Betwixt & Between: A Metaphysical Drama

Episode I: Those on the Verge
Ianto, an adolescent boy, struggles to find belonging in his urban home. Estranged from his sister, prohibited by his father, and even amongst his friends, a gang of misfit freaks, Ianto finds himself an exile amongst outcasts. For he possesses a power that sets him apart from all those who live – he can perceive lingering spirits of the deceased. Sympathising with these restless ghosts, Ianto patrols the streets under dark of night, a vigilante defender of the dearly departed and guide to the lost souls.

However, as he wanders the shadows, he harbours his own personal agenda – he seeks the spirit of his beloved mother, who mysteriously died while he was very young. Racked with grief and tormented by terrible nightmares, Ianto cannot find it within himself to live on without her, contemplating suicide in his desperation to be reunited. Until, one day, a new girl transfers into his school, Ophelia, who bears a striking resemblance to Ianto’s mother, and he is enchanted by her.

That night, Ianto is attacked by a horde of soul-devouring wraiths, but he is rescued by Ophelia, who demonstrates her own supernatural powers, just like his own. They hit it off as kindred spirits, but Ophelia is stalked by a cloaked, wicked Phantom. Envious of Ianto, determined to eliminate him, the Phantom targets and kidnaps his little sister, Haruna.

Grim Reaper

Episode II: Call of the Abyss
Ianto learns of Haruna’s disappearance, but in his cold-hearted resentment, he instead heads to meet up with his friends at their regular hangout – an extraordinary antique shop run by an eccentric, middle-aged man, Cadwallader, one of the only places Ianto feels at peace. But Cadwallader scolds him for his callousness toward his sister, reminding him of the dangers that lurk in the shadows.

Ianto reluctantly agrees to search for her, and the gang heads out into the streets, lead by a swarm of Soulwraiths to her location at an abandoned factory, where she is held in an elaborate trap. As the possibility of losing his sister becomes all too real, Ianto’s true feelings for his sister take over, and he desperately struggles to save her, playing into the hands of the Phantom. However, Cadwallader unveils his true colours as he wields his own supernatural powers, sparing Ianto and Haruna. But the Phantom tenaciously strikes back, trapping them all in the factory and setting it ablaze. They are miraculously rescued by Ophelia who drives the Phantom away, but he leaves Ianto with cold, startling words, that he and his “organisation” possess the spirit of his mother.

Returning safely with his sister, Ophelia explains the Phantom was a ghost boy named Malik, who in her loneliness, she once fell in love with, but when he plunged into madness and attempted to take her life to bind them together, she left him, and heartbroken, he joined a crooked organisation of Phantoms, the ‘Cythraul’. Now, he haunts her night and day, ensuring she remains his and his alone. She tells Ianto it’s too dangerous for him to be around her, for him to stay away. He refuses, but the Phantom, Malik, appears once again, demanding Ophelia join forces with the Cythraul, or Ianto, his friends and his family will perish. Unwilling to put anyone else in danger, she accepts his offer. Ianto is powerless to stop her, and she strides away with Malik into the Abyss.

Andromeda

Episode III: Naught’s Threshold
Ianto and his friends return to the antique shop, where Ianto immediately confronts Cadwallader, aware of his ability to perceive ghosts, and demands he reveal everything else he’s hiding. Unable to conceal the truth any longer, Cadwallader admits he was taught to see ghosts by Ianto’s mother, Aerona, as they were once close friends, and research partners.

Confessing their history as paranormal scientists, they endeavoured to ease the pain of their city after a Great Fire reduced it to ashes. To this end, they created a divine instrument called “The Ark”, an almighty vessel with the power to ferry lost souls into the afterlife, bringing peace to the myriads of lost souls. However, the Revenant Phantoms of the Cythraul launched an assault upon them, striving to claim the Ark’s power for their own, Aerona making the ultimate sacrifice, and giving her life to destroy the Ark.

