That's the theme of my new spec feature script I've just finished called 'Friend Request' but having started to write this blog post I can already see I should probably change it to 'Does heaven have wi-fi?' or something similar. You heard it hear first.
It has been a real joy to work on it and a real challenge. It is an 'indy' or 'Sundance' kind of a story and it could be described as "Short Cuts via Google Earth" and is an episodic road movie using the 'sequence approach'.
Bizarre things are sometimes spotted in applications like Google Earth. This is a disaster when the company you work for makes its money by adding companies to these maps. If there is a mistake, they don’t pay. Enter Kelly. She has 7124 MySpace friends but hasn’t gone outside in 5 years. Now she must go and solve the top 6 most mysterious images. And she has 2 weeks to do it.
In writing it I had to (and will continue to via my rewrites) balance three things.
One: Engaging and mysterious aerial images. These are so cool in Google Earth when you find them. Strange objects that don't make sense. But these on there own clearly don't make a story. But it does form the visual analogy. That in the virtual world we believe that we can know everything, that we can know 400 friends. But that is just an aerial image of our friends. For the real truth you must get on the ground, get your hands dirty. For Kelly of course that means going there in person to see what the strange images really are. So that device binds the film together, the whole 'we are Gods' angle. We can look down over every inch of the whole world. But can we see into the hearts of others?
Two: The 6 episodes - each about distance So the aerial images create a conduit for the road movie. But what happens when Kelly gets there? Clearly she can't just say "oh right, thats what that was" and go home. So instead she meets 6 characters, each a facet of the overall question. That we like to put distance between ourselves and our fellow human beings, we like to build walls. But why?
Three: Kelly's journeyBeing a super geek girl Kelly starts the film as a very passive, quiet, head down character and she needs to grow a bit more during each encounter.
I collected images and stories using a storydust approach - so I ended up with a bunch of real life stories of people that fitted the mood of the film. Then spent ages matching it all up. Which aerial image represented that real life story combined with which symbolic event combined with what plot point? AND it then had to join up into one solid overall story.
So if that isn't a full on Tim Clague, multiformat, crazy structure idea then I don't know what is. And obviously the, now famous, story chart was out in force in its most detailed form yet.
But film is a visual format so check out these odd images of couples holding hands in Google Earth, seen only by the shadows they cast, and start to feel the vibe...
These are from 3 different continents, months apart, we don't know the race of these people, if they are straight or gay, if they are still together now or not. They are shadows. But yet we can see the evidence of their love from space.