writers develop plays in workshops and she’s coming here, now, to instruct me on the finer arts of all this made up super tech stuff springing up on the web.

 

There is Nina showing us all the best bits in links from the net and I’m sitting there head in hand, heart sinking, thinking, Oh no, no!

 

I watch people running around touching hands and coming together happy, clappy style in some Californian city, probably San Francisco and Nina is waxing lyrical. Man this is not where I want to be! I’m sitting there in the class that first afternoon, reeling, depressed and frustrated.

 

Nina leaves at the end of the first day and myself and fellow writing student Annie blow.

 

But here is real theatre, here is decision, crisis and climax, here is us getting visceral, rebelling; there was something deep and primal in us yelling, but also a connection to the core of our creativity.

 

And low and behold, over the next three weeks, we opened up and psychology blown are engaged; its like some great hallucinogenic trip, no chemicals, just pure passionate creativity, mainlined from a great creative storytelling mind to open our minds over three of the most inspiring weeks of my life; there is real change and transformation.

 

Me like my fellow students all turn up tuned in; buzzing with adrenalin and nerve wracked to the final pitch for Nina and Verity from the Pervasive Media Studio, with the most stunning and out there array of digital storytelling ideas. Have faith in the process, believe and magic happens!

 

Thank you Ms. Steiger for taking us on the most mind blowing and inspirational storytelling trip of a lifetime and I’m confident I say this for all of the class of 2014 CSM / Drama centre MA writers.

 

 

 

 

Week 11 – 12 (by Charlotte O’Leary)

Short Film and Animation blog.

 

Before we broke up for Christmas we had two very exciting opportunities to write short scripts and actually see our work made by other students at Central St Martins. The first project is a short 2 minute film, which is to be made by a second year student on the BA Directing course. The second project is a 3 minute animation which will be the graduation project for the students on the MA Character Animation. Both involved some of the scariest things we’ve had to do as writers – speed pitch our ideas!

 

2 Minute Film

 

We brainstormed and devised an idea that would work as a 2 minute film, ideally shot locally with the minimum of fuss as there is no budget. Once we’d polished our ideas and given each other feedback, we ventured into the directors’ rehearsal room and had to give a ten minute pitch to each director about our idea, and also sell ourselves. It was one of those exercises that you know helps you develop as a writer but it was pretty terrifying and once we’d spoken to all six directors we were exhausted and felt rather battered.

 

The directors then sent us feedback, and we said who we’d like to work with. We were then paired up, and the collaborative process began.

 

I met with my director and we had a very long chat about my pitch and our thoughts on how the script could go. Since I was working from a premise rather than a short story idea we tried out lots of ideas, before I took away all my notes and spent Christmas drafting various versions of it. I didn’t realize that writing a 2 minute film could take so long – I now have a pile of ideas and characters that weren’t quite right for this film but I could use in the future, and I am hoping that I will be able to write a second script for my director and film it at some point.

 

Many of us found that our directors had queries about our initial scripts, mine wasn’t what the director was expecting so I went back to the drawing board, mulled over all my ideas and rewrote it. We read out our work in class and got feedback from each other which was hugely useful, but by this point I had total fatigue with the script and couldn’t see what worked and what didn’t. So I took out the main plot points that were essential, put them into a five act structure then rewrote it without reviewing my original draft. I felt this made a much stronger, much more structured script. My director loved it, and apart from having to kill off one character and some dialogue in the monologues to make it a bit shorter there was little that needed changing. It’s currently on draft number 7!

 

We’re arranging now the filming schedule, casting is fantastic fun and my director has a wonderful eye for finding just the right people. It’s extremely bizarre to put so much into a script then sit in the Platform Theatre Bar having a drink with the actor who’s going to play your characters, it’s like being able to step into your script and chat to all the people you’ve created in your head. It’s been wonderful to work with some very talented people and to have all the directors, actors and filmmakers right in the same building as you.

 

Animation Blog.

 

We’ve been so excited to work with the MA Character Animation students on their 3 minute final project animation, and many of us have decided that writing for animation would be something we’d like to pursue as a career. As there are 32 animation students and only 10 of us we’ve had the opportunity to work with 3 animators each, either writing their whole script or in a dramaturg capacity.

 

We had a presentation on the history of animation given by Steve Roberts who is the Senior Lecturer on the animation course, we then discussed the initial ideas the animators had, and started to mull over who we’d like to work with. A speed dating event was then organized where animators were able to pitch their ideas to us, and we could discuss what we could offer. We then contacted the animators if we wished to work with them, and we all eventually paired up with animators who had shared interests.

 

I am working with 3 animators. One has a very clear idea of what he wanted to do so it was a matter of making sure his ideas and fantastic sketches fitted into a story structure, the second had some ideas but needed someone to help decide what worked and what didn’t and I put them into the five act structure to make a much stronger story. Finally the third animator had some ideas but since it was a project I was really passionate about I suggested writing a full script. Over Christmas I met up with my animators and wrote a very long script – at 12 pages long it needed to be cut down to about 4 pages – so I had a meeting with my animator and we went through it discussing which jokes worked and which didn’t, until it was much shorter. We then made it super simple for the animatic, and got feedback that it needed some more of the jokes put back in!

 

Once the animators were happy with a first draft of their story they then created their animatic. They presented this in class and got feedback, so now we’re currently reworking the scripts before the real animation work starts.