Monday, 22 March 2010

Shedding light on the story...

I haven't posted any story ideas for a while. And that's because I haven't been having any solid ideas. However, I have one almost completely different idea to my first story, although not complete, but I'm sure has the potential.

I was thinking of setting my story in a department store. (not sure of time of day)
And in the department store is a standard lamp section. There are many different types of standard lamps. I've given them characteristic types.

Here are some sketches

I like the idea of using the light switch to double as a monocle. (the blue arrow is pointing to the drawing)

aristocratic standard lamps. (upright and very tall)

delicate standard lamps. (smaller and enclosed)

sleepy standard lamps. (leaning over / keeps drifting off to sleep / lights dim)

simple / cheep standard lamps. (look terribly standard)

All these types of standard lamps are organised in their spaces.

I've done a few example sketches of standard lamps with different body shapes. None of them are realistic in anyway. But then I wouldn't expect them to be.

That is the basic setting for the story.

I then started to think what might happen.


After alot of thinking and discussing ideas with my brother I have come up with a resolved story.

Asl = Aristocratic standard lamp

My idea is that the asl isn't getting sold as other lamps are getting sold around it.

At closing time. (at night)

This last asl is left alone with just a few other unsold lamps of lower class than him. (refer to the characteristics above)

But in the dark he sees one other standard lamp, aross the other side of the department store.

Asl immediately falls in love and walks over to it.

Just as asl gets infront of it, he lifts the hat/lampshade up a bit and discovers a human face dummy.

It is a hat display.

Asl is shocked by this, backs away down another ile and the lead attached to him (he is plugged in) pulls tight.

Asl falls to the ground and smashes.

Short silent pause

noise of a bulb being screwed back in

light turned back on, and asl finds himself in a living room

looking around, asl spots a standard lamp, that looks just like the mannequin with the hat. (suggestion of romance)

The end

I like this story although the main flaw with it is that it might be difficult to fit into one minute. Even though this isn't a comedy, I think story wise, it is the best story.


  1. Online Interim Review 23/03/10

    Hi Ethan,

    This new story idea DOES indeed have lots of potential - and the little detail with the light-switch = monocle is lovely. I really like the idea of the lamp falling in love with an equally upper-class mannequin - and the setting of the department store is good too; not sure about the 3rd act resolution if I'm being honest; indeed, this love interest aspect changes things, because it's no longer necessary for the lamp to get its 'come-uppance' by falling over as a punishment for being snooty; perhaps your story is a good deal sweeter than that; it's simply a story of very elegant, sophisticated standard lamp falling in love with a mannequin - how you tell the story of their 'courtship is another entirely' - indeed - the use of the flex keeping them apart becomes an option suddenly. There's actually an entire genre of love stories that 'cross the class divide' - in which lovers from upper/working class fall in love and risk societal disapproval as a result (James Cameron's Titanic is an example). Perhaps your aristocratic standard lamp is in love with a rather ordinary bedside light - their inability to be together expressed by the length of their cables; maybe, the aristocratic standard lamp is not the centre of your story, but rather the centre of attention for another character, who is trying to catch it's eye?

    So - yes, the department store setting opens everything up nicely; if there's a love angle, maybe the changes the entire emphasis - and maybe the standard lamp is the goal for another character - the lamp remains aloof and disinterested as something else/someone else tries to get their attention? In this way, it might be the flex of the other lamp that restricts its ability to connect? Maybe you should think about the light that loves the standard lamp being rather kitsch or bad taste? Or just rather plain and frumpy and 'Grandma-ish?'

    So - maybe a second character is key to resolving your story - but the key is to knock out some of that residual complexity and make it very goal-orientated for purposes of clear staging...

    Regarding your written assignment, see following post for some stuff re. the importance and purpose of a good introduction...

  2. Use your introduction* to state clearly the investigative intention of your written assignment and the means by which you are going to support your discussion; for instance:

    ‘This essay will investigate the animated films of The Brothers Quay in relation to Freud’s theory of the Uncanny - with particular focus on Street of Crocodiles (1986) and The Comb (1990)…


    ‘The stop-motion animator, Ray Harryhausen is arguably the father of modern day cinematic fantasy. What follows is an investigation of his life and work in relation to the development of special effects…’

    Stylistically, it is often clarifying to begin with a key-note quote or bench mark statement that sets the scene for the discussion… for instance:

    ‘… the Brothers Quay's works are independent of any definable genre; indeed, the imitation of their unique style which can be observed in films of other animators are a complimentary gesture to the auteur style they have developed. Throughout their opus, a continuity can be observed - Quays' devotion to the marginal, the nobody and the unnoticed, elevated into the sublime…’ (Buchan: 1996)

    In her essay, Shifting Realities – The Brothers Quay – Between Live Action and Animation, Suzanne Buchan observes that other animators have imitated the unique style of the Brothers Quay. This investigation seeks to trace that influence by comparing their short 1986 film, Street of Crocodiles with Henry Selick’s Coraline (2009)…

    * If you can’t provide a succinct introduction for your discussion, chances are you’re not quite ready to write the essay. You need to make your argument clear – without one, you are submitting a ‘blancmange’.

    When referring to a film for the first time, always give proper title (with capital letters!), release date and director; after that, you can use title only. Please check spelling of film title – if it’s a made-up word, the spell check won’t know the difference!

    When referring to a person for the first time, use full name – after that, use surname only.

    You must use Harvard Method for quotations!

    Use footnotes for ‘additional’ information that is important or contextualizing but ‘outside’ of the main body of the essay.

    Please double-space your written assignments!

    You must provide a paper-copy at time of crit!