From just an idea to reality…

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One of the biggest misconceptions about doing anything creative is that it relies only on inspiration. The truth is, if that really was the case, then very few people would come up with anything good, or at least, they wouldn’t do very often.

While we need inspiration, it isn’t the only thing required. For that, we’re going to need that h-word: hard work. If it sounds like a cliché, it’s because it happens to be true. Except, there are probably times when we’d like to think that isn’t the case. That all it takes to make anything creative, whether it’s writing a script or a novel, making a film or composing music, is that flash of inspiration and then – boom – the idea arrives in our brain, fully formed. No more work or effort needed, 100% complete. Finished before it’s even started, and absolutely no rewrites needed.

If you’ve ever attempted to create anything, you’ll know how far removed from reality that is. As enjoyable as writing a screenplay is (and that’s not to say it isn’t difficult) you can’t just write when you feel inspired to, or just simply when you ‘feel’ like it. To put it another way, imagine in any other line of work, going to your boss/manager and saying something like, “I’m sorry, I can’t work today. I don’t feel like it.” What sort of a response would you get? If you are serious about making a living writing (in fact, doing anything at all creative) then that means treating it like a job, whether you’re actually getting paid or not.

If you are getting paid, and especially if it’s your sole source of income, it must be treated like it. If you don’t write, you won’t pay the bills. Basically, if you don’t act like a professional writer and take it seriously, regardless of whether you are yet, your chances of becoming one are reduced.

We’re back to hard work, again. An idea may have lots of potential, but as long as it stays an idea, that’s all it has – potential. Before it can become a finished product, it has to be worked on. Ideas are unruly things. They need taming. For example, that idea for a screenplay might sound original at first, but with a bit of research, it could be that it isn’t as ground-breaking as you first thought, and in order for it stand out, it will require more development.

Another reason to work on an idea is to get the most out of it that you can. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a film or TV show where the concept sounds amazing on paper, but the execution falls short of what it could be. It can leave the audience with the impression that the writer(s) have played it safe, when they could have challenged audiences in some way, maybe even pushed a few boundaries.

So how can we make sure we get the most out of our ideas? How do we get past the dreaded the dreaded ‘writers block’? Below are a list of tips that I’ve found useful, and continue to do so, when writing:

* Ask yourself why you’re writing the story in the first place – what are you trying to say? what is your motivation? This can be especially helpful in keeping the narrative on track.

* Document the research process, especially how you came up with the idea. This will help keep the story grounded, especially if you get lost during the writing/re-writing.

* Give your characters backstories. Chances are you won’t use most of this, but it will help audiences feel they’re watching real people, with emotions and histories. It will also determine your characters goals, and how they will react to the events of the plot.

* Make writing a discipline. Write when you can, but not just when you feel like it. Even if most of what you write on those days is never used, write something. It can be edited later.

* Always remember why you started writing in the first place, what/who it was that inspired you. So on those occasions when you’d rather do anything other than write, this will hopefully remind you why you’ve chosen this career ahead of anything else.

Many thanks for reading. Please feel free to add a comment : )

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Finding your style…

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First of all, apologies for my absence. The past few months have been a bit busy ‘off camera’, hence the lack of updates. However, with my short ‘Runner’ in pre-production, I’ve been thinking a lot about the look I want it to have, and how I might visualise the other projects I’ve got planned.

That has led me to think about style, and how a director finds her or his own voice enough to stand out. Then, how this is affected by such things as camera and lens choice, angle, lighting and so many other things. More than once, I’ve come to appreciate how it feels like picking up a whole new language without words, or a ‘visual language.’

Now when you start learning any language, your command of the grammar is basic, as is the range of your vocabulary. You know what you want to say, but you don’t have the knowledge to say it yet.

It’s the same with filmmaking and the ‘visual language.’ You have all these ideas, all these things that you want to say and stories that you can see in your mind. The problem is that you lack the technical knowledge to bring those ideas to life. As with that beginner language student, you know what you want to say, but you don’t know how to say it yet. At least, not in a way that will do it justice.

Running alongside this is that, when you’re a beginner, you tend to wear your influences very clearly. A big reason for that is what I covered above: as a novice, you don’t have the breadth of technical know-how to turn your ideas into reality. You are then more likely to be more of an open book regarding the people who’ve inspired you.

Of course, it’s not wrong to have influences as a filmmaker. It’s part of how we end up developing our own artistic voice, as well as being, at least for some, a major reason that they got into filmmaking in the first place. Then there’s the fact that the people who inspired us would also have had inspirations of their own.

