Scenario Development and Dialogue

The stories for both films were originally sketched in French by Jesse Ribot. For each scene, the directors, Pape Faye and Jesse Ribot discussed the story line with the actors and asked them to enact the scene. The actors are improvisational actors. They expressed the content of the scenes with their own words. This was done to create as natural a dialogue as possible. In particular, we wanted to have actors naturally modulate between Wolof and French. Such language switching has social significance. Speaking French within a Wolof conversation can show different people’s place in a hierarchy. Ribot coached the actors to use terms commonly used by foresters, forestry project personnel, and woodcutters. Much of the language heard in the film comes directly from interviews with foresters and woodcutters. For some examples of the content of these interviews, see Ribot’s 2009 article under Published Articles.

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