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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thinking, sharing, searching...

Yesterday I read an online screenwriters magazine article where Robert McKee (STORY) was interviewed.  He spoke of the way filmmaking has evolved, how he hoped it would become, and gave great advice.  There were a couple of very important topics he expressed that I completely agree with, and would like to share with you (paraphrasing, of course):

1) Don’t consider writing about a topic that
doesn’t fill your heart. Chances are, you’re going to spend a huge chunk of your life with this kid, so if you’re not in love with ‘im, why would anyone else ever be?

2) He says that, “Rewriting to writing is like improvisation to acting.” I can’t think of a more accurate statement. If you’re too stubborn to take direction, 
constructive criticism, or consider the idea of possibly doing multiple rewrites for the betterment of your work, then consider a new line of work.

3) I’
ve cut and pasted the next Q & A for you:

Q: Do you see the art of story via screenwriting evolving over the decades, and if so, how?

Robert McKee: No. Tastes and trends come and go, but the essential art of story has not changed since
Cro-Magnon storytellers sat their tribes around the fire and held them slack-jawed with tales of the hunt. Personally, I wish filmmaking would devolve from the nervous cut-cut-cut move-move-move herky-jerky camera of today back to the expressively lit, framed, fluid images of the past. Too many contemporary directors seem inflicted with HADD.


And then, I ironically find myself watching Quarantine last night. The seemingly shaky sister to
J.J.Abram’s, Cloverfield (no relation). This all had my wheels really turning. 

Lately, I’ve been assigned (by my producer, Lorie) to be thinking of style, tone and composition for LIS. How do I want the shots to look, and do they vary in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd act? Should there be a metaphor within the shots for certain characters? In example, should Lyn always be to the far left of the screen? Are there many close ups?

Many of the color ideas and metaphors came to me while writing the story.  The over-all tone was always semi-
ingrained in my head too. I love the more desaturated look - old lenses with modern technology to create nostalgia. But beyond that, I find myself searching...

And I may not know exactly what I want all the way around, but as Woody put it in VCB, “…I know what I don’t want.” So, I went to B&N and picked up a copy of Filmmaker Magazine. Lorie turned me on to the editor, Scott Macaulay and now I’m a huge fan. In his editor’s letter, he says, “I hope filmmakers don’t feel pressured to throw all that’s good about their old ways of working out the window and instead sift through the pages magazine and other sources to scope strategic forward-thinking ways to support their work.” He’s speaking more to filmmaker’s regard of new paradigms, but I see it as a metaphor for EVERYTHING.

It’s great for me to explore these new cameras, technology, 
camera angles, trendy ideas, experimental ways… but at the end of the day, it was good to be reminded to not disregard what’s always been exceptional cinema. 

My lesson in all this: Learn the new radical ways of film movement, but don’t forget the genius that got us here.

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