The Invisible World Builder

Assignment 6.

When I was first asked to pick an invisible technology and write about it, I was very confused. But as I’m learning, confused isn’t always a bad thing. Essentially, I was asked, “what piece of technology have we taken for granted?”

Interestingly enough, either just before that class or just after it, I watched a short film called Technophobe created by Cyprien, my favourite French YouTuber. In the film, the main character suddenly develops an allergy to ALL technology – he can’t touch phones, computers, ATMs, anything that runs on electricity, and everything that we take for granted today. What I found interesting about the film was that he could touch obsolete technology like rotary phones and non-electric technology like books.

It was a great creative way of showing our generation’s dependence on our screens and gadgets, but there are so many other technological developments that we don’t consciously think about. From mundane things like the ball-point pen to conceptual things like time and language.

The invisible technology that I have chosen is, to me, a phenomenon that compels me to be a screenwriter: the script. Write what you know, as they say.

Most people will never see a script. They’ll see the movie or watch the play, but not many people outside of the ones involved in producing the project will read a script in its original form, nor will they be thinking about the script as they’re watching. If they are, the writer hasn’t done the best job.

By nature, the script is self-effacing, it is made in order to be forgotten or irrelevant. After all, most people will not bother seeking out reading a script if the movie or play can be watched. However, without the script, or some form of story outline, none of the other following stages are possible.

The screenwriter is the director’s director — or at least that’s what we like to think. The director is invisible guiding the scenes, but the writer is invisible guiding the director on the page. Despite the crucial role of the script and its writer, movies are usually attached to the director’s name or a star’s name, but the writer is usually left out of the media in that regard. It does happen of course, but their names are not nearly as well-known as actors and directors.

In terms of technology, a screenplay is the first vehicle for a story, which then climbs up the dimensions in a unique way. Traditional novels will go from two spatial dimensions on a desktop screen to three spatial dimensions — a satisfyingly weighty book in hand. In plays, it goes from two to four dimensions, three spatial dimensions and time. Motion pictures however, have a three step process from two spatial dimensions, to filming in our four dimensional world, and then the final three-dimensional visual medium we know, two spatial dimensions and time. But that’s enough pseudo-astrophysics.

This invisible phenomenon of turning something imaginative into something tangible is one of the biggest thrills of being a writer in the theatrical and cinematic arts. It is human creation and creativity at its peak in that entire universes, worlds, creatures, characters and objects are created — the ultimate converting machine, if you will. Obviously the script is not the only part of this machine, which can include up to thousands of people — but it is no doubt a foundational part in this process.

However even this massive feat of creativity and technology in putting on a production is not where the script’s true impact lies.  That honour goes to the story the script conveys, the heart of the production that offers its audience a unique experience found in no other medium. If well written, a script can leave people and society changed. This is its intrinsic value, its power and its impact. A script can evoke tears, laughter, confusion, awe, wonder and a whole range of emotion as though it were the audience’s puppeteer. Surely world building writers must have a god-complex.

Whether or not this is true, I have observed that humanity’s creative capacities, writer or not, aligns quite well with being the “image-bearers of God.” It’s as though we were made to want to be like Him, to create like the invisible world builder Himself. On the other hand, it seems we are more interested in being gods ourselves rather than God’s children; a desire that subtly manifests itself to this day in everything that we do.

Simultaneously, humanity seems to have a historically consistent desire to escape this broken world and return to a better one. Intuitively, we know that the world isn’t what it’s supposed to be. It’s why we feel the need to change it all the time, it’s why every storytelling medium invites us to escape for a little while.

Personally, movies have impacted my life by immersing me in a brand new world for a few hours, and they keep me coming back, instilling in me a yearning for that escape once more. I know the billion dollar film industry is happy to hear it — my attempts to break into it on the other hand…

It took me longer than one would think to realize that writing movies is an actual profession. After all, amidst the awe at an animator’s special effects, a director’s cinematography or an actor’s realism of character, we tend to forget that a writer, this fictional world’s builder who is invisible to its inhabitants, came up with that particular moment at all.

Storytelling is one of my greatest passions and movies are the among the more impressive storytelling media. The problem is that the industry can never keep up with my yearning for escape, that yearning to experience new stories and new worlds. So I began to write the stories I wanted to watch, the worlds I wanted the explore, the characters I wanted to meet. I had been creative writing since I could form a sentence on a page, but it wasn’t until I wrote with the expectation of the story being physically seen that something clicked. The more I wrote, the more I found that this art, this exercise of creativity resonated deeply with my passion for storytelling, my need to share and express my values, and my strengths of writing and imagination.

The script is truly a formidable piece of technology that is taken for granted. Indeed, it is both my calling and my weapon of choice to change the world.

Moment Eternal

Not exactly proper formatting, but it’ll have to do for now.

This story is pretty packed and very ambiguous. Reflection to come on how I wrote it.


