Posts Tagged ‘Tiny Furniture’

I Never Asked For Your Crutch, Now Don’t Ask For Mine

January 27, 2012

Earlier this week, I called a friend of mine to wish her a Happy Birthday. I caught up with her, and she recommended a bunch of movies I’ve already seen. As I was on the phone with her, she asked me how this project was coming.

I informed her that the script was in rewrites, and that I would be working on contacting people soon. Then she launched into this rant about how I should apply for grants because it’s going to cost me at least a million dollars to make this movie. For the record, I’m not necessarily against applying for a grant. My only gripe grants has to do with the duration of time it takes to receive it, and most of the time, you have to partner up with a non-profit in order to receive one. She got the million dollar budget quote from kid whose film she appeared in. According to her, his MBA from Keuka College designates him as an authority on these matters.

Flashback to last May. This friend of mine, as well as another close friend of mine, went out for Wing Night at Lloyd’s, a popular bar in Penn Yan. We ran into “Keuka MBA” (as I’ll call him) and his brother, who apparently has graduated from Wells College’s film program (I’ll call the brother “Wells Film Degree”), and she introduced me to them. She told them I was making a movie about the call center that we worked at, to which Keuka MBA commented,

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Writing and Directing Your First Feature: From Your Story to “Epic Fail”

October 19, 2011

Last fall, when the initial burst of energy to write the script for this movie came about (and I still had a job), I subscribed to both Script and Creative Screenwriting. The March/April 2011 issue came along in the mail. This particular issue had some articles that offered advice for new writer/directors, and I was interested in seeing how their advice lined up with the stuff that I’ve learned the past few years.

One article that really caught my eye was “Writing and Directing Your First Feature: From Your Story to ‘Film By'”, penned by USC Grad Student Robert Piluso. The article is focused on the hardware and software associated with filmmaking and its uses. Of course, there’s a discussion of Final Draft (Script is owned by Final Draft), Gorilla, Movie Magic Scheduling, and Final Cut Pro. I don’t think I would’ve had as much of a problem, had Piluso kept to his main focus–software and hardware–rather than veering off into festival submission and exhibition, which is article unto itself. Piluso could’ve heeded his own advice and used his two interviewees as a jumping off point for his own research rather than designating them as authorities.

That’s not to say that Piluso doesn’t get a few things right. He manages to avoid making his article into a collection of press releases and soundbites, as Script‘s articles tend to be. He does recognize that with a smaller budget, your film will need to be more personal in nature in order to work. Having a tight script doesn’t hurt. Finally, he stays away from making hackneyed references to El Mariachi and Clerks, two broadly known microbudget classics that have no bearing on today’s indie film landscape.

As someone with a few bad specs in my past, I know that spec writers are used to taking dogmatic advice from people who have worked mainly on the periphery of screenwriting (The late Blake Snyder and J. Michael Straczynski are exceptions to this rule), and are used to tailoring scripts for a market that’s becoming increasingly narrower in taste. In turn, these gurus have very rigid ideas as to what makes a good story. The festival circuit, with its more diverse aesthetic, is more interested in personal vision than a product aimed at a demographic. As I recall overhearing filmmaker Benny Safdie saying outside of a screening at this year’s BAM Cinemafest, “These films aren’t for everybody, but they’re for anybody.”

I’ve uploaded a PDF of Piluso’s original article for you to read and judge for yourself. The article is copyright its respective owners.

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Career Options

June 7, 2011

Ted Hope recently tweeted that his most read post since moving his blog over to IndieWire was a post titled, “A ‘Career’ In Indie Film? Better Have That Second Job Lined Up…“. The crux of the post is basically this: whereas once you could sustain a living as an independent filmmaker, you now need to have a “day job”.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got laid off back in February. One of the ups of being laid off was that my co-workers and I were approved for Trade Act Funding. One of our trainers at my last job busted his ass to have us all approved for this. Thus, the progress of this project has been delayed by thoughts of, “Where do I go from here?” At the risk of being self-indulgent, I really don’t want to be working at just above minimum wage for the rest of my life. It would be nice to have something to fall back on that would allow me to support myself, be independent, and be able to continue on this lovely path of making movies.

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