Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Aborted Fetus

If any of you were wondering what I was doing when I said I have a lot of work to do - and most of you are family and friends who just shake their heads in disdain - here is a sample.

This is more or less the first act of a movie that seems will never be done. The story is about a man who will be sad for five minutes if he is happy for five minutes. He believes himself to be the center of the universe, so he makes sure that he does not become happy, lest the whole world descends into unhappiness. One day, he falls in love. Hijinks ensue, while the man tries to prevent the world from descending into nuclear war, by making himself sad again.

It is perhaps too high concept - no less than two people have told me as such. No one - well, maybe one or two - would want to see this movie. Hence, it would be a 500K loss to anyone who would want to fund it.

So, I thought, since many people expressed to me an interest in writing scripts, but has never done so, maybe I can just share the story here.

This is of course NOT the finished script. This is what I call a treatment breakdown, where I just take the treatment and try to initially break it down into scenes. I have yet to polish them, and the dialogue process is a long way away.

Here's how I write scripts:

1. Synopsis
2. Treatment
3. Treatment Breakdown
4. Hijinks Ensue
5. Full Breakdown
6. Dialogue
5. Polishing (rewrite)
6. Polishing
7. Polishing
8. Polishing
9. Polishing
10. Polishing
11. Polishing
12. Polishing
13. Polishing
14. Polishing
15. Polishing
16. Polishing
17. Polishing

And if I'm lucky, a movie gets made.

I have read several books on scriptwriting, and each writer have their own way of doing it. Mine is like an assembly line kind of thing.

There are better writers, and better scripts available at IMSDB.com. I am sharing this simply because I enjoyed writing it several weeks ago and I believe it might be at least 50 years before I can do this story, as it has been rejected by almost every major production house in Malaysia.

The copyright is mine, though I must admit, I stole some of the structure and scenes from Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Amelie, which remains one of my favourite films of all time. Jeunet directed Amelie and wrote the scenes, while Guillaume Laurant wrote the dialogue for it. I wrote this one all on my own.

The second and third acts are all here, in my PC. A similar skeleton, without yet the meat, sinews, phlegm, cartilage and skin.

So, if you're into that sort of thing, please enjoy this, whatever it is. It is peppered with mistakes and I apologise profusely for whatever flaws here, as they are all mine.

Title: Working Title

Scene 1 EXT The Universe – DAY/NIGHT

Shot of the known universe. We super zoom in until we see earth, and then zoom in to KL.

Scene 2 EXT City Day

The many things happening – the little dramas - around KL. A cab driver returns home, with some roti canai which he will eat later in the day, after it has soaked a lot of curry. Two nasi lemak sellers eye each other warily, not five feet away from each other. A woman cries as she gets an SMS from her boyfriend who has decided to leave her (her period is late for a week).

Zoom to an office building.

Scene 3 INT Office Day

Narrator introduces us to Baki. Baki is happy working in the office, as an accountant. Well, not really happy, because being happy is something he wishes to avoid – explained by NARRATOR.

Scene 4 EXT Open air restaurant - Night

Same shot as in Scene 3, with focus on Baki.

Baki is at an office function, but it is clear that he is not comfortable to be there. Narrator supports this.

Scene 5 INT Karaoke - Night

Same shot as Scene 3 and 4, with more or less the same people but while everyone gets loose, Baki remains tight-fisted. Narrator explains a bit of Baki’s behaviour.

Scene 6 INT Office – Day

Continuation of Scene 3. Narrator explains that Baki is most at home at work. He has a very satisfied look as he balances spreadsheets. His boss puts a hand on his shoulder, complimenting him for a job well-done.

Zoom out a bit and zoom on the boss’ face. Though he is mouthing words to Baki, his eyes are locked with another, higher boss (man in suit) and his brows are furrowed (narrator explains that his bosses value him but are worried about his social skills).

His colleagues – equally dorky-looking, laughs as Baki opens his desk drawer and ignites a small burst of flour. Narrator explains that his colleagues – themselves dorks - plays pranks on him because he is so serious and never smiles.

Narrator says this was not always so.

Scene 7 INT Baki’s Childhood Home – Day

Narrator: Baki grew up with a normal childhood.

Birthday scene with an 8-year-old Baki wearing a cone hat and blowing on candles. His father, mother and some kids are there.

