Dispatch from Doc Class: Week 2

It took me up until the pretty much the last minute to complete my assignment from last week, which was to write the synopsis for the film I want to work on. Needless to say, it, and the 14 copies made there way to class and I received a lot of really good feedback. I was really nervous because my idea is really big and although I am trying to step out of my comfort zone in all areas of my life, was really nervous when I put it down on paper.

What is it, you ask? I’m not telling, but I will tell you that it encompasses race, religion, sexuality and…disco!

Our in-class assignment for this week was toe read this article about Bikram Singh, an attorney and a Bhangra fusion star and then write the narrative for the first act of a film. The idea is to write the narrative as if it is a short story and really draw in the folks who will hopefully give you funding. Here’s what I wrote:

A crowd, consisting primarily of Indian 20-somethings dances wildly in the packed concert hall. On Stage, Bikram Singh, the hottest Bhangra fusion act performs his latest hit. As the show winds down, he glides offstage, flashing his megawatt smile to the crowd’s delight. Exiting the theater through a long, seemingly endless, hallway Singh enters an awaiting black limo ready to whisk him to Heathrow Airport — he must return to New York City for an important meeting.

Touching down at JFK, Singh gets into a taxi, pulls a neatly pressed shirt and tie from his garment bag, puts them on and toussles his neatly his perfect locs. When they arrive at his destination, Queens Housing Court, he glides up the stairs, through security and goes into the interview room on the left.

At this point, we are put into groups of three and have to decide which of the scenarios we are going to present to our class on a whole. One of my groupmates began his piece with Singh in the courtroom, the other has him at home preparing for his day, receiving a phone call from a producer, then having the call interrupted by another call from a potential client.

We debated for a bit about how the film would open. One groupmate had questions about positioning either a courtroom performance or a stage performance first, noting that it might speak to the fact that one is more important to the other; very valid. I obviously liked the performance shot first because I think it seduces the viewer. It’s like seeing Wonder Woman first, then finding out she is Diana Prince, super secret agent for the IADC! Both roles are just as groundbreaking and fabulous, but Wonder Woman is the crowd pleaser and we need a hook. I sort of won out, and this is how we ended the assignment:

His client, a Russian immigrant twice Singh’s age and half his height, is flustered. Tired. Singh greets him with a firm handshake, flashes that smile and assures him that it’ll be alright.

They enter the courtroom and Singh, puts on a performance even more riveting than the one in London the night before. He convinces the judge, with dexterity, that his client’s landlord, a large management company, was negligent and that his child’s injuries were a direct result of the lead paint they claimed did not exist.

After the ruling, Singh, his client and family members walk out arm-in-arm, and have one final embrace on the courthouse steps. Singh takes a deep breath and then his cell phone rings. A prominent producer who’s eager to work with him on a new album rapidly delivers an enticing pitch. In the middle of his impassioned monologue, Singh receives another call; this one from a Hindu Senior Center on the brink of eviction. His smile fades, the color drains from his face…

What’s interesting to note is that out of the four groups, we were the only ones who began with a performance scene and although I really liked what we eventually shared with the class, I would have opened with him backstage doing so pre-performance ritual then echoing it later with a pre-court performance ritual. All in all, I am satisfied with how the class turned out.

Our assignment for next week is to turn in the first act of our film. I’m nervous, but after having to do this exercise and watching and discussing the beginnings of The War Room, Castro, and 638 Ways to Kill Castro among others, I’d say I was well prepared.