Thursday, July 5, 2007

Keep Moving Forward

You have to be able to take yourself to that other place.

I'm working on a screenplay, my next movie. And I don't really like talking about writing other than posting in blogs and such. Of the random people at work who somehow pass by me and ask me what I'm working on, I just switch the screen to a free cell game and say "nothing." Many of them assume I'm still in school and I'm working on a paper. The others that know me as a filmmaker know not to bother me, but just can't help coming up behind me and staring at the screen, which I hate. I switch back to that free cell game and wait for them to leave, they apologize and then leave me alone.

It's a very basic pharse, "I'm writing a screenplay." It's akin to those other phrases that get tossed around alot everywhere especially in close company and in blogs. "I'm working on that novel" "I'm writing a song" "I'm writing a screenplay" The fact is I am working on a screenplay, but so much more than that. I'm making another movie.

And I haven't talked much about it to anyone. That's because I'm a believer in the birthday wish syndrome. Like a birthday wish made when the candles are blown out, if you tell someone about it, it will not come true. So although I will, coming soon, communicate more thoroughly about this current project to garner more support from the general public, I will not reveal exactly what the plot is until everything is in it's place. Some of the things that I am working towards in this preproduction phase is location scouting, pre-vis storyboarding, conceptual artwork, the score, casting, marketing and distribution agenda, and of course the screenplay.

So bare with me as I type this out, this mainly for my own edification and to better help me sort it all out, not that I don't already have all this written down in a billion other applications. As with most blogs o' mine, this is me talking to me.

Shooting will be here in North Carolina, because that's where I'm at right now. I have still yet to find out the specific filming laws here but I don't forsee what I want to do a problem since more and more indie films are being shot here. Also if permits are required I've already budgeted that in. Most permits and paper work usually max out around 2 to 3 grand and such, so not a problem if I'm ready for it. I am looking for warehouse space for base of operations, and something I can turn into a studio so I can anticipate having to build sets. I'd really like to avoid using the School Of The Arts backlot here for reasons passing understanding. I anticipate weird weather, and it will be handy to have a studio to fall back on if I need to, plus I'm already planning for alot of indoor shooting and prebuilt exteriors. Already been taking many many photos for the sotryboarding process as well as locations I would like to use.

Like regular storyboards but somewhat animated on video with added soundeffects, utilizing digital photos and drawings. Something to really bring to life those shots I want. The key here is to show the movie before it's actually made to get everyone on the same page.

Again necessary for the Pre-Vis, but also important for to describe in detail the particualr type of technology being used in the storyline. Already looking at using KRE8 Effects ( they've been doing work on the upcoming TRENCHES. They're work looks akin to what I'm trying to accomplish, some really great work.

As always I'm doing the score. Already got some key elements of the score produced, but the rest will have to be done with an orchestra, or at least with a very good set of keyboards with orcehstrated sampling, preferably a yamaha psr-3000. The music software I use right now is Fruity Loops and it does a tremendous job, especially with everything I've been learning over the past year, it does sooooo much, but it's still a pain for me to compose using a point and click mouse, I need keys.

It's always good to have your cast in mind, even if you can't afford Tom Hanks, if it helps you finish the script then go on and imagine Tom Hanks in the role. But thankfully the kind of celebs I have in mind are more than in my price range and are only popular among those familiar with the sci-fi/horror genre. Already got my list going, got some very familiar faces on it, and I have everyone's contact info and agent info. Only need 4 key roles to fill.

This is just the basic rundown of how the entire production will go down, and what happens after the final cut. How it will be seen, where it will be seen, how the theatrical release may go and how the DVD release will go. Spells everything out to a T and explains how money will be made back and how much of it will go to charity.

And now we are back on to the ...

The great thing about writing a screenplay you're going to shoot is that you don't have to adhere so closely to the the screenplay format. Although in honesty, I've forgone most of those rules a long time ago, due to the fact that most of those format rules are hardly obeyed by anyone anymore, just the basics. Scene Headings left, Action left to right, Character and dialogue center, put page numbers top right of page. Other than that I'm just trying to be clear and concise without being too uptight, I mean come on, as long as you and your crew understand what's going on, no need to put CUT TO before every scene heading.

But as far as the plot and the creative aspects are concerned, in making this movie, or any movie for that matter, you've really got to take yourself to that other place. That place where noone exists but you and the story. If you don't feel it then you're audience will not feel it. You have to engulf yourself in the very essence of what it is you're trying to achieve and then write from that place. These are the rules for how I write and may not necessarily be good for everyone else.

1. Get comfortable. Change your shoes, your shirt, get a comfortable chair, whatever it takes. I can't write in the heat. Gotta be a comfortable temprature for me to concentrate. I need the right music, or at the very least the right SILENCE. And there has to be pleasant scents in the room or no scent at all. There's this guy at work who likes to smoke clove cigarettes by the exit door nearest me. It seeps in and kills my senses. I told him to stop. He thinks I'm an asshole now, I don't care, because if he doesn't stop then the script stops and my movie stops. UNACCEPTABLE. If people have to think your an asshole for you to finish your work, then let them think your an asshole. Plus, who the hell smokes cloves anyways.

2. If you get blocked don't fight it. IF YOU GET BLOCKED DON'T FIGHT IT. If for some reason you can't get your self to write anything down and you just go blank, let it happen, go do something else, go for a jog, eat some fruit, get into a fist fight. Get oxygen (not the network), get the adrenaline flowing a little, eat something smell something hear something you're not familiar with. Do something else other than sit there and get frustrated and angry over how you can't write anything. If you fight it you will lose and then you'll end up feeling like shit and then you'll just give up and never finish.

3. If you're writing crap, just keep writing. The best advice I ever got was from William Froug from my favortie book on screenwriting ever. If you have a problem with what you're writing then write it out. If you think you're headed in the wrong direction or if you think you're writing utter shite, just keep writing. Nine times outta ten you're very being knows what you want more than you do, so just keep writing and you may find that it's leading you to where you didn't realize where you wanted to be. And even if you don't like where it ends up at least you got the crap out of the way and can now start fresh. Just get it all out on the page. This is part of the reason I have to handwrite my treatment first before I even touch the keys.

I'll talk more about this project later, but right now I've got 40 more pages of rewrites before I start putting together the rest of the package.

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