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First Person Singular

My first post of 2011 is pretty irregular, in that it is a properly formatted screenplay for a short film. I just submitted this screenplay to the Doha Film Institute. They had a deadline of January 1st for their competition; that rather changed the complexion of my new year’s celebrations…! The story is called “First Person Singular”. You can read it by following this link. One downside of reading it would be that you will spoil the surprise ending, should the unlikely happen and the screenplay is picked to be made into a film. On the other hand, I might get a small positive in terms of increased awareness of you. If you are one of those countless people who reads my posts via Facebook – and I mean countless in the sense that I get no count of how many read Halfthoughts that way – then you will just have to come to my proper site if you want to read this.

I will not ruin the story by commenting too much here, but it was extraordinarily quick to write. That was lucky, because I had no time to waste if I was to hit the deadline. The rapid evolution was spurred by bringing together a number of recent preoccupations of mine. One is the idea that as the world globalizes, cultural and national distinctions increasingly decline as an influence on behaviour. When writing about the central character of this screenplay, I deliberately avoided giving any clues about their identity. Anyone might do what they do. I would be intrigued to know how people imagine him, as I have been trying to vary the image I have of him in my head. Sometimes he has my face; at others times he might have yours. The idea of the homogeneity of human behaviour linked to another idea, which is about the connection or disconnection of people in a modern era. We may become more similar in behavioural terms, but how do we behave towards each other? What are our means of communicating, and when and how do we exercise them? I had in mind to explore whether, by being more similar, and finding new ways to connect, we also encourage a countervailing trend to raise obstacles and reassert the distance and differences between people. This might lend itself to acute feelings of suspicion and distrust, even as humans seemingly know more about each other than ever before. There was some irony that writing this screenplay preoccupied me in the run-up to New Year’s, a time of congregation and festivity for many, whilst writing continues to be, by its nature, a mostly solitary task.

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