Story analysis

Scriptwriting was a new experience. I used lessons learned from the Oli project as my starting point.

I started by trying to understand what it was about my idea that was interesting.

Check in and sharing session – feedback

I attended the monthly OCA Check-in and sharing session and walked through progress with my final project, the change in direction, and my new approach. I wanted to use the session to gauge whether what caught people’s attention and anything I could learn about how to shape up the content into something.

After briefly recapping on my Assignment 2 work-in-progress and my reason for stopping work on the Oli comic and changing direction, I outlined what had happened to my father whilst in hospital. I started by showing the diary entries and collated WhatsApp messages to give a flavour of the type and extent of the content collected so far. I used the Why is this interesting mindmap to have a conversation about where the story is and what’s engaging.

I spoke from the heart and talked for what seemed like 10 or 15 minutes without interruption. People were engaged in the story and were listening.

I moved on to show the subject research completed so far, and this opened up a discussion.

Some of the feedback/observations/learnings:

  • This is a story about fear. Loss of control, fear of change, psychological fear, fear of the unknown.
  • There is an obvious narrative to work with.
  • Focusing on the effects of Parkinsons and documenting it’s impact would be interesting and educational/valuable to an audience.
  • I should take what I’ve learned through the Oli research and apply that to this project.
  • Is there a way to incorporate actual content (such as hand written letters), into the project?
  • I need to stop researching and start making the work.

I felt the general response to the idea of somehow telling the story pretty much as I had explained it would be enough.

My immediate next step is to stop procrastinating and write a script.

Script – first draft

Once I started writing the script came easily. By that time I’d collected all of my research materials into a single document and most of the work was organising that into a logical structure.

I used the same script format that my collaborator on the Oli project had used because I was able to easily translate that into a comic format.

The script ran to 16-pages.

Focus sentence

At this point I wrote a focus sentence to test the idea on my critical friend. The response was positive and through conversation and feedback I was able to sharpen the statement:

I’m making a short non-fiction comic exploring how health and social care services in England are failing the most vulnerable. 

The story is told through the eyes of an 84-year-old man and his three children who must navigate a chaotic and broken system as their father’s condition deteriorates.

The documentary unfolds through messages exchanged on a family WhatsApp group, conversations with healthcare specialists and the words and experiences of the patient. 

It brings to life the state of public health and social care in England as it struggles to cope in a post-COVID, post-Brexit, post-12 years of Conservative ideology. It highlights the fragility of mental and physical health in the elderly in early 21st century England.

Mock-up

Using lessons from the Oli project, I created a storyboard of the book to see how words and pictures might combine and to give an idea of the size and scale of the work.

I then created a rough mock-up of the book in Microsoft Word to give me a sense of the flow of the story and allow me to make rapid editorial decisions without without spending a huge amount of time and effort.

Although fairly crude, I found being able print out and read a physical version of the book incredibly useful. It enabled me to make further editorial decisions related to both the words and pictures.

At this point I had enough information to start the design and layout.

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