Critical Analysis Evaluation
The Adaptation Process
The process begins with finding the right source material and the right story to adapt. This process goes up to approximately 1 – 2 weeks. Within this period of time, I would conceptualize the source that I have found into a story that is appealing to the reader. The process repeat itself for a few cycles until I have finally settled down on that one story that I am passionate and it is possible to adapt. While I was researching of stories to adapt, I came across the news and biology of a photographer, Daryl Aiden Yow who builds his legacy on lies and plagiarism which is something that sounds interesting to me. I myself is a big fan of the movie, Shattered Glass, where it talks about the life story of a reporter, Stephen Glass at The New Republic, where he makes a name for himself for writing colourful stories that sells exceptionally well to the public. So having to come across this news, I thought why not I try adapt this photographer stories that’s similar to Shattered Glass into a film, with a little of my own twist to the original text.
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Before writing the screenplay, there are a few details that required much planning before I could actually begin writing the actual script. The whole planning begins with deciding the narrative structure, characters, genre, and the writing style, is it for film or television? Those are little details that required much attention to. At the beginning, I was leaning more towards of a biological crime drama genre like the Shattered Glass, where I can stick the closely to the original text as much as possible. However, along the way of character creation I kind of sway away from the original idea and I was kin to try out a different genre where I have decided to add a little twist to the original text. So at this point the idea is much about inspired by true event. Michael Hauge (2018) says most romantic comedies involve deception. One of the two people involved in the relationship, usually the hero, is lying to, or withholding information from, someone–usually the person the hero is falling for. So I thought I could make a switch from crime into romantic comedy, where the fake photographer meets a junior photographer, a girl or his love interest, and he begin to change his way and perception of doing things. With the genre and story flow begin decided, I embarks on the journey of writing character biographies and there is where I make research into the photographer’s personality as well his acquaintances.
Same with any other script, there is always the tagline, the summary, and the synopsis. The synopsis particularly, plays a big part in my planning of screenplay. David (1970) a carefully thought out synopsis should of course help produce continuity of theme as well as enable you to make the best use of your writing time. During the planning phase, writing a well thought out synopsis, saves me quite some time in my script writing process. It also acts as a guideline to make sure I do not write something else unnecessary in the middle of writing the screenplay.
Janice (1987) The contemporary romance’s prose is dominated by cliché, simple vocabulary, and standard syntax. So having the standard syntax in mind, I have structured the screenplay with the common 3 act structure and follows the beats of a romance comedy genre script. As my story flow in a linear timeline, 3 act work best for my script and helps keep the plot simple. The 3 act starts with the meet, second the conflict, and third the happy. In order to thoroughly plan out the narrative, I have followed the guide of Billy Mernit, where he defines the seven basic romantic comedy beats.
First is the chemical equation or the setup, where I have a scene of that identify the exterior or interior conflict of the protagonist. Where in this script, I have Alex slowly reveal himself to the audience that he is fabricating his photos and he is a fake photographer.
Second is the catalyst, where an incident that will bring both the couple together and into conflict. Billy (2001) an inventive but credible contrivance, often amusing, which in some way sets the tone for the action to come. In this part of the script, I have Alex and Jenna both met through an awkward yet amusing business meeting in the restaurant, in request of David, Jenna’s father. This meeting sort of helps sets the tone for the action to come, where Jenna is going to work for Alex and he will be trying to turn the offer down but ultimately begin force to go through with it.
Third is the turning point, mostly is about Billy (2001) a new development that raises story stakes and clearly defines the protagonist’s goal; most successful when it sets man and woman at cross-purposes where their inner emotions at odds with the goal. In this case, is when both Alex and Jenna went for a business trip to Korea and they were standing at the bridge to admire the sunset. Alex is enjoying the time he spent with Jenna but at the same time he got to keep his fake identity a secret.
Fourth is the hook, Billy (2001) describe it as a situation that irrevocably binds the protagonist with the antagonist. This is where the part, Alex and Jenna realized that they don’t have a place to stay at night and they are forced to share a room together with each other for a night. Eventually, it leads to some sexual tensions in both of them.
