Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Professor Richard Breyer
Professor Peter Moller
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Arts and Humanities | Creative Writing | Fiction | Film and Media Studies | Other Film and Media Studies | Radio | Television
My Capstone Thesis is a creative screenplay pursuing the complexities of predestination and our innate obsession to control fate. I became intrigued with the idea that our decisions or actions dictate outcomes we may have had the ability to prevent or perpetuate. I recently found it difficult to accept my misfortunes for ineptitude or lack of preparation. Instead I called it “fate” or “destiny” that circumstances were not meant to work in my favor. In hindsight I realized I had allowed my passivity to compensate for my lack of commitment and courage to take risks. Granted, I do believe regardless of how prepared, fate can and will intervene.
I decided to grapple with this abrasion between fate and control in a screenplay titled “Chance.” Chase is a second-year med student that fears the idea that his poor decisions will negatively affect his future so much so that he relies on a quarter in order to rationalize his indecisiveness. The quarter serves as a physical representation of his passivity, for instead of accepting failure, defeat, or irresponsibility, he uses a device and chance to justify the outcome. Chase’s deepest fears stem from an early childhood trauma that have manifested in his ongoing night terrors that have stifled his ability and desire to connect with others on an intimate level. He habitually leads a life in solitude until he is forced into a partnership with a fellow resident named Marissa, and as their relationship intensifies, so do his nightmares. When his night terrors and the development of their relationship come to a head, he realizes unlocking his past will open him up to a new future. This is a story of unlocking and facing the depths of our deepest, darkest, embedded fears, in order to release us from the burdens that will allow us to live, love, and simply feel again.
Screenplays are essentially blue prints for films; they provide backbone, structure and the overall tone of artistic expression. Through writes, rewrites, and directorial interpretation, the expression can manifest in a new light, but the message and thematic undertones should always remain. It is the heart of the story that a screenplay essentially provides; all other extensive and descriptive aspects are interjected through the reader’s mind. My scenes usually encompassed the emotional charge of anger, anxiety, curiosity, or frustration, for example; all of which I attempted to convey and allow the emotions of my characters fill in the empty spaces and drive the reader’s imagination. My goal was to allow the reader and eventual viewer to question Chase’s character and journey in order to motivate them through the screenplay. Metaphorically Chase’s dreams served as “the carrot” to entice and lead the reader throughout the plot. I attempted to build from an abstract vision or disillusionment of his dream, and slowly reveal pieces that the reader could develop and continue on the journey in order to solve the perplexity.
The challenges this project presented me tested my personal limits, beliefs, and wisdom. Chase’s character is essentially an extension of myself. I had always struggled with my personal indecisiveness and the anxiety of making a conclusive reasoning because I did not trust my own instincts or rationale. At times I did not believe I was wise enough to make the decision that was best for me, thus I utilized a quarter to justify my decision-making. Throughout this journey of developing my screenplay it dually served as a self-reflective piece and creative exploration. I learned, as my characters learned, that life is about a balance—pain and triumph; failure and success; predestination and free will. It is our freedom of choice that motivates us to get up and try every day, because we have the choice of doing so, but it is the beauty in these choices that lead us to where we are meant to be.
Laroche, Simone, ""Chance" Screenplay" (2011). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 216.
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