“The Barrier” Script Rewrite 2015 February 21

ScriptPage5sI made progress on my rewrite of  “The Barrier”, my transportation planning movie. The script is matched to the movie now. I started to work on the revisions to the script.

Conform Script to Current Movie

I conformed the script to match the caption file I created for the movie when I first released it. As I went through the script later, I caught several places where I’d missed some bits of dialogue.

Version 0.6 of the movie is still available on-line. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATcKnFAwlU0

Action Descriptions

When I created the script from the Xtranormal STATE files, I wasn’t able to convert the actions and expressions. This left the script with just the scene headers, character names and dialogues.

I went through the script to add some action descriptions. I decided to keep the action descriptions to a minimum. Maybe I was too terse, but I wanted to move onto the next phase.

Character Descriptions

After I thought I was done with the action descriptions I came across an article about the Jane test (http://www.wired.com/2016/02/jane-test-movie-gender-roles/). It focussed on the sexist slant of the character descriptions  for female characters in the script. I had a look at my descriptions, and realized I didn’t really have much to say at all. For example:

ARTHUR MACDONALD drives his car along a country road between a river and some hills.

LING PANG walks by.

ZELDA ZIMMERMAN and another woman sit at a table in front of the coffee shop.

I added some brief descriptions, which I don’t think are sexist:

ARTHUR MACDONALD, a transportation engineer in his early 20s, drives his car along a country road between a river and some hills.

LING PANG, a transportation engineer in her mid 40s, walks by.

ZELDA ZIMMERMAN, a woman in her mid 20’s, and another woman sit at a table in front of the coffee shop.

I was tempted to describe Zelda as “attractive”, but decided it wasn’t necessary.

These character descriptions are not really that critical to the script, since I had already chosen the characters from Xtranormal for the movie. I felt it would be a useful exercise for any scripts I write in the future, where I will need to include them.

Change Notes

As I went through the script to make the changes above, I inserted change notes where I came across something that I wanted to change. Most of these were cases where I felt that the dialogue didn’t fit the character. For example, Ling says “oh my” to express her surprise and concern for Arthur when he tells her about his near accident. Not only do I feel that isn’t what she’d say, but the character Meera says the same thing several times. I think it is appropriate for her.

When I first released the movie, several people sent me comments and suggestions. Since then I’ve written down several more ideas for changes. I went through the script a second time to insert notes where I wanted add those changes. Most of these changes were to clarify the story and dialogue where people were confused or put off.  There were a few places where I felt the scene was weak and could be improved.

Since I finished, I came across a few more ideas I’d forgotten about, and will need to add those as well.

When you make changes one place in a script, you often need to make changes elsewhere to keep the story consistent. I’ll need to do at least one more pass through to fix those.

The First Scene

I took my first stab at the rewrite with a go at Scene 8, where Arthur and Vincent Campbell first meet. My objective with the changes was to explain the hierarchy in the office, which some people found confusing.

I had Campbell play a mind game with Arthur, to force him to explain who he works for. Campbell, of course, already knows who’s who and wants to put Arthur on the defensive right away. I think the result has some humour to it, and also reinforces Campbell’s personality.

I thought I was done with the scene, but afterwards I started to think that I could delete or shorten some of the dialogue to tighten up the scene. For example I have a rather long introduction between two of the characters that is both dull and adds very little to the scene.

Other Changes

I got an idea for a new scene where Arthur shoots a video of the dangerous curve in the road. I would need to change a couple other scenes to accommodate that. It would be a short scene, but would be as complicated to make as the new opening scene I added in version 0.6.

My other ideas involve improvements to the computer screens animations. I don’t plan to add anything of substance, just improve how they look. Again, they might be quite complicated to create.

What to do After I have the New Script?

I haven’t given too much thought to what my next step after I’m done with the script revisions. I could work on the extra animations I want to add, or I could get NawmalMAKE and start to create the new scenes. But, what troubles me is how I will handle the voices in the new version. NawmalMAKE has different voices from Xtranormal Desktop.

For the final version I want to hire vocal actors to do the voices. This could be expensive. I found commercial rates posted on-line that suggest it could cost me more than $2,000. I would prefer to use local actors. I haven’t talked to any of the actors I know about what they would charge me. I made a vow that in the future I would always pay anyone who helped me with my movies. As an interim step I could use the new artificial voices that come with NawmalMAKE.

I’ve also thought I could use the voices from Acapela that I used the first time. From what I can see on their web site, I don’t think I can download them and use them in NawmalMAKE, but I can use their Acapela Box website to create the audio. (https://acapela-box.com/AcaBox/index.php). This would cost me at least $920 for my whole movie. Possibly much more. I think it would be cheaper, about $600, to buy the voices to work with another program. If I did that, I could use the voices on other projects.

Leave a Reply