I have been thinking about the Wheel of Fortune in relation to my current project…no…not the tacky quiz show…the randomness of fate…
The script I am working on tells the story of a gambler in 1920s Sheffield, who earns big on the Sky Edge pitch and toss ring, so much so, that he believes himself to have ‘natural’ luck. Life is good, and since realizing his luck, always in ascent. As with any gambler, he soon learns that the wheel of fortune is always turning- and soon his luck runs out- with tragic consequences.
This reminded me of a Boethius quote I really like- which I thought I would just share. Sadly, I can’t pretend that I know this quote from having actually read Boethius….I first heard it on the film 24 Hour Party People (such a great film!- edifying too it would seem!!)
“It’s my belief that history is a wheel. ‘Inconstancy is my very essence,’ says the wheel. Rise up on my spokes if you like but don’t complain when you’re cast back down into the depths. Good time pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it’s also our hope. The worst of time, like the best, are always passing away.”
This links in quite nicely (a little too nicely) with a lecture last week for my MA which covered Kurt Vonnegut’s graphs which shape stories. These graphs cover the good fate and ill fate of a character across a story. Vonnegut’s graphs show how characters fate changes over a story- if a character starts in good fortune, their fortune will worsen…and vice versa…
….On a totally different note….the above was written last night. Earlier in the day I was quite pleased to have decided to explore luck as a theme in the script… I always feel happier when I make a break through on a script (my story shape is in the ascent- I am rising up on the spokes)…mid way through me writing this very blog entry, my laptop decided to go ‘pop’! My own wheel of fortune had spun on…It gets worse… PANIC! I haven’t backed up any of my scripts for ages!! All of the scripts I have been working on..All this work, potentially lost, because I hadn’t backed up!! (I was meant to be taking a copy of Tom and Laura Get Engaged tonight to a potential camera man who I want to work with). Fortunately, I have managed to save all the data on my hard drive! Hopefully, though I may need to buy a new laptop, I will have learnt an important lesson- to back up…I started with good fate, my good fate turned very ill, then got a bit better- but I learnt and hopefully changed for the better for it. I have become a Vonnegut story shape!
I don’t like it when characters end happy though…so, now to work on a tragic ending for my gambler!!