Welcome to my new blog on Cinema 2.0.
Cinema 2.0 is A NEW APPROACH TO DIY FILM PRODUCTION, MARKETING and DISTRIBUTION working outside of the accepted mainstream cinema industry. It’s about leveraging your peer-to-peer marketing and online digital distribution for your own original cinema making your authentic, artisanal and original programming for enjoyment worldwide.
Writers can be their own worst enemies. They badger away coming up with incredibly complex worlds without a thought as to how the film can actually be made.
Do you want to be produced? Would you like to really make your own microcinema that can seen worldwide?
Here are 10 steps to success writing microcinema – and getting it made.
1. Reverse engineer everything. Start with what you have @ hand before you start writing.
Start by working backwards. Make a list of all the things in your life you have than can be used to make an original film. Work at a bar or a Laundromat? Use that for a location. Have a dog and a pickup truck? Use them for the backbone of your script. Don’t reinvent the wheel and call it fire. Tally up what you can actually work with – and add that to your script.
2. Make a list of resources you control. Use them for your screenplay.
What equipment do you own? Do you have an extensive wardrobe? Access to cool furniture or props? Have a barn or a farm available? A garage where you keep your scooter where they won’t mind if you film? Who do you know will let you shoot at their place and for how long? Design your original cinema around original locations, set pieces and locales you can control filming with gear you have.
3. Don’t write an intricate script and then try to find the money to make it.
Why are you writing a period piece? No science fiction! Nothing involving complicated visual effects! Do you have a death wish? Why do you have thirty-six people in your script? Who is going to pay for the stunts, props, wardrobe and art stuff you need? Get over yourself and then realistically assess your story based on practical terms. You aren’t making a mainstream movie. Make an original film. Now.
4. Don’t write extensive dialogue scenes (in the middle of downtown anywhere).
Talking heads bore audiences. And talking heads we cannot hear shot in downtown traffic are even worse. Drop the Mamet and Tarentino profanities and design short dialogue and compelling stories that are witty and uniquely you. Make a visual story stripping out as much talk as possible. Design eloquent cinema told in enigmatic close-ups, find pastoral landscapes, gritty alleys – it’s up to you. Just don’t depend on talking heads to save your picture. They won’t.
5. Outline your script before you write the full draft.
Start with a structure and blueprint your three-act structure (if you use one). Detail in your beats every major event and limit yourself to a total of eighty-four pages. Keep it short and punchy with lots of things going onscreen. Create a visual structure you can stand back and look at before you get started writing in depth. Use Mindmapping software, post-it notes, loose paper and the ever trusty index card to map out your overall story arc.
6. Count the number of actors.Write the theme/ subtext on wall and use it.
Figure out the underlying story (subtext/message) and see how many players you really need to make your picture work. Keep the number of actors you have to feed or pay to a minimum. Design a story based on ideas, themes and the core issues important to you. Put that idea in front of your computer to remind you about it.
7. Less is more. 84 pages maximum.
Why write a 120 page script when you are paying for every page onscreen? Less is more and here is a perfect example. Figure out how you can shoot the film in the most economical amount of time (usually weekends) and you will soon see how page count equals time spent on set. Cut it down! Remove extraneous dialogue. Make it lean and mean. Consider the idea that your full length-film may be better served as a web series or online showcase in chapters (more about this in a later post). Less is more in the microcinema world. Do more with less.
8. Rural is easier to shoot than city. Get out of town fast.
You will get a lot more bang for your buck if you stay off the beaten path. Avoid major city centers and concentrate on outlying areas, small towns, villages that have never seen a film crew and stay out of over-populated and film savvy areas. You can’t afford hefty location fees, police support, paid permits to park your meager transport – so don’t bother. Small Town USA (or anywhere) will be a lot more accommodating. Get out of town now.
9. Use correct script format to aid your breakdown.
There’s no excuse for not having a properly formatted script. Use Celtx if you’re on a budget, or pay for Movie Magic Screenwriter or Final Draft to do it like the rest of us do. You need to be able to break down your script into filming blocks for your Call Sheet and Schedules – and a properly formatted script goes a long way to making the whole process much more manageable. Understand that the format is important for logistics and planning. Use REVISION mode to update accordingly. Learn how to use your software.
10. Script – Schedule – Budget in that order.
First you write the script, then you figure out how many days it will take so you can accurately budget it. If you change one of them, they all change. Lose money? change the script and schedule. Longer script? change the budget and schedule. You can rarely shoot a longer script for the same amount of money that you originally planned. You have to keep an eye on all three if you want to succeed. You say, you’re a writer and that the schedule and the budget is someone else’s job? FAIL. You need to understand the mechanics of production to write for the screen effectively. Without understanding how your script can be made and then being able to stay within those perimeters, you will rarely have a chance to succeed.
Writing a no-budget film means that you need to structure your work around shootable and available locales with tools and support uniquely your own. By working backwards and then reverse engineering everything you write, you will actually being going forwards – and making a real film based on real elements that you realistically control.
#wantfreedom? Be realistic. #domorewithless
Featured Image: http://cdn.morguefile.com/imageData/public/files/custom/fldr_2015_04_16/file552fde9c9d593.jpg