Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Story Ideas (Revised)

Story 1: “Butler”

Quick Summary: Judgmental butler is irritated when kid walks in with loud music and messy habits. However, butler allows his curiosity to take over and he frees his inhibitions with the music associated with today’s youth.

Pre-Pitch Structure
A. What is the setting of the film?
--> Kitchen of a wealthy home
B. What is the time of day of the film?
--> Mid-afternoon, fall, present era
C. What and who are the characters in your film, simply put?
--> Butler: pompous, irritable, somewhat elderly
--> Boy: teenager (puberty), skeptical, hateful, self-involved

Pitch Structure
A. We open with a somewhat pompous, elegant, yet lanky, old butler who is going about his business in his master’s kitchen, cleaning the countertops.
B. Disturbance: In walks the master’s son, a teenaged, spiky-haired, sarcastic, squinty-eyed rockstar wannabe, listening to some loud techno music on his iPod. After grumbling all the way to the refrigerator and grabbing his after-school snack, the boy dumps his things on the kitchen counter (which the butler had just tidied up) and leaves the room to go watch television, tossing his dirty-booted feet up on the cocktail table.
C. The butler is at first disgusted and irritated, but (then) as he begins to clean up after the boy, he lends an ear to the iPod and (then) slowly allows his various limbs to shake with the beat. (Then) He goes nuts and starts knocking things over in the true spirit of the wild music, and a smile stretches across his formerly stern face as he gets into the music more and more.
D. Until finally, once things get really loud and crazy, he opens an eye to find that the boy has come into the kitchen and is staring at him. Butler quietly removes iPod and sets it down on the counter, leaving the room with a stoic expression as the boy picks up his things (eyes never leaving the Butler, who starts dancing again upon exiting the room).
E. What is the moral/point/feeling the story is expressing?
--> Break out of your shell of judgment once in a while. You may surprise yourself.

Story 2: “The Blind Clay Potter”

Summary: Generous man donates daily to a blind woman who thinks he is buying one of her pots. One day he stops by to make another donation and she points out the price has gone up, and the man walks away empty-handed.

Pre-Pitch Structure
A. What is the setting of the film?
--> A dirt road among tropical-looking plants in a hot, third-world country
B. What is the time of day of the film?
--> Morning, summer, sometime between 1930-1970
C. What and who are the characters in your film, simply put?
--> Young man from the peace corps, thoughtful, kind-hearted, responsible
--> Elderly blind woman, clay potter, feeble-handed, fair-minded

Pitch Structure
A. We open with the Peace Corps volunteer walking down a dirt road in a third world country. He passes an elderly blind woman sitting next to a collection of handmade, unimpressive, poorly-spun clay pots. A sign indicates she is selling them each at about 5 coins each.
B. Disturbance: The young man sees that she is sitting there with a hopeless, vacant expression, and is moved by her blindness and her struggle to make a day’s wages.
C. So (then) he puts five coins in her hands. (Then) She lifts her chin and angles her head to acknowledge him with a large smile. After pocketing her earnings, she reaches up to touch his face, bows to thank him, and extends her arms toward her collection as if to say, “pick one!” The man picks one up, but (then) sets it back down quietly, wanting only to give her the money. (Then) He continues to return to her every day.
D. Until finally, one day he returns to her and gives her the coins, she reaches up and touches his face and smiles – a beautiful moment of recognition – and then flattens her expression as she points to a sign indicating the cost has gone up. She holds out her hand indignantly as the man realizes his pockets are now empty, and walks away with no money and no clay pottery.
E. What is the moral/point/feeling the story is expressing?
--> Consistent generosity can lead to expectant have-nots who feel entitlement.

Story 3: “Magic Show”

Summary: A proud and confident magician keeps screwing up his magic tricks, eventually pulling a rabid animal out of a hat, and actually sawing a person in half, among other mishaps. He avoids being arrested by a disappearing act, which unfortunately lands him in an unknown, barren place without the ability to return.

