Thursday, June 12, 2008

funding and plot outline

After several months of application review and revision, Stanford's Undergraduate Advising and Research dept. has decided to grant me with $3000 toward the making of this project!

Much of the funds will go toward travel and living expenses, and a crucial portion toward supplies, rental fees and minor costs that add up over the course of the project.

As a part of my grant application, I had to submit a plot outline. This was a very important step for visualizing the film... but there's still a lot of room for flexibility, and I imagine that this outline will change significantly.

Here's how it looks now. It'll be interesting to watch it develop over time, and (especially if you're involved in the TRF) I'd love to hear your feedback.

"Texas Rose Documentary" (working title)
This film will introduce its audience to the Texas Rose Festival, a debutante-like event in which the social elite of Tyler, Texas celebrate wealth and beauty in extravagant fashion (27 minutes in full)
  1. This section serves as an introduction, the first act (6 minutes total)
    • opens with a Teaser shot (something visually/emotionally grabbing, from this year's footage) then fades out to show title (30 sec)
    • First set of interviews, quick-montage of characters if it works, introduces subject matter and a few important characters (90 sec)
      • This section may develop into a "The Rose Festival is..." sort of sequence.
    • Cut to archival, slip interviewee into voiceover. Shows previous queens, ladies-in-waiting, hopefully some younger photos of the characters being interviewed (4 minutes)
  2. This section brings us into the story-at-hand, once the viewer has been intrigued by the subject and characters. (11 minutes total)
    • Observational footage of people preparing for this year's coronation, potentially including footage of dresses, hair, designers, tuxedoes, presents, the script, the band, makeup, and the characters interacting with all of these "props" (8 minutes)
    • Another set of interviews, this time with a little more context, briefly mentioning the behind-the-scenes discussion of how the TRF is reacting to outside pressures of change (3 minutes)
  3. This act brings it all together (10 minutes total)
    • The event (8 minutes)
      • comes in with a shot that reconnects either to teaser shot or to the shot of the band warming up or of the person reciting the script
      • starts with a longish sequence that focuses on one of the women, then shows a montage of other women, then show longer sequences of the women that were introduced earlier in the film.
      • relies heavily on professional videographer's footage, then begins to tie in my footage backstage. Potential use of stills.
      • This section will be the most visually and emotionally engaging section of the film. The emotional engaging aspects will come from the viewers' ability to tie the ceremony to the characters behind the ceremony; the visually engaging aspects will come from the dresses, the glitter, the smiles, the applause, the music, the lights, the script and the interactions backstage.
      • following the emotional climax and relief, characters transition into the future, "Are you ready for the parade tomorrow?"
    • Parade/Credits (2 minutes)
      • Music is ideally an originally recorded version of one of the songs used during the festival (eg, if the band plays a sinatra song, the original sinatra song will roll over the credits)... this financial stretch will be considered more heavily during post-production
      • As credits flash on the screen,
      • we see shots of floats, attenders, families, children, parents, dresses, waving, waving back, applause
This July and August, I'll be in/around Tyler, connecting face-to-face with everyone who might be involved in the film. These weeks will be crucial for cementing relationships and giving people a role in forming this film-in-progress... because right now, it's just an idea, and ideas belong to everyone.