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Script Development & The Commissioning Process
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Script Development & The Commissioning Process

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  • 1. Script Development and the Commissioning Process Joshua Whipday
  • 2. Length “ A short film can be anything from thirty seconds to thirty minutes in length – and this means they can do and be a great many different things. However, if you want to get your short into a festival, then keep it to no more than ten minutes. Remember: you can tell a great story in as little as 30 seconds. And chances are, the longer the short, the more expensive it will be to produce.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/writing/tips_shortfilm.shtml This quote tells me that depending on the short films story line they can be any length, what is important is how effective the shorts input is. This persuades me towards making a shorter film rather than longer if it was going to go into production and sold.
  • 3. Script “ With short films, writers must get to the meat of the story quickly and cut out all the fat. That means broadstrokes. Shorts move faster than features and flaws stick out like sore thumbs, so the stories must be as polished as possible. That is why very few short films work. To a large extent, shorts must be more polished than features as there is so little time to get the whole story across.” http://www.robinkelly.btinternet.co.uk/shorts.htm After reading this quote I now understand that the writers of short films need to be very specific and precise, making their choices of what to include brutal. Short films must also take a lot of planning in order to help the viewer understand the storyline of the film.
  • 4. Characters “ Generally, it is accepted that the most effective short films concentrate on a single main character and explore through a single sequence of events, his or her internal conflict. At the same time short films have to be visually strong enough to reveal that internal conflict, driving the story with emotional action as much as – or even more than – mere physical action. http://www.robinkelly.btinternet.co.uk/shorts.htm The information I now understand from this quote is that short films do not have to have more than one character and most that only have few characters succeed. I also get the impression that the actors or actresses have to be good at showing emotion as this helps tell the story from their perspective.
  • 5. Establishing “ I think it's important to - forgive me for stating the obvious - write ONLY WHAT'S NEEDED. What do you see? What do you hear? However, it's also important to give the reader a fun ride. That means that you want to pepper the action with some fun stuff. I actually hate it when the writer talks TO the reader. EXAMPLE: "This chase scene is so great, TRUST ME. You'd rather be watching it than reading it.” http://www.screenwriter.com/insider/news.html The information I have gathered from the quote above is the fact that the writer should not direct the film at the audience because this can be seen as having a negative impact on the viewers as they do not always like this effect. It seems that a stronger storyline would be more effective in a short film.
  • 6. Content “ If you try and second guess what people want and then provide it, YOU WILL FAIL. Guaranteed. And never listen to any agent who tells you any different. You want to write something unique, something only you know.” http://www.screenwriter.com/insider/news.html I get that this quote is trying to tell writers to go with their gut instinct and have faith in what you know . This quote touches on sticking to your guns.
  • 7. Ideas & Imagination “ The great thing about shorts is that they can be anything – the only limit beyond the cost of production is that of your own imagination. So don't be hemmed in - let your imagination fly. Play with your ideas. Play with the form. Every short can and should be a unique vision.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/writing/tips_shortfilm.shtm The quote above states that you should write with your own instinct and opinions, not someone else’s, because trying to please everyone is impossible therefore this is the reason for a target audience. In comparison to this point the second quote emphasises that different shorts are for different people and cultures, and it allows the writer ideas to be developed. A you tube clip that justifies this point is below... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxEl9_KguzQ
  • 8. Format “ Is it important to format scripts correctly? This is more an issue with cinema and feature length TV scripts than with other forms of TV, which tend to be less prescriptive, but the fact is that it is crucially important to use the correct format for any feature length drama script.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/writing/tips_shortfilm.shtm The information I have interpreted from the quote above is that formatting scripts correctly is very important in many ways because the actors need to be familiar with the format when reading it. Another reason why formatting needs to be correct is so it is clear and cohesive for everyone and there is then a standardised way of working set.
  • 9. Writing Routine & Concentration “ TIME TO GET WRITING set aside a holiday - it needs to be 10 to 14 days in length – and so boring, nothing will distract you, especially alcohol and bezzie mates; get into a military regime from day one for example: get up at 6am – write until 12 noon (post lunchtime, poolside recovery nap is allowed as long as you . . . ) WRITE TEN PAGES A DAY, MINIMUM; and when feeling disheartened . . . repeat after me, ‘I can do this, I can do this’.” http://www.lsw.org.uk/ This quote portrays that it is hard work to write a short story as many hours are put in to create a worthy script. This also tells me that dedication is needed in order to write the script for a short film.
  • 10. Story Structure “ The best short films are often a moment that is played out, but one that has a story at its heart - a conflict that has to be resolved, where there's a deadline to the action, where there's a choice that a character has to make. You should always try to tell a story. Short films aren't an excuse to break all the rules – but they are an opportunity to push the boundaries of what cinematic storytelling can do.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/writing/tips_shortfilm.shtml   My understanding of this quote is that short films still have to tell an understandable story even though they have to be told in such a short time. The story has to have main characters but is often achieved to better effect with fewer characters.
  • 11. Books Research Bennett, P. Hickman, A. and Wall, P. (2007) Film Studies: The Essential Resource, Oxon: Routledge I picked this part of the book because I personally struggle to read films and this explained why, explaining that films have systems of codes, it says “other arts”, this is referring to forms of art that can be manipulated and used within’ the film industry e.g. Books that are turned in a film and music that is referred to in film.
  • 12. Books Research Bennett, P. Hickman, A. and Wall, P. (2007) Film Studies: The Essential Resource, Oxon: Routledge In this I have found out that the editor of the film has to know the story as detailed as the director because he or she needs to know where cuts and different effects need to be placed. The reason why editors need to know the story well is that they could receive it with the scenes mixed up because they haven’t been shot in the correct order, by knowing the story the editors will be able to piece it back together.
  • 13. Magazine Research Media Magazine, February 2011, Royal with Cheese: Quentin Tarantino and the Blood-letting of Culture, Matt Freeman, pg 50. Quentin Tarantino is a big name is film and media because he is a film maker and script writer. One of the assets that Tarantino has which makes him so successful is that he is from a independent background, but he also has partnerships with Miramax and Weinstein brothers. Tarantino takes techniques from all different types and genre of film and makes it his own in a film he is making. Quentin Tarantino is classed a post-modern script writer and film maker.
  • 14. Closing Conclusion The first thing I learnt from my research was that short films can be any length, even unrealistic lengths that I thought wouldn’t of been achievable. Lots of preparation and planning is needed because short films are so short everything has to be accurate. In terms of characters less is more successful. As part of establishing a script the writer should not direct his script at his/hers target audience and just go with their instinct. I didn’t know but I have now learnt that scripts need to be of a standardised format for everyone to read it. A quote I read made me realise that writing a script is a very time consuming task and requires a lot of time and effort. The books I research taught me how to read films and understand what is happening more, the books did this by giving me in depth information about ‘system of signs’ instead of punctuation. After the research I have completed I am now more knowledgeable about films and script writing and what it entails.