But how do we stand out, and develop a voice of our own? It’s an important question, especially so given the competitive nature of the film industry, and how difficult it is to break through.

I have to confess that it’s a question I’m still wrestling with myself. One thing I’m discovering is that watching so many films and television shows can actually be counter productive if we’re not careful, in that we can end up as little more than a collage of our various influences.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t watch films or television shows. If we love the medium enough to want to make a career of it, then it would seem strange to avoid watching the work of others. As long as we’re not deliberately copying ideas from other filmmakers, then an interest in the art is important. Not only will it stop is from being excessively focused upon ourselves, it will also open us up to new techniques, styles and ideas that will help to contribute to our development as filmmakers.

The simple answer to avoid becoming little more than a tribute act to our favourite directors, writers, cinematographers etc, is to have something to say of our own in the first place. It’s like that novice learning a new language again, dropped in the middle of that country and needing some help: they know what they want to say, but not how to say it. Now think how much harder it would be for anyone helping this person if that individual didn’t know where they wanted to go. If, in short, they had nothing to say?

As a rookie filmmaker, you will have gaps in your knowledge. Leaving aside the fact that every filmmaker is learning throughout their career, the more inexperienced you are, the bigger those gaps. But you must still have something to say to audiences, even though you’re still finding your voice.

That means that, along with our stylistic and creative influences, we have to be interested in people, and in the world around us. We must have ideas to share. The technical expertise will grow, and eventually that individual voice of our own will emerge. However, if we truly want to stand out, we have to make sure that when it does, we’re saying things that matter. To us, and to our audience.

 

As always, please feel free to comment below! : )

Another casting controversy

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You wait for one controversial casting choice, then another one comes along straight after.

The internet was still in fits of hysteria following Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the 13th Doctor, when Disney announced the leads for their live action version of Aladdin. It hasn’t gone down well.

Joining Mena Massoud as Aladdin and Will Smith as the Genie is Naomi Scott as Jasmine. Scott, star of the recent Power Rangers film, is of British/Indian heritage, a fact that has upset some fans. Although the setting of the story is the fictional city of Agrabah, it’s still accepted that it is meant to represent a Middle Eastern location.

All of this means we’re having to discuss the issue of race-swapping characters again, and when – and if – it’s ever acceptable to do so.

On the one hand, it’s often done to update certain characters and stories for a modern setting. For example, Jon Watts, the director of Spiderman: Homecoming, wanted his cast to better reflect the racial diversity of 21st Century New York.

As laudable as those ambitions are, however, there is the view that altering the source material to that extent alienates some fans, who want to see their favourite characters on represented on screen as they are on the page.

Of course, there is a big difference between altering a character’s race in order to increase diversity (and doing so in a way that serves the story), and doing so in way that actually limits diversity.

Princess Jasmine’s race is important to the story in the sense that Aladdin is set in the Middle East, and therefore it’s logical that the characters will be a reflection of that setting. That is surely true of any fictional film: the characters are a reflection of the setting of the story in which they are taking part.

None of this should be read as a critique of Naomi Scott’s acting abilities. However, the casting is a disappointment for two main reasons. The first is that it’s rare to have a Hollywood film with leads of an Arabic or broadly Middle Eastern background, so in making this casting choice for Jasmine, Aladdin has missed the chance to fully embrace the opportunity for diversity that this film offers.

Secondly, the underlying implication (intentional or not) is that Hollywood sees all non-white actors, especially those with brown skin, as being more or less the same, and therefore interchangeable. It doesn’t matter what your actual background might be, if you don’t have white skin, then you’ll fit any non-white role.

The result is a kind of race-swapping that has the worst possible outcome: it denies a certain section of society a voice and representation. on screen. The fact that it’s happening to a group that is often under and miss-represented just adds further insult.

We make and watch films for many different reasons. One of those is surely to give a voice to people and subjects that need it, so that we’re all better informed. In denying a voice to anyone from any group or community, the film industry is failing in this most basic and fundamental of its obligations.

 

On Acting…

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Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be auditioning a number of actors and actresses for our forthcoming short film, ‘Runner.’ Whenever I get to this stage in the pre-production process, I always think about what makes an actor/actress suitable for any role, and what I look for when I’m casting someone.

