Below is a working document for the voice-over of my first feature film, A Thousand Moments Later.
But note that the following may not in any way reflect the final cut of the voice-over in the movie. It is more of a way for me to write and create and set a scene for the actor to come in and record. Writing this voiceover has been an organic process. One that evolved over time and as more and more pieces are involved. despite this I thought someone out there might find it mildly interesting and so here it is.
I had Chris Farrell come in and record a little voiceover dialogue from which I could then rewrote bits and change them etc.
I spent a great deal of time on the voice-over for this film. Thinking. Writing. Writing. Then some more thinking! You can see some of the work I did for the voiceover outline here.
The voiceover is split into two parts. The first part begins as the movie opens – introducing the character of Ryan and explaining a little, but hopefully not too much, of what is to come.
The second part, also below, ends the film and explains what just happened. They function a little like bookends – allowing the narrative in between to stand alone but also as a means or point(s)-in-time that allow one to get into and out of the narrative without much backstory.
In the bonus material for the film (which will be available for purchase as bonus content once we have released the film) I go into my writing process in detail. I explain how I used Aristotelian dramatic theory and the cathartic moment to build out the entire narrative of the film – the voiceover plays a vital role in this dramatic structure. It’s super interesting (Artitstotles theory that is!) and I go into detail about the relationship between the cathartic moment and my film. For those interested there is also a 20minutes behind the scenes video of the voiceover recording session where you can hear Chris delivering the voiceover and the notes I gave him on the day.
After much pain…below is the final version of the voice-over and thank you Chris for all you hard work mate!
After all that’s happened I wanted to write to you. Not simply to explain myself or even explain away what happened. But rather to go beyond the what and into why it happened. I know you can’t read this right now but I wanted to write it all the same. Before everything changes. Before we all move on. Before some things are forgotten, and others are left unsaid. I hope in time, you will read it, and understand.
Sometimes it happens—we get lost. Lost in thought. Lost in time. Lost in life. And yet these times—times when everything seems upside down—can be the best of times because they can give us new views on old truths and provide us with a fresh perspective.
This much is true: We all want happiness and don’t want suffering, and it’s obvious on reflection that what we all seek is not the kind of happiness born of sheer hedonism but, real happiness that is both genuine and deep.
And while it has been said countless time through history that we are restless in seeking the good life. A life that goes well. A life with meaning. A life where we are loved and we have the chance to love. A love that goes beyond the ordinary. Yet for most people this kind of love only comes through change. A change of views and old habits that bind us into seeing ourselves, others, and the world around us in a certain kind of way.
But this kind of change never comes easy. This kind of love is hard won. Indeed this kind of life, is hard won.
And yet if we are the author and the protagonist of our own life’s story, and the arc of this change is embedded in the challenges we face, then it is to ourselves we must turn, not others.
We must write into the story of our own life, challenges that only we can face. Challenges that allow life to shape us. Mould us. Challenges that forge new perspectives; and give us the chance to see beyond our limited perspective.
I want this kind of life for you. A full life. A life of meaning. A Life of love and adventure. Where you can love and be loved. But this is not for me to choose. Only you can do this.
So by the time you read this, whether you are in the first or the last chapter of your own story, do not be afraid to live the life you want—remember it’s your life and no one else.
The road is open. Go. Explore. See the world. See yourself. Find yourself getting lost. Find yourself by getting lost.
For at the end of the day, it’s by losing our way that we transform; and only through this transformation will our lives become an expression of what we seek.
But none of this is easy. It’s not easy because sometimes these challenges are written for us. Everything but the ending.
The final chapter is for us to write. To tell it as we want. We can let these experiences crush us, or we can give ourselves over to the possibility of change.
We get to make this choice. And it is a choice.
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The last two line are obfuscated so as not to give away anything. If you’ve seen the movie you will know what they are and if not, then that is easily fixed. You can watch the movie here once we have released it.
This voiceover has been one of the most difficult things I have ever written. Not because the ideas are complex or the words particularly poetic but because it needed to serve as a narrative bridge between the start and end of the film. It also needed to say something interesting about the human condition, as well as give enough story information to allow the viewer of the film to piece things together as they unfolded during the story BUT not too much information as to give the whole thing away!
Suffice it to say, it was very difficult to write yet deeply satisfying to have completed the writing, then to have handed it over to the actor, have said actor work on it, and then hear it for the first time during the recording session.
But then more exciting when I plugged the voiceover back into the rough cut and seeing it as part of the film itself.