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Dustin
Posted: May 12th, 2019, 8:30am Report to Moderator
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The Invisible Collection by Dustin Bowcott - Short, Drama - 11 pages - pdf format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



+++++++++++++

I don't normally like to get involved with the promotion side of things unless I'm ordered or obliged to. On this occasion, it's neither. I'm doing it because 25p out of every pound raised goes to Phoebe Research, a registered UK charity that seeks to raise awareness about a genetic condition called, Epidermolysis Bullosa, that results in easy blistering of the skin and mucous membranes. Blisters occur with minor trauma or friction and are painful. Its severity can range from mild to fatal. Babies developing the condition rarely live past their first birthday... and even for those fortunate to live, living with it is a day to day struggle.

Sorry about that, most will have clicked off the thread already... but for those that remain, thank you. Awareness is the overall aim. Onto the film.

I had already adapted the short story by Stefan Zweig into an audio play and really wanted to modernise and adapt it for the screen too, so when a friend asked if I could write a short script that starred himself alongside Ian Gelder, I thought of this right away. I was also extremely pleased when they accepted the idea - after all, it's not exactly the usual fare.


Synopsis
Oscar Swindon, with no interest in art other than what profit he can make, senses a quick buck in Berkovic (a once rich man and avid collector, who now lives in far more meagre conditions) who has called upon him for a visit.  Swindon drives out to his home and quickly discovers that unbeknownst to him, Berkovic's wife has sold his entire collection and replaced it with blank pieces of paper. Now blind, Berkovic has no idea of the deception and has called Oscar to sell him something so that he can buy his wife - currently visiting a relative - something special for putting up with him all these years.  Suddenly embroiled in a moral quandary, Oscar finds himself going along with the deception - even to the detriment of his own pocket.


A tale of English wit at its driest. If you would like to help out in some way here are a couple of links:

http://www.psychotasticproductions.co.uk

http://www.phoeberesearch.org.uk

I've also never used Dropbox before, but if anyone is interested, here is a link to the script:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2s8sk5aofhh50xj/The%20Invisible%20Collection.pdf?dl=0


Hopefully, that works. Also, I apologise if this is in the wrong section, but I couldn't find where else to put it. Feel free to move it elsewhere... or even delete altogether if deemed inappropriate.

Thanks for reading.



Revision History (2 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Dustin  -  May 17th, 2019, 12:31pm
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LC
Posted: May 13th, 2019, 3:00am Report to Moderator
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Dustin, I gave this a read.

And, it pretty much is as advertised. Very English, quiet wit. Nothing to complain about writing wise (is IN and OUT your trademark now?) - I do like FADE as a precursor, purely because it gets me in the mood, kinda like when the music swells and Leo the lion roars before the movie starts.

Anyway, I read the script, then the short story it's based on, then the script again.

Only a few things of a critical nature came to mind:

startling him slightly - really not sure you need that qualifier.

Berkovic strokes (the blank canvases) lovingly - a big no-no in my house, you never touch the artwork, not if you're in a gallery either, public or otherwise. Of course he's blind, in which case you could say that's exactly why he touches it (and it occurs in the short story too) but it stretched the logic for me... But then the Con comes in, so...perhaps Swindon could make mention of it to camera when he's giving himself a kicking later. Just a thought.

Swindon is a forty year old hipster... He's also an art buyer/dealer. For that reason I wonder if using some contrasting music in your opening might add something to the piece overall considering the Four Seasons runs for the rest of the story.

Can you use recorded Vivaldi? Is it public domain?

I liked the script very much. It's understated but witty and the Con is what makes it imho.. I like the 'to camera' confessional device too. The twist you added to the story, very clever. I kept waiting for it in the Stefan Zweige story so was a bit disappointed there.

It also helps knowing (and looking up) Ian Gelder. I know that face!
Perfect casting. I could picture him in the role as I read.

Good luck with this. Look forward to seeing the finished product.
...
P.S. Do you have a personal connection to the Phoebe research?
Sorry, I didn't quite get the connection between this as a WIP.?


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Dustin
Posted: May 13th, 2019, 8:53am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from LC
Dustin, I gave this a read.

And, it pretty much is as advertised. Very English, quiet wit. Nothing to complain about writing wise (is IN and OUT your trademark now?) - I do like FADE as a precursor, purely because it gets me in the mood, kinda like when the music swells and Leo the lion roars before the movie starts.


Thank you for taking the time out to read and share your thoughts on this, Libby. In regard to IN:/OUT: I read that directors don't necessarily fade in to every film, so I've started leaving it ambiguous. I do things because they make sense to me at the time, I'll likely change to something else soon.


Quoted Text
Anyway, I read the script, then the short story it's based on, then the script again.

Only a few things of a critical nature came to mind:

startling him slightly - really not sure you need that qualifier.


Good catch, thanks.


Quoted Text
Berkovic strokes (the blank canvases) lovingly - a big no-no in my house, you never touch the artwork, not if you're in a gallery either, public or otherwise. Of course he's blind, in which case you could say that's exactly why he touches it (and it occurs in the short story too) but it stretched the logic for me... But then the Con comes in, so...perhaps Swindon could make mention of it to camera when he's giving himself a kicking later. Just a thought.