Obviously, that will change depending on the role, but ultimately it comes down to whether or not they can truly ‘become’ the character. This is one of the most important things I’ve learnt since I began my career in filmmaking: there is a big difference between an actor/actress just playing the part (where you can tell it’s still them), and an actor/actress becoming the character, and really getting inside their head.

In my opinion, acting isn’t just about remembering lines. It should be about taking on a character and fleshing him/her out, to the point where the audience can accept that it’s no longer that A-list megastar they’re watching. If merely delivering lines can be compared to putting on a coat, then ‘becoming’ a character is disappearing inside that coat.

One recent example from traditionally blockbuster territory would be the late Heath Ledger, playing the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Proving the initial doubters wrong, Ledger fully embraced the role, to the extent that it seemed as if the Clown Prince of Crime had walked straight off the page and on to the screen.

There are many more examples. The work of famous method actors like Robert De Niro and Daniel Day Lewis. Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Walk The Line.’ Charlize Theron in ‘Monster’. Rooney Mara in the remake of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’

As a budding filmmaker, I look for collaborators both in front of and behind the camera. The performances that I mentioned above surely only came about through preparation. To that end, things like read-throughs are a good way for your cast to delve into their roles alongside one another.

However, it’s more than just the intellectual, and it’s certainly more than just remembering and then delivering lines. It’s about discovering the character, and connecting with him or her on an emotional level.

Above all, I want a cast who are interested in both the story we’re telling and the characters involved. Writers and directors should have motivations for making their films, and actors and actresses should also have reasons for appearing in those films.

Now I understand that people take on acting jobs just to pay the bills. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. What I’m saying is there’s a big difference between an actor/actress just phoning it in, one eye on the pay check, or appearing in something that they don’t really want to do, and someone playing a part they love, in a film in which they really believe.

My role as the director is to assemble a cast that will be interested in the story that we’re telling, as that will engage our audiences. That means guiding them through their performance, so it matches up with my vision of the character, whilst also giving them the freedom to feel their way into the part, coming up with ideas of their own along the way.

Yes, it’s a complex process, and often the approach varies with the style and personality of the directors and actors involved. However, when it’s done correctly, the results are more than worth it.

 

Rejection…

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Rejection is a fact of life. It’s also very much a fact of working in the film industry. Anyone who’s serious about working in film has to expect to be turned down.

Of course, it’s not easy. Arguably, it never does get easy, no matter how long you’ve been involved in the industry, what level you’ve reached or how many times you’ve been knocked back.

The hardest thing I’ve experienced as an aspiring writer/director is that it doesn’t just feel that it’s you that’s been rejected. That’s because, to put it bluntly, it isn’t. It’s your idea that’s been dismissed as well.

This is particularly tough to take , as your ideas, and the projects that come as a result of them, mean something to you. Some might even be extremely personal. Other ideas might have taken a lot of time to produce. In the case of a script, it could have gone through many drafts before submission.

Rejection is also something that you can’t really avoid when you’re starting out in the film and media industries. However, to be blunt again, if you want your ideas to be universally loved and respected, don’t show them to anybody. Leave the script in the bottom drawer, and the finished edit of your film on the portable hard drive. Or only show it to your family and friends. That way, everyone will like it. (Unless you have really honest relatives and friends, of course.)

So, whether it’s submitting a script or applying for a job, there is always the chance that you won’t make the grade.

As hard as it is, getting a knock back can also be an opportunity to get even better at your craft. For example, if a script that you’ve submitted isn’t accepted, think of it as another chance to look at it again, to see if anything can be improved upon. If a film you’ve sent in to a festival for consideration is rejected, there may be many other festivals who are willing to show it.

In any case, the most important thing is that it helps you develop the discipline to persevere, and learn to deal with criticism. Taking on constructive advice and criticism is one of the best ways to grow as an artist, especially when it comes from people who’ve been in your chosen field for many years.

Setbacks are part and parcel of being a filmmaker, from creative differences to budget problems, to location issues and actors pulling out, making films is fraught with potential difficulties.

What matters is how you deal with them. Do you get disheartened, and want to throw in the towel? Or do you carry on, remembering why you love films and filmmaking in the first place?

Casting…

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One of the biggest challenges that I’ve faced (and continue to face) as an independent filmmaker is with casting my films. However, it’s an essential part of a film, and one that you obviously can’t ignore. Here’s a brief list of what I’ve discovered to far. Hope it helps!