Pre-Pitch Structure
A. What is the setting of the film?
--> Theater, stage setting with typical red velvet curtain and spotlights
B. What is the time of day of the film?
--> Evening, winter, present era
C. What and who are the characters in your film, simply put?
--> Magician, over-confident, careless, quick-witted and charismatic
--> Rabid rabbit and the audience member who gets sawed in half
--> Two cops who attempt to make the arrest

Pitch Structure
A. We begin with a spotlight onstage as the curtain opens and a proud magician marches out in front of a crowd of anticipating onlookers. He hangs up his cape and brushes his hands together, ready to begin his performance, reaching into his vest pocket for a deck of cards.
B. Disturbance: He drops the deck of cards, which spill out all over the stage. He bends down to pick them up, and the camera follows his eyes across the floor, revealing the trick that all of the cards were identically-faced, to which he shrugs sheepishly and brushes them aside as if to hide them.
C. (Then) Distracted, he attempts to pull himself together, standing and brushing himself off. He lifts his hat and waves his hand, and a rabbit emerges, except it is rabid and foaming at the mouth. He quickly throws the hat to the floor so the rabbit cannot escape. (Then) he smiles, blushing, and runs offstage, rolling forward a long, coffin-like cart. He helps a lady from the audience enter the cart lying down, and he proceeds to saw her in half, only the trick fails, and he actually saws her in half. Meanwhile the rabbit has escaped and chomped down on the dead lady’s leg, dangling in mid air. Silhouettes of the audience members can be seen gasping, screaming, and running away wildly.
D. Until finally, two cops emerge to handcuff the magician, but he snaps his fingers and squints. He has disappeared. Then you see the squinted eyes of the magician opening to realize he is now on a solitary spindle of a cliff in the middle of an empty, cavernous wasteland, and he doesn’t know how to return from there.
E. What is the moral/point/feeling the story is expressing?
--> Don’t play with things you don’t understand.

Story 4: “Systematic Popcorn Eater”

Summary: A guy goes to a movie eager and excited until inconsiderate people ruin his experience. He is ready to give up angrily, until a thoughtful girl shares with him the joys he thought he lost, and he gains more enjoyment than he would have in the first place.

Pre-Pitch Structure
A. What is the setting of the film?
--> Movie Theater
B. What is the time of day of the film?
--> Evening, spring, present era
C. What and who are the characters in your film, simply put?
--> Guy, adamant film lover, systematic popcorn eater, very particular in ways
--> Inconsiderate moviegoers (silhouettes only, mostly)
--> Thoughtful girl, sharing, understanding, considerate

Pitch Structure
A. We open with an exciting, provocative movie poster, which the guy is gazing at before rushing to the popcorn stand to buy his snacks. He covers the popcorn with salt, butter, and cheese, finds the perfect seat (he has arrived very early), and begins to separate the popcorn so he can save the best, tastiest kernels for last.
B. Disturbance: movie goers enter the theater and disrupt his view. He can no longer see the movie screen at all.
C. So (then) he gets up and moves to a different seat at the end of a row. He clearly doesn’t care for this seat, but he tries to enjoy it and watch the movie anyway. (Then) Someone brushes past him to go to the restroom, steps on his foot, gets stuck there, and lets one rip, right in his face. He is disgusted as the person leaves and so (then) he moves yet another time to the front row where there is ample leg room. He begins to enjoy the movie until a guy to his right yanks open a bag of candy, bumps him with his elbow, and his popcorn goes everywhere. He is so angry, yet he is trying to contain himself to his chair and not create a scene.
D. Until finally, someone to his left taps him on the shoulder. It’s a very pretty girl offering to share her popcorn – and lo and behold, she is a systematic popcorn eater too. They enjoy the snack and the movie together, and she gives him her number before they leave the theater.
E. What is the moral/point/feeling the story is expressing?
--> Sometimes you may not get the thing you really want. But there might be something better waiting for you, if you could just open your eyes and see it.

Story 5: “The Comfy Couch”

Summary: Man watching tv lazily finds creative ways to reach a remote without getting up, but each attempt fails. When he finally gets up to change the channel, the dog steals his spot on the couch.