Yes, that's definitely something to consider, thanks for bringing it to my attention.


Quoted Text
Swindon is a forty year old hipster... He's also an art buyer/dealer. For that reason I wonder if using some contrasting music in your opening might add something to the piece overall considering the Four Seasons runs for the rest of the story.


Yes, I actually toyed with the idea of a trap version of Vivaldi's Spring to be playing in the car and then contrast that with the original version at Berkovic's house. I'm really glad you said that as I'll put that in a brief rewrite.


Quoted Text
Can you use recorded Vivaldi? Is it public domain?


Not pre-recorded but it is a simple matter (if you can do that sort of thing) to get the musical score from online and input the notes into a music composer program. Voila, you have your own version. You can play with the notes, add some bass... whatever.



Quoted Text

I liked the script very much. It's understated but witty and the Con is what makes it imho.. I like the 'to camera' confessional device too. The twist you added to the story, very clever. I kept waiting for it in the Stefan Zweige story so was a bit disappointed there.


Thank you. Yes, I felt the Zweig story was a little too understated for modern tastes and that it needed something more.



Quoted Text
It also helps knowing (and looking up) Ian Gelder. I know that face!
Perfect casting. I could picture him in the role as I read.


I agree. The part was written with him in mind from the outset, which does help when writing a character.


Quoted Text
Good luck with this. Look forward to seeing the finished product.
...
P.S. Do you have a personal connection to the Phoebe research?
Sorry, I didn't quite get the connection between this as a WIP.?



Thank you. Phoebe Research is connected to the production company. 25% of everything they get, funding or otherwise, goes to the charity.

Thanks again for reading and sharing your thoughts.


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Colkurtz8
Posted: May 14th, 2019, 1:31am Report to Moderator
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Dustin

This was a enjoyable read. The premise is amusing and has great potential. It reminds of a short film I saw a few years ago called The Piano Tuner. Blindness played a key part in that too. Although it had a decidedly darker tone.

The double con of Berkovic seemingly being the hapless victim who then turns it Swindon is a nice touch but unfortunately I saw it coming before it landed. Now, I don't think this is a problem with your writing but more the mechanics of the story and trying to compress that into 11 pages. Its asking a lot.

Primarily though, I found it hard to believe that Swindon, who is immediately portrayed as a money man (this is done through dialogue which isn't ideal but again I put this down to the limited page count) would suddenly have this massive change of heart and try to not only lose money on art that he doesn't deem worthy but on art that is non-existent...and all for sympathetic/sentimental reasons. This coupled with him giving over money there and then (inebriation notwithstanding) in order for the secondary con to function (really, the penny didn't drop when he saw a different account name?), just stretches those belief suspenders beyond breaking point.

As a result, everything feels very crammed in and therefore contrived, mechanical. To reiterate, I think this is a by product of the page restriction, not how you told it. Given more pages you would really be able to develop and finesse this, particularly the Swindon character. Really draw us in and make us believe that someone like him could be swindled (I see what you did there) in this manner.

Since its in the WIP section does this mean it is intended to be expanded or is it due to remain around this length?

Col.


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Dustin
Posted: May 14th, 2019, 2:43am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Colkurtz8
Dustin

This was a enjoyable read. The premise is amusing and has great potential. It reminds of a short film I saw a few years ago called The Piano Tuner. Blindness played a key part in that too. Although it had a decidedly darker tone.

The double con of Berkovic seemingly being the hapless victim who then turns it Swindon is a nice touch but unfortunately I saw it coming before it landed. Now, I don't think this is a problem with your writing but more the mechanics of the story and trying to compress that into 11 pages. Its asking a lot.

Primarily though, I found it hard to believe that Swindon, who is immediately portrayed as a money man (this is done through dialogue which isn't ideal but again I put this down to the limited page count) would suddenly have this massive change of heart and try to not only lose money on art that he doesn't deem worthy but on art that is non-existent...and all for sympathetic/sentimental reasons. This coupled with him giving over money there and then (inebriation notwithstanding) in order for the secondary con to function (really, the penny didn't drop when he saw a different account name?), just stretches those belief suspenders beyond breaking point.

As a result, everything feels very crammed in and therefore contrived, mechanical. To reiterate, I think this is a by product of the page restriction, not how you told it. Given more pages you would really be able to develop and finesse this, particularly the Swindon character. Really draw us in and make us believe that someone like him could be swindled (I see what you did there) in this manner.

Since its in the WIP section does this mean it is intended to be expanded or is it due to remain around this length?

Col.


Yes, you've hit directly at the script's biggest weakness. Are you a chess player? The trouble with shorts is that each day filming raises the costs considerably. I'm already pushing things for a 2-day shoot and the original request was for me to write something they could shoot in a day. Partly my fault, I just really wanted to adapt this story, and with it definitely going to be produced, it was just too tempting.

It's all based on funding. So far they've done really well with their projects, managing to overfund them even. So, it might be a good idea to attempt some speculative depth.

Thanks for going for the jugular. Much appreciated.


