Storyclock Development Log

Old/New (Narrated by Patton Oswalt)

By Seth Worley

Old/New (Narrated by Patton Oswalt)

This week on the blog, I'm going to show you how the Storyclock Notebook's Development Log can be used to record and organize your own story idea. I'll be using a short film I co-wrote and directed in 2015 called Old/New: Narrated by Patton Oswalt (yes that's the title, because when Patton Oswalt narrates your film, you name the film after him, or you're a dummy).

Old/New was written by me and Aharon Rabinowitz, and directed by me.

The film was created to showcase a Red Giant product called Magic Bullet Film -- a color correction tool that gives your footage the look of real world film stocks. So already I see some obvious themes: a product that’s core purpose is to take *new* footage and make it look like an *old* medium. Luckily we have a box specifically set aside for themes:

Right off the bat, this project is an interesting one, because I'm starting with theme.

This makes me think of our cultural obsession with nostalgia and rustic design. Like how our pictures aren’t presentable until we make them look older and slightly crappier. That's a funny visual. I write it in the ideas section.


I start toying with an idea about a guy who, when we first meet him, is obsessed with new things -- the newest technology, the newest fashions, the newest trends -- until one day something turns his attention backward, and he becomes obsessed with old things -- old records, old cars, old movies--

Now that's a concept. A guy obsessed with new becomes obsessed with old. We can poke fun at everybody! Early adopters AND hipsters!

So now I'm ready to start painting broad strokes over here on the clock, to start building a loose structure.

Assumably, the first act would be him in his normal world of new things. This is where most of the "new" gags will probably go. At some point around here, he sees something old that he finds very beautiful, which I'm thinking could be old paintings.
From this, he realizes old things are great, and he proceeds to discover the joys of old things. Old music, old whiskey, old cars, etc. Then maybe he goes too far with it. Old bananas, old plumbing, etc. That could be the second half of Act 2.

So now the first half of Act 2 is devoted to the pros of old things, with the second half devoted to the cons. Maybe this can escalate until finally he’s living in a cave or something.

...And then what? My entire third act is a gap.

I know I want the third act to have our hero using new things to save or preserve the old things he loved. A teaming up of old and new. But I can't figure out how to do that, especially if what he loved so much were some old paintings. How can I make the audience care that he gets some old paintings back? And what “new thing” could I use to save them?

So I look to the opposite side of the clock, back at my first act, to see if there's anything I can build on or pay off. I see the museum scene, where our inciting incident happens.
I start thinking about a character who could be a museum curator. A PERSON.

He could realize that it wasn’t the paintings that made him feel alive, it was the PERSON who presented them.

This takes the theme of the film to an entirely different - and better - level. “Some things are best old, and some things new, but remember why they mean what they mean to you.”
What if he literally went BACK to the events of Act 1? Using something "new" and state of the art ... like a time machine???
That's when the ending starts coming together, by looking at what I've already started in Act 1.

So dropping your ideas into a clock like this gives you a clear perspective on what’s missing from your story. And rather than filling these gaps by just making stuff up and dropping ideas in from the outside, you can try to extract ideas from what you already have. Again, it doesn’t always work, but it’s a really great way to fill in the gaps with relevant and meaningful material that’s born from what you already have.

Storyclock Notebook

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