Pre-Pitch Structure
A. What is the setting of the film?
--> A living room in a nice, simple home, with a couch and a tv
B. What is the time of day of the film?
--> Evening, fall, present era
C. What and who are the characters in your film, simply put?
--> Man enjoying the comforts of his home after a long day
--> Dog (short haired, expressive, lazy, maybe a beagle)

Pitch Structure
A. We open with a man entering his home and locking the door for the night. He stretches and throws down the remains of his fast food dinner to his dog and sets his paper megacup down on his cocktail table. He pats the dog on the head, turns on the tv, and gets comfortable on the couch. It clearly is the most comfortable couch ever.
B. Disturbance: he doesn’t like whatever show he is watching. He eyes the remote at the other end of the table across from him. Calculating the distance, he realizes it is too far away to reach by hand. You can sense how much he wants to change the channel, but meanwhile he doesn’t want to leave this comfortable spot. Even the dog begins to look toward the remote helplessly.
C. (Then) The man tries reaching with his hand anyway. The remote really is too far from him, so he looks at his feet. (Then) He reaches over again, this time with his leg. His foot nudges it accidentally in the opposite direction, and once again it is out of reach. So (Then) he gets clever with his attempt and kicks a pole lamp so that it bounces against the wall and falls into his lap. Sticking his tongue out eagerly, he fumbles to angle the lamp so that the lampshade will capture the remote like a net. The dog eyes him suspiciously. The lampshade eventually knocks the remote onto the floor. Begrudgingly, he gets off the couch and retrieves the remote. He has a hard time finding the comfy spot on the couch again, but as soon as he does, he discovers the remote is out of battery power.
D. Until finally, he gets up again and completes the last couple steps to turn the channel directly on the tv. By the time he turns around again, the dog has hopped up on the couch and fallen asleep. The man sits in the dog bed instead.
E. What is the moral/point/feeling the story is expressing?
--> Laziness might spawn creative solutions now and then, but watch out for the underdog who will always be ready to take your place.

Please give your feedback... thanks so much!



Will said...

Hey Laura. Great ideas. Glad to see you are as creative as ever!

As far as these go, I really like "The Comfy Couch" best. The story is interesting, and it doesn't seem like something that has been done over and over. Plus, it has the most good gags. Also, technically it's nice because it's only two characters and one set. I know they're probably drilling this into you, but be sure to KEEP IT SIMPLE. I know my film got more complicated than it should have and I wasn't able to finish in time!

Laura "Sko" said...

Yeah. But yours kicks some royal caboose, so. :-) Ok thanks!

Nikki Fisher said...

Hey there...I thought they were all very good and thought out. You have always had an awesome imagination (even when we were kids!!)

If I had to pick one I would pick the couch one also. I think it best relates to how people are today. We can be very lazy at times and as I was reading it I really got the sense that I was trying to do that myself!! (well I pictured all of them but this one I could picture the guy on the couch as myself). It would be really simple, not a whole lot of things that you would need and like the other person said, its 2 characters and one set. Great job!

Hope this helps...hey I tried and I am definitely not as creative as you are :)

talk to you soon!

Anonymous said...

Hey Laura :) I really like no. 5. It tends to ring true with maaannnnyyy of us I think. Its funny, because its true. And the dog waiting to steal his place is classic.

Other than that I like the butler letting down his hair and inhibitions too.

Nice ones!

Gavin - Class 5

Laura "Sko" said...

One quick note - my mentor got back to me about these (he has worked at Warner Bros, Pixar, Blue Sky, and his studio House of Cool) - he liked them all but he said #5 was done a lot, and that's probably a reason why so many of us like it. I was all set to go forward with this one, but he suggested in terms of originality, choices 1, 2, or 3 would be best. Does that change anybody's opinion?

Lynda said...

Laura...I like #1 so far. The magician is a little gruesome for me. Felt a little too sad with the pottery lady story...but #1 reminded me a little of the butler in "The Nanny" to some extent. He was the best part of that show. Yours, being lanky and elderly, would have a little more character to work with. Lends itself to a lot of facial expression and body movement. LSMS

Laura "Sko" said...

Hehe.. thanks mom..

Thanks everybody for your comments. I'll give an update soon with what my mentor suggests. I suppose whatever I don't do now, I can always do in my spare time.. ha ha..