Author Topic: When did you write your first feature and how old were you?  (Read 4201 times)

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Reelist

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Re: When did you write your first feature and how old were you?
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2010, 12:46:42 AM »
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I haven't written anything along the lines of a feature length screenplay. that seems hard and I figure why do it unless you're actually going to make it? I don't find it very fun to play around with characters on the page unless I have some really fleshed out idea in my head that I'm trying to go for cinematically. Then you have to write it before it slips away
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KJ

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Re: When did you write your first feature and how old were you?
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2010, 09:44:36 PM »
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that seems hard and I figure why do it unless you're actually going to make it?

Yeah, totally unnecessary!

Pubrick

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Re: When did you write your first feature and how old were you?
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2010, 10:18:11 PM »
+1
i've only written short films and have amassed a few outlines for features but i think it's a bit useless to even try a feature without being able to hammer out a tight short script first.

the key is TIGHT. if you just want to attempt a feature script because you think the extended length will give you more practice you are mistaken. the most egregious error found in amateur films, short or long, is a piece of shit script (with no talent actors to boot). from a technical point of view, that is if you want to practice editing or camera type stuff or anything at all, it has always been accepted that a short film is the best way to go about it. why waste all that time when you clearly have no idea what you're doing?

narrative creation is no exception. why would it be a good idea to attempt a feature script when all you really want is to understand the process? the basics of script writing are absolutely magnified when you try to write a good short script. you can't just ramble on and write pages and pages of USELESS dialogue (not that it stops MANY short filmmakers from doing it) if your aim is to establish a character or scenario in a short amount of time. what you should be exploring is ECONOMY in both story telling form and in technical ability.

the best short film scripts i've done (and i'm not gonna pretend there's that many.. maybe 2 or 3) have been the result of taking the process as serious as i would a feature. i started with an idea, tried to capture the "hook" in a one sentence grab, extended it to a short synopsis in the form of a PITCH, then went about creating an outline -- at no point thinking about extended pieces of dialogue, only the story structure. once i was happy with the outline i could see each scene by itself, and within each scene thinking of ways to progress the story internally (either through character focus or plot advancement) in the most concise way possible.

make those rules for yourself and you'll find yourself marvelling at the amazing ways great filmmakers communicate EVERYTHING in the quickest way possible. it's not about quick cuts or extreme language or violence, but a clear direction where you find everything comes naturally and you're able to think of MANY things at once simply because you've cut out all the fat. for short filmmakers, unless you think you're mamet, forget dialogue.. that is only ONE of literally DOZENS of ways of communicating that are available to you in the medium of film.
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KJ

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Re: When did you write your first feature and how old were you?
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2010, 06:54:25 AM »
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The biggest problem with alot of young filmmakers is that they don't take what they do seriously. Like, I have several friends who also makes short films, and none of them do it seriously. They are just like "I can't get a budget, so there is no point in doing something really serious yet. I'm just gonna wrote something quick and then film it." But you can't be good and devolop at something if you don't take it seriously. I'm not saying that you should be death serious but you should at least have the ambitions to do something good that you will be pleased with. People are also so fucking simple-minded when they start writing. Writing scripts is not that simple. You have to think about thousands of things and make every scene interesting, even if nothing happens in them. People are like "Comedy = Jokes, action = explosions and Megan Fox (yeah, I'm looking at you, Michael)

People should also write things they don't feel comfortable with. Many continue to do things they are good at, but you don't get better if you do so, right? I work in a place (dropped out of school) where young people come when they want to make films. You can like borrow equipment and get advice from those who work there, etc.. And when I got there the first time I showed them a script I wrote, and they criticized my dialogue. They thought it was weak. So I wrote a dialogue-based feature so I could get training and get better. And I did get better at dialogue. Although they now say it's a radio drama. A fucking radio drama! But my dialogue is atleast better. My dialogue is even the thing I'm most pleased with now.

My point is that you should just write all the time. And always have the ambition to become better and develop on the things you aren't so good at. I don't think it matters if it is a short or feature film. If it feels right, and you develop, you should just continue.

The Perineum Falcon

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Re: When did you write your first feature and how old were you?
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2010, 09:01:47 AM »
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I've been working on the same story for well over a year now with no end in the foreseeable future. For whatever reason, I simply cannot write dialogue. I use to love it. It use to come (somewhat) naturally to me and was an enjoyable excercise. In fact, I use to just LOVE writing. I don't know what's happened here, but I feel as if I've lost something before I could really develope it.
For the most part, writing has been coming off as a chore, which is one reason why I generally keep my posts so short.

I've only attempted short films twice now, and both were utter failures.

Several several years ago, a professor gave me a Super8 and told me to have fun with it. "Great," I thought, "now I can make a film!" Word to the wise: if someone gives you a piece of equipment, before you spend hundreds of dollars on project (that you never had to begin with), make sure the item functions properly. .... how foolish I was.
The shoot was mostly positive, and everyone involved was really excited to see the end result. I was working with friends and only one could you call and "actor." I've always felt that there's TOO much dialogue in most films: show, don't tell, right? And instead of forcing dialogue on these people--who would probably never remember it anyway, much less sufficiently express it--I decided to make the film "silent" (also due to technical limitations), and would have a friend write a score corresponding to the action taking place (the idea was in a similar vein to Peter & the Wolf, where one instrument represented one character, another instrument another character, etc etc).
When I got the film back, I felt a trembling embarassment: the film was terribly exposed, hardly any images made it thru development (tho, I did salvage some of these images for my thesis project). I was literally going to bury it and had all but given up on making another.
The second film turned out to be complete uninspired trash shot on video which I thought was ugly anyway so it was never finished.

