Here is an extract from a feature film script I wrote for the final year of my Film & Video Degree called The Outsider. It is set in a world slightly at odds with ours but still recognisable. Although mostly distinguishable as the contemporary world, elements from the past have been incorporated, such as a bleak orphanage run by cold-hearted nuns. This and other elements within the world were exaggerated to exemplify themes.
The film is about a boy named Tom who loses his parents at an early age and is sent to live at the orphanage. Devoid of any loving parental guidance and affection, Tom is drawn to his father’s final gift; videos of an old adventure serial, ‘The Outsider’. Previously promised rewards by his father for his righteousness, Tom’s principles are strictly governed by the selfless morals of the serial’s hero, the Outsider. Complications arise when Tom’s strict adherence to the Outsider’s morals prevents him from doing what is right.
A comparison is drawn between Tom’s devotion to the Outsider’s rules and the nuns following the laws of the Bible. This was inspired by religious fundamentalism and Doctor Who fans arguing over the Doctor’s differing morality from episode to episode. The script draws attention to the foolishness of attempting to live your life by a limited set of rules, and the importance of thinking for yourself and questioning all situations. It is critical of religious fundamentalists and carrying out good deeds merely to receive the reward of an afterlife. However, it does not criticise all elements of religion, as Tom’s religious devotion to the Outsider gives him self-assurance and inspires him to lead a more moralistic life.
Although I love the script’s basic premise of ‘a man who’s governed by the morals of his favourite TV show’, it needs major rewrites, to be made more concise and realistic. I plan on writing more drafts once my MA has ended, simplifying the story and cutting its exaggerated elements, such as Tom’s childhood, the nuns and over the top villains. Instead, I will be focusing the action on Tom and his lonely life, how it has brought him to rely on a TV show for comfort, and how his devotion to the show’s principles is preventing him from gaining the companionship he needs.