Ianto, furious with Cadwallader for leaving him in the dark all this time, and determined to rescue Ophelia and his Mother’s soul, barges into Cadwallader’s Nexus, a station between worlds, and plunges through an abyssal vortex, Naught’s Threshold, in pursuit of Malik. His friends, owing their loyalty to Ianto and Ophelia, vow to help him rescue her, and after Cadwallader teaches them to perceive and battle with Phantoms, they follow Ianto into the Abyss. Arriving in the Spectral Realm, they behold the dominion of their enemy – a vast, gothic castle floating amongst the dark clouds.

Soul Reaver - Abyss

These are the first three episodes of the six episode series I am writing for the Major Project of my Scriptwriting MA, entitled Betwixt & Between. This story, the tale of the teenage boy searching for the soul of his Mum, has consumed my creative life for the best part of a year. It is my proudest work to date, and is thus far in my writing career, the closest thing I have to a Magnum Opus. It has challenged and driven me, as I have challenged and driven it, the two of us, writer and script, in constant evolution, mutation and development, adapting to new ideas and accommodating constructive feedback. I’m a very different person than I was a year ago, but my spirit remains untarnished and unchanged. Reflecting me, my script’s surface is also radically transfigured, but at its core, the essence remains pure and staunchly unaltered.

I consider this story a contemporary fairy-tale, a teen fantasy, and a Metaphysical drama, exploring profound dimensions of psychological and spiritual character. It treks across a vast galaxy of thematic worlds, its title, Betwixt & Between, the quintessence of its very greatest, as its characters find themselves between childhood and adulthood, life and death, light and darkness. Though it strongly concerns itself with subjects such as Death, Friendship, Dreams, Memory and Existentialism, Ianto’s journey is ultimately one of Coming of Age. Ianto begins as a childish, selfish, lost little boy, and ends having taken a great step in becoming a man.

Great Expectations

The script, like its writer and protagonist, indeed sports its fair share of flaws – confusion of character motivations, dependence of flashbacks to convey exposition, and is somewhat damsel-in-distressy. My strategy to improve the script has not been to eliminate these elements, but consciously utilise them, twisting and toying with them until they can no longer be recognised as flaws, but strengths, and am now proud of their inclusion within the script.

I cannot take all the credit though, as I owe a great debt to many works of art and theory that have inspired this tale. In all likelihood, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and their film adaptations have played the greatest role in evoking this story, and igniting my storytelling passion from the very beginning. From the stories I was praised for in primary school, to the Major Project of my Masters Degree, Rowling has sub-consciously possessed me, and taken every step for me, while every protagonist I have conceived has been constructed around the template of her own Boy Who Lived. She dwells within me, as Harry dwells within Ianto.

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_CoverHarry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2

While the very end of my MA is swiftly arising, the day of reckoning is at hand, and I stand at the precipice, gazing into the endlessly swirling abyss that is my future, I wonder what will become of scriptwriter Kyle Thomas Rees. Where will I go, what will I do, how far will I fall, how bravely will I fight, how passionately will I love? All I know is, if I’m ever in doubt, I can put faith in the characters of my own stories, and wonder “What would Ianto do?” and maybe, things will work out for the better, or not. But right now, my excitement for what’s to come mostly involves the mere fact that although my MA is over, Betwixt & Between is not even close. I still have Episode IV: Dark Shores, V: The Schism, and VI: The Ark, to write and develop, and the best is yet to come.

And for those hungry for another taste of my production, here is a small extract of the Major Project Script itself. Enjoy, and please do feel free to offer your feedback!

Betwixt & Between: Episode I Extract

The Hero with a Thousand Croissants

Having returned from my travels through France, I find myself renewed as a writer – not necessarily in the language department, but in the spiritual. The enlightenment of all I saw and experienced in this foreign terrain and culture has bequeathed me a bountiful feast of new ideas and new perspectives to reflect upon my projects, and to conceive the new.

Croissant Face

Simply taking a month away from my writing was beneficial in itself, as I could escape the monotonous grind it was slowly becoming, replenish the reservoir of ambition and willpower, grease the imaginative cogs and gears turning in my mind, and reignite the passion that had gone from a blazing inferno in September to a dwindling candle by May. I could also review my own work with a more unbiased gaze, free from the narrow trails of thought I’d lost myself in, and able to think outside the box.

