Mirror Image

Every week for the past few months we (Apiary InterMedia) have been getting together on google meet, to review and discuss our collective projects, for feedback, constructive criticism and encouragement. This process is intended to keep us all on track and focused on development, weekly meetings keep progression top of mind and motivate what can be a very difficult exercise. 

In the case of this story, development has been a bit chaotic, production limitations demanded a revisit of the whole animated comic book concept. So I had decided to explore the story as a feature instead, and redeploy and repurpose the comic segments to create a demo for the companion ARG (alternate reality game).

First step was to take the rough outline for the comic book and flush out a story arch. I had the beginning and the (twist) ending. So as I started to write the Character sketches, the characters began to speak and they had a lot to say. so much that it looked like it would make a much better series.

When writing the comic book script I envisioned the character background scenes, but never fully developed them. Working with the idea that by alluding to themes in the voiceover, narrative, I could advance the main plot more quickly, and could always revisit these scenes in flashbacks if the story demanded it.

My justification was that audiences have been presented with these types of set-ups before, “Socially outcast  kid gets picked on”, Describes most Hero archetypes. I  felt yet another unnecessary or worse cliché character setup would lose viewer  interest.

Feedback from the writing room however made clear that there was one element that I had been neglecting in my assumption about the lead characters backstory. The world. I had forgotten that these scenes do more than just establish the hero’s displacement in society. They establish the society, and as such I had been neglecting an opportunity to establish the reality of this unique alternate history.

As I expanded the first of these flashback voiceover scenes,  It became less about the character’s rejection from society and more about exploring the society she is being rejected from. The Lab Partner scene also plays heavily in the recruitment level of the ARG, so it is a pivotal element in the story’s and the games narrative. As such it needed to be poignant and impactful.

I chose to explore the scene from the science teachers perspective, teachers see more than students realize, and by utilizing the theme (lesson) of the scientific method as a catalyst to progress the plot, helping the Character observe possibilities that they couldn’t see for themselves. In much the same way that I was leveraging the very lessons I had learned, from the writing room that kept me from seeing what was right in front of me.

Thus the Writer and Character meet again, on the face of the mirror.

Now we both must apply the lesson and more forward.

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