The Life of an Indie filmMaker…the 9th wonder of the world

LOVE THIS VIDEO, very encouraging. Often times in Naija we think we are the only ones that have difficulty financing, making and distributing our films. But the reality is , everyone that is not being financed by the studio system has all those same issues. Even for those financed by the studios, sometimes there is so much interference from the suits, that you cant make the movie you set out to make, and they take it off your hands in post pro and do what they want.

Ultimately, are you making films SOLEY for profit? Soley to make an obscene amount of money?

Or are you making films because you cant see yourself doing anything else but telling those stories, and you just enjoy that privilege and are satisfied with it paying the bills and allowing you to make another film, and the next , and the next.

Will you be satisfied with just enough people seeing it to make it profitable to finance the next film but not getting mainstream distribution or name recognition?

Your reasons for being in the business will determine how you deal with delay, rejection, not getting recognition and even affect the kind of films you make etc

There are many great indie filmMakers out there whose films never cross the shores of their country for one reason or the other, some that are only seen in selected theatres. Not everyone would become a household name. The sooner we learn that the sooner we can move on.

So for all Indie FilmMaker, hope you are as encouraged from this as i am, we may have our down times,be broke, discouraged and maybe even depressed at times, but the satisfaction of making our films and getting a great response, certainly beats doing a “secure” job and living the rest of our lives with “shoulda coulda”

screenwriting: have u got the minerals?

Screenwriting is one of the most under appreciated aspects of the film industry. Many people don’t realize the immense task it takes to commit to write and actually churn out a great screenplay or the emotional and psychological commitment. A lot of people just assume it’s thinking up a story and just throwing words, scenes and dialogue on paper till it reaches 90 or 120 pages. Perhaps that’s why we see a lot of derivative, cliché , contrived and outright appalling things on-screen at times.

A screenplay is like a blueprint. You hire a trained architect to come up with a blueprint. He takes time to design the building(story) , taking into cognisance , structure, shape, durability, resistance and other factors. After the blue print is done, many people will from the blue print to bring that building to life. Same for a screenplay. The Director, Cinematographer,Art Director, Costumer, Hair&Make up department and so many others take guidance from the world the script has created.

So im always baffled when people take a cavalier attitude towards it, and think they can just jump into it without learning the principles, the rules and the craft of creating a screenplay, that wont collapse on its self. I still don’t understand how some producers give a writer an idea on Monday and expect a completed feature screenplay 7-14 days later. Would anyone expect a novelist to churn out a book at that same time?

IMO, the writing team of Simon Pegg an Edgar Wright , that brought us SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ are amongst the best duo in around right now, (right up there with Monty Python). For each collaboration, they go to a secluded area for a few weeks, where they have no phones or email to distract, and they have a writing/story conference,; where they knock out an outline for how their screenplay is going to work.

From the results of the three films, it’s evident that this meticulous planning worked, cos those films are AWESOME.

This is the outline for their latest film THE WORLD’S END

script outline

PEGG AND WRIGHT

Video

SCREENWRITING: CHARACTER INTRODUCTION

HUMAN TARGET is an action drama tv series based on a graphic novel from the DC comics stables , it ran for two seasons on Fox.

Christopher Chance is a unique private contractor, bodyguard and security expert hired to protect his clients. Rather than taking on the target’s identity himself (as in the comic book version), he protects his clients by completely integrating himself into their lives, to become a “human target”. Chance is accompanied by his business partner Winston (Chi McBride) and hired gun Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley).{Culled from Wikipedia)

This is a scene from Season 1 Episode 1 and has to be one of my favorite character introductions.

Before this scene, Chance suggests to his business partner Winston, that they bring on Guerroro to assist with the case. Winston is reluctant , but we dont know why, and then we see this scene.

This scene says all that needs to be said about Guerroro , who he is and what he’s capable of doing. Lesser writing would have had another character describing him and giving some sort of spook story. From a few words, we establish this is not a man to be trifiled with, he has formidable skills both intellectually and malevolently.

As they say, in screenwriting, SHOW is better than TELL. If you want to audience to know how dangerous a character is , dont use another character to describe it, that has minimal effect, create a scene (not contrived or show horned) where he is in his element and we actually see him in display.

How we introduce a character makes a great impact on how the audience reacts to him and perceives him for the rest of the show/movie. A bad or weak introduction , and even if he turns out great, the impact may have been minimized already.

Video

Screenwriting: It’s not personal, it’s strictly business- The Godfather

I tell people this is the pivotal scence, and the most powerful in the movie, but some disagree .

THIS, is the scene where Michael evolves from distant observer to the active member of the family and emerging Don. This is the turning point in Michael’s character, where he makes a decision that will not only affect him, but all the other characters and the entire story. The incitng incident was the attempt on his father’s life at the hospital, there he showed he was street wise in how he pretended he and the baker were armed and not naive or the school boy that he was seen as earlier in the film.

In this , it is revealed that Michael is more like his father than Sonny. The contrast seen between the two of them and their approach to the situation is very clear. It also shows why Sonny was easily lured and killed. While he’s all hot headed and quick to jump, Michael is calm and strategic, despite having being assaulted by the man he’s planning against. The difference in the kind of men they are and their leadership style is finalized here. THIS scene, is where he unofficially became the next Don.

Characters need to have identifiable moments like this, where they wake up and decide to do something.

Although, this was one of many moments with Michael, but as he monologues on how to take out Sollozo and McKluskey, and then use the news papers to soften the blowback for the killing, you can almost see him transforming before your eyes; and when he says, “it’s not personal, it’s strictly business”. You can tell that , the Michael in the army uniform in the opening scene that seperated himself from his family, has disappeared and a formidable force has taken over.