I didn’t travel across France alone though, I took with me a companion by the name of Joseph Campbell, or at least, a small body of his work known as “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.

The Hero With A Thousand Faces

This insightful, inspiring, revolutionary and revelationary book took me on a journey into the very heart and soul of stories, from their genesis within the human psychology and the realms of our dreams, to the planes of myth, legend and fairy-tale, where they are released for the conscious mind to marvel at. Campbell orchestrates his paradigm for all stories, known as “The Hero’s Journey”, carefully illustrating each stage and development that all protagonists must traverse, and intricately identifies each character archetype it will encounter. He utilises a rich archive of recounted dreams, documented by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, juxtaposed with stories from mythology, fairy tales and religion, to demonstrate his theories.

Amaterasu Emerges Amaterasu Emerges

It was a far heavier read than I had anticipated, perhaps not the ideal source of relaxation for a weary traveler in his hostel bed and on bumpy train journeys – but in terms of illumination and inspiration, it did no less than rock me to my core. Not to mention single-handedly allowed me to finally conceive of the plot-twist that perfectly seals the gaping plot-hole in my Major Project, which I’d been wrestling with for the best part of half a year.
Theseus & the Minotaur Theseus & the Minotaur

Does this mean I was simply copying from classic mythology? Yes, absolutely … but then the very message of the book, is that there isn’t a writer alive today or in all of history, who doesn’t do the very same with every story they author. There is only one universal story, one journey, one hero, and it has over 7 billion faces and counting. So it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, for anyone looking for an interesting and evocative read, look no further, and for puzzled writers seeking inspiration, this holds the answers to all your riddles and prayers!

Gautama Buddha beneath the Bodhi Tree Gautama Buddha beneath the Bo Tree

On the plane home, I felt I was ready to conquer the world, figuratively and literally. Unfortunately, a few rather monstrous trolls decided to block my bridge, rain on my parade and poop all over my party upon arriving home from my joyous holiday. I was met with two disheartening marks – a 58 for my Radio script “The Painted World” and a 55 for my Adaptation Treatment “Final Crisis”. The disappointment in myself, the frustration of the contradictory and prejudiced feedback, and the doubts I have for the future, have all amounted to a devastating blow to my motivation, and self-esteem as a writer I’m still dealing with at this very moment, and must overcome if I am to put my heart into my final Major Project to ensure its mark turns out stronger.

Saturn swallowing his children Saturn Swallowing his Children

But as a lover of storytelling, I should have foreseen this turn in the narrative, for every hero always hits her lowest, before she achieves her ultimate victory. Indeed, she must undergo her spiritual demise, the death of her hopes and dreams, before receiving her divine revelation, and resurrecting more powerful than ever before, attaining apotheosis, and sharing her enlightenment with the universe. Just watch me!

Earthrise Earthrise

The Wolf, the Witch and the Painting.

Since I was a wee lad, I’ve always wanted to write my own answer to The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and Spirited Away, the archetypal fantasy adventure stories involving prepubescent girls being whisked off into magical, oneiric fairy tale worlds, with all the surrealist/psycho-realist/Freudian/Jungian undertones you can eat!

Wizard of OzAlice in WonderlandSpirited Away

My adoration of these enchanting children’s stories has only deepened, amplified and invigorated alongside my understanding of them, as well as my desire to create my own.
For my MA Short Script Module, we were tasked with exploring the National Museum of Cardiff to each find our own story inspired and set in this location, writing down all the noteworthy things we could see, hear and smell. Whilst having a lot of fun, I wasn’t initially very inspired, and hated the three ideas I forced out of myself. I knew I had to go back to the drawing board, and recalled my passion for children’s fantasy. Merging these two writing trials together, I conceived my Short Script, entitled, “The Painted World.” It is the story of a lonely girl with a wild imagination who, upon visiting a museum and becoming mesmerised by a particular painting, is drawn into its magical world, and must find the way to escape. I may have slightly cheated in regards to the “set within a museum” limitation, but its within a painting within a museum, so technically it’s still fair game.

