Saturday, 16 February 2013

I am now setting out on the adventure that is the Final Major Project, the last film I will make as a student! I have written up my idea in a story format as an exercise at uni which I found really helpful and a fun way to get the story out of my head and onto paper.

Beside the sea

A wide stretch of yellow sand, speckled with grey pebbles clustered like sprinkles on a cake. Empty but for the shrieking seagulls, crashing waves… and a small hut on giant wheels with its door locked shut.

The sea laps at the bottom of the neat steps that lead up to the locked door. Fresh sea breezes nudge the little shack, but it stays put, silent and still as if it grew on that very spot. Chalk white with handsome red stripes running down vertically, as if strawberry ice cream is dripping from the roof, the hut brings a splash of colour to the watery scene. 

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With a click that rings out like pebbles colliding under the force of the waves, the door is unlocked and snaps open. A figure emerges from the gloom of the hut, tentatively tackling the little steps one by one with her delicately slippered feet. A stout woman draped in swathes of voluminous fabric that billows in the breeze like sails on a boat. Atop her head is perched a large bonnet trimmed with a blue bow and strapped firmly around her chin to save it from blowing out to sea and to protect the expertly curled hair beneath. The face that peeks out from the brim is pale, almost blending in with the frilly lace collar round her neck. She sports a fine navy dress-coat that hugs her waist and flairs out in a full skirt. Intricate white anchors are embroidered on her lapels and the hem, so fine and dainty that mice could have stitched them. Her short legs are hidden beneath capacious bloomers that taper in to her little ankles and best show off her dainty blue slippers, now disappearing beneath the foamy water. 

As Victoria bravely submerges herself into the sea, her skirts balloon about her so that she momentarily resembles a buoy bobbing on the waves. Her skirts sink down due to the weights sewn into the hem. Her sight no longer obscured by her apparel, she can now see a gentleman reclining in a deckchair right beside her bathing machine. Victoria is startled by his sudden appearance for he certainly was nowhere to be seen but mere moments ago.  The gentleman is suitably dressed in a black and white striped bathing suit, although, Victoria thinks, rather too much chest is peeking out and perhaps less leg on display would be preferable. His face is mostly hidden behind a bushy black moustache and he possesses a healthy mop of black hair on his head. He smiles and waves and continues to soak up the rays of warm sunshine. Though surprised at this man’s appearance, Victoria resumes her bathing, enjoying the cool water.

Another quick glance in the gentleman’s direction and Victoria is shocked to see a small tent has been erected a short way away behind her bathing machine and the deckchair. Incredibly perplexed, she squints at the tent and sees that it is in fact a Punch and Judy theatre with a small gathering of children at its base, gazing up enraptured by the puppets. Still confused by the miraculous puppet theatre, Victoria cannot help but smile at the cheerful show and the sweet children sitting so nicely. Mr Punch is making the children laugh and the policeman puppet appears.

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Victoria is suddenly thrown backwards in the water by something monstrous before her in the shallows. In an eruption of salty droplets a figure emerges, all shiny black material and flesh and water. It is a woman. Feeling faint with shock, Victoria regards this woman with growing disgust. This woman is practically naked. An obscene spectacle. Muscular and tall, this woman is wearing nothing but a tight little black bathing suit, her arms and legs on display for all to see! The gentleman on the deckchair has seen her too, but the expression upon his face is quite different to that on Victoria’s. He seems to be torn between dismay and wonder at the scantily clad figure before them. The puppet policeman is in a frenzy. Right on cue, a real policeman races into view and right up to the lady. Whipping out a measuring tape from his pocket he measures the distance from the lady’s knee to the edge of her suit then furiously shakes his head. She is dragged away and out of sight, much to Victoria’s relief.

Just as Victoria begins to overcome her horror at the flesh that was exposed, three women – or are they boys? – appear along the beach. Their hair is short and so are their swimsuits! They are long and lean and elegantly prance in the sand as if they had the beach to themselves. Victoria wades out of the sea so that she may better observe the scene, for yet another woman has appeared. This woman has had quite an effect on the gentleman in the deckchair: his mouth is hanging open and he is leaning so far forward in his seat that there is a good chance he will fall face-first into the sand. It is almost too much for Victoria to bear; the new woman appears to have been poured into her clingy polka-dot bathing suit with her voluptuous curves. Her hair at least is covered, but in a strange tight cap, brightly coloured with large flowers flopping about as she struts towards the sea.

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Victoria has to lean upon the wheel of her bathing machine to support herself as she tries to understand how her private beach has suddenly become filled with unwelcome, underdressed strangers. The lady in the flowery cap is paddling and chatting to one of the androgynous women not far away. One had wondered over to look at the puppet show, whilst the other was admiring the bathing machine. Victoria scowls under the brim of her bonnet.

Her thoughts are interrupted by sudden laughter along the beach where a young family are playing in the sand. A small boy and girl, dressed in noticeably brighter garments than those around them, are having fun burying their giggling mother in the sand, carving the golden grains into a beautiful mermaid’s tail. Only the mother’s head and shoulders are left uncovered and she tosses her long hair about her, pretending to swim for her children’s delight. Batting away the androgynous woman now by her side marvelling at her full skirt and bloomers, Victoria smiles at the family playing in the sand. The mother gets up out of her golden mermaid’s tail, brushes herself clean of sand and reveals –

Victoria gasps and falls backwards into the arms of the lady behind her. She had just seen… the mermaid woman… the shock of it! The sand had brushed away to expose brightly coloured, minute garments that only just covered the women’s essentials! Her legs and midriff were completely out in the open for the world to see! Woozy with shock and still being steadied by the boyish woman, Victoria watches as the practically naked woman walks towards her. The man in the deckchair is beside himself and does not know where to look as she approaches. One of her children is paddling in the sea, one playing in the remains of the mermaid’s tail. Everyone on the now rather busy beach is chatting and admiring each other’s attire, comparing hairstyles and materials. The sound of chatter mingles with the crashing of the sea and the squawking gulls and Victoria can hardly bear it any longer.

In all the din, another bathing machine has appeared on the beach. This hut seems to be without wheels however. Victoria wonders how on earth it has arrived there without the aid of wheels – it looks as though a giant hand has just popped it down from the sky. More and more people are noticing it now. Curiously circling it, trying to work out who might lurk inside, the people gather around the hut excitedly. Just as Victoria begins to tire of looking at the strange hut, the door swings open. The others on the beach lean in expectantly, trying to glimpse the newcomer. A gentleman’s head emerges from behind the door (the man in the deckchair looks disappointed) and he beams confidently at the assortment of faces staring at him. In one large stride, he crosses the threshold, out of the shadows into the bright sunlight. For a second there is stunned silence whilst every eye roams the man’s broad grin, strange dark glasses, muscular physique… and the alarmingly thin, bright green material stretched in a Y shape from his shoulders to his…

In unison the whole crowd gasps in horror. The beach swims in front of Victoria’s eyes. Women, men and children swoon all around her as everything goes dark. 

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