Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Hearafter (Screenplay)

OPEN SCENE - outside of a Large dark house 
House is two floors with dark wood siding. A man’s loud and a woman’s sobbing inside the house can be heard.
You’re not going anywhere tonight young lady. Did you hear me Tessa? Are you listening to me?
CUT TO -  
The interior of the house, a dirty dining-room table with a tried older looking woman sitting at it crying. A tall burly man is standing in front of her.
Oh really, please just let her go out. It’s Friday night, she just wants to go out with friends and it’s really not a big deal and-
(cuts in)
You shut your mouth. She’s not going anywhere tonight.
For god sakes, do I even get a say in any of this? I just want to go out for the evening, I’ll even be back by eleven and I can do all my chores and homework tomorrow. 
Nope. You’re not going out tonight anywhere. No more arguing with me. 
You know what, forget it. 
She gets up and crosses the room to the door, and exits. The father gets up and follows her to the door. 
Where the hell do you think you are going? 

(shouting back)
For a bike ride. I’ll be back in a bit. 

Ext. Road - Day
Wide angle shot of a dirt road surrounded by trees. Tessa pulls into the shot on her bike riding toward the camera as it pans in on her. 
Shot alongside her riding the bike, then pans around in front of her. She has a very determined look, her hair is caught in the wind.
Shot from the side of the road that follows her as she quickly passes. Only birds, bugs, and the sound of bike wheels can be heard.
CAMERA - Pans out quickly 
Bike hits a rock and swerves off the road, Tessa is thrown from the bike off the side of the road. Cut shot as if from her point of view tumbling off the side of the road into the embankment. Camera above her, her head hits a rock. Screen goes black. 

SCENE - road - dusk
Wide view of the road, bike and Tessa (her head bleeding) can be seen. Lots of white noise; bugs buzzing, birds, bushes rustling. Camera moves toward her body, noise volume increasing as the camera pans in closer. 
Shot of just her face; her eyes closed and hair matted with blood. The noise volume is unbearably loud. Her eyes open and sound cuts out. 
Now from her point of view. The sky is bright and everything has a soft glow to it. View moves to the bike and then up to the road. A boy dressed all in white is standing in front of her. 

Wide angle including Tessa and the boy. He offers his hand to pull her up and out of the ditch back to the road. 
How do you feel? 
Tessa touches her head, the blood is gone. 
Uh, fine actually.
Well come with me then. 
The scenery changes and they are still standing by the side of the road, but they are now surrounded by a dense jungle. The boy takes her hand and begins to lead her forward down the road (away from the bike). The scenery continues to change; from the jungle to a beach, to a busy city, to a field with a white house on a hill surrounded by gardens. 
(pointing to the house)
That’s the first house we lived in. I planted those tulips with my mom. 
The boy nods, but remains silent and continues to lead her down the road. Camera follows them from behind, they are both completely in shot. The scenery changes again; to a house-lined suburbia, to a large red barn, to a cow-filled pasture. 
What is this place? All these places seem so familiar? Where are we exactly? And who are you? 
We are wherever you want to be, and I am whomever you want to call me. 
She stops walking and looks around at the cows. The camera is behind her, focused on the cows, her head obscuring part of the camera’s view. 
Are they real? 
As real as you.
She walks off the road to the right towards the fence of the cow pasture. The camera follows her. The wind picks up a little and blows her hair around her face. 
(calling back to the road)
It even smells real!
Camera on the other side of the fence showing her looking at the cows. Her nose crinkles. She turns and walks back towards the road and her and the boy continue walking until they are out of shot. 
Camera in front of them. The scenery changes; a parking lot, then a schoolhouse, then a football field, a shopping center, a yellow house with bunnies in the yard, a lake surrounded by mountains. Camera moves around behind them and follows them as the walk. Her bike can be seen in the road ahead. 

