Project Proposal: The Myth of Dorian Gray

Overall Project Description:

If beauty were the secret to life, how would you search for it? Would you wake up every morning, searching for signs of it in your face?  Or would you go outside to find it elsewhere?

In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dorian finds beauty in the talented actress Sybil Vane and falls in love with her. But their relationship is cut short when her “beauty” changes. Dorian leaves her, changing both their lives forever – she kills herself and his search for beauty in others eventually leads to his own demise.

Using the basic structure from this section of Oscar Wilde’s classic, The Myth of Dorian Gray will take the plot into a new direction. Weaving documentary and fiction, real interviews with performed interviews, this experimental video will document the lives of black men affected (and unaffected) by whiteness and blackness – the myth of beauty and the images and symbols associated with these colors.

The foundation of the plot will center on this new incarnation of Sybil. Dorian’s search for beauty here finds him captivated by black culture (art, music, history, etc.), which leads him into the life of Cybil Vane, a young and struggling street performer.

Via voice over, and performed interview, we will hear of Dorian and Cybil’s relationship from Cybil’s mother. While Dorian’s relationship with other men will be pieced together from interviews with real black male subjects; when speaking about their partners, it will be edited as though they’re referring to Dorian not their real life partners.

Details of Production: Pills

The interviews will be taped first, with new video and archival/found footage added later.

The interviews will lay the groundwork for the needed new video and archival footage to match.

Relationship to General Topic of Mythology: online

The Myth of Dorian Gray engages by putting a spotlight on the myth of blackness and beauty when beauty equals whiteness.

Similar discussion of this myth can be seen in Toni Morison’s The Bluest Eye and even Chris Rocks documentary Good Hair. However, both films deal with “beauty’s” affect on black women while the focus of this project will be on men – which is rarely documented.

Description of Component for Theatrical Presentation:

This will be a short media piece. It could easily be turned into something larger, but will be tailored to the 8-12 minute Mythologies format used before.

Pills Description of Component for Print Publication:

A companion essay detailing my experience with the subjects, and combining myth with racial/queer identity for this video project.

Description of Component for Online:

Perhaps we post the same essay from the print component here.

Project Team: online

Writer/Researcher – Hyatt
Camera – someone with a camera
Editor – Hyatt/ someone with grand final cut pro experience
Post Sound: someone with grand soundtrack pro experience…enough to learn me really good.
Actors-Dorian Gray, Cybil Vane, Mrs. Vane

Interviewing subjects: Ideally three or four


March 14th-28th, Complete Cybil Vane text, Scout-Set up Interviews

March 29th-April 4th Interview/Edit

April 5th-11th Shoot New footage

April 11th Audio Draft due

April 18th Complete Draft Due

April 25h Final Draft

Technology Requirements:

Mic and voice recorder
Camera (mini dv/HD pref)
Archival Footage – (film, tv, advertising- where black and white represent something other than themselves, eg. Black Ranger from Power Rangers)
Black Box theater with lights for new video footage Buy