What follows is a piece or fragment of a project I’m working on called “On Where.” On Where is going to be a script for a short subject film that anyone can produce, in theory. I call the primary dialogue around which the rest of the script will be built “The Ostinato.” I’ll put it in its entirety below after a few notes.
In music the ostinato is a repeating motif in a song. This isn’t quite that but I had to call it something. The gist of this idea germinated as an attempt to write a script for a short subject film that anyone could produce with little to no money. You just need a male to play Y and a female to play X. They don’t have names, but they do have personalities, that I plan to explain in more detail in future installments here in my wordpress space. In general, both X and Y are human adults. X never wears black. Y never wears white. X wears fun colors and different outfits in almost every scene. Y is more sedate in his fashion choices, preferring to blend in and be presentable but not bring attention to himself. X loves attention. Y does not. Y is subdued, laid back, kinda introverted and at times ready to give up. X is more outgoing and extroverted, but emotionally unpredictable and concerned Y might do something rash, when that’s usually her job. The two love each other and are inexplicably linked, but Y wants something X can’t provide, and what that is seems to keep changing.
The more I dig into this, the more complicated it gets. In my mind, the dialogue tends to fold in on itself and can stop and start at different times like a Mandelbrot design, potentially endlessly but I’m also working on prologues and epilogues. It needs to be self contained and tell a narrative. It can’t just be art for art’s sake. There’s a tale to tell but it must be woven carefully. I know where this is going, but am aware it can go in many directions, and in the hands of different producers it could theoretically go places I can’t even imagine now. Or it could become a farce or parody of itself, or a melodrama that takes itself too seriously. I hesitate to congeal too much of this, for fear of limiting the imaginations of those who might someday tackle the idea. However, I also want to explore in detail what I would do with this if I had the resources. So as to give people in the future ideas that might trigger their own. Or maybe they’ll like the ideas I put forth.
The settings are many and varied. I’m trying to think of places that could in theory be not far from anyone. Places where anyone with a smartphone and a YouTube account could film. I’m intentionally hoping to keep things vague, but I also have visuals in mind that I’m gonna wanna lock down. In thinking about costume and set design or location shooting, I’m trying to be very budget conscious. With all that in mind, some settings for the following dialogue include but are not limited to the roof of a commercial building, a picnic area in a park or perhaps some rural setting where a picnic could take place, and a library or church or some place where whispers and indoor voice talking is preferable to having a shouting match. Although some of the dialogue seems to lend itself to one or the other, I am working out an idea of explaining “dark and light passes” meaning that in each setting, the actors would be asked to perform the same dialogue in two or more different emotional states, while in the same environment, but with changes to the environment that indicate a light and airy attitude or a darker more tragic outcome. Then the director would have this material to edit from when making the final product. The end result should be rather jarring to the audience, bringing question to what reality is and where all this really takes place.
There’s also a door that follows them around like a stray dog, and looming threats at every turn which are more visual than in the dialogue. As I said, this gets more complicated the deeper I go. I’ll try to go into more detail at another time, but for now, here’s the ostinato. This is still in its baking stages. It’s not finished cooking but at some point I’m gonna have to clamp down and make it canon. Once the final script is made, I want all the dialogue to come from the same ostinato, with as little deviation throughout the performance as possible, so the audience recognizes passages repeating in different contexts. An obstinate pattern in the weirdness.
Whenever possible, Y is sitting or standing in one place as we begin, usually waiting for X, who has just arrived.
Y: Hey yourself.
X: What you doin?
Y: What’s it look like?
X: I asked you first.
Y: I can’t keep doing this.
X: Yes you can.
Y: I asked you second.
X: Bzzt! Third base!
Y: You know that’s not funny anymore.
X: That will always be funny.
Y: We always seem to keep finding ourselves back where we started.
X: This isn’t where we started.
Y: You know what I mean.
X: Pretend that I don’t.
X: Pretend I don’t know what you mean.
Y: How dare you.
X: Look. I’m sorry, alright? I’m sorry I’m not really what you want right now, but I am what you need. I know it in my heart.
Y: So you keep saying.
X: I say it because I believe it.
Y: You don’t know that.
X: I know it in my heart.
Y: Well I don’t.
X: You don’t have to. I will believe enough for both of us.
Y: You think that’s how it works?
X: I know that’s how it works. Our hearts beat as one.
Y: You feel. You don’t know. No one knows.
X: It has to do.
Y: I stopped believing a long time ago.
X: I know. I was there.
Y: You keep bringing this up, so I think you keep forgetting and need to be reminded.
X: You keep saying that.
Y: I say it because it’s true.
X: That you stopped believing?
X: Which is precisely why you need me.
Y: You don’t get it, do you? You never did.
