On With The Show

After 14 months of slaving away over my ‘Untitled Script’ film fans (and likewise makers), I can proudly say we are ready to GO! Between drafts 5 and 7 I have squeezed the page count down to 104 and feel it’s very much a case of ‘If I don’t start shooting soon, I’m going to eat my own hands’ and this is no good to some who needs them to point at things whilst making films.

I’m going to reveal the title very soon, but not before I register it in all the right places. The real point of this post is that I now feel at a point where lots of experiences will be coming thick and fast and I want to share them with you as they happen. There are also a few tips I’ve picked up in the screenwriting process along the way that I should have posted months ago. Sorry for that, but every time I’ve gotten on a laptop and thought about posting, the screenwriter in my head whacks me with my screenplay and says ‘Would you rather be writing about making your film or writing your actual film?’

Besides, the whole point of this blog is to report my experiences as I make a film and hopefully offer some insight along the way. If all I did was talk about how I want to make a film instead of doing it, I’d be shirking my responsibilities somewhat. So there’s my first piece of advice for 2013; if you are blogging about making a film, stop it, immediately. Go and do some work on your screenplay and then blog about that when you’re done. After all, who else is going to write it?

Film Crew… Assemble!

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Crew mates… Producers Matt Pearson, Ellen Wishart and myself (left to right)

It’s been a couple of months now since I took a critical look at my feature script. This for the most part has been on purpose – I felt very much neck deep in the story and now, browsing through it, feel I can really start hacking away with the red sharpie to get the concise story I want to tell. It’s also been a period in which I’ve invited others to read and share their thoughts on the story. The feedback I’ve received has been highly encouraging. Of course some of it was probably biast – I don’t expect my mother to tear It down Kermode-style, but I did get something from the friends I offered it out to. “I sat there, and was scared to leave my room.” “I went for a smoke in the garden and kept thinking about your bloody script – it freaked me out.”
Clearly at this point I donned my best Vincent Price cackle and returned to the laboratory whaling “It’s alive! It’s alive!”

Of course, the most important people to get the script to were the crew. And so last night in a pub just off of Oxford Circus, the first production meeting for our “untitled” feature got underway. Those in attendance included myself, Matt Pearson, my co-producer and editor and producer Ellen Wishart.

Story was discussed, locations were drawn up and a timeframe for production was sketched out. Shooting will take place on weekends from late September through to early December.

Weekends seem to be the best approach The team around me is one I have worked with before and one I trust and so finding an approach which makes it easier for them to be involved is essential – we all have bills to pay and roofs to keep over our heads – as low budget filmmakers, Mon-Fri 9-5 covers this like it does for everyone else.

The same is true for some of the other integral people that couldn’t attend our first meeting. Director of Photography, Chris Omand (Down Terrace) is away on a shoot and my writing partner Chris Shaw was also unable to make it. This kind of thing is only a problem if you make it one. These people have good careers, I’m not out to make a film at the expense of these careers and quite frankly, I’d be an arse to think they’d follow me if that was my ethic. Hell, Chris Nolan filmed his debut feature over a year’s worth of weekends and if it’s good enough for the most sort after director in Hollywood, I’m sure I can cope with it.

So here we are. An initial and most valuable crew assembled (with additions on the way), and a target for the next few weeks. Stay tuned, as I hope to record all my recee experiences and show you the world in which our story can be found.

Film Update – The Screenplay Montage

It’s been three weeks since I completed the fourth draft of my feature script and I have taken some time out to clear my mind and charge my batteries for what I imagine will be a run of months that will bleed into each other like none I have ever experienced before. It’s time to gather the places, the people, the equipment and the money (in that order most likely) to make this film happen.

I’ll be updating the blog a lot more regularly – keeping you up to speed with all the little adventures and obstacles I have to overcome. But before we go there, my last post begun with a few words over about my three month absence from this blog. Problem was, I got very much caught up in the writing process and there is a good reason for this; which I will talk about more in my next post. For now, I’ll just say it’s incredibly difficult at times to commentate on the form of what you are writing if you don’t want to give away any of the details – you just end up with bland sentences such as ‘The beginning of act two doesn’t quite fit with the end of act one.” So what? That’s not very interesting since I’ve given you no valuable information about either of the acts in the first place. I’d end up being the screenwriting version of one of those really annoying Facebook people who use their status updates like a diary memo – “Cleaned bins…” “taking kid (there’s always a bloody kid) to park…” “ate toast today…” “soup!” No one cares.

So, since I’m a film maker, I thought ‘why show you in words when I can show you in moving pictures?’ Below is my Screenplay Montage – a fairly* accurate portrayal of how I wrote my script – it was in no way shot in two days and just because I always wanted a montage of myself… ahem. Hope you enjoy.