That’s my bike!
Camera follows them, a body can be seen off the side of the road in the embankment. Tessa’s pace picks up. 
Is that me?
The boy nods but grabs her arm to keep her from moving forward. 
You have a choice. You can stay here (the arm not holding her extends to the scene around him) or you can go home. It’s your choice. You can go home to your mother and father and to your life, or you can stay in this world that you can create and change. You have a choice Tessa, but once you make that decision, that is where you will stay. 
But what is this place really?
I think you know. 
She turns to look at the body. The scenery changes rapidly at a blurred pace. 
This place is your for the making. You will never have another worry again. 
Shot of Tess’s face (the boy seen behind her); she looks deep in thought.
So I could stay here and do whatever I wanted, or I could just go home? 
The boy nods and walks out of shot. The Camera begins to spin around Tessa. The scenery changes to a playground filled with children, a sandbox is closest to Tessa. She walks to it (the camera follows her) squats down and runs her fingers through the sand and picks up a handful. The scenery changes to a beach with ocean waves rolling toward her, she drops the sand. The scenery changes to the old house shown at the beginning, voices can be heard inside. 
The scenery changes to a dark forest. 
CUT TO - wide angle
Tessa, the boy, the body, and the bike are all in the shot. 
I want to go home. 
The boy gestures to the bike. Tessa walks forward to pick it up the camera spins slowly around her as she approaches and goes to black when she touches the bike. 

Loud voices are heard as black fades into a white ceiling. 
Birds eye view of Tessa on a stretcher being pushed quickly by several nurses down a hall. Her head is bleeding and she is covered in cuts and bruises. 
View of ceiling, then fade into black. 
Screen is black, voices fade into audibility. 
Oh god Tessa, oh god, oh god. 
Leave the room and pull yourself together, Tess isn’t going to want to wake up to that. 
Movement can be heard, footsteps and then a door closing. There is crying in the room now. 
(whispering and crying)
Goddammit Tess. 
Tessa? Tess girl? Can you hear me? I’m so sorry for everything Tessa. I messed up, and I know it. 
View above Tessa in hospital bed, her father sitting next to her holding her hand. Her head is bandaged, her eyes are closed. She smiles and then opens her mouth a bit. 
Tess? Tessa what is it? 
Camera pans slowly in on her face.
Screen cuts to black.

Quotes from Fight Club

“You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. The right set of dishes. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you” (44). 
“Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don’t need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don’t really need. ‘We don’t have a great war in our generation, or a great depression, but we do, we have a great war of the spirit. We have a great revolution against the culture. The great depression is our lives” (149).

There is so much in this book that deals with the material world and how materialistic we are. I loved the way this quote tackles the idea of the ‘stuff’ that we have. There was so much in this story about consumerism and materialism and it really made me rethink the stuff I own and how I chose to live my life. It made me realize how little I actually have to lose and how little the things I own mean to me. When the narrator’s condo exploded and he lost everything he had ever owned, and had worked hard to get, I thought about how I would feel if I lost everything I owned. I realized how easily replaceable so much of what I own is. 

“The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club” (48).

The most famous quote from the book. People everywhere seem to know this quote. I found it ironic in the book because even though this was the first (and second) rule in fight club, very few seemed to follow it because new people showed up at fight club every day, so obviously Fight Club was being talked about. It was a huge secret, but it was also the most talked about thing in the underworld. 

“This is why I loved support groups so much, if people thought you were dying, they gave you their full attention. If this might be the last time they saw you, they really saw you. Everything else about their checkbook balance and radio songs and messy hair went out the window. You had their full attention. People listened instead of just waiting for their turn to speak. And when they spoke, they weren’t telling you a story. When the two of you talked, you were building something, and afterward you were both different than before” (107). 

I loved the way the narrator thought about his support groups and everything he is saying is true. People do treat you differently when they think you are going to die. He needed that attention and that is why he went to the support groups, because he needed that kind of honest and true connection to people (which he couldn’t get anywhere else) in order to go on living his life. 

“You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all a part of the same compost pile”... “Our culture has made us all the same. No one is truly white or black or rich, anymore. We all want the same. Individually we are nothing” (134). 
“We are God’s middle children, according to Tyler Durden, with no special place in history and no special attention. Unless we get God’s attention, we have no hope of damnation or redemption. Which is worse, hell or nothing?” (141). 