Alongside those three fantasies, I took inspiration from countless others – Little Red Riding Hood, The Lord of the Rings, and The Snow Queen. However, there is one particular story to which this script owes a great debt in regard to inspiration. If you’ve been following this blog, you couldn’t be blamed for believing Final Fantasy VII is my absolute favourite video game, but there are also others to which my heart belongs. One of them is called Dark Souls, and one particular level involves the player being drawn into a world within a painting, known as “The Painted World of Ariamis.”

The Painted World of AriamisThe Painted World of Ariamis 2

Visually, stylistically and thematically, my own “Painted World” draws much of its vision from this: a frozen landscape containing lonely, extraordinary creatures, and at its peak awaits an enigmatic but beautiful feminine abomination.

Crossbreed Priscilla

Crossbreed Priscilla, a powerful dragon-human hybrid, offered much inspiration visually for the Antagonist of my story, ‘The Sorceress’. They are very different characters in regard to motivations and personality, but they share one strong attribute – they are prisoners within the Painted World. There is one other character in Dark Souls to whom one of my characters owes much of its conception, while not residing in the ‘Painted World of Ariamis’, still found its way into my own “Painted World” – The Great Grey Wolf Sif, a gigantic wolf guarding the grave of his master, who inspired my own Great Wolf named Fenris, Guardian of the Forest.

Great Grey Wolf Sif

At this point, you probably think everything in my Short Script was completely ripped off. After all, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” But not quite, the true heart of my story comes very much from my own heart, possibly more so than any script I’ve ever written. My writing is often more a medium of escapism for me than expression, as I often like to distance myself from my stories and create fictional worlds that have little in common with my own, and characters I feel minimal relation to. “The Painted World”, however, could potentially be my first autobiographical script, with so much of myself hidden between the lines.
This came as a result of one of the criteria of the Short Script, which was to write it under two opposing themes we feel connects strongly to the story of our own lives. I chose the themes Friendship VS Solitude. The protagonist, Violet, with her unique, imaginative nature, is estranged from her peers and bullied for her differences. Enduring such hardship as a result of her own nature, she grew to resent it, and ultimately hate herself. Locking herself away in a lonely ivory tower of self-loathing, she pushes away anyone who attempts to befriend her, believing herself too worthless for mutual affection and fearing the consequences of opening her heart to others – how can anyone love her, if she cannot love herself? “The Painted World” is thus a spiritual journey for Violet, where she must confront her fears and overcome her fatal flaw, realising and obtaining the power and love of friendship as her prize. Having been through similar emotional stages in my past that still echo in my present, I feel more symbiotically bound to Violet than any protagonist I’ve ever written, and writing this story was not just therapeutic, but a spiritual journey in itself, for me.

Despite the passion and care I have invested into this script, the chances of me ever seeing it produced are supposedly slim at best. I originally conceived it as a short film, with live action sequences for Violet’s real world, and painted animation sequences for within the Painted World. With the production costs of animating this picture being somewhat sky-scraping,  and eager to experiment in different mediums, I transformed the Screenplay into a Radio Script, with one of the advantages of Radio being it can be set anytime, anyplace, as long as it can be imagined, and cost little more than any other Radio play.
However, I haven’t exactly heard of many avenues for children’s radio plays, and had this fact dishearteningly hammered into me by one of my tutors, which was far from an inspiring final session to be sent off from, the opposite in fact – I felt like I’d wasted months of my time and effort, and watched all the zeal, spirit and passion I’d invested in the script go up in smoke, and descended into one of those “Why do I even bother writing” periods. Wasn’t pleasant.
Nevertheless, you can’t keep a good monster down, and it’ll take more than a little deconstructive criticism to scratch my hide. Regardless of this “brutal honesty”, my tutor was wrong. There are many outlets for children’s radio, from the CBBC, to online podcasts, to independent broadcasters. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but even if the script never gets brought to life, I’ll take pride in the script itself, and the knowledge I gave it my very best shot.

