Blog Update 1:
What I handed in for my first draft was a beat sheet of all 42 scenes that would take place in the film. Writing the first draft of that beat sheet definitely helped me better flush out my story, and figure out how it fits into the modern adaptation. One role that I think was the biggest addition was the father and grandmother that I added to Gilgamesh’s life. They sort of embody the tension between masculinity and compassion that I want to draw out in the film, and I think in the context of this movie I need characters who give that to the viewer, to make sure everyone is on the same page. I also had fun highlighting the absurd masculinity of teenage boys, like not wanting to go to the movies with a male friend, although now I realize it the scene is even more insightful and slightly funny if they end up going to a movie that is more of a romantic movie, without realizing it, and then refuse to go to a movie together on the second time.
Professor Dimmock’s comment about better developing Enkidu I think was also a really good one, and one I want to flush out more. I do think Gilgamesh is my protagonist, the film begins with him and ends with him, but Enkidu needs to be just as complex. I think what makes the most sense is having both characters fears/weaknesses mirror each other in a way, and using that to further develop their relationship. So for Gilgamesh, intimacy and compassion are things that have been conditioned out of him. I think for Enkidu, the representation of his masculinity comes from his physical strength. That is especially impactful because he then loses it with the concussion, plus I think him refusing to sit out after the first concussion represents that perfectly. I’m toying with Professor’s idea of him being an immigrant, I think where he comes from is important.
This weekend I also had the chance to watch Amateur, which is a film set in a similar context of the high school basketball court. What it reminded me was how much of the action on a basketball team takes place in the locker room/on the bus. As a result, I’ve reconsidered the location of some of my scenes, as I realize that those situations are a natural setting for a conversation.
Moving forward, my plan is to rework my beat sheet, and begin writing some of my more important scenes, starting chronologically. It’s a little tough to know when I should begin writing, because I want the freedom to make story changes, and once I begin writing that shift becomes more difficult/cumbersome. But I think with a little more work my beat sheet will be in a good place.
Blog Update 2:
Since my last blog post, I’ve made some major progress on my project. For one, I revised Enkidu’s character a bit to give him some depth. I decided I didn’t want to make him an immigrant, I think he has that outside factor just by being a transfer student. What I did do though was develop his family life a bit more, and highlight the importance of his physicality. By making his father a landscaper, and having Enkidu work with him on weekends, success becomes inherently tied to his body. I then draw out his fears, by having his father getting hurt on the job. For Enkidu, not being able to use your body is tied to failing your family, and so that becomes everything for him. I think that then makes his paralysis even more impactful, as he must come to terms with what it means to be a man. I also added in that last scene with he and Gilgamesh playing one on one, because it shows that he has come to terms with it, and offers a nice bookend to their relationship.
I also wrote out the scene for the mini-festival in class. At first, I wrote the scene where the two first meet each other because I think it’s one of the most important scenes in the script. However, after writing it, I realize it may not be the best scene to read aloud in class. Because it is very action heavy, there is not much dialogue, and there is a lot of basketball lingo that may not translate well to a non-basketball crowd.
As a result, I also wrote the scene with Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s first interaction. It is much more dialogue heavy, so it might be better to read aloud in class. In writing the scene, one of the challenges was conveying a deeper meaning while not being heavy-handed in the dialogue. Their conversation doesn’t seem to address anything too important, but in a subtle way it is Enkidu asserting himself, and Gilgamesh coming to terms with a shake-up of power.
I’m excited to go over the project at the mini-festival, I’m hoping I’ll get some good notes that I can implement for my final draft.
Blog Update 3:
Presenting for the mini-festival was really helpful, as it helped me to reconsider a few key story points. One of the hardest things for me to figure out has been Enkidu’s backstory. As I talked about in an earlier blog post, one of the things I wanted to add to the original story is I think Enkidu and Gilgamesh’s strengths and weaknesses need to mirror one another. So for Gilgamesh to be this king with can’t connect with his people, which I really like, I think Enkidu needs to be the opposite, and be personable. This obviously doesn’t work perfectly with the original text’s portrayal of Enkidu as a wild man, but I think I need to ditch that description in order to make the story more compelling. As I said, the theme that I really want to explore in my adaptation is masculinity, and so I think making that change is necessary.
With that being said, I do think there is room to play up Enkidu’s outsider factor. On top of making him a transfer student, an idea I really liked was making him come from a more rural/farm driven background so that adjusting to a city atmosphere is difficult for him. I think this still allows him to be personable, in fact, it can even encourage it, as Enkidu comes from a community where communication and greeting standards are a bit different. It’s important to establish however that his niceness doesn’t drown out his masculinity, at least at first. When Gilgamesh first approaches him and challenges him for the hoop, Enkidu can’t back down. He represents that balance between kindness and masculinity that Gilgamesh can’t find.
For next Friday, my plan is to write out a couple more important scenes from the film and make some revisions to the story as a whole. One thing that was mentioned in the festival was that a few of the scenes on my beat sheet I’m not entirely sure how to display yet. I know point A and point B, but I have to figure out how to get between them. I think I will try and do that with a few of the important scenes, but I don’t think I can do it for all of them, because I’m only handing in 30 pages out of what will eventually become a 120 page screenplay, and so I need to focus on the most important scenes and leave some of the smaller ones to be worked out later.