But now I'm developing another project, finally, and I've enlisted a friend to assist in the writing process. This seems to help quite a bit. We set up deadlines, and providing that structure seems to keep me pretty grounded. I still shy away from dialogue, but I'm trying to get back in the game.
We often went to the cinema, the screen would light up and we would tremble, but also, increasingly often, Madeleine and I were disappointed. The images had dated, they jittered, and Marilyn Monroe had gotten terribly old. We were sad, this wasn't the film we had dreamed of, this wasn't the total film that we all carried around inside us, this film that we would have wanted to make, or, more secretly, no doubt, that we would have wanted to live.

Sleepless

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Re: When did you write your first feature and how old were you?
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2010, 10:30:10 AM »
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I've been concentrating more on the writing side of things that directing for the past few years. Nothing too serious, mainly just noodling around on various ideas. I did write a spec of The Office a year or two ago which I thought was pretty decent. And then last year I won a scholarship to the writers bootcamp from the Ny Midnight Movies Screenwriters Challenge. I started my 2 year course in January and the plan is to write a brand new feature every 6 months. Last night I submitted my first script. Right now, I don't think it's too good. I've had a lot going on these last 6 months, and the last minute panic of the imminent deadline demonstrated this is something I really need to be putting a lot more effort into going forward. But the idea I worked is something I've had in my head for many, many years now. Kind of a teen angst coming-of-age story which pays homage to The X-Files (I can hear most of you switching off now), but the idea was to keep it loose, a fairly calm and quiet movie which explores the idea of faith, in a way. I actually wrote a feature-length screenplay of this 4 (?) years ago, and since then almost every element has gone significant changes. Although I know the second half - and certainly the third act - is really fucking weak right now, I think I've at least found the definitive story that I want to tell. Going into this I really wasn't sure what the plot was going to be, just the elements I wanted to use. And I think what I've got is pretty decent. Eventually I see myself going back and re-polishing it, but it's nice to know that I've finally got this idea out of my head and on to the page in a state I can at least live with for now. I start working on my second script for the course Monday. Right now I'm thinking it's going to be a minimalist ghost story/psychological thriller. If anyone cares to read my first script, Nightlights, let me know. I would love the feedback.

socketlevel

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Re: When did you write your first feature and how old were you?
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2010, 11:06:56 AM »
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The biggest problem with alot of young filmmakers is that they don't take what they do seriously. Like, I have several friends who also makes short films, and none of them do it seriously. They are just like "I can't get a budget, so there is no point in doing something really serious yet. I'm just gonna wrote something quick and then film it."

i agree, and there are many outs that they can take to remove this accountability. like for example write something random/strange and quote lynch. or another thing is to just make an all around silly piece. in the end they're just nervous about attempting a serious story with a concrete narrative ark and missing their mark. it hurts more when you fail it's not such a throw away, so people don't wanna risk it. it's also easy to fool people when your intention wasn't articulated if you can fall back on avoiding the harder parts of storytelling.

I agree with you P, however the short film medium has many different techniques then the long form. take perineum's situation, a rewarding dialog scene in a feature script works upon the whole film very differently then in a short film. if you have a dialog sequence in a short film, often it's the centerpiece of the work. i agree people should work on tightening their material and karlj, you and i seem to be getting at the same thing but thinking about a big story is a different undertaking. i guess i take each possible script based on the material and expand from there. if it's short or long, it will come from the material. i agree no one should ever go into a project thinking "i'm going to make this epic", it should be organic. I also think some people are better at long scripts then short ones because of the way and pacing their stories develop. cutting down a great long piece might gut the soul out of it.

I think the hardest thing about writing is to determine what is a cool flourish, and what is self indulgent. because tight scripts (coens aside) can be soulless. often people mix those two things up. it's something i keep on regular reality check. a lot of people can't see when something sucks because they're so in love with their own writing. on the flip side, you might write a great scene and question if it sucks because you don't want to end up looking like one of those people. i'm never at ease with myslef on either side of this debate when it comes to being objective over my own work.

i wrote and directed a 25 min film a few years ago, it was a serious piece and i tried to keep the self indulgence down. i did alright with the film, won some awards for what it's worth... but if people could have seen the original cut they would have rolled their eyes. editing saved a lot of poor-self indulgent dialog. editing someone else's film will help your own writing more than anything else imo. also be honest with yourself, if it sucks it sucks. no ego in the writing or editing, or you're gunna fail. i guess that's my advice.

regarding my major concern with writing: just know your characters, put them in the scenario and even if you know where it's going don't force them to say anything. just let it happen like a method actor would. after that, cut it down. if that mentality is always applied i believe the dialog will be genuine. theoretically the most forced line should always be the first one in any scene, everything else is a reaction.

anyway that's my 2P
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pete

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Re: When did you write your first feature and how old were you?
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2010, 01:09:38 PM »
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my aim is to do a few shorts this and next year and start working towards a low-budget feature in two years.  the dilemma is I have two things in mind - one is in the genre of thriller/ action films (but within my means) with some sort of fest-friendly texture, while the other is a very fest-friendly concept, but requires a script that's still yet been written.  my instinct is to do the latter first but I'm on such a roll and having so much fun writing the first one.
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Neil

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Re: When did you write your first feature and how old were you?
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2010, 12:10:18 PM »
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I started 2 screenplay's with my best friend when i was 17 and they are both still unfinished.  I am 23 now, he passed away when i was 19, so after numerous revisions i deducted that i need help.  So, i'm fucked.  I'd love to see some of these. btw.
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