And now for something, completely different. Having submitted my Short Script, I now have all summer free to hone and refine my Major Project to perfection, but before I can indulge, I must first find new inspiration, which I shall hopefully during my month long travel through the fantastic Froglands of France, and a little of Italy. So wish me Bon Voyage, and have a wonderful June without me. Au revoir!

Eurotrip

‘Approach to the Inmost Cave’

Much has transpired since my last post, in both my personal life and writer’s journey, my passions and emotions trialled, tested and emboldened. I presently sit in a stage of transience and respite, beside a bonfire, resting to recover my strength from the trials behind, reflecting upon the lessons I have learned to replenish my will, and preparing for the trials that await yonder the next threshold.

Having written a first draft of my MA Short Script, a Fantasy entitled “The Painted World”, I’ve been presented with an interesting challenge upon redrafting – to convert the medium of the script from Film to Radio. While conceiving this story, I refused to lean towards any particular format of scriptwriting, knowing the only transition I’ve made thus far during the MA course is from Film to TV, and relished the challenge of writing a theatre or radio script to broaden my horizons as a writer. When presenting my ideas and synopsis to the class, the consensus of my peers and teacher seemed to be that the story would work best as a Short Film, transitioning between Live Action for the naturalistic scenes to Animation for the Fantastical scenes, something I agreed was the ideal way of telling this story.
However, this Short Script module was meant to be a chance for experimentation, to try something new and expand the diversity of your slate, which for me, another Short Film certainly wouldn’t. Also, to take myself seriously as a writer and not just treat the module as a University exercise, I cannot deny the chances of getting a Short Film with lengthy, ambitious animated scenes commissioned, preferably with hand painted animation to create the perfect aesthetic, are terribly slim with my current record. Thus upon reading the completed Short Screenplay out with my class, we came to the realisation the most feasible method of getting this script produced was to refashion it as a Short Radio piece, radically plummeting the production costs, widening the scope of my script ambitions infinitely, and even playing to my strengths as a writer, with my style of wordsmithery notoriously novelistic in narrative tone, matching Radio even more ideally. Perhaps, if this script is successfully commissioned and makes a handsome profit, I could one day revert it back to its perfect Filmic form, but who knows perhaps this experiment could not only convert my script, but convert me from a Screenwriter to a Radio Scriptwriter forever, ridding me of any desire to return it to Film. Only time will tell, and for now, I delight in pursuing this auspicious ‘Call to Adventure’ and plunge headfirst into the mysterious world of Radio.

I have also received the long awaited results of my Script Analysis Essay, for which I received a 74%, accompanying my 76% for the Presentation, giving me an overall Distinction for Script Analysis, by far my best marks on the MA course thus far. Ironic that on a Scriptwriting course I would prove most capable in the theory departments, but perhaps this is telling me something. Compelled to offer my gratitude to my Tutor Jesse for such generous marks, he offered his congratulations and commended me for my skill in this field of analysis, proposing that if I were to widen the scope and deepen the depth of my research, the results could be outstanding, and that I might want to consider taking this into further study at PHD level. I’m a sucker for flattery, and can’t deny I bear an indulgent passion for analysing Scripts of stories, I love using psycho-analytic paradigms like Campbell and Vogler’s “Hero’s Journey”, which I practically consider my bibles. Presenting on the anime Berserk was an absolute blast, and my essay on Code Geass is probably the most enjoyable essay I’ve ever written, so perhaps this could be my true calling. I embarked on the MA Scriptwriting course to pursue a career in Writing, but instead, I may have found an unlikely one in Script Analysis. Of course, having been in education without rest since I was 3 years old and in dire need of a break after my MA, the very idea of a PHD fries my brain, so this will be something to consider for later in life. But my horizons continue to seem less narrow, and I’m beginning to doubt I have any idea where I’ll end up. This intrigues and excites me to no end.

