Monday, 29 December 2008

City of Sins

The other day, I watched Sin City. I remember when I first bought the film. I sat down and watched and really didn't know what to think. I didn't like it. I didn't dislike it. I seemed to have no opinion. I think it was Miller's unique visual style that threw me. Anyone who's seen the film (or 300 for that matter) will know what I'm talking about.

Initially it seems that it's in black and white. But it isn't. There are slithers of colour throughout - women are often in colour and peoples' shoes, as well as blood etc. This is an important part of the film - our focus is diverted - a clever storytelling technique.

So after my first watch, I got Rachel (my sister) to watch it too (I think the only appeal for her was Mr. Bruce Willis). She didn't like it. She didn't dislike it. But now, many views later, we're agreed that it's a great film.

A few years ago (before even hearing about Sin City) I wrote a short story. If memory serves, it begins with the line - "My last breath escaped me in the blink of an eye. Or so it seemed." And that was the line that drove the story. It was about a police detective that rushes into a hostage situation and dies. But then he is brought back (by some higher power?). He takes on the killer and wins, saving the hostage. Then he disappears off into the night. I hint at his abilities throughout the short story.

When it came to prose fiction at uni last year, I produced this short to my tutor. Her first words - "It doesn't work as a story. It's the start of one." And right she was. So I adapted the story, adding a hell of a lot of other stuff, and ending with the original scene, done a bit differently.

The result was not pretty. In short, it was a complete mess. I went over the word limit by about 3000 words and it still felt rushed and forced. I have no problem admitting that the thing was a pile of fei-oo.

So that was abandoned until I discovered screenwriting. I grabbed the shitty story, ripped out all the 'shit' bit of it and put it as a short screenplay. It's littered with voice over, much like the Sin City stories. No, I'm not comparing my abilities to Frank Miller but it does create a similar atmosphere - that sort of present tense thought-telling.

So, after watching Sin City the other day, I was compelled to dig out that little screenplay. I had a read and it's not bad. Then I mapped out several future 'episodes' if you like - four more shorts that would follow on from the original. Then it occurred to me that the first could act as an origin tale - more like a blueprint for the future shorts.

So I have the next few all mapped out. They'll each last about 15 minutes and be littered with voice over (that big taboo in the writing biz). I have no idea where I'd sell them, but that's not really the point. I'm going to write them because I want to, because it's fun (and quite easy).

So there we go. At the moment, the series is called 'Detective', but that's a working title.

So does anyone have an opinion on shorts? Is there any market for what is effectively a TV series of short (shiny) films?

No comments: