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Monday, April 29, 2013

The quest for knowledge

I've been working with Linda Aronson recently on a non-linear project and also using her book to help with a separate group-narrative feature script.

Her book features many examples and explanations of differing structures - moving beyond the hero's journey / lone protagonist structure.

I wonder though if there isn't another style of movie besides these. Or perhaps this idea is better described as being another way of looking at the same movie experience. I'm still trying to articulate it to myself but the best I can come with so far is "The Quest For Knowledge".

Examples would be the above-pictured 2001 and Citizen Kane. The film isn't so much about the emotional side of life, but rather more of the scientific process to discover something, to unravel it. Mystery films obviously have big elements of it (Sherlock etc) and so do films that slowly edge towards discovery like the Andromeda Strain. The intellectual exercise is part of the fun. The Matrix may also be a candidate.

It is an odd style of film. Traditionally as writers we get feedback that is often along the lines of 'make us care' but with this kind of film the feedback must be more 'make us think'.

I believe it can be as powerful as the emotional journey. Just as the emotional roller coaster draws the audience into the film and makes them feel the way the hero does - this style forces the audience to think through the clues just as the detective does. Or indeed to sit above the characters in the film and piece together disparate clues that they could never do.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Selling your script

No, this isn't another tired old blog post on how to sell your script to Hollywood and all that guff.

This is a bit more practical about how to present your script for sale, to anyone, today, right now. It is a couple of ideas I picked up from our writing-cousins, the copywriters. Distant relations for sure, living over the mountain away from our script farmstead. And we're not quite sure what they get up to over there, but it seems mighty different.

Of course, as with all these kinds of things, its not that different at all. We can look at each others work and learn a lot.

I was giving a talk on 'writing for video' at their conference covering different ideas, chatting about where, as copywriters, they can make a difference and also how to lay out an AV script.

And okay, my cousins are a bit odd in their own way. They all let out an audible gasp when someone showed a slide of an advert that said "it's" instead of "its".

But these dudes are a master of writing things clearly and expressing ideas in a short manner. Right now you should be saying "hey, you mean like in a pitch or treatment" - and I do. Here's three things that they said, that we know already, but I'll tell you anyway as its worth a refresher I'm sure.

One: Headline
It really is worth the effort to be bold and get that headline right. What is the one thing about your story or project? What really sums it up? What captures the imagination? What acts as a hook and is memorable?*

Two: Ain't nobody got time for a dance
Get on with it. Get the meat of it right at the start. I'm guilty of enjoying weaving a nice web and laying down some groundwork first and explaining a bunch of stuff. Screw that. Let's jump right in and hook people.

Three: Variety of words
Let's not get all NLP about it - but different people have different words and phrases that appeal to them. So mix up your words a little bit. Things "look fantastical", "feel exciting", "sound deep". Just the variety spices up your treatment.

Cheers Cuz.

*Extra bonus note on headlines. One of the fave ways to do this in the ad biz is to slightly alter words and grammar. So it is still easy to understand the language and the meaning, yet is quirky and memorable. Whether that's "It's frothy man", "wasssuup" or Alexander Meerkat with "simples". Hat tip to Roger Horberry for that one.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Special podcast: Nil by Budget (episode 27a)

This edition of the podcast is a slightly different one. Myself and Danny were invited to speak at a great event local to us called Nil By Budget.

It was about every aspect of getting a micro budget feature film off the ground and we were covering the writing aspect of that in a 40 minute lecture.

Here's what we said!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Fast lens flare - free HD download

These fast sweeps are a variation on a previous clip. The faster speed is useful to act as a wipe.

You can download it in 1080p HD format (ProRes codec) from here:

If you like this and want more then you can go to the whole archive of lens flares and light leaks here.

They are offered under creative commons. Read more here. If you are super kind and get something out of using these - or use them for commercial projects - then please donate a small amount and I can do some more -