When Tyler formed Project Mayhem, I think the point was trying to work as a unit to leave their mark on the world. To have the members of Project Mayhem prove themselves to each other and to society. The idea that they are trying to make their mark on the world and leave their name behind. Doing something worth doing and something that is going to represent them, and leave them with a special place in history. But also the idea that they need to change society and rebel in order to retrieve their individuality which society has taken away from them. 

“We are not special. We are not crap or trash either. We just are” (207). 

I thought this was a beautiful and powerful ending for the book. I think this was such a huge point in the book, that we are here on this earth and we are not special, but that doesn’t mean we are nothing either. I felt like this quote really got across one of the main and most important themes in the book and really summed up what the narrator and Tyler Durden were trying to say. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Fight Club: Book Review

The narrator of Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk, leads a simple, but strange life. He spends most of his day working, and in the evenings he goes to various support groups, but not because he has any sort of debilitating disease, it’s because he cannot sleep. The narrator is an insomniac, and the only thing that helps him sleep is spend time with and to cry with the people from these support groups. It lets him get things out. After a while he notices another girl has been going to the same support groups, and he knows she is also lying about having these different diseases too. This is Marla. And she has broken his cycle, and he is back to his insomnia. And then the narrator meets Tyler Durden. Tyler who is unlike any other, who thinks that the narrator should stop going to his silly support groups and that he should solve his problems through beating Tyler up. And thus began Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is “you don’t talk about fight club”, the second rule of Fight Club is “you don’t talk about fight club” and so a new era begins, with men out there solving their own problems with a sort of scheduled violence (Palahniuk 48). But as people continue to break the first two rules of the club, the head count continues to expand, and so does Tyler’s power and so do his ideas. And so Tyler takes Fight Club to a whole new level dragging the narrator along with him, and he starts what he calls Project Mayhem. According to Tyler, Project Mayhem serves to “complete the right away destruction of civilization” (Palahniuk 125). And so Tyler drags the narrator along for his twisting and turning life but is there a deeper and darker element to the narrator and Tyler Durden’s  friendship? 
I loved this book. I loved the characters, the story, the deeper meaning of the book. I loved how it was both drastically unrealistic but also so realistic at the same time. The narrator and Tyler show what I would consider the two sides of a person. Or (since we’ve been discussing this in psychology) the narrator represents the superego and the beliefs of right and wrong with a strong side of guilt or pride, and Tyler represents the id and the desire for aggression and sex and pleasure and Marla represents the Ego and making connections with the world. There are so many pieces to this puzzle of a book and so many different ways to approach and dissect it, it was almost overwhelming the amount of meaning between the pages of this novel, and I ate it up. 
I would give this book a 10 out of 10. I really enjoyed it and found so much to be relatable to how the world is now, and even to my own life. I found myself relating to both Tyler and the narrator and even Marla. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read books which they can dissect psychologically, sociologically, philosophically, etc. I found it to be a book with such a deeper meaning than many of the books I have read recently, and a book I could spend a lot of time breaking down and pulling apart, and for that, I really enjoyed it.   

Monday, 3 June 2013

Fairytale Telephone

Once upon a time, there was a little mouse named Alaska who was very small and fat. 
They lived in a kingdom far far away, nestled beside towering mountains surrounded by crystalline pools. 
You see, our character had lost his favorite pocket watch. It was a gift from his late great-great-great grandfather and our character had reason to suspect his older cousin of stealing it. It was simply in her nature- she took what she wanted whether it was hers to take or not. 
Along came a friendly toad, his happy disposition can make even the evilest of people happy and content. 
But sadly the evil snake-man came out from under the rock where he was hiding and lashed out ready to bite the little mouse. 
But the hero overcomes our nasty villain with just one slash of his sword, the evil one is destroyed leaving out hero breathless, and with a huge mess to clean, blood stains you know. 
As our main character snuggles back into his bed, he recalls all the times he’s been through, he sighs drifts off into a warm slumber, the stars and the moon twinkling smugly. 
They have learned to be themselves and to try new things however dangerous, or ill-conceived they were. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