  • Know your story and your characters: This makes all the difference. If you have a sketchy idea about a particular character, or if they’re aren’t very well developed, then the casting will reflect that. The more you know your characters and the world they inhabit, the greater the chances are that you (and your casting director/ producers) will cast well. Also, how can you guide your cast as they become their characters, if you don’t have a final idea of how those characters should be portrayed?  As an example, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman fits in with Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, and the world he oversaw in that portrayal. The same is true of Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises: Hathaway’s Kyle belongs in the ‘Nolanverse’ in a way that Pfeiffer does for Burton’s vision. Switch the two around though, and it wouldn’t work. Know your vision, and you’ll know who to cast.
  • The director should have the final say: Even if your budget stretches to hiring a casting director to advice you, (or if you take advice from your producer (s) ), I still subscribe to the view that, as with everything else in a film, the director’s word is final. By all means accept advice and suggestions, (in fact, all good directors need to be able to listen and recognise good creative advice when they hear it),  your decision should be the final one. You can’t truly direct actors that you don’t really want in your film.
  • Scour online casting sites/local drama groups:  Casting Call Pro and Star Now are two good suggestions, and it’s possible to use both with little to no expense. It’s also worth contacting local drama groups and societies, especially those at universities. Be aware that there is a significant difference (as many actors will tell you) between theatre acting and acting for camera. However, as long as you can find someone with the ability and/or experience to cross over from the stage to the screen, then these groups are a good resource.
  • Your actors need to work well together: This links in with my first point. Every actor should not only fit the world and the tone of the project, but they should be a good fit with the rest of the cast, especially if they’re a main character. How many romantic comedies/dramas have been ruined because the leading man and leading lady had zero chemistry? This is where doing read-throughs with your actors (even if it’s just a few scenes) can give you a really good idea of who is – and isn’t -working together.
  • Be bold: The thought of discovering acting talent that has gone under the radar is something that excites me as a director. Obviously, you shouldn’t cast someone just for the sake of being different, or for risk’s sake, but don’t discount someone just because they don’t have a long CV, or come from a theatre background. Be open to taking risks, and cast your net wide, and you’ll be rewarded.
  • Video auditions: This helps cut costs if your budget is tight. It also means that you are less restricted to a specific area. As far as the audition material goes, I’ve used both the actual script, as well as excerpts from other films that are consistent in tone with my own. Other options are auditioning two actors together, and getting the actor/s to prepare their own material. You can even do more than one of these options (such as get the actor/s to audition from your script, and also something that they’ve chosen to bring in.)

Please feel free to add your own comments below, especially if you have any advice of your own : )

Beginnings and Endings….

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It’s been a couple of months since I’ve blogged about anything, but in that time I’ve been working on a script that I’m going to submit to the BBC’s Script Room, which is the station’s forum for unsolicited scripts. So in other words, I hope I have a good excuse….

Anyway, the past couple of months have reminded me of something that I’ve always struggled with in my writing, and that’s starting and ending the piece. The interesting thing is that I’ve had this experience no matter whether the piece is fiction or non-fiction.

Getting to the latest draft of my current screenplay has made me think about why this might be the case. When you start your screenplay, it’s the culmination of many months of research and preparation of building your plot, your characters and the world they inhabit. It’s understandable that when you sit down in front of your computer/laptop (or pen and paper if you’re old school), then you feel the pressure: you want to do your idea justice.

What I’ve discovered is you just need to put something down on paper. If you remind yourself that, in all likelihood, what you’re writing will change, then that should take a lot of the pressure off the first draft. After all, it’s only draft one, and you are extremely unlikely to produce anything that is ready to be filmed (or submitted/published) at the first attempt.

As for endings, it’s the feeling of taking an idea that you’ve developed and taken to the writing stage, and now it’s over. The writing process may have taken over much of your life, so completing your script may leave you wondering what you’re going to do to fill the time.

However, although a screenplay may be finished in one sense, in another, the idea isn’t. The screenplay is only one part of your story. The production stage will bring your words to life, not least when shot choices are made, or when actors interpret your dialogue. There is also the possibility that the production stage may require alterations to be made to the script. Although rewrites during a shoot can at times suggest a production is in trouble, on some occasions it’s in response to a sudden flash of inspiration from the writer/director, or a suggestion from the actor.

On that note, I’d advise being open to any suggestions from your collaborators, be they actors or directors. As someone who is hoping to write and direct, it’s probably easier to change the script, whereas it can be a ‘challenge’ if you’re a writer when someone changes your work. Sadly though, that’s often the lot of the writer (especially in big studio films), which is why aiming to write and direct, thereby maintaining creative control of your work, is worth considering.

