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  1. #1 To be a Director ... 
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    ''If your goal is to become a film director, you must master screenwriting.” - Akira Kurosawa


    My (free) eBook was written for you gals and guys, becasue this is so very true.


    Follow with this ...

    ''Most directors have one masterpiece by which they are known. Kurosawa has at least eight or nine.'' – Francis Ford Coppola

    So Akira was likely on to something.


    I am a thorough and unapologetic reader for screenplays. A few recent threads with my feedback here ...

    http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=61666&page=5

    http://www.indietalk.com/showthread.php?t=61628&page=2

    If you have a script you'd like to check over before committing time and money to producing, or are DPing on a project you have misgivings about, send it my way. I'll be happy to shred it for you :)

    I use film samples and photos to drive home important visual and story points.


    My book
    https://alexmwhitmer.wordpress.com/zz-excerpt/




    The second part started out something like this ...


    No offense intended, but I know a some of the gearheads see screenplays as a necessary evil. Not all. Some.

    I guess that came across the wrong way. The rest of what was there is sorta repeated in the following posts.

    alex
    Last edited by a whitmer; 09-11-2016 at 06:07 PM.
    “It went for so much money and it was a Western and nobody knew what the fuck we were doing.” - William Goldman, on the selling of the 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' screenplay.




    My Films and Work
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    Screenwriter, Novelist, Copy Writer, Author, Ghostwriter, Editor, Consultant. Writer of 66 produced short films, 3 feature films, 2 unpublished novels and 1 unpublished screenwriting book.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Ben Scott's Avatar
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    Sure, come on a camera forum and belittle the art and craft of production as being 'not your thing' and then tell everyone here how they should be learning from you and your book instead.
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  3. #3  
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    I specifically said being on a set wasn't my thing. I am very much into learning all I can about the art and craft of production regardless of the fact that I will likely never be behind a camera, pulling cable, and so on.

    This short film ...




    I have not read the script, but if I were to write the gorgeous opening scene, it would be something very simple like ...

    INT. KITCHEN - DAY

    (NAME) sets the table, eats. Methodic in his movements.


    The magic of the art and craft of production is what made it soo beautiful. The lighting, the sound, the location of the camera, even the selection of the plate, silverwear and table. But the art and craft had a well-developed character to work from. This opening shot is 1000% in sync with who we later learn has some 'eccentricities' - all of which are masterfully supported in the art and craft of production, and the combined years of talents and experieince to make it work without flaw. And, this is seriously beautiful editing.

    The opening shot took 8 seconds, the opening scene took 16 seconds. How many years of combined production experience did it take to nail those 8 and 16 seconds? 50?

    at 0:47 - 0:48 we see him coming down the escalator. This two second shot speaks absolute volumes about this character moving against the grain. How strong that came across in the script I don't know. It sure as hell worked in the final film.

    This is why I do encourage writers to come here and lurk - as I said. They need to know the possibilites - and limits - of the art and craft to become better writers - as I said. I also believe that filmmakers should be working to improve their grasp of writing to be better storytellers themselves. The script is just the beginning. The director and cinematographer and lighting dudes and dudettes are also storytellers, and will add their expertice to ensure the story comes out better than written.

    Close on, wide shot, slow it down, speed it up. Jump cuts and so on all contribute to the impact of the story on screen.


    The following is a nice example of jump cuts and solid storytelling as a collbortive effort. There are technical issues here (lighting) but this is the art and craft of filmmaking at work as a team. Worth a watch !!


    https://vimeo.com/181775361
    password: habit


    I certainly never suggested that you could learn from me, or my book. I have offered my life-long project as a free resourse about screenwring for FILMMAKERS, not just screenwriters. I have had some sweet luck working directly with filmmakers over the years, and based much of my book on their experiences in turning scripts into films. They wish they could write themselves, or wish they knew more about writing so they could edit with more confidence, or choose a script to produce with more confidence. How do you know a good one from a bad one?

