Filmflashe #19: The Crimes That Screenwriters Commit

It’s hard to write a script. It’s even harder to write a good script. Here’s a terrific, hilarious video showing the crimes that screenwriters commit. Beware of the ‘Script Cops’!

Script Cops from Scott Rice on Vimeo.

Brilliant subtext in the police officers’ names!

‘Script Cops’ was co-written and directed by Scott Rice.  After several film festival awards, Sony Pictures funded a web series of the same name.  Well done to Scott!

What are the worst script mistakes you have experienced?

Filmflashe #18: Creating Magnificent Characters

Filmmaking is a privilege and a pleasure. However, it’s not easy. Scriptwriting, in particular, can be very difficult at times. Inspiration can come from anything: an image, a piece of music, people on the street, etc.

Other films are a natural source of inspiration. I’ve just watched the film ‘Nine’ again (having not seen it since its release in 2009) and I was intoxicated by the fantastic performances from Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Fergie, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman – and especially the always-amazing Daniel Day-Lewis!

Inspired by Day Lewis’ troubled character Guido Contini, I wrote a list of the following questions to ask myself when writing a character:

  • Who is s/he in this story?
  • What is s/he hiding?
  • How does s/he perceive her/himself differently to how everyone else perceives her/him?
  • What is s/he trying to resolve?
  • Who does s/he love?
  • Does s/he love her/himself?
  • Is s/he a giver or a taker?
  • Who does s/he hurt (repeatedly)?
  • How does s/he hurt her/himself or detract from her/his own quality of life?
  • What stops her/him being the best s/he can be?
  • How much disrespect does s/he tolerate?
  • Does s/he show disrespect for others?
  • Who is the friend who tells her/him the absolute truth?
  • What inspires her/him?
  • What is the darkness inside her/him?
  • What haunts her/him?
  • What causes her/him stress?
  • How does s/he atone for her/his sins (or mistakes)?
  • Is s/he a good liar?
  • What does s/he lie about?
  • What lies does s/he tell her/himself?
  • What qualities does s/he look for in a lover?
  • What qualities does s/he look for in a spouse?
  • What motivates her/him?
  • What is s/he most proud of?
  • What does s/he fear?
  • What is her/his ultimate dream?
  • What is her/his perception of true love?
  • What does s/he aspire to?
  • What’s unique about her/him?
  • What’s quintessential about her/him?

I hope these questions help you to write fascinating, compelling characters in your screenplays.

Great lines are also inspirational and I’d like to leave you with this absolutely superb line from a song in the film, sung by Guido’s betrayed wife Luisa Contini (Marion Cotillard):
Long ago. Someone else ago.

What inspires you when writing?

Filmflashe #16: Directing Insights From A Wise Man

The Irish Film & Television Academy hosted a public interview with director Len Wiseman (‘Underworld’, ‘Live Free or Die Hard‘) to a special ‘Total Recall – Behind the Scenes Discussion‘ led by Sunday Business Post film critic John Maguire.  The film stars Ireland’s own Colin Farrell as well as Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel.

Len was insightful, warm, funny and engaging – a great interviewee!

Here’s the audio from the event recorded at The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin on 15th August 2012, including a question from yours truly.  Enjoy!

Filmflashe#13: Michael Fassbender wins at the Irish Film & Television Awards 2012

This year, I decided to make my debut appearance at the Irish Film & Television Awards.  Lots of my friends were nominated and I wanted to support them.  It was a great industry event attended by Michael FassbenderChris O’DowdFionnula FlanaganStephen Rea and Brendan Gleeson.

Here are some photos from the night, starting with my good friend Dawn Morrissey, the director of the Irish Film Festival Boston, with the winner of the IFTA Best Film Actor Award, Michael Fassbender.  Also featured are myself (in the red dress), actress Muireann Ryan and Allen Leech, star of Downton Abbey and The Tudors.

You can see more photos from the IFTAs on Filmflashe’s Facebook page.  It would be super if you’d click the Like button while you’re there – thanks!

Congratulations to all of the IFTA 2012 winners and nominees!

Filmflashe#12: Ted Talks – J.J. Abrams’ Mystery Box

Who would have thought that film director J.J. Abrams – who is renowned for keeping us on the edge of our seats – is also a really funny guy? Here’s a talk he gave to TED – a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”.

One of the things he says, which echoes Filmflashe#1, is: “No community is best served when only the elite have control”.

Watch and enjoy!

Filmflashe#11: Power To The Pixel

Power To The Pixel (great name!)  is a company helping international filmmakers and the film industry make the transition to a cross-media digital age. Its services include consultancy, training and events as well as information and analysis of the changing international market.

It is run and supported by some of the most experienced cross-media pioneers, professionals and filmmakers in the world.

It’s a an essential resource for anyone working in transmedia.  Click the following links to access to:

Power To The Pixel news

Power To The Pixel events and training

Power To The Pixel consulting

Power To The Pixel videos

Filmflashe#10: Film Shot & Edited On The iPhone 4

The iPhone is now not just a distribution channel for films, it’s a mechanism for shooting them too.  Have a look at this film, which was the first to be shot and edited on the iPhone 4.  The shots are elegantly framed and the colours are beautiful.

The process is described by Edmund Mullins in article from BlackBook:

Francis Ford Coppola once famously opined that the next cinematic Mozart would probably be “a little fat girl in Ohio” making movies with her daddy’s video camera. He didn’t anticipate that said fat girl might just as easily be making minor masterworks on her daddy’s phone. Now it’s been done with the 88-second short, “Apple of My Eye.” Equipped not just with video but also editing capabilities, the new iPhone 4 was fairly begging for someone to try to make a film with it and it alone.

The film is a cutesy little number about model trains, and it doesn’t look terrible. As The Wrap reports, “Filmmakers Michael Koerbel and Anna Elizabeth James filmed scenes by mounting the iPhone on the front of a remote-controlled model train, on a makeshift dolly, a tripod and a small crane. James did the editing using Apple’s iMovie software, which is included on the new iPhones.”

Apparently the whole thing took all of 48 hours to accomplish. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the ease and availability afforded by the iPhone will actually result in the “Mozart” Coppola imagines—it’ll just be a little simpler for people to make the same junk they always have.

What do you all think of it?   How do you think shooting on low-res formats impact on distribution?

Please post your thoughts below!

Filmflashe#9: Transmedia Storytelling & New Media Convergence

Here’s a terrific article about how new media gives more power to storytellers e.g. filmmakers: Transmedia Storytelling and the New Media Convergence


Filmflashe#7: Hybrid Distribution

So, you’ve fed your film habit and the result is a completed feature film.  Well done!  Now how will you ensure that your target audience sees it?  And how will you generate revenue from it?

Here’s an excellent article from Indiewire with film distribution tips from Peter Broderick, President of Paradigm Consulting, a company that helps filmmakers and media companies develop strategies to maximize distribution, audience and revenue.

Filmflashe 7: Peter Broderick of Paradigm Consulting re Hybrid Film Distribution

What is your preferred method of film distribution?  Have you had any success with new media distribution?  Please share your opinions in the comments section below.

Filmflashe#6: Theatrical vs New Media Distribution

All filmmakers dream of walking down the red carpet to premiere their feature film on the big screen.  Films are the culmination of a lot of hard work and why wouldn’t we want to screen our work in style?

But is this eliminating opportunities to distribute our work more cost effectively to a wider audience through new media channels?

Filmflashe 6: Theatrical vs New Media Distribution

Steve Pond explores this issue in The Wrap: you can read his blog post here

It’s a fascinating debate.  Check out the comments in response to his article.