I think I've mentioned here before my habit of telling myself stories. I've been doing it since I was little, telling myself a story before I fall asleep. I guess I just like to give myself something nice to occupy my mind as I drift off. Sometimes if it's a particularly compelling idea I'll find myself drifting back into it throughout the day.
I have one story line that has been running in my head for over twelve years! I keep thinking it'll make a good children's series one day, when I feel like sharing it with the rest of the world.
Last weekend I was skyping with my friend Sara Jane who is in Korea and we were talking about a screenplay she's writing. It got me thinking about a story line that I've been playing with lately that has never really gone anywhere - I found it very captivating, but more in a visual kind of way, less in an intricate plot kid of way. Sometimes when I think about stories they can come together in such a way that I think it looks more like a series of visually arresting pictures than a complete plot, and that's what happened with this one, it shaped itself into a movie idea.
It's a peculiar love story between a selfless woman (in that she finds it easier to give to others than care for herself (which arguably can be a form of selfishness)) and a selfish man who has the capacity for great selflessness. Both of them have dedicated their lives to their careers and are very focused on following their own paths, both wrapped up in their own problems. Individually they are both very isolated and self-occupied in different ways. He's a movie star in the middle of a messy divorce and she's an international war correspondent (or aid worker, or possibly a photo journalist, I haven't decided yet) who is an orphan and has a certain disregard for her own safety.
They are in the tropics somewhere and being moved from one area to another by their different agencies/agents/insurance companies because there is conflict in the region they have been working in: her working as a reporter (maybe) and him filming a movie. I can't decide if it's conflict, natural disaster, or some other reason that means they have to move, but the point is they can't stay where they have been. Keep in mind they haven't met yet.
The film starts with each of them traveling in separate cars toward the same destination, both of their faces illuminated by the lights of the sporadic oncoming traffic. They're in Asia and there's a tropical storm, the rain is falling hard. Something happens to cause their cars to stop in the same place and they are prevented from traveling any further - a boarder is closed, the road is flooded, something like that. They both encounter each other for the first time in the pouring rain, but they don't meet until later while they are stranded in the same remote, dodgy town for a week or two.
I'm not going to give any more away, but in my mind it's very heart-wrenching, a little unexpected and there is a surprise ending - the kind that leaves you wondering "but ... What?!!", and it's up to you to decide if it's a glass half empty or half full outcome. I also have an alternate, more satisfying ending.
I see it as a Sofia Coppola kind of a film. Beautiful cinematography and a not-overly-wordy script, but very emotional and something everyone's heart can really relate to in a rather unconventional way.
Now, if only I actually knew how to write a screen play...