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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What should go in a pitch video?



I've been getting some very kind and positive feedback about the pitch film for my new feature Friend Request. The majority of this feedback has been around the fact that it feels specific to the film. This seems obvious of course. But if you look at a lot of the Kickstarter-style videos online you'll see that a lot of them follow a set formula, whatever the genre.

This can be useful of course. A formula means your video delivers what people want to get from it - with no surprises. But does it fit your project? That's the question that must sit in your mind as you work out your approach. Just as other elements of the film (script, casting, art direction) must pull together to create something more than themselves, so must this kind of video also slot into that overall theme.

Is it exciting? Or the same as the rest?

It is a shame when the pitch video consists of people talking to the camera in a monologue. Well, it is if this doesn't reflect the attitude of the final piece. If you are making a very reflective quiet piece, then it could well be ideal. If not, think a bit more creatively. After all, that's what you are selling.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Podcast Episode 21: Visual Storytelling



Myself and Danny discover there is little screenwriting news out there, so we focus instead on 3 items from the mailbag.

  • Show not tell, but how do you keep your script punchy?
  • Historical research, how much to do?
  • Working with actors, the benefits.
The last few episodes have seen a trend for us to cover questions in the mailbag more and more. So subscribe and stay in contact if you have any script / film making relating questions - the trickier the better really. Email us or leave comments.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Understanding the whole process

China and UK

I had to get an educational video I am working on translated into 6 languages. Now I can't do the translation myself or the recording myself. And there is little I can do to help the experts that did the job either.

But I was still keen to attend at least one of the recording sessions. So I went up to see the Chinese Mandarin version recorded.

Obviously, in the short term, this is a money-losing venture for me to do this. I could be doing something else and I had to drive a couple of hours to attend.

But a direct knowledge of as many parts of the film making process as possible is always to be recommended. Seeing it in action, seeing what is simpler than you thought, seeing what is more complex and seeing the skills of all involved is never a waste of time.

The impressive part for me was the ability of the voice over person to time her voice to the picture pretty much as she went along. I wouldn't be worried to challenge her and the team with tougher projects in the future after what I saw. But an eye-opener for me was that actually the really hard work was done in the transcription / translation stage beforehand. It is in this stage that the timings are worked out in a very detailed manner, taking into account that different languages take different amounts of time to say the same thing. If anything, it is this stage that it is more crucial to take an interest in. A lesson learnt.

To writers, I say try to do the same, see as much of the film making process as possible. It helps you do your work better too by knowing where you fit into the whole scheme and what impact your rewrites may have and on whom.