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Dustin
Posted: May 14th, 2019, 3:19am Report to Moderator
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The account name could be explained by Berkovic as being due to hiding income from the Inland Revenue... but yes, I still agree with you that the things that bind this story together and make it what it is are somewhat convenient.

There may be a way to smooth the transition without adding page count. I'll have to take a good look at it later. I did consider having Swindon being suspicious of being drugged at one point. Yes, convenient still, but less so than merely alcohol.


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Colkurtz8
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Quoted from Dustin
Are you a chess player?


I am but I'm terrible. I'm always looking for someone new to kick my ass though over on Chess.com. If that is indeed your chess app of choice.


Quoted from Dustin
The trouble with shorts is that each day filming raises the costs considerably. I'm already pushing things for a 2-day shoot and the original request was for me to write something they could shoot in a day. Partly my fault, I just really wanted to adapt this story, and with it definitely going to be produced, it was just too tempting.


Sure I get it, there are a million considerations to take into account when producing something. Some rewriting and tweaking of characterizations could maintain its length while lessening its convenient narrative arc.


Quoted from Dustin
The account name could be explained by Berkovic as being due to hiding income from the Inland Revenue... but yes, I still agree with you that the things that bind this story together and make it what it is are somewhat convenient.

There may be a way to smooth the transition without adding page count. I'll have to take a good look at it later. I did consider having Swindon being suspicious of being drugged at one point. Yes, convenient still, but less so than merely alcohol.


Yeah, the drugging could help things. I really think the focus should be on Swindon's characterisation though. I appreciate how dramatically satisfying it is to set up an arrogant individual and take them down a notch or many, even when they have this unlikely change of heart but I wonder could Swindon be a genuine good person, a charitable person, maybe he lost a loved one in his recent past too which makes him bond/relate to Berkovic's situation even more. This would mitigate the plausibility factor while not increasing the length overall.

That opening dialogue where he talks about being a dealer not a collector just sends up the those comeuppance flags straight away.

Anyway, its cool that you are getting this made. The reveal of the blank "artworks" should be a great visual moment on screen.


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Dustin
Posted: May 15th, 2019, 2:50am Report to Moderator
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I play on Lichess these days under the handle Grubby_Pawn.

I do like the opening dialogue as it helps the film end on a note of irony. I'm still considering it, but for now it stays.


Quoted Text
Swindon be a genuine good person, a charitable person, maybe he lost a loved one in his recent past too which makes him bond/relate to Berkovic's situation even more.


Thank you Col, both of those ideas will help strengthen the story.


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Colkurtz8
Posted: May 21st, 2019, 3:06am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
I play on Lichess these days under the handle Grubby_Pawn.


Ah, that app is only for Apple users, you elitist prick  

Spare a thought for us commoners mired in Windows 10, Android 9 and the likes.


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Dustin
Posted: May 22nd, 2019, 5:11am Report to Moderator
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I play on the desktop... although I do have an app on my phone too. I don't like playing on my phone as I only play blitz and bullet online. I can play those on my phone too and often do when I'm out and bored waiting around somewhere, but it's not as good because I often press the wrong piece and move things I don't want to.

I'm surprised the app is only for Apple users. Lichess must surely be the second largest chess site on the web.


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Colkurtz8
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Sorry, my mistake, I was led astray. It seems it's not so snobby after all. I just logged onto the website now (lichess.org) I can't download the mobile app because my phone is ancient.

Anyway, I'll try to find you, apologies for derailing the thread.


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Dustin
Posted: July 8th, 2019, 10:48am Report to Moderator
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This has lots of backers at the moment and should raise the production budget. The older Brits here should definitely recognise the guy in the top left of this pic:





The orginal actor for the part of Oscar was going to be Steven Arnold, but he had to back out due to a heavy work load. Luckily, Mark Wingett loves the project and is happy to step in.


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Dustin
Posted: August 3rd, 2019, 2:22am Report to Moderator
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Quote: "Just had the happiest and most fulfilling time filming Dustin Bowcott’s beautiful screenplay “The Invisible Collection” for Psychotastic Productions. Wonderful co-actor Mark Wingett, brilliant D.O.P (Jonny Dixon) and his fantastic crew, Ruby and Harry, and the indefatigable Zoe Crowson without whose focus and energy ( and general loveliness ) none of this would have happened." Ian Gelder


This has now been filmed and will run the festival circuit. Everyone seems really happy with it.


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eldave1
Posted: August 3rd, 2019, 10:43am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dustin
Quote: "Just had the happiest and most fulfilling time filming Dustin Bowcott’s beautiful screenplay “The Invisible Collection” for Psychotastic Productions. Wonderful co-actor Mark Wingett, brilliant D.O.P (Jonny Dixon) and his fantastic crew, Ruby and Harry, and the indefatigable Zoe Crowson without whose focus and energy ( and general loveliness ) none of this would have happened." Ian Gelder


This has now been filmed and will run the festival circuit. Everyone seems really happy with it.


Excellent, mate! Looking forward to seeing it when it is available


My Scripts can all be seen here:

http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts
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Dustin
Posted: August 3rd, 2019, 11:29am Report to Moderator
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Thanks, Dave. Much appreciated.


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