Always wanted to make this (especially to support spinal research and showcase some storytelling chops), but compositing peeps were only keen for paying jobs. If this is produced, cast, and edited correctly, it has built-in heartstring-pull and massive viral potential.
So maybe some talented young filmmakers out there (who happen to love the narrative in Coldplay's FIX YOU) would like to take a stab...
Video High Concept, Proposal, and Breakdown
In a sleepy suburb, a young wife tends to her paraplegic husband (WILL), but is overcome with emotion at his helplessness. Longing to break free, Will steers his chair through the neighbourhood – past the able-bodied adults tending to their chores, and children playing in the streets – to the top of a nearby hill. Rotating the chair slowly, he surveys the lights of the town below, and is moved by loving memories of his past life. Flicking the switch on his contraption’s wheels from ‘Locked’ to ‘Free’, he races down the hill with a tear-streamed face, lifting his arms triumphantly in defiance of his disability.
The chair then strikes a large bump at the bottom, with Will hurled into the air in an arc of bliss and empowerment, before landing on his feet and running impassioned towards his home. The neighbours stand awestruck and overjoyed as he runs by, moved to tears by his courage and transformation. Will stops in the driveway - his wife spotting him through the kitchen window before dropping her dishes and running to embrace him at the front door. But as he bounds through the door he disappears…and we are back where we started: in the living room, with Will stuck in the chair, and his wife crying in the kitchen.
He is staring at the open door, and the sun streaming through it. He turns the chair to face his wife, and summons all of his energy to smile at her. A tear runs down his face.
REQUIREMENTS (Locations, Talent, Props, etc)
• EXTERIORS: tree-lined mid-scale suburban street, modest yuppie home, hilltop.
• INTERIORS: ‘sterile’ living room, kitchen with large windows
• TALENT: Husband/’Will’ (35+), Wife (28-35), Gardening Man (55+), Elderly Woman Driver (65+), Lemonade Kids (boy/girl: 8-10), Skaters (2 or 3: 12+)
• MAIN PROPS: Motorized wheelchair, photos and frames, garden equipment, large hose, lemonade stand, skateboards, compact sedan, dishes and cutlery.
• WEATHER: lots of sun and shade will be needed to sell the ‘contrast’ of the protagonist’s journey.
• GEAR: 2 cameras (plus one handheld for ‘stunt’ and selected ‘POV’), standard or makeshift dolly, hand-crane, Steadicam?
• AUDIO: save opening ambience for post mix. Lack of dialogue simplifies, and adds strength for international appeal. Music-only a la ‘The Scientist’ and ‘Just’.
SHOOTING BREAKDOWN PROPOSAL (the table got screwy in the transfer to here, so feel free to get in touch for timing of cues)
ACTION / SHOT NOTES MUSIC CUE DURATION
• Establishing panorama shot of hill and suburb street – DAY
• Closer shots on street – neighbours going about their weekend activities
• Establishing shot of Will’s home w/slow push to open front door • N/A – ambient sound only. Idyllic: birds, lawns being mowed, a car washed, children’s laughter, etc. 30 seconds
• CUs and pans across mantle and tables with photos of Will and his wife in happier times.
• XCU of a man’s mouth trying to eat a spoonful of food clumsily, bits falling off. • Opening organ riff 10 seconds
• Wife’s loving but frustrated face in CU – making efforts.
• Two-Shot: attempting to feed her paraplegic husband in profile. He seems incapable, and bits of food drop on his clothes and on the floor. • When you try your best, but you don't succeed… 10 seconds
• Wife breathes deep and takes his chin in her hand to help him swallow and chew.
• She wipes his face like an infant. • When you get what you want but not what you need… 10 seconds
• CU of Will staring blankly at her
• Wife stands and gives a ‘together’ smile in MCU before picking up the dishes and giving him a second-thought kiss on the cheek.
• She backs out of room into kitchen, closing the door. • When you feel so tired but you can't sleep...
• Stuck in reverse?
• She puts the dishes on the counter
• One drops off and breaks – she starts to cry with great pain. • And the tears come streaming down your face… 10 seconds
• Will stares at door, and inches the chair forward – feeling even more helpless.
• He struggles to turn his head. There’s a picture of them embracing on a hilltop at sunset. • When you lose something you can't replace…”
• When you love someone but it goes to waste… 10 seconds
• The wife has turned on the faucets to mask her terrible tears.
• Camera push on Will, turning his head towards camera and inching the chair forward.
• Could it be worse?
• A reflection from his food tray glints in his eye. He turns the chair slowly to see sun pouring in through the open door.
• The glare bounces of the metal of his chair and on the mantle with the pics – focus on the hilltop scene of happiness.
