Over the past two months I’ve been busy, amongst other things, with producing a short film for an English assignment, along with two very good friends.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride, as we typed away at a script that we hoped would convey an engaging story, and fought with film-editing applications to ensure that our finished product did justice to the concept we were working on for so long. You see, the main idea we had when starting work on Target was to create the most exciting, engaging film that included techniques not-bef0re used in this assignment.
The idea for the film came from news reports in the months just before the 2010 World Cup was to be held in South Africa. There was a great sense of panic when it was suddenly reported that there were apparent terror threats on the new stadiums that had been build for the event. Thankfully, nothing did happen, but my team and I decided to take our own fictional spin on the reports, and asked the fundamental question that spurred Target‘s writing: what would you do, if you knew there was a bomb placed in the new stadium – if you were the only person to know, and could be the only person to stop such an attack? Of course, some of this does sound a little absurd, and rightfully so – after all, this is a fictional tale, and we made express use of our prose licence in exerting the most amount of freedom in writing the film.
The “terrorist” angle took on a new face when a member of the team, Bryan, was to go to London for a short holiday. We seized this opportunity to write-in a new character, the “mastermind” of the whole plot that Target is centred on. So it was to be that a man with twisted logic was born out of the words woven on our digital page, who thought that the only way of getting back at the country that supposedly “betrayed” him pre-1994 was to seek redemption in the form of terrorism. He poisoned the minds of men who in their own right felt betrayed to an extent, and one such man was given the task that fits in the narrative arc of the film – the character aptly (and very imaginatively) titled – I’m sure you’d agree with me – “The Terrorist”.
For many years now, I’ve been fascinated with the art of filmmaking; of movie magic. I’ve tried my hand at writing numerous screenplays, and as such, when we were given the task of this film assignment, I took up the opportunity with great relish to work on what would become the screenplay of Target.
But Target stretches far from just a story that we wanted to tell; it was a great process of two months’ hard work, painstakingly agonising over the most minute of details, to ensure that the visual media we were working in did justice to the words written in the script.
And it would never have been possible without the amazing talent of the actors involved. They brought those words to life, and gave them an added twist of their own, adding that perfect mix of drama and engaging an atmosphere that’s hard to achieve with a static script.
I found it fascinating to note that, after paging through my trusty Moleskine notebook, a single paragraph written in the section where we planned the film, summed up the entire plot. So it was that Target had been “almost” fully-conceptualised before its full writing process began. Still, however, that final scene that incorporates some ambitious visual effects had always been a component that I wanted to include no matter what the storyline would end up being. I had originally written it into the finalé of another screenplay, Kiss of Death, a 1930s “shoot-’em-up” gangster film that was supposed to be our Grade 11 Film Project – until we received the theme – and after pitching it to the directing/production team, we unanimously decided that if it could be done right, that was an awesome way to kick into the credits sequence.
Throughout the filming phase we were inspired by the great directors of our age: Quintin Tarrentino, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese and, of course, Steven Spielberg. Their use of camera, movement through time and space, and distribution of colour gave us guidance in working on the production of Target.
Whilst Target is a very amateur project, the three of us – Bryan, Imtyaz and myself – are incredibly proud of what we’ve worked on. It was a long process, but a greatly enjoyable one and a time through which we all learnt a great deal about the art of movie magic. Target does have its flaws, but at the end of the day, to the three of us, what we’ve learnt far outweighs those setbacks.
And in case you’re wondering, the story I hinted at in a previous post (“[PREVIEW] New Short Story”) is indeed based on the film. It is altered slightly, and was written parallel to the writing phase of Target. It should be releasing on the blog sometime soon.