Saturday, 12 December 2009

One week, three genre

Nothing focusses the mind like a deadline.
My final MA class was a week last Tuesday (not Tuesday just passed, Tuesday before that) and it wasn't until that class that I really formulated the idea I had for the portfolio that I needed to submit for assessment. Portfolio hand in (interim hand in, not final deadline) was yesterday. My Tutor told us that a balanced portfolio would consist of a short story (prose) a short film and a short theatre piece, word limit of 5,000 (that's between the three, not 5,000 each) and that each piece had to link to the other, either thematically or by some other means.
The really big challenge has been moving through the three genre, each one is a different discipline. In prose for example you can write the inner workings of a character's mind into the story, you can tell the audience what they are thinking. In film you tell the story through pictures and in theatre you use dialogue exchange to reveal the story (this is a non exhaustive list of the differences, i know there are many more). I have found moving in and out of each discipline really quite odd and have had to take a break in between each one to ease myself into the next!
Reading prose, films or theatre has helped me move from one mode to the other and there has been a lot of warming up and false starts before the work really flowed. What has been most entertaining has been when I have found myself off on a tangent that wasn't working, I've had a couple of characters who just wouldn't co-operate! These instances indicated that the story I had planned wasn't sufficiently truthful to continue.
In just over a week I have managed to write a short story, short film and a short theatre play (solid first drafts of these, not finished article just yet). The work is linked by the central protagonist. Each short piece focusses on a turning point in the protagonist's life. Individually they are complete stories with beginning, middle and (conclusive) end, collectively they illustrate the cause and effect oof the protagonist's life and the actions she takes to negotiate her circumstances.
It's work in progress and at the moment I'm still finding ways to maximise on the cause and effect element of the portfolio, I'm not sure how obvious the links in the work are right now. Feedback from my Tutor will help me establish this, and also some time away from the work for reflection and some reading over the Christmas break.

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