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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Script read through

I am probably going to do a script read through of Circumference, my feature length script, soon. As I mentioned before I feel that the impact of the recession means that, with an appropriate rewrite, this story could be better than ever.

We may shoot it soon, we shall see what cash can be scraped together. But whatever happens I am keen to do this read through to make the script the very best it can be.

So, what is a read through?

Also called a 'script read' the name describes itself quite well, Get together some people, preferably actors, and read the script aloud. This is different to a 'rehearsal' in that you won't be using the real cast, probably. A full rehearsal with the final cast is much more about taking the final script and directing it into a performance that is needed for the film. We are at a stage before that. The 'read through' is about trying to get from one draft to an almost final draft.

I've not done one before however. With shorts you don't normally need to bother. Shorts are generally about a single incident and only have a single main plot. On the whole it doesn't seem a good investment of time and money to get a few people in one place to read 10 pages aloud.

With a feature however it probably is. First of all you have 100 pages to work through. Much more worth it. Dialogue read out loud is often different to dialogue written down. Hearing it NOT as it sounds in your own head can reveal all sorts of things. NOW is the time to get it right. If it sounds wrong then consider it now, change it now, while there is time - rather than panic on the set - or even in the edit suite. But by going through, in one day, the whole script then it also becomes about checking and working on longer term character issues, emotional development, rationales and deciding if the balance of the main plot and the sub-plot is right. You get a taste of the whole story in one go - something that won't happen again until the first off-line edit.

My plan for my read through is this:

1 - Outline the characters to the actors and explain how I have broken the script down into 8 parts.
2 - Before each of the 8 parts outline the character development and plot points within it. Where is it going, why and how.
3 - Read through all the scenes in that part in one go.
4 - The actors to outline how their characters would feel at that end point. Do they say what I think they should say?
5 - Go back through the most awkward scenes and improv together some other dialogue if necessary - trying different lines that help the characters to reach those emotional points in the most efficient and entertaining way.
6 - Repeat for all 8 parts. Then finish.
7 - Reflect overall on the pace. What where the low points where it dragged? Did it go over the same ground too often? Where did it feel exactly right?

That is my track. If others have a different way they would recommend then please leave a comment. I'm open to try different ways.

As mentioned before on the blog companies like iScript do a varition on this by reading out your script and sending you an mp3. But this, I feel, lacks the two way element. You can't do step 5. However it is much easier to manage if you are writer and don't plan or want to be a director.

The picture is The Rehearsal by Frederick M. Spiegle from here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Film round up

They have a Tim Clague season over at OpenFilm including an interview with me about making and writing shorts and features. They are a great spotlighting site and I recommend you check them out if you are uploading your shorts. They also have an ad revenue stream which may make you a bit of cash. They care about film makers and want to get more films seen - just like the guys at Dailymotion. I think these kind of companies that offer more than just a front end for clips - they offer support and visibility for quality - are really starting to stand out. Seek them out to find a loyal audience for your films.

Speaking of which, in case you missed it, here is the latest Mr Vista and also the satirical sketch for the BBC Politics Show.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Promoting your film via social media

I like being the one with diagrams and top advice. But Robert over at Zen Films has beaten me to it. He has a fantasticpost on the hard lessons he learnt around promoting his films via social media and using the minimum amount of budget possible. He was promoting two features, but his advice is still true for shorts. How do you get people talking about it. He says what works and what doesn't.

If you are shooting a film now, or thinking about it, or have just finished - read this first - and get your film seen.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How to use those old scripts

Now I know all you geeky writers out there keep your work backed up properly.

But you still may find this website useful. It can take scanned images of typed pages and convert them back to word documents so you edit the text. It can't do handwriting - but it can do typed text. So perhaps your only copy of a script is a printed out hardcopy - now you can retro it back to a computer file. Or if it is from the typewriter era you can now get it in an editable form for the first time ever. It is free - up to 30 pages per day.

Perhaps a more commonly used feature for us would be the 'pdf to word' feature. Take that locked down pdf and turn it into an editable word doc.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

3 'rules' for shorts and 1 great short

Blog reader Stian sent in his recent film which reminded me of my own film 10 Seconds. It also reminded me of these 3 'rules' for writing shorts:

One: Keep them short (but you'd be surprised how many film makers try to do too much) - fast narrative devices help here - like flashbacks and jump cuts.
Two: Have one idea - one is enough for a short. So explore it well rather than add more ideas in there.
Three: The 3.1 act structure. You can still go for a classic 3 act structure with a short. It is not the only way obviously and I have broken this 'rule' many times. But it is a good place to explore using it. The .1 is the end gag, the topper that many shorts have. With this film it is the scream.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Share my mind

Check out if you:

1 - struggle in the brainstorming stages of writing - with your beachcombing for example
2 - want to work on ideas with people who are not sitting right next to you
3 - like to see ideas plotted out clearly
4 - like everything in one place
5 - arent always at the same machine
6 - use a lot of internet resources, links, pictures etc

What this website allows you to do is to create a mind map of your ideas. I've mocked one up a silly quick example above. This is now 'open' so others can work on it too. You can play around with it a bit right now above!

The additional benefit is that you can also embed attachments and links into your map too. Here I have added an image to my 'art' tag and an imdb link to Brando.

A usual resource I feel.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The true 'camera-man'

Rob Spense has decided to become a camera-man in an unusual way - by having a camera fitted inside his false eye. Now he films whatever he see. No news yet on adjustable lens however. ND filtering presumably can be applied via sunglasses.

But actually this project goes to show that to really get ahead you need to seek out opportunities unique to you.

Read more here and go to his site here.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Future Shorts with Roger Pratt

If you kicking around on Friday night (March 6th 2009) then hopefully I will see you at Future Shorts for some great short films. Plus, even better, a talk from Roger Pratt - legendary DoP.

To me, events like Future Shorts, are really the possible future of cinema. I mean in the traditional 'screening' sense of having to go somewhere to see a film. Why? Because it worth turning out for. It is an event. It is social. It is entertaining. It is personal. In short - it is much more than you can get from a DVD. And that is what it needs to be today! That extra is what people want.

See you there!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Vote if you feel you can be bothered...

...and let's get another film into production.

My silly Christmas film is now part of the Babelgum Festival - judges by Spike Lee. So I hope you can help in voting for it and having a laugh watching this film compete against 'proper' films which have such overrated ideas like 'a budget' and 'a story'! Ha ha.

1 - Click here to go to my film called "God versus the Advertising Standards Authority"

2 - To play the video, you’ll need to install the Babelgum player – it only takes a few seconds

3 - In full screen mode, select the green “Vote” button (on the top of the screen, next to the film title) to vote for my entry – or simply wait for the “Vote Now” window to appear at the bottom of the screen

4 - You can only vote when the video is playing in full screen and only once per day

Many thanks.