Today has been the nillest of nil days. God, I hate writing blogs on days where it’s just “Oh, I didn’t do anything. Maybe Tomorrow.” I should just resort to this.
Some good did come from today. By early evening we had to go out with one of Dad’s friends who’s come over from Oman. So, this being Dubai, we headed for the malls.
Mercato was the first stop; now that it’s a few months old and has been through its first sandstorm and shower it looks a bit of a mess (not that I was ever impressed by it). The fake painted cracks and wear are now accompanies by muddy lines dried and trickled down the outside walls; when you have real dirt and artificial dirt competing for your attention on an ersatz Venetian facade in a sandy desert city, well…
It was as crowded with decked out posers as it could be; Munna and I were struck by the utter lack of any woman remotely approaching attractive. To think that I thought up a whole short film at Mercato.
Speaking of which, while Munna and I drifted off from the rest he remarked, “For a mall we don’t even like, we sure come here often.”
“I just came here to scout locations,” I said, then launched into one of my impromptu narrations of a film, in this case, a short which I had first conceived at one corner of the very same mall a few months ago.
I found that just above the main entrance on the second floor the bridge overlooks an alcove with a bench that would be much better suited to the film than the rather dull corner bench where the real-life girl that inspired it sat last November.
Munna liked the story after I narrated it to him on the bridge, and promptly solved my one main problem with the whole thing: the dialogue. I have good characters, and a good enough plot for a 10 minute film, but I hadn’t thought of any snappy dialogue yet, no killer lines. I can, and usually do think up a good line or two within a week of thinking up a project; like the whole scene that starts off Benchmark and has led to one of the funnest character and team building experiences I’ve had.
But I Digress. Samir’s suggestion? Make it silent.
Bulbs the size and number of a Las Vegas Casino facade went off in my brain. Brilliant!
Ambient sounds, people just walking around; there will be dialogue, but since most (well, all) of the necessary dialogue takes place inside shops we’d just keep the camera outside looking in. It solves the problem of having two main Indian characters talking without switching between English and Hindi (my initial idea) and makes the whole thing so universal I could kiss it.
Inadvertently, it also solves the one snag I imagined with the fourth character, that of the neurotic sales-lady (who, if I ever get the money to make this thing, I would like Spyder to play). See, she keeps popping up in every single mall and store our protags visit; in the talkie version she’d just say that she needed the extra cash, but this seems a bit flimsy in Dubai where you can legally only work for one company; having her pop around in everything from Burger King to Trussardi would be stretching it).
But now it works! In a silent I can be as surreal as I want without having to explain things. It would be one of those ‘cool’ things that people remember about the film.
Samir went on to come up with a host of kooky ideas (all of which I took good note of). It’s a frantic, energetic thing as it is; to do some of the stuff Samir suggested would be a but alienating, methinks.
So, Mercato done with, we headed for City Centre, where at some point in the snails-pace journey through IKEA I started telling Samir about another movie again.
(Come to think of it, I first told Munna that plot in the car on the way to Mercato the same night I saw the real-life girl who inspired the other short. Huh.)
I went further in depth this time, talking more about the characters and what I want to say rather than the base plot, which is what he heard the last time. We both agree that more than anything — good actors, good direction, good editing — it’s a type of story that needs to be written very very well. If I put my mind to it I can do it, I hope. Sometimes I wonder why I should, because I would like to see it as a motion picture (photographic) and I’m not about to jump into film-making in a non-animated capacity anytime soon. Oh well, it was good to get it out and prove to myself that it is indeed a yarn worth telling.
At one point Dad even listened in to my fervent narration and asked, “Which picture are you talking about again?” Makes me feel nice.
And that’s all I did today. Other than laugh at the fact that the Picture of President Musharraf on the Greenpeace deck of cards is not that of Mush, but one of his underlings.
Had epiphanies about short films
Samir and I thought up some new experimental film-making techniques that I’d love to use sometime; will have to come up with a suitable plot for those.
Convinced myself that ‘MBR’ as a story is not complete crap, and that its protag is not a completely unrealistic character.
None, would you believe.
Brain Screensaver(s) of the Day:
Lollypop Girl (both original real-life cute short Arabian girl as well as film-version tall, dark, toffee-skinned goddess)
Shaarda, protag, MBR! Played by you know who.