Presently however, the heart and soul of my work remains where it has been for the entirety of the course – my Major Project, Betwixt & Between. At long last, after many months of drafting pitches, synopsis and Treatments to formulate the story as perfectly as possible, I’ve finally completed a first draft of the script, at least, 3 of the 6 episodes which are required for submission. I will be writing all 6 before the final deadline and will hopefully get the chance to choose between them, but for now, the first 3 have my attention. With the madness and pressure of life combined with the scarcity and evanescent nature of time, the first draft was rushed to a ridiculous degree, and it shows in its roughness. But, upon reading it back with my peers and Tutor, I’m confident I’ve managed to create the true skeleton of my story, with signs of life already beginning to show. Having received feedback, I’m already hard at work fleshing out the skeleton, grafting it’s muscles and organs to sustain it, mending the plot-holes and finding the perfect narrative tone. Some of the biggest points of my feedback were to stop “getting in the way” and being too “on the nose” … I’m honestly not entirely sure what these entail, for how I’m supposed to put my heart and soul into a script without “getting in the way” puzzles me. If I was to hold back my writing style and not embellish my characters, scenarios and dialogue with my own passion, it wouldn’t be my work, and it wouldn’t be fun. If I feel like I’m writing somebody else’s story, or the writing feels more like work than fun, I know I’m doing something wrong. The key then is to find the right balance between writing with my own style and adhering to what audiences will relate to. This isn’t an exercise in self-indulgence after all.
In regards to being too “on the nose”, this is also something that frustrates me about critiques. I’ve always been taught the art of writing is saying as much as possible with as few words as possible, which means being direct with your metaphors and dialogue. How then can something be too direct, too on the nose, am I supposed to not just portray what I mean but make constant poetic analogies and obscure my meaning even further? This pretty much is going to be the crux of my challenge – coming to terms and understanding this criticism, and correcting my mistakes, however punishing I have to be with myself. I will also take these into account while moving forward with episodes 4,5 and 6.

Alas, the MA course nears the final frontier, swerving around the penultimate corner and approaching the Inmost Cave. If this was a story and we were the heroes, right now we’d arm ourselves literally to the teeth, make mad passionate love, have one last laugh and a final cigarette before going over the top into No-Man’s land, and where better for this glorious preparation, the icing on the Scriptwriting cake, to take place, than the wonderful land of Gregynog. Locked away in an estate with no phone signal, minimal internet access, where nobody can hear us scream. Just us, the nature of the grounds, the haunting architecture of the mansion, our completed drafts of our Major Projects, feasts of delectable food fit for the divine, and plenty of booze to go around. The experience was amazing, a short but oh so sweet blast of fun, inspiration and intoxication, living and breathing writing as I’ve always wished to do, enjoying a brief weekend of untarnished Hakuna Matata away from my mortal troubles. Above all, it was one last celebration of friendship, a testament to the powerful bonds formed between our little MA class, a true family complete with instabilities and all. In one last vow of unity, we stand together as we stare ahead, readying to confront the horrors of ‘The Ordeal’ that is our Major Project’s final completion, before receiving our ‘Reward’, the final marks, heading on ‘The Road Back’ that is choosing where our futures lie, between ‘ordinary world’ and ‘special world’, before finally ‘Returning with the Elixir’ and graduating … hopefully so, at least.Gregynog

Final Fantasy VII Adaptation Dream Cast!

With the Treatment of my Adaptation of Final Fantasy VII, entitled Final Crisis, now complete and submitted, I find myself imagining what it would be like if a big shot Hollywood Producer took a shine to it, and decided to commission it. Having reimagined the story for screen, I find myself obligated to offer a few ideas in terms of cast, after all, not just any drama school drop-out could dare take on such esteemed and challenging character roles. So, without further ado, here is my super amazing awesome fantabulistical dream cast;

Cloud Strife – Chris Hemsworth

Cloud StrifeChris Hemsworth
Oh yeah, drop Mjolnir and pick up your Buster Sword Chris! With the rugged exterior and pretty boy face to match, all he needs is 500 gallons of hair gel and Chris has this protagonist in the bag!

Tifa Lockhart – Mila Kunis

Tifa LockhartMila Kunis

Cool it boys! I’m sure we all remember Tifa as the busty, arse kicking goddess who trumped Lara Croft as the most iconic and sexy female in gaming, and who could possibly fit into her bra- uh, shoes, than the goddess that is Mila Kunis? Don’t worry though, she’s totally not just eye candy there to pleasure the male gaze, she’s quite the complex character at the centre of this story’s incredibly convoluted drama. The fact she’s aesthetically voluptuous is just a bonus.

