Closat – Ideation Process


During my last lecture we looked at a technique/game/process called Closat. I found the Closat task invaluable in narrative, character and idea development, more so than the previous weeks sound walk. Although the idea is to follow this on from the Soundwalk process as a basis for this next step.

What is Closat?

Closat is an instant story making game. The characters stand for the following:

  • C – character (s) – who could be used
  • L – location
  • O – curious or evocative object
  • S – a loaded or revealing situation
  • A – an unusual or revealing act
  • T – theme

Character – appearance , mannerisms, occupation or activities suggest potential for a character in a story

Location – and place that suggests a setting for something to happen

Objects – anything that is worth recording because it is eloquent of place, time, situation, or owners

Situation – a conjunction of circumstances or a predicament that puts its characters under some special pressure

Act – any human deed or action that seems loaded with meaning or potential

Theme – the central or dominating idea, seldom stated directly, that underlies the story and comments on it

The theory is that every story must contain the above 6 points to create a good narrative structure, it can be done on your own, but I found working in a group and bouncing ideas off of each other a more beneficial process. This can be applied to a whole story, or certain components. For example, if the story is not working at a certain point, break it down into the 6 points and see which is missing or weak.

Our closet task process was the following:

  • Each member of the group takes one bullet point
  • Write a short paragraph describing your chosen element
  • Read through all of these as a group
  • Write a brief synopsis for film using this, ensuring you use narrative from previous exercise
  • Reduce to a 2 sentence logline

Our quite random process produced the following 2 ideas:

Idea 1:

  • C – chain-smoking OAP who ambles around in a mobility scooter
  • L – an empty train platform early hours of morning
  • O – a bright shiny red Vespa
  • S –  a recent injury which makes it difficult to do everyday things
  • A – something makes the character do something they wouldn’t normally do
  • T – a downward spiral

Idea 2:

  • C – man in late 20s who cannot express emotion
  • L – a works Xmas party at a metal works
  • O – a macabre skeleton
  • S – man runs over dog by accident
  • A – cutting through a bike lock
  • T – social stereotyping

After bouncing the story around and swapping a couple of cards between the 2 ideas we produced the following story for a 3 minute film (our task!):

A man reversing out of his drive in his mobility scooter (leg in cast) is transfixed by his neighbours new red Vespa, as he reverses out of the drive, he accidentally runs over his neighbours dog. His panic leads him to take the dead dog to the train station in the early morning to throw it on the tracks to hide his complicity in the death of the dog.

The man in his struggle to get the dead dog onto the track falls onto the tracks himself and gets run over by the train. The dog wakes up and shakes itself down and walks off – it was only knocked out, not dead.

Man ends up in a full body cast, and the dog visits in the hospital.

I had a throughly enjoyable lesson, and was in stitches from laughing so much whilst producing our idea. I found the task hugely beneficial and will be applying this to my idea, which is currently in development. I was debating creating an animation for this project, but I think I am going to produce a standard 3 minute short. I have an idea at last…all will be revealed in good time (and after my tutorial!).

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