Fifth is the second turning point, where it normally happens at the end of act 2, Billy (2001) where stakes reach their highest point as the romantic relationship’s importance jeopardizes the protagonist’s goal or challenged his ideal. This point of the script will be, when Jenna hug Alex from the back in the empty street, where she confesses her feelings and appreciation for Alex. Then Alex finally realizes his way of doing things is wrong and he have to make a decision to change for the better or continue living his old life.
Sixth is the crisis climax, where the consequences of the decision yield disaster. Billy (2001), generally it is a humiliating scene where private motivations are revealed and the protagonist’s goal is seemingly lost forever. It is when, Alex decided to change for the better as he promised Jenna, but his scandal is being exposed and Jenna decided to leaves silently.
Seventh is the resolution, Billy (2001) a reconciliation that reaffirms the primal importance of the relationships; usually a happy ending that implies serious commitment, often at the cost of some personal sacrifice to the protagonist. This is the part where, Alex is back to the firm from 3 months of prohibition. He apologized sincerely to David and in return for his courage David gave Alex tips of Jenna’s whereabouts. Finally, Alex confessed his feelings and Jenna is willing to forgive Alex.
The seven story beats being mentioned above became a guideline for me while writing the screenplay.
Characterisation and Dialogue
Janice (1987) romantic stories themselves are implausible because the characters are “better” than real people and because events resolve themselves unambiguously. With the protagonist from the script is inspired by real person, I would say it’s motives and action resemble an actual human. But that doesn’t hide the fact that it is a character in a film, because the conflict and events that he went through are implausible.
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On the other hand, about dialogue I have not used any of the original dialogue but I have taken dialogues from other films that I have researched. Bernard (2006) sometimes the author’ words seem so perfect that you cannot see how they might be revised to best advantage. In my case, I have used lines from the film, Love at first swipe to help elevate the emotions in Alex’s confession dialogue.
The narrative device that I have used in the film is mostly, fore shadowing the event that going to happen. Such as leaving hints like Jenna forgets about the SD card cover which involve them almost have a fight while going on a business trip. The appearance of the formal editor to fore shadow that in the future their scandal of fabrication will be found out in the future.
Strength & Weakness
The strength of my script would be the character development where you can see the changes in the character, in terms of external and interior, the changes in action and their ideal. Another strength would be the dialogue, it is based on the review that I got from the class read through session, where one of the student mentioned that the dialogue has a smooth flow and it is like an actual conversation. The third strength would be action blocks, I would write where the character would move and the action they will take while moving from each spots.
The weakness of my script would be the plot, somewhere in the middle of writing I have realises that I don’t have a very strong plot to support the huge break up that the couple would go through which it became a major struggle in the writing process. And sometimes I get wrapped up in the characters and forget to make anything happen in the story.
Overall, I would say it is a well-researched script, I have researched through the necessary source material. I have research and implement the narrative structure that is suitable for romance comedy genre. I have followed the guidelines of Billy Mernit for writing the basic romantic comedy beats.
If there is anything that I would do better or improve would be giving more thoughts on the plot development instead of focusing so much on the character. As Millard Kaufman said in his books Plots and Characters, it is not the character that defines the story, it is the other way around. If there is one valuable thing that I have learnt from writing this screenplay would be having the characters to take shape as the story moves forward, instead of being obsess with building up the character in the earlier notions.
After reading through and writing the critical analysis for my script I would say the script is best suited for short films instead of television drama.
- Bernard. L (2006) How to write about biology. Paperback ed., Pearson Education Limited , Prentice-Hall.
- Billy . M (2001) Writing the Romantic Comedy [Online] Available at: https://michaelhockney.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/seven-story-beats-to-help-outline-your-romantic-comedy/ (Accessed: 5 January 2019)
- David J. T. (1970) Non-fiction: A guide to writing & publishing, 1st ed., David & Charles (7 May 1970)
- Janice A. (1987) Reading the romance. 1st ed. London, The University of North Carolina Press.
- Michael. H (2018) The Rules of Romantic Comedy [Online] Available at: http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2013/03/the-rules-of-romantic-comedy.html (Accessed: 5 January 2019)
- Millard Kaufman (1999) Plots and Characters. 1st ed., Really Great Books.
- Richard Walter (n.a) What’s More Important: Character or Story [Online] Available at:https://www.writersstore.com/whats-more-important-character-or-story/ (Accessed: 5 January 2019)
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