Monday, March 16, 2009

Early VS Research

Although my life is currently owned by university, I often let my thoughts wander to the wonderful world of virtual series. I've been writing at MZP for four years now, since I stumbled upon the idea of script writing, and each year I write more and more. In the past week, I've been thinking a lot about research.

This coming summer, I'm set to write a number of VS-related scripts: The Company 3x02 and 3x03, a key episode of Slayer Academy (and more TBC), and my own private projects. So, how am I going about preparing, given my long lead time and lack of actual chances to write?

(Mild spoilers for the above shows beyond this point)

The Company has been dominating my thoughts the most. Episode 3x03, 'The Tomorrow Song', is very much a tale about music and musicians; though I have a deep reverence for musical artists, I myself am not one. In order to make this episode as good as possible, I need to have some understanding of music, of its process, of how it feels to write great music - and to perform it. I expect there's a rush similar to writing, but they are two very different situations. What I've been doing this past week is listening more intently to my iPod, feeling out songs more, and attempting to pen some lyrics of my own to get into the proper headspace. Also, I'm planning on digging into new (for me) music - punk and rock for a guest character, for example. I'm also looking into the views of some creators of music - the blogs of Amanda Palmer and Bear McCreary are the best sources I've stumbled upon, but they've been of great help so far.

Another puzzling issue is how to craft the Slayer Academy episode I'm set to write, which will be an exit for a major character. I want to do this artfully, but pay tribute to the character and their relationship with another important character, possibly playing with format, voiceover, or chronology (some styles I've tried before). Maybe something completely new. Currently brainstorming episodes of shows where important characters exited, to watch when helping Lee construct an outline. Any suggestions? I'm thinking Battlestar Galactica in terms of style, at the moment...

Villainous, my current attempt at a comedy, is a struggle - the first draft was daft and messy, but it was quite amusing; the second draft holds together a lot better, but I'm worried that it lost some of the spontaneous comedy of the original. Going to be checking out a lot of sitcoms to better familiarise myself with the style.

My slowly-gestating miniseries Darken House will require a lot of thought, as I'll essentially be building an entire new civilization based on a set of rules and environmental concerns, as well as using that to flesh out my co-lead Kanna. I plan on finishing Mark Z. Danielewski's 'House of Leaves' in preparation, but there are other pieces of literature and cinema that could help as well.

Also on my thoughts is webisode series Lifeblood; I'm fascinated by it, but I'm starting to feel as if I'll need to do a lot more research before I can do justice to the themes I want to explore. There's a lot about media, psychology and sociology that I want to study here, time constraints willing. I'll need to do some studying on celebrity culture and media stuff like the O.J. trials and Clinton's sex scandal.

I'm sure there's more (there's always more), but that's a glimpse into my current endeavours. Let's see whether I can break through these blocks!

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