My Tree

The screaming sound of a chainsaw 
rips through the spring air 
I stand by the window 
and watch my tree
The tree that I grew up with 
who grew older with me 
The tree that sat in my backyard 
since the day we had moved into the house
The tree whose dead leaves we raked up in the fall 
and whose green buds we admired in the spring 
The first tree I ever climbed to the top of 
and the first tree I ever fell out of 
The tree that held my swing and me 
through summer, spring, and fall 
The tree whose roots were intwined 
with a graveyard of past pets 
The tree that housed a dove’s nest for three years straight 
and sent six little doves out into the world 
The tree my cat found his way up into 
and who I had to rescue 
The tree that gently swayed in the ocean breeze 
which sent a rustle through the leaves
The tree for squirrel meetings 
and evening owl perches 
The tree whose shade sheltered me
on those sunny sumer days 
The tree that was such a part of my life 
that I couldn’t ever imagine not having it in my yard
So as I watched it fall to the ground with a sickening thud
I knew a part of my life would be forever missing 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Into the Wild: Movie vs. Book

Though I did not so much enjoy the book version of Into the Wild, I did enjoy the movie. The movie was more from the perspective of Chris (played by Emile Hirsch) and from his point of view as he went on his journey. The film was narrated by both Chris himself and by his little sister Carine (played by Jena Malone). Though it was based on the real life of Chris McCandless, there was some fictional elements to this story. A whole romance between one of the girls that he meets along his journey that was probably added to the movie for a more dramatic effect when Chris leaves. It held pretty true to what was known about Chris’s life and travels, just a little bit of drama added to make the movie more exciting for the viewer. I really liked the way that the film cut back and forth between Chris’s travel life and his life before it left. This was another thing that I think held the viewer engaged and really helped the movie from getting too boring, or from dragging too much. The film itself had great cinematography and was beautifully shot. I think had I not read the book before seeing the movie, I would have enjoyed the movie much more because I wouldn’t have associated how much I didn’t enjoy the book, with the movie. Overall though, I really did appreciate the movie much more than the book. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Review of Into the Wild by Jon Krakeuer

Chris had been described as a smart guy who lived by what he believed in and did the things he wanted to do, so how did he end up dead in the Alaskan wilderness? This is Into the Wild, a true story of the life of Chris McCandless as researched and written by Jon Krakeuer. Chris grew up with his parents and his little sister Carine in a small town. He went to college at Emory and after graduation he decided to pack up and hit the road. He gave all of his savings to charity and burned what remaining cash he had. He told no one his plans of leaving or where he planned to go. He left with the intentions of going into the ultimate wilderness, America’s frontier; Alaska. He wanted to be alone in the wilderness, and to live off the land, and what better place to do that, than Alaska. Chris took up the altar-ego of Alexander Supertramp which would be the name he would carve into the many locations he would visit. He worked and hitchhiked his way throughout the states, making many friends, seeing the country, and spreading his story and plans. But it wasn’t long before he decided it was time to make his way up to Alaska. He hiked into Alaska with a rifle, a bag of rice, a book about edible plants, and only a few other things to keep him going through the time he would be in the wild. But had he forgotten about where he was, about what life he had left behind? Had Chris missed some key elements about living in the wild?
Sadly I did not enjoy this book as much as I hoped. I found it to be more like a very long magazine article. I was however, very impressed with the amount of research that went into this book. Krakeuer obviously spent a lot of time piecing together the elements of Chris’s life and ultimately figured out what killed Chris. I have a high amount of respect for Krakeuer’s efforts.  Initially, before I had began reading the book I had thought it was a work of fiction and was a little taken aback by the seemingly fiction-like elements of this novel. I also found that Krakeuer seemed to glamorize what Chris had done, something I daresay did not agree with. To me, Chris had a sort of arrogance and ignorance, which in the end led to his untimely death. I feel Chris’s story should have been presented a little differently. 
I would give this book a 6 out of 10. I really had very high hopes for this book, but I was a bit let down. I feel that the book was dragged out and that after a while I didn’t feel like I was learning anything new. But I know that some people really like this type of story. I recommend it for those who enjoy the likes of My Everest Story or other true-life adventure stories. Sadly, these kind of stories are not my cup of tea.