I finally finished the script for my final project. Right now its tentatively titled "The Summer I Turned 19 by Erik LeDrew" and is, as I said before, about that moment in Iraq, the summer I turned 19.
I feel like this is the most coherent and, hopefully, meaningful thing I've done so far. The only thing I've written, extracurricular or otherwise, that feels like it could be mentioned in the same sentence is "bruiser". I don't know what else to say about it except that it's ambitious but intimate and I don't think I've set up any obstacles for myself that are impossible to overcome.
The obstacle that I couldn't find a solution for--and at this point, I'm not sure I want to--was properly integrating Noel's suggestion to have a recurring image of kinetic motion placed through the short to give a feeling of gathering momentum, building toward something. I tried to adapt the image of the Soldier running in the desert to his idea of a speeding motorcycle, but it felt too inorganic plunking it down in the middle of the mess. The shot works better as the bookends. And the besides, the two middle segments flow so smoothly into each other, that I didn't want to interrupt that--but maybe that's my recurring problem coming back to haunt me again, being married to the concept--except I can't exactly be married to it, when the solution I came up with to link the interview segment and the operating room segment was not one of my pre-dispositions. I had originally envisioned a post-modern mess of jump-cuts like a Rob Zombie or Marilyn Manson music video. I think what I came up with is far more organic (structurally inspired by Eraserhead, appropo) to the narrative and much more elegant.
Any problems I'd venture to guess at are probably not the ones people will hit on, but to try: it's possible the testicle writing is a bit too extraneous. But I'm angry and cynical and I think it's a shock that needs to stay put. The one "shock" that I can see parting with is the doctor yelling "INVALID" into the camera. That is a concept that is revealed aplenty in the operating room sequence and the writing on the mirror. It works for effect, to jarr the audience and hints that the doctor is "punishing" the Soldier, not condoning. But nevertheless, it is the most like the shock editing I'm so afraid of and is the part that I could easily see losing without too much damage being done to the rest of the short.
Filming is Tuesday and Wednesday, with pickups and ADR scheduled for the following Tuesday. And the desert shooting scheduled whenever Jan is available to head east of the mountains--weather, goddammit, permitting.
Listening to: The Departed soundtrack