Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Storytelling and Commission - Script to Screen - OGR #1

1 comment:

  1. 21/01/16

    Hi Pip,

    I think you're onto something here - with the discontented son and the father killing and stuffing his pet as a final straw leading to some macabre final tableau. For me, however, the whole taxidermy + home furnishings element is 'too much', and I think it's because your squishing in the candle element. It's too much, because it doesn't seem like a credible profession. You need a simpler, more immediate set-up; so maybe, you have the family business, Taxidermy, and the son who is disinterested in the ghoulish profession. Perhaps the son dreams of being a vet (the very worst thing for a taxidermist! A son who wants to be a vet!). The son dreams of saving animals. The father dreams of stuffing them. We see the son being put to work in the pet cemetery, digging up the corpses etc. What we find out, however is that the son is, in fact, studying to be a vet - staying up late all hours, working always my candlelight. The boy has a number of candles in his room just for this purpose. Maybe it isn't a cat that befriends the boy; maybe it's an owl, who comes to his window at night (owls are synonymous with intellect and study and wisdom). So, the father discovers his secret one night; he comes in, sees the books, sees the owl, and in a rage takes all the candles away: 'No son of my mine will ever be a vet!' Anyway, the boy comes down the next day to find the owl stuffed; and that's the last straw; the final shot is the boy reading his vet books at night by candle light, only we see the father is himself being made to hold the candle so that his son can study to become a vet - only we suddenly understand his father his dead, stuffed... It all feels rather Dickensian to me - Victorian gothic style; it has a whiff of Edward Gorey about it (look up his illustrations) and also Oyster Boy by Tim Burton. It's basically your story, but I'd suggest that the conflict between father and son is set up more quickly and it's a bit more recognisable to the audience. I was thinking in the opening shots you could show a load of family portraits which show that for years and years and years, all the family has done is taxidermy... Anyway, something for you to think about.