I was inspired by the heroic undertaking of Boyhood to think about other dramatic uses for “extreme long form” production. As you may know, Richard Linklater filmed Boyhood over the course of 12 years. In the final film, we literally see actors grow up or grow old before our eyes.
In the last few years, many films and TV shows have dabbled in the concept of multiple parallel timelines. Groundhog Day, Sliding Doors, Fringe, The Butterfly Effect, Dr. Who, Time Cop, Source Code, Looper, The Man in the High Castle, these are but a few of many offerings based on the premise of multiple alternate realities proceeding in parallel.
Suppose we were to start a twelve year long film production with the express purpose of capturing all of those parallel realities as they progress? The result could be something truly new.
Imagine tuning into your favorite TV show every week and seeing the same actors progress through different multi-year narratives. One week they would be growing up or growing old in a comic universe. The next week in a thriller, or a horror story, or a RomCom.
You would see the same actors literally going through a large chunk of their lives every week. Except in each episode they would be living different lives.
Of course there would be a certain amount of risk involved. For example, if one of the actors were to die before the 12 years are up, their disappearance (and possible replacement) would be reflected simultaneously in every fictional parallel universe. And maybe that would be ok.
I would love to try something like this. Or perhaps, in another life, I already have. 😉