Aerith Gainsborough – Emma Stone

Aerith GainsboroughEmma Stone

I’d say Emma captures the grace, innocence and divinity of the last living Cetra quite well indeed, and makes tough competition against Mila for Chris’ heart. For those who aren’t aware, the fate of this character is eternally engraved into the hearts of all gamers as probably the most famous, shocking and heartbreaking moment in the history of the art form. Could Emma replicate Aerith’s astronomical influence in the realm of Cinema?

Barret Wallace – Mr. T

Barret WallaceMr T

Well, duh!? This is kind of awkward, considering Barret seemed to have been originally written with Mr. T in mind, as if he was the only black person the Japanese writers had ever been exposed to, and in their efforts to be progressive, were kind of accidentally racist … oh well, he’ll be better in the movie, I swear!

Rufus Shinra – Guy Pearce

Rufus ShinraGuy Pearce

His role may have been merged with that of his father and significantly shortened, but the megalomaniacal President of Shinra Inc still plays a vital part in this story, so he deserves a notoriously wicked and brilliant actor to assume him. Thanks Guy, you’ll eat this one for breakfast!

Hojo – Hugo Weaving

Hojo 2Hugo Weaving

Every Sci-Fi, good or bad, needs an evil genius scientist, and with this story at its absolute core actually being about genetic engineering, Hojo plays a most critical role. We all know Hugo has that demented quality in most of his characters, so you can’t get much more ideal. Especially considering Hojo is argued to be the true villain of this story, when you really think about it, cutting Hugo’s work out for him.

Zack Fair – Kit Harington

Zack FairKit Harington

Easy girls! Zack isn’t just eye-candy for the female gaze either, he’s pretty much the character that turns this story’s plot from somewhat complex to completely mind-blowing … or mind-numbing if it’s not your thing. For those lucky enough to have played Crisis Core, we know Zack is a Hero in every sense of the word, and a dreamboat to boot. Who else but Game of Thrones’ own heartthrob Kit Harington could do him justice? So ladies, is it team Chris, T, Guy, Hugo or Kit you’re rooting for? Or…

Sephiroth – David Bowie

SephirothDavid Bowie

One of the most legendary gaming villains meets one of the most legendary musicians and actors of all time. Lets face it, Bowie has probably been Sephiroth a good few times already, so this won’t be much of a challenge for him. I can’t think of another living person capable of personifying the iconic role of the oh so insane and malevolent fallen angel Sephiroth quite like Bowie could. How is Chris ever gonna defeat him?

Jenova – Angelina Jolie

JenovaAngelina Jolie

Angelina, I think I’ve found the role you were born to play! I mean, you don’t have any lines, or actions. You’re basically an ancient extra-terrestrial dug up by scientists and used in genetic experiments to fulfil a religious prophecy of finding the paradise of the Promised Land, but all you really do is sit in a jar while a bunch of dudes infused with your cells literally go insane … I know, this is so you!

And that’s it for the main cast, at least the ones who made it into the Treatment. I know, I can’t believe Barret made it in but Cid didn’t either! Nevertheless, this is Hollywood, and we’ll need a few cameos! When I finally get around to writing the screenplay, I couldn’t leave the rest out now could I?

Red XIII – Sir Christopher Lee (Voice)

Red XIIISir Christopher Lee

 

Yuffie Kisaragi- Ellen Wong

Yuffie KisaragiEllen Wong

 

Cid Highwind – Bryan Cranston

Cid HighwindBryan Cranston

 

Cait Sith – David Tennant (Voice)

Cait SithDavid Tennant

 

Vincent Valentine – Benedict Cumberbatch

Vincent ValentineActor Benedict Cumberbatch poses as he arrives for the world premiere of "Anna Karenina" at the Odeon Leicester Square in London

 

Reno – Shia Labeouf

RenoShia Labeouf

 

