filmwriting

posted by victor @ 12:01 pm November 15, 2009 in film,writing

It really is like they say, maddening as it might be for writers like me to hear (at least in the abstract, or certainly from folks who don’t write): A solid screenplay is only the beginning. If you’re lucky enough to see your vision through from start to finish (literally: concept >> development >> production >> post), this lesson can hit home on a whole new level (I’m still in the middle of step 4 right now, but feeling reflective).

First, there’s the movie you write: “The Screenplay” — certainly no small task — which becomes the catalyst for all that may or may not follow — others (partners, crew, talent, etc.) will or will not find it engaging and/or worth pursuing, and so on. Next comes converting all that ephemera into actual stuff: characters into actors, slug lines into physical locations, action lines into shot lists… The part most people are picturing when they say, “making a movie.” But it’s all really just an extension of the first phase (writing), fitting under the umbrella of “gathering ingredients.” All that magic, all that stress, all those slings and arrows, and what you end up with — if the stars align in your favor — is a crate full of stuff someone can hopefully stitch into a “movie.”

darkeningfcpThen comes the actual Making a Movie part. Cutting together all those moments, that amazing thing actors do (I am ever more in awe of this particular piece of magic), all those beautifully lit and composed shots your cinematographer fought for (thank god!), all those pickups your scriptie and AD reminded you to get, all that hard work by all those fantastic people… Then, if the stars continue to align with you, voilá: A movie! Easy-peasy.

I consider myself primarily a writer, but I love the whole enchilada. The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd… And going through the entire process of filmmaking so powerfully informs the writing process and (potentially, at least) enriches it, I think all writers should partake, at whatever level they can. There can be such a disconnect between something that “reads well” and something that actually transfers into strong visual entertainment, and there’s nothing like shepherding an idea through to completion to have those lessons stamped into your writing DNA, hopefully to empower you to write better films, not just scripts. Which I intend to keep working on doing  :^)… (yes, that’s a drooling smiley).

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