This documentary is a disaster, and I really dig it. I’m lost. It’s hopeless. I can’t nail the best midpoint. I don’t know where the Chicago-Toronto references should begin in Set Up and which ones should come in later at Conflict and post-Midpoint etc. It’s a monster I have unleashed into my own house. But …
" /> Jason Holborn | Cybercarnet/Weblog - LR103104: Catastrophe Can Be Fun!

LR103104: Catastrophe Can Be Fun!

This documentary is a disaster, and I really dig it.

I’m lost. It’s hopeless. I can’t nail the best midpoint. I don’t know where the Chicago-Toronto references should begin in Set Up and which ones should come in later at Conflict and post-Midpoint etc. It’s a monster I have unleashed into my own house.

But really, I am having a killer time. It’s a tough Rubik’s Cube that I am having some brain-fun with.

I wanted to do a 10 minute profile, but Lawrence really is good, imho, on camera. Talks up a happy storm, often without needing prompting at all, says witty interesting things. Really, with a reality-TV budget at my disposal, I’d almost certainly bank it on him.

It got interesting and more and more camera-worthy when social services started showing him housing options; they posed him with an intense crossroads choice with lousy consequences that he would have to decide on, and I thought, “Wow did I just get this on camera?”.

I got a good Opening that I think Blake Snyder or Robert McKee would approve of.
And I think I got a cool Ending moment. I knew it as soon as I shot him say it; this is the ending statement sentence, the last idea, the Final Image, the take-home moment and the pay-off to the Set-Up and Development. And I thought, really, “Man I’m freaking LUCKY to have caught this on camera.”

I think the most work is STILL ahead of me; it’s going to be definite labor-of-love stuff.

I entered this without any story at all in mind, searching for one. I knew the story I wanted to do on Reg; this one was a fishing trip the whole time. But I think I found a whale. Or, I think I’m going to need a bigger boat. 😉 But it’s a great time reeling it in.

It’s getting to be as much fun, in a weird way, as writing a cool screenplay. It’s much, much harder than a screenplay, because so much of it is locked: much of it is just reality as it was. But it’s fun and cool and fascinating to discover the patterns we talk about so much in terms of screenplays and narratives and stories being revealed, I think, in this real-life story.

Despite the zero-budget and sometimes shoddy camera angles, I think this might get into Hot Docs. It’ll get into something, and not because of me, but because Lawrence is interesting and really has a life story that’s worth looking at, and learning from.