At this point in time my script was almost complete; however I had a few more issues when it came to writing. So far my aim of creating a tribute to the music of Vietnam had not been thoroughly addressed, so throughout the entire sequence I had the idea the play a song. Originally I had planned for the song which Sebastian plays to cut out when the action started, as it would conflict with the build-up of tension however I found the perfect song which should increase the build-up. The song “American Eagle Tragedy” (1969) by Earth Opera is a 10 and a half minute chilling masterpiece about the horrors of the Vietnam War. The song starts off slow and then builds to a shocking crescendo which will match with the climax of my film. My intention for the song is for it to increase the anxiety of the scene and add another historical reference point.
During this time I also came up with a name for the radio station; Roach. The meaning behind this name is A. the cigarette is what triggers the standoff to go bad, B. Roach is my favorite character in Apocalypse Now (1979) so it has personal significance, and C. whilst conducting research I read about how cockroaches were used in Vietnam to detect the Vietcong through female cockroach pheromones. A decision I also had to make whilst writing was whether to use visual camera techniques such as SLOW MOTION and CLOSE UP. In the script in order to emphasize the smoke from the cigarette I thought it would be fitting to have these parts as a close up and slow motion. Although script writers would advise against this I thought they would be a vital aspect to the story; other examples of screenplays such as Apocalypse Now also used these techniques.
Whist writing my script I sent a copy to Faisal for him to check and he gave me some advice on how to make it better. Faisal claimed that he did not get a clear idea of the tone of the film, it was too descriptive, and the character of Ho Dinh was too stereotypical. Based on his feedback I changed the script in the following ways;
- I went through the entire script and removed most of the description, this included lots of explanation about the setting and character movements; the entire ending sequence was shortened by 200 words!
- I changed some of the characters dialogue and actions to portray their internal desires across; in the case of Johnny I made him much more pro-war through the dialogue at the start where he argues with Gareth about how guns are the only thing he needs. I also added more dialogue lines for Gareth throughout the script as I felt his character didn’t contribute to the story as much as I would have liked
- The character of Ho Dinh I completely changed; I started by editing his dialogue to sound more broken (in-keeping with the Vietnamese accent). I further went on to remove overly stereotypical lines which didn’t add anything to the plot e.g. Him pushing Gareth to answer if he thought the War was unjust.
By making these changes to the script I was now free to start working on the Pre-vis animation.
Apocalypse now. 1979. [Film]. Francis Ford Coppola. dir. USA: Omni Zoetrope.
Earth Opera. 1969. The American Eagle Tragedy. Earth Opera. The Great American Eagle Tragedy. [Vinyl]. USA: Elektra