Focus on the father. The narrator relates about the father.

Scene 8 The Gym – Day

It is the small local gym where Baki’s father worked.

The narrator says that Baki’s father Kamil worked as a gym instructor.

He liked to balance the scales.

Scene 9 INT Baki’s Childhood Home – Day

Back to the birthday party.

Focus on Baki’s mother. The narrator starts relating about Baki’s mother.

Scene 10 INT Museum – Day

Baki’s mother worked at a museum.

Scene shows Baki’s mother arranging paintings on the wall so they all look symmetrical and balanced.

Scene 11 INT Baki’s Childhood Home – Day

Baki gets a cat for his birthday. Baki is deliriously happy.

The man in a suit appears here, out of place. Baki sees him, but no one else seems to notice him. The man waves and smiles at Baki.

Narrator says that on that day, he was deliriously happy for 5 minutes.

Scene 12 EXT Outside Baki’s childhood home – Day

Narrator: But the cat ran out and met its unfortunate end just outside the house.

A lorry passes by. Eight-year-old Baki cries and cries.

The man in the suit looks satisfied.

Narrator: This is the start of a terrifying pattern for Baki.

Scene 13 EXT Outside Baki’s home, a schoolbus – Day

Baki is boarding the schoolbus. A pretty little girl inside the bus is smiling at him.

Narrator: When he was in standard six, Baki was in love.

Scene 14 INT Schoolbus – Day

Baki and the pretty girl are seated close to each other.

Narrator: The close proximity between them makes Baki’s heart flutter.

The man in the suit is seated on the bus, amidst other schoolkids. Baki sees him, but quickly ignores the man as the other kids don’t see him.

Narrator: This was the most exciting bus ride Baki has ever had in his life. He ignores the man in the suit.

Scene 15 Ext School – Day

Baki jumps off the bus and hears his pants tear up. All the other kids laughed at him. His pants tore up at the butt-seams, revealing his underwear. The girl was also laughing at him.

Baki was horrified.

The bell rang.

Narrator: This was also the worst day of Baki’s school life.

The man in the suit has a satisfied look on his face again.

Scene 16 INT – Hostel – Day

Baki’s parents are sending him of to the hostel. Baki gets in a boarding school.

His parents appear to be very proud of their son. Baki is basking in their love.

The man in the suit is also there.

As soon as his parents leave, big seniors come and start to bully Baki.

The man in the suit has a satisfied look on his face again.

Scene 17 – Office – Day (Same as Scene 6)

Narrator: All throughout his life, Baki has experienced momentary periods of happiness which always turns into states of sadness, embarrassment and heartbreak. Because of that, he does not dare to feel happiness.

Scene 18 Restaurant with a Karaoke stage - Night

It is another office function. Everyone is having fun. Baki’s kind boss is singing and then invites Baki to sing. After some refusal, Baki relents.

He starts singing – slowly at first – and then gets into full party mode, as a dam breaks inside him. Baki turns the whole place festive.

The man in the suit appears as Baki finishes his song. Baki looks worried.

There are cries as his kindly boss suffers a heart attack and dies.

Scene 19 Graveyard – Day

Everyone in scene 18 is here, except for the fact that they are attending a very somber service. It is the funeral for Baki’s kindly boss.

The man in the suit appears and has a satisfied look on his face again. Baki looks at him and then walks away, head down.

Narrator: Baki blames himself for his boss’ death, and in fact believes that most bad things – deaths, accidents, negativity – all stems from his own happiness. Therefore Baki remains as a man who does not dare to be happy.

– opening montage showing Baki’s very drab and somber daily routines accompanied by a piano piece similar to The Incredible Hulk’s ‘The Lonely Man’ ending theme –

Scene 20 MONTAGE of different places in Sunway Lagoon Theme Park – Day

Narrator: But one day, Baki falls in love.

Fast cut scenes of Baki having so much fun at Sunway Lagoon. His girlfriend’s face is not shown.

Scene 21 INT Baki’s Apartment – Day

Narrator: And then he wakes up.

Baki wakes up. Beside his bed, are pictures of him having fun the week before. He smiles and then jumps with a start as the man in a suit comes in and watches him.

Baki goes to the toilet and is followed by the man in the suit. He brushes his teeth and the man is there.

He goes to the kitchen and the man is having coffee.

Baki is scared. Really scared.