    I put up sample chapters years ago (I used to have a different account here, but lost the password in a java meltdown. 2008 maybe?) I had VERY POSITIVE feedback then, including 'Where was this information when I was starting out?' That was encouraging, and I have since expanded the book greatly - as in tripled - with a shitload of supporting photos and other information.

    I have my own personal reasons for not wanting to publish it, none of which matter here. The whole point is to offer a resourse. What one does with it is up to them. I make no claim that it will make anyone a better writer or a better filmmaker, or better at choosing material to shoot. It is based on feedabck, and what has worked for me to solve story issues, and making screenplays readable production documents.

    I do believe and embrace the art and craft wholeheartedly, but I'll go ahead and delete the messages since they did offend after all.


    cheers,

    alex
    Last edited by a whitmer; 09-10-2016 at 09:47 PM.
    “It went for so much money and it was a Western and nobody knew what the fuck we were doing.” - William Goldman, on the selling of the 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' screenplay.




    My Films and Work
    https://alexmwhitmer.wordpress.com/


    Credits
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3566392/

    Screenwriter, Novelist, Copy Writer, Author, Ghostwriter, Editor, Consultant. Writer of 66 produced short films, 3 feature films, 2 unpublished novels and 1 unpublished screenwriting book.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member Karim D. Ghantous's Avatar
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    A camera forum is exactly the right place to talk about writing. It reminds DPs and directors about the multi-faceted nature of this craft. Movies are delivered as a package of sounds and images. That's it. The work that went into the final product is eye-opening.

    I don't doubt that some people, even current members, think that this site is only about the cameras and nothing about lighting or writing or understanding actors. It's crap, albeit believable. We need more people like Alex.
    Good production values may not be noticed. Bad production values will be.
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Ben Scott's Avatar
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    I imagine most people on this forum have been studying and writing for years.

    Certainly everyone I know in this game does. Just because this is a gear forum it is just one facet of what we do and what we talk about.

    Not suggesting you delete anything. Just saying you have misjudged the people here.
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Joe D'Arcy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Scott View Post
    I imagine most people on this forum have been studying and writing for years.

    Certainly everyone I know in this game does. Just because this is a gear forum it is just one facet of what we do and what we talk about.

    Not suggesting you delete anything. Just saying you have misjudged the people here.
    I doubt that Alex has misjudged the people on this forum. Alex has been a valuable contributor and collaborator on this forum for many years (way beyond what is evident from the profile date.
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Ben Scott's Avatar
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    To come on here and state you feel most people on here think of a screenplay as some sort of unnecessary evil? I do think it absolutely a misjudgement.

    Alex, I'm sure you are a lovely guy and seriously, no need to delete what you wrote as it starts a dialogue and I'm not easy to offend. :)

    I was just making the point that I think your statement does a lot of people on this forum a disservice. I imagine most of us wrote long before we had a camera, and I imagine most of us are or have been voracious readers of screenplays. And I imagine most of us have a ton of finished/half-finished scripts lying around.

    It's a forum where storytellers talk about the technical aspect of their craft but that in no way correlates to having anything less than the utmost respect for a story and the mechanics of screenwriting.

    At the same time, a lot of times when I speak to writers they simply cannot comprehend that they are not the author of the film and feel they should have more say in it. Despite, as you say in your case, production and being 'on set' being not their thing.

    A screenplay is but one cog in the visual storytelling machine. It is not a bible, but rather a roadmap. 'For the good of the film' is more important than 'for the good of the screenplay'.
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  8. #8  
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    I have never suggested that, in my opinion, the screenplay is the bible. I am not friends with a lot writers (3 maybe) because so many do in fact believe they are the authors of the film, and that messin' with the script is like messin' with scripture. It is also why I refuse to join writer's groups, unions, clubs or whatever. Most just have the wrong big picture about what a collaboration means (and maybe why so many I have known remain unproduced after 15+ years of trying), and the sheer amount of talent and experience and gear needed to produce even a short film, let alone a feature, be they narrative or documentary.