X: I understand just as well as you do.
Y: Because our hearts beat as one.
X: Exactly. We are.. kindred spirits, you and I. Believe me.
Y: If you say so.
X: I know so.
Y: You use the words ‘know’ and ‘belief’ interchangeably.
X: So you keep saying.
Y: You also say ‘heart’ when you really mean ‘mind.’
X: Minds don’t beat like hearts.
Y: But mine is beating me.
X: I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you.
Y: How’s that old saying go? “You only hurt the ones you love.”
X: That’s out of fashion.
Y: Yeah well, I’m old fashioned. Maybe. I don’t know.
X: I didn’t mean anything by it.
Y: Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me.
X: There’s nothing wrong with you.
Y: Why is there a door here?
X: What door.
Y: Don’t be obtuse. That door.
X: It’s a door.
Y: It’s the same door.
X: It’s not the same door.
Y: I’m telling you.
X: You’re imagining things.
Y: It’s the same door.
X: Look. Doors are everywhere. They’re all different.
Y: Not that one. I think it’s following me around.
X: Now who’s being obtuse?
Y: Do you even know what that means?
X: Of course I do.
Y: I doubt it.
X: I believe it.
Y: And we’re back to that again.
Y: I don’t believe in anything anymore!
X: Why not?
Y: You know why not! You were there!
X: Pretend I don’t.
X: Yes! Pretend! Pretend I don’t.
Y: I can’t keep doing this.
X: Yes you can!
Y: I used to believe in you.
X: I’m sorry I’m not what you want.
Y: I accept things provisionally now, given proper evidence.
X: That’s scientifically verifiable.
X: I understand.
Y: Do you? Do you really? Cuz I feel I’m alone here!
X: I’m trying to understand, okay?
Y: It’s the only way I can deal with this crazy mixed up world we live in.
X: And how’s that been working for you?
Y: So I am alone, aren’t I? You don’t understand at all.
X: I’m trying. You’re just making this so hard.
Y: And why is that?
X: Because you won’t believe in us. In this. What we have.
Y: What do we have?
X: I can’t put it in a test tube for you. You want me to dissect it?
X: Take it apart and put it back together again like a motorbike?
Y: I never-
X: You gotta have faith.
Y: Look. I gotta go.
X: No! Don’t! Please! Stay with me!
Y: Why!? Why should I? Hasn’t this been enough?
Y: Isn’t this all you ever wanted? To exist?
X: Don’t say that!
Y: For this brief speck of time on a spinning mudball in space?
X: It’s not enough. You promised an always.
Y: You did. I just agreed with you. Long ago.
X: We promised it to each other.
Y: Well the universe has its own agenda and we’re not a part of it.
X: God works in mysterious ways.
Y: There you go again bringing your imaginary friend into it.
X: Oh, like you should talk! Like you have a leg to stand on!
Y: Isn’t this enough? To be here? With me now?
X: I wanted so much more for us.
Y: You couldn’t handle it.
X: Look, I said I’m sorry!
Y: I know you did!
X: How many times do I have to say it?
Y: You keep saying your sorry, but it’s not enough.
X: It’s not my fault!
Y: Oh so now it’s mine?
X: No! Wait. Yes. Yes it is.
Y: Oh really?
X: You’re the one who brought up that stupid saying.
Y: You only hurt the ones you love.
X: Well. I hurt you. And I’m sorry. But if I hurt you.
Y: Then you love me.
Y: I’ve never denied that.
X: I believe.
Y: I don’t.
X: I know that. I’m just asking you to believe in yourself.
Y: That’s rather irrational.
X: You say you don’t believe.
Y: I don’t use belief.
X: You accept things on a provisional basis.
X: Okay! Fine. If you accept provisionally, that I’m a part of you, and I always will be. I believe in you. So a part of you will always believe in yourself.
Y: I don’t believe in anything.
X: You do now.
Y: Not if it means losing you.
X: That’s the beauty of this. If I can save you. Here. Now. I will always save you. You can save me too.
Y: That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.
X: How do you know that?
Y: I know your sacrifice would not benefit me.
X: In the hereafter.
Y: You said the here and now. It won’t. Just as mine wouldn’t benefit you.
X: I have always been what you need.
Y: But you can’t be what I want. This. Here. Now. I can’t have this.
X: You don’t have to believe. You don’t even have to love me.
Y: I do love you.
X: I believe in you.
Y: I don’t want this. I just want you, but not like this. This is not fair.
X: Who ever said life was fair?
Y: That’s not enough! Faith isn’t anything.
X: But if you believe, faith is everything.
Y: No! Don’t go!
And that’s all I got so far as of this date. Again, it’s a work in progress. This might be it word for word or maybe it’ll take on a whole new look before I’m through. We shall see.