• Will pushes forward on the stick and moves the chair out through the door into the sun, stopping for a moment to cut a beautiful yet sad silhouette. • Lights will guide you home…
• And ignite your bones
• And I will try to…
• …to fix you. 25 seconds
• Will rolls out to the end of the driveway. Behind him, his wife is at the kitchen window, but is lost in her grief.
• Will rotates the chair to look at her, and then rotates back to look up the street at the neighbours and the hill in the distance.
• He presses forward on the chair. • Piano bridge 13 seconds
• Crane from trees down to ground level up on Will as he motors down the center of the street
• Follow shot, intimate. • From high up above or down below…
• Man washing his car with a high-pressure hose, occasionally squirting the garden. He notices Will, but lowers his head and pretends not to.
• Close on Will, wide-eyed and a little overwhelmed at his journey – his eye on the prize of the nearby hilltop. • When you're too in love to let it go…
• Kids skate around him in wide berths, looking bad with annoyance and a bit of pity.
• An old lady nearly backs into Will from her driveway. She spies him uncomfortably in the rear-view like he’s a freak. • But if you never try you'll never know…
• Just what you're worth… 10 seconds
• Will pushes to the end of the street and struggles to stare up.
• The sun is gleaming over the top of the hill, beckoning to him, warming his face – a flash of the photo strengthens his resolve.
• His hand shakes before he pushes forward on the stick, and rolls underneath our frame view. • Lights will guide you home…
• And ignite your bones…
• And I will try to fix you… 25 seconds
• Will rolls steadily up the hill in a variety of views: below angle, top down, static profile, POV.
• He reaches the summit and stares at the sun. • First half of guitar riff, pre-drums 15 seconds
• Will turns the chair around and looks down the hill at his street far below.
• His hand is shaking a lot now, and there’s sweat and anger and determination on his face.
• Full rotation around Will as his hand trembles and moves down the side of the chair towards a lever. • Second half of guitar hits, with bass, pre-drums 12+ seconds
• CU of hand pushing the lever guarding the wheels from ‘LOCKED’ position to ‘FREE’ position.
• Wheelchair begins to roll down hill in slow motion from multiple angles – Will’s mouth open in fear and excitement.
• The chair begins to pick up speed and bump its way down the hill. Intermix slow shots with full/enhanced speed POVS and ground-up shots looking up the hill with the sun making him a silhouette.
• CU on Will – he’s having flashes of the past, of his suffering, and of the photos that remind him of the love of his wife. He cries.
• His entire arms begin to shake, and with every ounce of strength he raises them in the air in victory as he approaches a big bump at the bottom of the hill. • Drum hit sequence 30 seconds
• Will hits the big bump at the bottom of the hill and flies forward out of the wheelchair, but not horror or comedic – he ‘launches’ up and arcs 10-15ft in the air!
• There’s a huge burst of sun at his back - his arms are outstretched as he rises into the air.
• CU on Will’s face as the wind rustles his hair and tears of sadness become tears of joy flying from his eyes.
• Will’s POV – descending toward the world. The old woman has finally backed out of her driveway, and the car is directly in Will’s ‘landing zone’
• As he arcs back towards the ground, his arms AND legs are no longer flailing spastic but suddenly gain smooth ‘form’ and grace in slow-mo speed ramp. • Tears stream…
• down your face…
• When you lose something…
• You cannot replace
• Tears stream
• down on your face
• And I……………. 25 seconds
• Will lands on the roof of the car and all the windows burst outwards with the music – the old woman is unharmed, but her face tells the tale of the religious experience she just had.
• Will runs at normal and slo-mo speeds, joyous and free and determined to make it home at any cost.
• He leaps over open-mouthed fallen skater kids in his path.
• The hose-holding neighbour is struck by awe and regret when he sees Will running – the hose makes a perfect arcing wall of water for Will to burst through like a marathon champion.
• He arrives at the foot of the driveway and his wife is in the front door, arms outstretched and bathed in sunlight.
• Will runs towards her and there’s a burst of sunlight when them embrace. • Tears stream
• down your face
• I promise you
• I will learn from my mistakes
• Tears stream
• down your face
• And I………… 25+ seconds
• We ‘burn down’ to see the front doorway from the house interior – it’s brightly lit but empty.
• Will is staring out the door with a tear running down face. He then looks up towards the wall where the photos are.
• He shakily pushes forward on the chair and nudges the kitchen door open.
• His wife is startled, wiping her face to gain composure. She turns to look at him, and her face is overcome with joy.
• Wife’s POV of Will looking up at her.
• Cut to the chair’s tray – the framed photo of them on the hilltop rests in plain view, facing us.
• Tears of awe roll down wife’s cheeks.
• Slow push on Will as he summons the final strength to give her a loving smile – the same smile from their photo together at the hilltop. • Piano hit signals transition back into ‘reality’
• Lights will guide you home…
• And ignite your bones…
• And I will try…
• …to fix you 25 seconds
Created: Mar 18, 2010BBurgess Document Media