So, whether starting or ending a script, writing a screenplay is a challenge. However, it’s only one part of the filmmaking process, and when the cameras start rolling, it will all have been worth it…

 

Creating characters…

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It’s one of the most important aspects of telling a good story: creating a cast of well drawn characters that will engage with audiences, causing them to care about what happens to them. You can have stunning cinematography, or the most fast-paced and action-packed story, filled with brilliantly choreographed fight scenes, but without strong characters, the chances are it will leave viewers empty, and they might as well be watching someone playing a video game.

As with many things in screenwriting and filmmaking as a whole, it’s not an exact science. There will be many films that looked promising on the page, but bombed at the box office. However, one of the best ways to create three dimensional characters is to give them a rich backstory.

I’ve heard it said that you won’t use most of this material in the actual story, but it will all help to create characters that actually feel like real people, rather than just stereotypes that spout dialogue that doesn’t come from anything authentic. It will then give the impression that they are two dimensional and interchangeable, to the point where any line could be spoken by any character.

To start with, it’s helpful to think up names for your characters that fit both the individual characters themselves, and the world in which the story is taking place. There are plenty of websites that provide tips on how to come up with names for your characters, and how this is influenced by things like genre, age of the characters, location and the time period of the story. As an example, giving a young character an old fashioned name could work if you have in mind a character who is quite quirky and individual, so a slightly archaic name will help bring out these qualities more clearly.

Another important detail is your characters goals and motivations. It’s worth writing out some sort of a profile for your characters (especially the principle characters) that includes what each character is trying to achieve. It will help to create a more compelling story if some of your protagonists are trying to achieve contrasting goals, or if they want the same thing, but have drastically different ideas about how to get there.

Giving your characters a biography will also help. So sketch out details on family, friends, schools, universities, colleges, etc, as well as their work history. What hobbies do they have? Do they speak any foreign languages? Do they have any phobias? What hopes and dreams do they have? No detail should be too large or two small to consider. Now, most of this material won’t make it into the actual story, which may make you wonder: is it not just a waste of time?

Think of it like this: when creating a character, you’re creating someone who should feel like a real person. Real people have goals, things they hope for and fear, family history, friends, hobbies, past traumas and things that motivate them. These things shape us, our character and behaviour. The more this is true of your fictional creations, the more realistic they will feel, no matter how fantastical the story might be. When that happens, your audience will feel like they are watching real people, and care about where they are when the credits roll.

 

 

 

 

Writer’s Block….

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As I type this, I’m struck by the irony that I’m writing about writer’s block, a ‘condition’ that’s basically about feeling unable to write. However, slight ironies aside, it’s a serious subject, and one that has many causes. It’s also something that has affected many, if not all, writers at some point, regardless of whether they are professionals or just amateurs.

In the last few months, it’s something that I’ve been experiencing. I’ve had it a various points before, that feeling of a lack of inspiration, of staring at the page or computer screen, almost willing the words to come out. Then, when they come, they are swiftly deleted or crossed out because they’re just a bit… well…meh.

However, recently, it has been more than just a lack of inspiration regarding a particular idea or part of a story. It has felt far deeper than that. To borrow an example from football, it’s like when a striker can’t score goals, when previously it looked so effortless. The player seems to miss even the simplest of chances, then turns to the sky or shakes their head, as if their talent is slipping through their fingers.

There have been days where, if not questioning my abilities exactly, I’ve looked at the cost of pursuing a career in filmmaking/screenwriting, and wondered if I have what it takes, if I’m embarking on a fool’s errand, as it were. Again, this isn’t uncommon to this line of work, especially for those who, like me, are just starting out. If you have bills to pay or a family to support on top of that, it can only add to the stress and the pressure.

As there are many reasons for writer’s block, from issues with the material itself, to the pressures of life, I think there are many strategies to overcome it, from setting deadlines, to altering writing times to just trying to write anything, in the hope it will get things going. However, all the advice I’ve seen involves effort and work, two inescapable things that a person needs if they are to make it in the creative arts.

That’s because you could have a brilliant idea, and the talent to match, but if you don’t want to put the hours in, then you definitely won’t make it. Of course, effort doesn’t necessarily mean you will automatically achieve your dream career in film, but it certainly won’t hinder your chances.

