Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Feeding the Dream

So after finishing the trailer for the film what's a person to do if funds are low, but ideas are plentiful? The answer is write, write and rewrite. So that's what's happening. In no area in the film-making process is the idea of a story more powerful then in the writing stage. It is here where YOU, and only YOU begin the long film-making process. All things are possible at this stage, and all avenues are open to you. You as the writer are God in your universe, and it is you who manipulate characters, storylines, and plot points. Of course when production begins, and even when you start pre-production things in the story will change due to time, financial constraints, and just pure luck. That's the magic or should I say the reality of film-making. Chaos ensures, but if your good it's a sort of a organized chaos. Yes I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but in film-making little does. For a really funny and yet eye opening account of film-making see the movie "The Stunt Man" by Richard Rush. The film is chalk full of what the film-making process is like. Another funny yet realistic film that delves into the movie making mystic is "Living in Oblivion" starring Steve Buscemi. So that's where I find myself right now. Not behind a camera, but behind a word processor. I've always found that this process of writing is the most angst filled. So many ideas hit you that sometimes it's hard to get it all straight, and then knowing that what you write is subject to the realities of film-making can sometimes drive a person a little insane. I was told by a successful director that "if your 100% happy with your film at the end of the film-making process quit the business because it will never happen EVER again". I didn't fully understand it then, but I certainly understand the statement now. You can be close to being satisfied, but there is ALWAYS something that you could have done better if you had a little more time or money. So armed with the knowledge of knowing that the script is only a blueprint to your film you will make the film-making process a lot more interesting and rewarding for you and the crew. Richard Rush took ten years to make his film "The Stuntman", and in those years he suffered a major haert attack. Yet the film was done, and to some extent it was well received by critics. So if you ever wonder why Hollywood makes all those re-makes or sequels it's because an original idea takes so long, and rarely gets anywhere without some major force behind it. Either that or it's pure persistence which is the case for the film "The Stuntman". But I digress.

My screenwriting teacher told me that a story is most susceptible to greatness or mediocrity when the film is in the writing stage. All great stories are re-written, and it's important to know your story from A to Z and know all the plot points and the character's motivations. There are a number of books on the writing of screenplays which all cover the mechanics of writing the screenplay, so I won't get into them here. Two books by the screenwriter Syd Field are "Screenplay" & "The Screenwriters Workbook" are worth checking out.

So that's where I am now. A filmmaker has many stories he or she wants to tell, and should always look forward to their next story. I still have much to do with my film "Deadly Obsessions" , but in time I'll get the film out there to its audience. Till then one can only concentrate on other stories that one might like to see made. Hopefully sooner then later, but in the film-making business time is all relative to what one makes of his or her opportunities as they present themselves. So here's to moving forward.

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