Rude – Wesley Snipes

RudeWesley Snipes

 

Elena – Emma Watson

ElenaEmma Watson

 

Tseng – Reggie Lee

TsengReggie Lee

 

No, Don Corneo is not going in. I’m not doing the cross-dressing scene. What kind of a writer do you take me for? Chris would look pretty in drag though …

Cloud Crossdresser

 

Working Adaptation Title: Final Crisis

For some ungodly reason unbeknownst to me, I’ve tasked myself with adapting Final Fantasy VII into a feature length screenplay, with the hopes of somehow retelling it in a realistic setting, thus having to strip it of most Fantasy elements. Let me repeat that; I’m rewriting Final Fantasy, without the Fantasy!
Well, where better to start than the title I suppose? Final Crisis, as well as a reference to Crisis Core, I’d say works well. I mean, it’s basically a story about a ridiculous-haired guy who carries a giant sword and has a severe identity crisis, you can’t get much more appropriate. As for where and when I’m gonna set this ridiculous story … give me time on that one. I know this question tends to tempt fate, but seriously, how hard can it be?

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends”

Back to Uni, back to the writing grindstone. I have quite the year of work ahead,but looking at what’s in store, I can’t wait to get started!

Having received feedback for my Major Project Treatment Betwixt & Between, I have lots to do in terms of developing and refining my idea before starting the script, mostly involving the streamlining and simplifying of the narrative, making many character histories and motivations clearer, and hardest of all, axing one of my characters completely. It’s gonna be tough, but ruthlessness is key, after all, I’m not just writing for self-indulgence.

I’ll also be starting work on my Adaptation Treatment, hoping to adapt a video game into a film. I know what you’re thinking, it’s gonna be a shambles, and based on the history of video game adaptations, I’d tend to agree. But that in itself is one of my greatest motives for choosing this medium – to break the mold, conquer the stereotype, and alter audiences perceptions; that video games can tell brilliant stories, that they are a magnificent art form in their own right, and that they are indeed compatible with cinema. I originally thought about adapting the classic cult game franchise Legacy of Kain,  particularly focusing on the Soul Reaver games and following the character of Raziel in a tragic tale of vampires, revenge and destiny, but considering the vast scale and complexity of the narrative, I don’t think it would be entirely suitable. Perhaps in future, but no for the assignment.
I also thought about the video game Dark Souls, which many players, me included, thought the game barely possessed a story at all upon first glance. However, from reading between the lines, paying closer attention to detail, and hearing the theories in online forums, I soon discovered the game is rich with a glorious lore, an incredible tragedy told implicitly, and to me represents one of the best told stories in any video game. However, it’s the very implicitness and polysemic mode that make the story so great, and I’m not entirely sure implicit storytelling is entirely suited to the cinematic experience. Maybe it’ll make for some interesting experiments in future, but for Uni, probably better to play it safe and only break the rules I know well.
While I’m still not entirely confirmed, the idea I’m becoming increasingly set on pursuing is a big one indeed, possibly the biggest – Final Fantasy VII. Yep. Love it or hate it, FFVII was THE game that pushed gaming itself into the mainstream, it made audiences eyes pop, jaws drop, and think ‘Hmm, maybe video games can tell great stories after all’. As an homage to one of the greatest and most important games ever made, as a tribute to one of my favourites, and in the hopes of retelling this truly amazing, life-changing story, I plan on adapting it to the screen. It will no doubt require some brutal cutting down, streamlining and simplifying (it’s becoming a theme I think), but I’m so in love with this story, as I was when I first played it, I can’t bring myself not to try.

Finally, I have a short script to work on, which I intend to make my first independent theatre script. I’ve done film to death, I’m having a go at TV, it seems only right to give theatre its fair chance, perhaps radio too. I honestly have too many ideas right now to pin down one, but I hope to make this my attempt at experimenting, from trying out a new medium, to a new genre, to a new writing style. Who knows, maybe I’ll discover a new passion, and be reborn as a writer. Or it could be an utter catastrophe of biblical proportions and I’ll quit writing forever out of shame. Nah, that’ll never happen …. right?