With writer’s block, I strongly believe that effort will pay off. It might take time, but there’s no avoiding it. In my case, I tried to remind myself of not only why I started the script, but more than that, why I set up 9am Films in the first place: to make films. To do something that I love doing, and have wanted to do for as long as I can remember.

I suppose I should close with a snappy but inspirational quotation or maxim that will hopefully inspire you. However, the truth is, nothing replaces effort, and, slowly if need be, working hard, until you reach a point when the words and the inspiration starts to flow again. When they do – and they will – it will all be worth it.

 

 

Getting political….

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Before I begin, this has nothing to do with the United Kingdom’s future in the EU, so if you’re sick of all the referendum coverage, don’t worry. This is a referendum-free zone. However, I have been thinking about politics, and how filmmakers could – or if they even should – address political subjects in their films.

My firm belief is that they should. Writers and filmmakers, along with anyone involved in any artistic field, should always create something that means something to them. Of course, that doesn’t always have to include a political angle, but it should be more than just commercial motivations. Filmmaking is an expensive business, both for filmmakers themselves and for audiences. If we’re expecting people to give up their time to help us make something, or to watch what we’ve made, we’d better be sure that it we’re making something worthwhile, a project that contributes something a bit more profound than just allowing people to switch off their brains for the length of the running time.

I’ve been thinking about this because I started my last script in the days following the Mossack Fonseca leaks. I’d had the bare bones of the idea for a while, but it only really came to life following this story. Now, I’m not advocating scouring the newspapers for stories. For one thing, it could lead to basically recycling real life events for story ideas, which can look rather cynical and uninspired. Another downside is that anything that aims to be relevant by chasing the zeitgeist often ends up looking irrelevant and old fashioned quite quickly.

What I mean is finding inspiration is things that will give your work meaning. If you’re particularly interested in environmental issues for example, there’s no reason why your work can’t reflect those interests. At some level it’s inevitable that what interests you will come out in your work, even if it’s unintentional. The very best filmmaking comes from the heart, which is where truly held convictions should reside as well. So, if you’re working from the heart, and your beliefs/interests (religious, political, etc) are really heart felt, then there’s bound to be a crossover at some point. As well there should be.

Of course, we can run the risk of sounding like we’re preaching to people, with characters reduced to mere mouthpieces for our views. Which is why the best approach is to present the issues and subjects in a way that lets the audience decide what they think, that also leads to debate. It may also help produce more filmmakers willing to engage with difficult subjects in a thoughtful and intelligent way, meaning that audiences don’t have to stop thinking when the movie starts.

 

 

 

 

Delays….

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Waiting for something is often very challenging, especially if it’s something we’re looking forward to. However, it’s part of life, and it’s also a part of filmmaking. The fact is, you can plan – or think you’ve planned- for anything and everything that could go wrong. In reality, you’ve only planned for the things you’ve thought about. Sometimes there will be obstacles that will spring up during your production that are totally out of your hands, and that you didn’t anticipate being an issue.

Making films, even at the micro budget level, is an exciting thing to do. We wouldn’t be making them (especially at the indie, low budget end of the scale) if we didn’t enjoy it. So when something comes along to stop the momentum of our film, it can be quite frustrating.

With ‘Runner’, we had hoped to have finished with the production stage of the project by now, and be well into post production by now. However, we’ve had a few delays along with way, ranging from issues with schedules to securing a location. Again, not exactly unfamiliar problems for anyone making a film.

As clichéd as it sounds though, they are also opportunities to make sure that your final film is the best it could be. Taking ‘Runner’ as an example, the delays to the start of filming has allowed us to make sure that we’ve got the finances we need to make ‘Runner’ the best we can make it. The alternative would be keeping on schedule but arriving at our shooting date unprepared. In that position, it would be hard to imagine that we’d be able to make a film that would all be happy with.

One challenge I’m experiencing with a delay is that, before they happen, you’re all ready to film. You’ve prepared and know the script. However, when you’re delayed for a while, it can feel like you lose some of your motivation, or lose a sense of the script, the themes, shot ideas, etc. The answer to that is to re-immerse yourself in the script and your characters. Basically, anything that will remind you of the world you have created and will shortly be bringing to life. That could include looking at any test footage, storyboards, listening to any music that may have been composed for the project, as well as any teaser trailers. It will all help to remind you of why you’re making the film in the first place, as well as keeping that enthusiasm going until the big day arrives, and you finally start filming…at last!