Escape from Skull Station

For the past few weeks, my screenwriting and cinema production class has been attempting to create a three part serial drama based on some of the older serials such as Batman and Flash Gordon. The plot for the serial we were trying to make centered around a pilot named Reggie Armstrong who must travel into space to rescue June Paisley, a scientist who has been kidnapped by the villainous Hammerhead because of her research on brain corruption.

As with several other projects through this class, it felt like the time given to the assignment was incredibly minimal. The class only met once a week, and we were really only provided with 3-4 weeks to make preparations, including scripting and storyboarding the serial. Creating the script took a couple of weeks, and a storyboard was never fully completed. This is partially due to the amount of time allotted, but to be completely honest, the amount of effort given by most of the class was laughable.

The script for example was being created by several different people at the same time. It wasn’t cohesive, and no one really put forth any effort to correct any errors. I put together a treatment completely outside of class, and it felt like the majority of my peers were just goofing off. It’s unfortunate, but I’ve come to expect this type of behavior from the students in my classes.

As for the production itself, this type of behavior continued. It’s not just the behavior that set the production behind, but also the time given for it, so I can’t blame the students completely. It’s a pretty hefty feat to attempt filming a 45 minute show during one class period (two periods tops), and we were unable to finish it completely. With the original idea of the show being three 15-minute acts, we were able to finish the first two acts completely, but were unable to finish the third. This was caused by a mixture of set design, technical difficulties, script and graphic problems, amateur actors, as well as other assorted issues.

I’m honestly perplexed as to why the class had to push forward to keep filming even into the last class period. As I’m writing this, we’ve finished the final class, and we won’t be meeting again. If our professor is unable to edit what we shot together, then we’ll never see any finished product. I honestly wouldn’t blame the professor if she didn’t edit it. I’m sure there will be plenty of other pressing matters to attend to.

If I am to find some positives in this experience, I would say that attempting to film this serial drama really gave me a look at trying to produce/direct/lead a group of people. I’ve had the experience of producing/directing/leading before, but I’ve always had the pleasure of doing that with a team completely made up of people I was familiar with, people I got along with and people who were on a similar skill level. This experience had me in charge of a group of people who the majority had little to no production experience, and little to no passion that they were putting in. It pushed me to my limits, and hopefully I can use this experience to benefit me in the future.

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