Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hot Pink Shorts - Day 1 (Meet the Filmmakers + Scripting)

Let the games begin....

On Sunday, we began the making of my first short film with OUTtv. (Background: In March, my short film pitch was selected by OUTtv for their Hot Pink Shorts contest. As a winner, they are not only funding my first short film--titled 'Til Death Do Us Toby--but also they are making a documentary out of the process. We began the creative work and filming Sunday).

First task: THE SCRIPT! I met with the amazing S.B. Edwards (pictured above), a writer who's been in the film industry for years and recently optioned 2 film scripts and 1 for TV. She kicked ass and I walked away with an awesome arsenal of knowledge and feedback for my little short film. She was like a wise old sage (although she's not old at all--we're the same age--but seasoned deliciously). Some things I learned from S.B.:

- Before you begin writing your script, you must know the ending, as it will be your guiding force. As a novelist, my process was opposite for my debut novel, Jukebox (coming out in the fall). Many times, after I had the characters good and fleshed out and the story underway, I'd let the characters lead me. I'd just show up and I'd let my muse write through me, let them do what they wanted (like a Ouija board). I got some of my best scenes that way. In prose, characters can take on a life of their own and lead you (may seem strange to a non-writer). In film, you have to be much more deliberate it seems.

- There needs to be a surprise or twist, and a big payoff at the end. It needs to be something viewers aren't expecting, but after it happens it makes logical sense.

- I need to hone in on 1 protagonist and make them a sympathetic character viewers like.

- I only have 7 minutes, which equals 7 pages. Eeeek. There is no way I can pull off what I'd intended in 7 minutes. Time to turn up the heat and reduce the story.

- A short film needs to play on viewers emotions and be able to say much in just 1 scene. The short format is very economical and you must push the story forward (similar to the novel, but in an even more concentrated way) with each scene/each word. Nothing is wasted.

- I only get 3 actors, 2 locations and 1 day to film. Eeek again.

There was much more, but clearly, I've got to get to work!!! A big THANKS to S.B. for her advice and offer of continued support. She has been a great mentor so far!

Thanks, also, to Nicky (superhero/Director), Rylan (Mixer), Jonny (DP), Meagan (editor), and Philip (Producer/PM). I'm anxious to talk to Kevin Kostal, the other winner, to see if his day was just as fruitful!

OUTtv will be launching an interactive feature to the HPS website this week, where Kevin and I will be blogging about our experiences, uploading video and photos, too. Once that kicks off, I'll just put the link here for those interested in following.

Wish me luck!!

In case you didn't see my pitch, I embedded it below.

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