“Not Rubbish, Just Different”

The words I found myself uttering to our budding director recently when meeting to discuss this humble but ubiquitous (now, there’s a word not used often enough) project, which has reached the stage of identifying actors and a mandated tightening of the script.

When someone has an idea of what they want and it’s on a scale much larger than what they have been given to work with it can be quite the bodyblow so I can understand the mental adjustment she’s had to make, but there is enough support and experience around her, in front and behind the camera that I’m pretty sure the short film she produces will do her message justice as well as showcasing the strengths of all concerned.

I’m not allowed to say that I’m just words in this machine… So I won’t 🙈 lol

But after that meeting, in which I learned that the necessary cuts to the script had been tasked to the producer, I received an annotated and edited script which was very noticeable in seemingly removing the background stories and motivations of some of the characters, including one that the director calls her ‘moral mouthpiece’ (a suspicion I had confirmed in the process), as well as streamlining the story. It could be argued that with the relatively short time to film and edit, the story has been narrowed and focused, thus making it easier to put together.

Though, as a make peace of sorts, I have included 4 words in the very last line uttered that alludes to this aspect so we’ll see what happens there.

Another thing that may come up is the number of pages that were required to be cut to make an effective piece within the budget. Even with all the producer edits and cuts as well as the cuts and amendments I have done, 6 pages were removed rather than the ‘suggested’ 9 pages. I’ve started looking at any more potential cuts that won’t make the story jumpy, sloppy or fundamentally different from the original vision, in the event that 9 pages was more of a mandate. 

It has been an interesting experience so far and one I’d be looking to repeat… Even if I haven’t even finished this one yet. For one reason it’s been interesting to see the genesis of an idea and how it develops, forks-in-the road and all. And how different one’s perception can be depending on whether  you are in the centre or the (relative) fringes. A view I’ve heard is that the message is being stripped away and diluted, whereas I’ve suggested that the main message remains, albeit slightly better fitting to the constraints around its presentation. As I’ve never said on here what that message is, I might as well be speaking in code, but when the time is right, I will. 

Also, on the point of perspective, it’s likely that if it were my script and mine alone, and things were being changed my immediate response would be different to what it is now. Case in point, I remember doing a slight double take when the screenshots of THREE KNOCKS were sent to me and I realised something had been re-interpreted but I quickly appreciated it probably added something to it as well as giving someone else screen time… And yes, I still await the finished short film to be sent to me 🙏🏿

The updated script is now in the ether so the feedback should be interesting. 

Thanks for reading, updates are forthcoming 😊

A Lesson In Revision

Before I get to the main post, for those keeping track of THREE KNOCKS… Yes, it’s still a thing and I’m informed it’s subject to the ‘final touches’ by the editors so when it’s ready, I’ll be able to view it and provide a review of the finished short film. The film itself, I think I would require specific permission to post here, one I would be very lucky to be granted, so for now a review will suffice. Where that is concerned, watch this space.

What this has shown me is I really know little about the process of film production. That a script barely covering 3 pages can, all in all, take 5+ months to film and produce. What I am also learning in more recent times, is writing may be one of the more straightforward aspects of creating a film, short or otherwise. But even that can be subject to challenges and lessons in revision. Which takes me nicely onto the main point of this post…

Rewind to Friday evening, shortly after my return from work and my phone rings. Upon seeing budding director, Kadeena’s name, I immediately knew something was up. Most of our talking, up to that point, was done face-to-face, so I braced myself for a new, unknown challenge. Perhaps one of the ‘logic-bridging’ dovetailing additions I made to the draft has diluted the message or altered reader/viewer perception of our main character? Perhaps the name I have suggested for the film was wholly unsuitable as well as provocative? 

No, it was something that would affect me but it wasn’t immediately obvious.

“I didn’t get the budget I wanted!”

I’ll admit my response (though not articulated) was a confused “Oh, ok?” 

But when it was spelled out to me, I could see the impact it would have across the board. For one thing, she cannot go a penny over the budget she has been given so that is a challenge in itself. I personally believe that it is a deliberate aspect set by the course: let her work out a budget, then say she can’t have it and see how she manages 😳 A lesson in the world of film making, perhaps? 

Amongst the issues it would cause regarding the use of actors, how much time could be used to film and edit, there is the small matter of the script needing to lose 9 pages. Now that is where an issue could lie where I’m concerned. 

I have no issues writing to brief (though being invested in the project helps) so whatever I’m asked to do, I’ll try to help but this is very detailed and specific and Director has said there is nothing she wishes to remove. Of course she appreciates that she will have to in order to achieve anything resembling the quality required. 

Though this means I would have to begin, essentially from scratch, on a (vastly) revised story, I very much relish the opportunity. 

So there you go, a lesson in revision.

Will keep you posted. Wish me luck…

Audience of… How Many?

Greetings to readers and glances alike and thank you for taking a look.

So, the (as-yet-untitled) script has been read (by more people than I envisaged) and the general response has been a good one. Of course, it being a first draft, there was feedback and notes alike. The important thing is the deviser and I appear to be on the same page so once I get full notes, suggestions and the rest back, a fully formed script should be developed.

At times, I can forget that I’m not writing for an audience of 1 so while I may get references, not everyone can so here begins the balancing act of giving more information without being overexpisitional.

One thing that been reccuring since the beginning is that of the names of the characters. After lots of search engine enquiries- to ensure defamation doesn’t occur 😂- I came up with names that hopefully fit the characters. All bar one of them have been retained so my (warped) mind has to come up with something that can stick. I have one or two in mind so Google (and other similar, just-as-any-competent search engine) beckons. 

As it does in regards to the name of the script. Watch this space…

A glimpse into the world of very early stage conception, I was opportuned to briefly meet the would-be producer of this short (but less short by the day) film. In those few moments, I think the magnitude of making even a short film hit Kadeena. Even me a bit. Both he and Kadeena had pages of notes, doodles and figures that I resisted the urge to try and read. Lol

And lastly, I was shown a picture of one of actors, so it was good to put a face to a character. All we need is a name! 🙈

So thank you for reading.