It isn’t always easy for people to give up control, especially when it is something they birthed and brought up in this world. For me, it was hard to give up my baby. The screenplay I conceived consensually with myself in the darkest corners of my mind. They say though it takes a village to raise a child, but in my case, it took a writers’ room to raise my words. Every parent must learn when to let go a little to let their child find their own way and with Knot for Sale, I’m glad I did.
The script I originally presented to our production class was never written for Virtual Reality. It was a second-year submission that I had touched up for the purposes of this class. I didn’t know how to write in 360-degrees at all, but I figured the script was simple enough with a decent amount of visuals that it would work somehow. It did.
What I learned in this class though was that what works in a flattie or regular film, doesn’t always work in VR. The script had to be made simpler. The shots had to be doable. The film had to have a reason to be shown in 360 degree, or else what was the point of tackling the project in the first place?
Maureen Bradley came in and she gave the story a purpose. Stacey was to be moving the action forward. We would move with her and experience the world around her. We wouldn’t just be knocking on doors. Instead, we would be enveloped in vape smoke. We would feel as if we were teasing youths. We would be on the sidelines watching cookies shatter against a door. This script directed our eyes and us to follow a narrative and that is why it works well in VR. I let go and trusted in Maureen and suddenly we were off and running.
But in came the village. The class of writers who are dissecting your every line and questioning every scene. Some jokes are beloved, others are taken out and executed by tongues firing off like shotguns. They tear down the draft and build it back up. Sometimes your Gwyneth Paltrow puns get cut, sometimes you get gold like cookies that are reinforcing patriarchal power. It is in this moment people take what you offered, and show what they have to offer in return. They make the story make sense. They try to think about what will be stimulating in ever single degree. They even change up lines moments before we shoot!
I learned from this class something I would eventually learn in the industry; a story is never your own. It is like a child, but it is reared by many. Sure, one person may take credit for its upbringing, but so many people had their hand in this honeypot. I don’t like giving up control, but this class taught me to. I’m so glad I did because I got to make something I’m proud of and with people I’m even more proud of for working together to make it.
I hope those of you who view it like what we have made. This village raised a child and like a debutante at the ball, she’s ready to be presented.