EXT. WATERFALL CLIFF – DAY

A bare foot steps forward, toes gripping the edge of the rock.

MATCH CUT:

EXT. ROOFTOP – SUNSET

The other foot, now in a sneaker steps onto the concrete step. Jeans. A windbreaker. Brilliant orange skies. A skyline.

Just before we see his face–

MATCH CUT:

EXT. WATERFALL CLIFF

SCOTT 20s, stands topless, overlooking the ocean. The white water thunders down into sea. We’re behind him, the sun making his back glisten…

In slow motion, he bends his knees to jump.

SCOTT (V.O.)

I wanted to live forever.

MATCH CUT:

EXT. ROOFTOP – DAY

Scott falls forward off the ledge, arms wide, embracing his fate.

MATCH CUT:

EXT. WATERFALL CLIFF

He puts his arms forward, with his feet together as he plunges toward the big blue.

SCOTT (V.O.)

But I was running out of time.

INT. JAIL CELL – DAY

Scott, in orange, sits on his cot. The cell door swings open. An OFFICER waits for him.

JUDGE (V.O.)

Scott Bishop. Please proceed to the doors to receive your sentence.

INT. INTERROGATION ROOM

Scott sits in a bare concrete bunker, at a polished steel table. The lights BUZZ. He turns a KEY between his fingers. Two identical DOORS wait for him. FIVE LIGHTS shine above them. The first four are GREEN. The last is RED.

SCOTT (V.O.)

One door leads to death. The other, to immortality.

THREE green lights. Above, A WOMAN in a crisp two-piece suit, 40s. She watches from a large glass window.

TWO green lights.

SCOTT (V.O.)

I wanted to live forever.

Scott gets up, the plastic chair SCREECHES like nails on a chalkboard.

SCOTT (V.O.)

But I was running out of time.

He goes to the door on the right, tries the key. LOCKED. The woman leaves the window. Something was wrong. Very wrong. Scott goes to the door on the left.

One green light.

CLOSE ON the knob. The key goes in. It turns. His fist pushes it open.

No green lights.

He walks through.

MATCH CUT TO:

EXT. ROOFTOP – SUNSET

Scott is in his jeans and windbreaker. The fire escape door locks shut behind him. CLICK. He walks toward the ledge, footsteps CRUNCHING in the gravel.

SCOTT (V.O.)

If you could pick one moment…

One sneaker on the ledge.

SCOTT (V.O.) (CONT’D)

Just one moment, in your entire life.

Both feet up now.

SCOTT (V.O.)

To stay in, forever.

He leans forward.

SCOTT (V.O.)

Which would you choose?

The ground rushes toward him. But he is calm.

INT. HOSPITAL – EVENING

Scott is on a stretcher with an oxygen mask. BLOOD covers his head.

SCOTT (V.O.)

Some would choose their favourite moment.

FLASHBACK

INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY

YOUNG SCOTT, 8 years old, blows out candles.

A weak HEARTBEAT mutes the LAUGHING and SINGING.

BACK TO PRESENT

INT. HOSPITAL – CONTINUOUS

Doctors and nurses rush him down the halls.

SCOTT (V.O.)

Or their happiest.

FLASHBACK

INT. CHAPEL – DAY

Scott, in a tuxedo lifts the veil kisses a beautiful BRIDE. They pull away. And smile.

SCOTT

(softly) I love you, Ashley.

BACK TO PRESENT

INT. OPERATING ROOM – NIGHT

CLOSE ON Scott, eyes closed on the table. Electrodes on his scalp. The DOCTOR, a woman in her late 20s, looks at the monitor, charting his brain activity. She looks up. The woman from the prison is there, looking through the large glass window. The doctor pulls off her mask and looks at the nurse.

DOCTOR

I’m calling it. 2:21 AM.

SCOTT (V.O.)

I chose the moment when I felt free.

EXT. WATERFALL CLIFF – SUNSET

Scott stands on the edge of the cliff. And dives.

SCOTT (V.O.)

The moment where I’m most alive.

He falls, the water falling with him. Scott disappears into the ocean.

SCOTT (V.O.)

My name is Scott.

A bare foot steps forward, toes gripping the edge of the rock. Then the other.

CUT TO BLACK

SCOTT (V.O.)

I am immortal.

Creative Commons License:

<a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/”><img alt=”Creative Commons Licence” style=”border-width:0″ src=”https://i.creativecommons.org/l/by-nc/4.0/88×31.png&#8221; /></a><br /><span xmlns:dct=”http://purl.org/dc/terms/&#8221; href=”http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/Text&#8221; property=”dct:title” rel=”dct:type”>Moment Eternal</span> by <span xmlns:cc=”http://creativecommons.org/ns#&#8221; property=”cc:attributionName”>Melissa Chong</span> is licensed under a <a rel=”license” href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/”>Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License</a>.