    After years in writer-specific forums, you might be surprised how many writers have little idea what happens to a script after it is picked up, and not all that many seem to care much anyways, so long as the check clears and they get a credit on IMDB - even if they didn't really earn it. Of course some know, or are kinda familiar with what goes on in development and production, but it's more just background noise - the necessary evil to have their script produced and released. A precious few really get it, and they understand how to write a script that is not just a solid story, but a production-friendly document. This is one thing I stress in the book.

    I was one of those don't know, don't care writers until I started hanging around here. Here is where I learned to be a writer!


    I know a lot of the folks here don't even make films. They do arial footage, architectural footage, nature footage, and fashion footage. They assemble reels, film cars and disasters. Happy stuff and human misery. Commercials, PSAs and music videos. I get that.


    That said, my opening comment about screenplays as a necessary evil was proceeded by No Offence Intended ...

    As mentioned, I wrote my book because of feedback I had from filmmakers (directors, producers, DPs) who were frustrated with the writing process. What books to read, and what classes to take? How much time do I need to invest to learn this? It really was the impetus for me to sit down and start writing, and I used what worked for me. Since I am autistic, it gets pretty interesting in part 2 - at least for me :). I do reference other books (none of which I have read cover to cover) and encourage these dudes and dudettes to read all they can, and then decide what to keep, and what to toss based on their own work habits - if they even know what their work habits are. Still a work in progress?

    I am not suggesting that any one member here has not tried their hand at writing, or is also a writer for their own films and work - or even for others - and is quite comfortable and confident with the process. Some are, some are not. My book was intended for Filmmakers first, Screenwriters second that wanted a different perspective on wiritng. A more holistic approach, if you will. I have never embraced the 'without the screenplay, ya got nuthin' attitude. The same can be said for the camera, the actors (even if it's animation), somebody directing the story, adding a score, and so on. Yes, you can't start the process without a script, but you can't finish it without alllllll the rest of the diciplines working in sync to pull it off.

    My original post here was to offer free service to read / critique scripts should someone want it or feel they need it before they commit to production. I said I'll be happy to shred it, because I can and do find every pimple. I believe I said I was thorough and unapologetic. I provided a few links to some current feedback on other writer / filmmaker's work, and if anyone here thought my eye could be of value, then give me a shout.


    Maybe I came off as arrogant. Alex knows best. Not intended at all.


    Anyways, life goes on. Be thankful for those little cabins far from humanity! I'm packing today!

    a


    PS thanx for the kind words
    Last edited by a whitmer; 09-11-2016 at 09:30 AM.
    “It went for so much money and it was a Western and nobody knew what the fuck we were doing.” - William Goldman, on the selling of the 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' screenplay.




    My Films and Work
    https://alexmwhitmer.wordpress.com/


    Credits
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3566392/

    Screenwriter, Novelist, Copy Writer, Author, Ghostwriter, Editor, Consultant. Writer of 66 produced short films, 3 feature films, 2 unpublished novels and 1 unpublished screenwriting book.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Ben Scott's Avatar
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    As I said, I wasn't offended. I just thought it was a bit presumptuous/dismissive in regards to all the people on here who have dedicated years/decades to storytelling and who work with screenplays either as Writers/Directors/DPs all the time.

    Clearly that wasn't your intent, in which case I may have come on strong. Let's all be lovely friends and move forward and discuss the actual topic :)
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  10. #10  
    Senior Member Sabyasachi Patra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a whitmer View Post


    I know a lot of the folks here don't even make films. They do arial footage, architectural footage, nature footage, and fashion footage. They assemble reels, film cars and disasters. Happy stuff and human misery. Commercials, PSAs and music videos. I get that.
    What qualifies as a Film?

    Why this anathema towards people who post aerial footage, architectural and nature footage, commercials, PSAs etc? Don't they tell a story through these?

    On one of the above posts you talk about knowing the limitations of the craft. When someone is testing a portion of his or her craft by posting something you don't appear to like it.

    Since the original post is essentially blank, I am not sure what is happening here.

    I remember you had posted sometime back that you should have released your book some 5 yrs ago during the DSLR revolution. I didn't find any link to your book.

    I find anything which is given free is not valued by people. Also, any post which can impute that the reader doesn't know is not well taken.
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