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 😊