Dec 9, 2013

The Evolution of an Idea

I’ve been thinking this week about how different the idea for our next feature film is from when I first started working on it. To begin with ‘TIME AND PLACE’ was going to be an attempt to show how over time, things lose their meaning, that the material/aesthetics of our lives are the only things that change, and that life is in a constant state of flux. Now obviously these are all big themes/ideas to deal with in the space of 90 minutes or so (no small feat), but I was always clear that “these things” could be suggested through background audio/visuals, character decisions/reactions, and clever staging/design. We never needed to show the entire history of the world to get this point across. Focussing on how big historical or cosmic changes would effect the individual was always going to be the focus.
What changed though, was the central focus. ‘TIME AND PLACE’ is now more about morality and ethics than it is the effects of time. The idea first took root when I was travelling South-East Asia last year. Seeing ruins of past civilizations that were the largest in the world at one point in time (Angkor / Sukhothai / Great Wall of China). The year previous to my visiting, some of these vast ruins were, well….ruined, by natural disasters, and being rebuilt (something I’m still not sure I’m okay with). Time had changed these places, and made one thing extremely clear – over time, the old gets completely washed away. The message or the idea may become diluted. Nothing is permanent. On a long enough timeline, everything fades away. Which ties in nicely with what this post is about – change.
I’m not sure at what point the idea for the film changed, I just know what the film is going to be now. (For those unfamiliar with what our next film is about, here’s a little information: “When scientists reveal the universe has stopped expanding, and will soon begin to contract, time collapses for one man. Things lose their meaning, and moral boundaries seem absurd. ‘TIME AND PLACE’ will be a low-budget epic in which one man has to come to terms with his decisions, knowing that some day all that surrounds him will cease to exist.” The idea of the universe beginning to contract is known as “The Big Crunch” – the opposite of the big bang). When considering the idea that time could quite possibly stop and begin to contract, sending us back from the present, into the past and make us relive every moment backwards, it offers up the question – ‘What would you do if you knew there would be no consequences to your actions?’. If you start at point A, and point C is where things begin to go backwards, when you return from point C to point B in the timeline of your life, the events at point C technically no longer exist and therefore the consequences of your actions at points A and B no long exist either. This is the central focus of ‘TIME AND PLACE’ now.
The biggest change to the film as a whole, aside from the above, are visual elements we were thinking of using. One of the first ideas I had for the film was to pour a great deal of time and energy into costumes and production design, by assigning costumes and props relevant to different eras throughout history to each scene, to create moods relevant to each scenario. I decided further down the line that this visual element (though never been done before) would be too distracting for audience members, and the idea that material things may change over time but very little else does would probably go over most peoples heads. If we’re really honest with ourselves – needs, desires, fears, beliefs are near enough the same throughout history. The only things that really change are fashion and technology – material things.
So why did the ideas change? I honestly can’t pinpoint a specific time when there was a shift. It just seemed to happen gradually, as if evolving, like history itself, not entirely sure where we’re going to end up, but reaching that point somehow.
Crowdfunding for ‘TIME AND PLACE’ begins Friday September 20th

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