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  • Time passes

    How to write the passage of several years including the ageing of a character?

    My character is a boy age 8 who basically lives in an orphanage/convent where his chores include cutting firewood and fetching water. I need to make him age to 15 - meaning a change of actor - while making it clear that we are seeing the same person. And preferably without involving too much camera direction.

    Here is my latest attempt:

    EXT. CONVENT - DAY

    A well stands in an open area. Johannes cranks up
    the bucket and pours the water into one of two larger
    buckets on the ground. Then he lifts them and carries
    them toward the kitchen house.

    THE BUCKETS

    Water splashes.

    JOHANNES

    Is now 15 years old.

    SUPER: "SIX YEARS LATER"


    Will this work? Or is it bad?

  • #2
    Re: Time passes

    Originally posted by Merlin View Post
    EXT. CONVENT - DAY

    A well stands in an open area. Johannes cranks up
    the bucket and pours the water into one of two larger
    buckets on the ground. Then he lifts them and carries
    them toward the kitchen house.

    THE BUCKETS

    Water splashes.


    SUPER: "SIX YEARS LATER"


    Will this work? Or is it bad?
    In my opinion "SUPER: "SIX YEARS LATER" is all you need. Especially if you're still focused exclusively on the boy. I think people will get it.

    But, that's just my opinion.
    "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Time passes

      Not a pro, so buyer beware. 8 + 6 = 14. Seven Years Later should suffice. Okay, so he runs toward the house with the buckets. Do the Super: Seven years Later. Show him carrying those same 2 well-aged buckets to his mother (or whatever) inside the house. She could even say, "What took you so long?" Not meaning seven years, but that's my thinking on it. Good luck...David

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Time passes

        Originally posted by StoryWriter View Post
        In my opinion "SUPER: "SIX YEARS LATER" is all you need. Especially if you're still focused exclusively on the boy. I think people will get it.

        But, that's just my opinion.
        When you're dealing what a character that's going to appear at more than one age, especially with children, with two different actors.

        Fundamentally, they are, and should be treated, as different characters.

        So you should describe them as Bob (age 6), Bob (age 15) and if he shows up later as an adult, then it's going to be Bob (age 25)

        When you first introduce them, you should intro them as new characters, because that's what they are -- these are new actors who will be new on the set.

        And they should be uniquely identified in the dialogue, so that when BOB (age 25), presuming the script is ever shot, goes paging through the script doing what every actor does -- which is simply looking for his own lines, he doesn't waste his time highlighting BOB (age 6) or BOB (age 15) -- which he might if those names aren't indicated as such every time one of those characters speaks.

        Anyway, that's how I've always done it.

        NMS

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Time passes

          Originally posted by Merlin View Post
          How to write the passage of several years including the ageing of a character?

          My character is a boy age 8 who basically lives in an orphanage/convent where his chores include cutting firewood and fetching water. I need to make him age to 15 - meaning a change of actor - while making it clear that we are seeing the same person. And preferably without involving too much camera direction.

          Here is my latest attempt:

          EXT. CONVENT - DAY

          A well stands in an open area. Johannes cranks up
          the bucket and pours the water into one of two larger
          buckets on the ground. Then he lifts them and carries
          them toward the kitchen house.

          THE BUCKETS

          Water splashes.

          JOHANNES

          Is now 15 years old.

          SUPER: "SIX YEARS LATER"


          Will this work? Or is it bad?
          This works, and it's not bad. To me it feels a little boring; I usually envision how I think the cuts will work, and what those cuts do to add to the character or storyline. For example, if I wanted to convey time passing, plus what happened to Johannes physically:
          EXT. CONVENT - DAY

          A well stands in an open area. Johannes cranks up
          the bucket and pours the water into one of two larger
          buckets on the ground.


          CLOSE ON THE BUCKETS

          Empty buckets fill.

          Again. A larger bucket sit in sloppy mud.

          And again. The mud is dried and cracked. Bucket's even bigger.

          And again. Six inches of snow surrounds the washtub-sized vessel.


          EXT. CONVENT - DAY - SIX YEARS LATER

          JOHANNES (now age 15) effortlessly hauls the buckets in the bitter cold, casually dodging a falling piece of slate from the convent's un-maintained roof.


          It's not just time passing that is of interest; it's also shorthand for (or a hint of) what has become of that character in the intervening six (seven) years.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Time passes

            Originally posted by dcribbs View Post
            Show him carrying those same 2 well-aged buckets to his mother (or whatever) inside the house. She could even say, "What took you so long?" Not meaning seven years, but that's my thinking on it. Good luck...David
            nice.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Time passes

              Just a “no super” thought:

              (Greenspersons place a sapling near the well — briefly describe the tree: “A sapling tree grows near the well.”)

              Boy (age 8) goes to well, drops bucket down into well. It sinks beneath the surface of the water. The surface ripples distort reflected sky. Ripples abate.

              (Greenspersons place a larger tree near the well — briefly describe its growth: “The tree near the well stands taller.”)

              Boy (age 15) lifts bucket from well.

              Similar devices have been employed in many movies, so it may seem cliché, but it's quick. There's the added opportunity to have the younger boy's face reflected in the water as the bucket breaks the surface; when the ripples abate, the reflection is of the 15-year-old boy.
              Last edited by TigerFang; 12-31-2017, 08:37 AM.
              "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Time passes

                Originally posted by nmstevens View Post
                When you're dealing what a character that's going to appear at more than one age, especially with children, with two different actors.

                Fundamentally, they are, and should be treated, as different characters.

                So you should describe them as Bob (age 6), Bob (age 15) and if he shows up later as an adult, then it's going to be Bob (age 25)

                When you first introduce them, you should intro them as new characters, because that's what they are -- these are new actors who will be new on the set.

                And they should be uniquely identified in the dialogue, so that when BOB (age 25), presuming the script is ever shot, goes paging through the script doing what every actor does -- which is simply looking for his own lines, he doesn't waste his time highlighting BOB (age 6) or BOB (age 15) -- which he might if those names aren't indicated as such every time one of those characters speaks.

                Anyway, that's how I've always done it.

                NMS
                Makes perfect sense. I didn't think of that.
                "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Time passes

                  Thanks all.

                  Presenting the character with age "Bob (8 years)" is a terrific way to make things clear to the reader. Good! But the trick is to make it clear to the audience that we are seeing the same person, several years later.

                  I like the "filling buckets" idea only it would take quite a few shots and maybe put too much emphasis on the ageing process.

                  Showing the image of his face in the water, letting the bucket ripple it and then, as the bucket comes up and the image clears, replacing it with the older character, is a genius idea! I love it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Time passes

                    Originally posted by Merlin View Post
                    Showing the image of his face in the water, letting the bucket ripple it and then, as the bucket comes up and the image clears, replacing it with the older character, is a genius idea! I love it.
                    Cool. Feels good to help. Thanks.
                    "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

                    Comment

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