Conann sat with us to go through out most recent animatic. He asked a significant amount of questions that each of us struggled to answer consistently. This alluded to a realisation that our fundamental issue with the story is our lack of understanding the character or the situation that surrounds him.
Questions posed included:
- Who is he?
- What is going on?
- Why is he like this?
- Why does he live here?
As a team, we have debated many aspects of the story and as a result, there does seem to be a tension between what each of us want out of the story.
With this in mind, it has called my attention back to The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. I’m not going to recite the entire book because you could just read it, but there were some striking points that stood out.
Our narrative is meaning that “call to adventure”, in which a problem/situtation/conflict arises to make a clear goal for the character (Vogler, 2007, p. 10). While we go for subtly, we should have an indication of this goal, where it be the simple task of going outside. In fact, we can be insistent on the deia fo the “refusal of the call” (Vogler, 2007, p. 11), where the character’s fear stops them embracing the challenge. In fact, our narrative is built around the refusal of the call because it plays into the in theme of depression and anxiety as a disabling effect. As Vogler describes, “persistent refusal leads to tragedy” (2007, p. 109), so in a sense, we need to express urgency or establish the presence of a need, a want, a curiousity – the “Law of the Secret Door” (Vogler, 2007, p. 112), which is the anticipation of the curiosity to do something that shouldn’t be done. If we speak for the character, going outside the the law of the secret door. In fact, it’s literal because their is a door restricting his access to the outside world – the “threshold” (Vogler, 2007, p. 112). If we in someway centered around his door, we have an opportunity to repeat the philosophical and psychological antagonist of the story – the door as the access to harmony.
This harmony is what the outside world represents. He’s cooked up and oppressed in his home and needs to break free. Actually, it called my attention to the video game Silent Hill 4: The Room.
In Silent Hill 4: The Room, the player, is presented with an apartment where the front door is barred by chains, that they gradually unlock by progressing through the protagonist Henry’s tragic memories manifested into a nightmarish ordeal.
Silent Hill as a video game franchise is driven by psychological storytelling, where the character’s traumatic and challenging past is symbolised through a town. In the case of this installment, the door represents his escape into the real functioning world again. It never came to my mind when we initally started developing the story, but now that it’s there, I can’t help but find it relevant to our development. In Silent Hill, the door is only there predominantly in presence, but it drives the conflict and serves as the call to action.
In our story, the door can be symbolic and serve a literal purpose. It traditional symbolism, it serves a transition – the idea that opening and passing through a door brings you into a new world or life. So in a sense, Conann’s challenge and questions has ignited the focus we need for our story. As I and the team continue to develop look and visual outputs, Vogler and these questions linger. In fact, Conann described his photography project and the presence of home, inspiring me to revisit my research on the home and see how it can cater closer to these new focal points. He liked this notion of masculinity that seemed to come across, and I presented the idea of the ‘Crisis of Masculinity’, to quote me directly, “the demolishment of the breadwinner ideal” – the breakdown of society and creating an anomaly that causes a void in society. I’ll research this further and present my findings in a later post.
Murakoski, S. (2004) Silent Hill 4: The Room. Video Game. Tokyo: Konami
Vogler, C. (2007) The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. 3rd ed. CA: Michael Wiese Productions