Archive for April, 2010

Free Film Budget

What? Oh yes…

Thanks to Deke Simon (author of Film and Video Budgets – 5th Edition) and MWP Books, there is a free, downloadable budget you can use as a reference from the MWP site:


For a little more “free”, know that the MWP newsletter is super – not too often; just enough news. Between that and the MWP Facebook site (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/mwpfilmbooks) where you’ll get a lot more news and as-it-happens updates… you’ll often see a free book giveaway.

Come & join! Enjoy the great and useful industry freebee!

All the best,


Read Full Post »

Gladys PM in Training

Read Full Post »

Scripting a story can be an organic process, and methods of screenwriting will vary depending on the writer. You’ll see the variances between completed scripts of different scribes. A shooting script, however, is not a completed work, like a novel is.

A shooting script is a road map – a set of instructions to be really basic about it – to a movie yet to come. That’s why clear and consistent formatting of the shooting script is essential.

What if the character is “unknown” when first appearing?

When, for example, the character “Fred” is first off screen and speaks the lines labelled in the script as “Voice” or “Unknown Voice”, revealling himself later in the scene to the rest of the on-screen characters… well, the set crew cannot be certain the “Voice” lines are Fred’s and not someone else. To retain the writer’s intention, and to make the road map clear to the shooting crew, in this type of case, label Fred’s off-screen lines as: “Unknown Voice (Fred)”.

What if the character changes names during the story?

Say “Fred” began in the story as “Mr Smith” and only became “Fred” as the other characters got to know him. As your guide, consider… will the different characters (2 different character names) be played by two different performers or by one? If the answer is one performer, then use the same principle as for the “Unknown Voice” above. In this example, start “Fred” as “Mr Smith (Fred)” and let him become “Fred” as the characters get to know him. Alternatively, of course you can label him as “Fred Smith” all the way through the script; however, with this choice, you’ll never really know when the writer intends for Fred to change his name among the other characters in the story.

Overall, remember that yes, you’re creating a road map (of instructions) for the shooting crew, but you must try to keep the writer’s intention wherever possible. The writer’s intention is an integral part of the road map too!

Cheers & happy script formatting to you!

Read Full Post »

“What if you’re wrong, and you’re just an ordinary guy who should get a job?”
– Nick Daley (A Night at the Museum, 2006)

Hearing these words gives me a kind of backwards inspiration. It hurts when I hear it.

I don’t want to “settle” for an ordinary job. Considering how much waking time is spent at work, we should enjoy it! We should find work fulfilling, stimulating, interesting! We, each of us, are unique and wonderful and interesting… no person is “ordinary”! Why should our work be ordinary?

True that in a creative industry such as this, your career of choice may not be able to cover all those personal financial bills every month. Sometimes the financial challenge is short term, other times long term. We cannot see into the future, especially with freelance work, and those other challenges life sends us now and then. So, a combination of incomes may be necessary to make financial ends meet. There is nothing wrong with that.

So what if the balance of your income sometimes comes from the “other job”! You do not need to re-label who you are based on where you earn the most money. The financial help is just a stepping stone toward – or a safety net to allow you to realize – your career dreams. See it for what is it – part of a bigger picture.

Then you will see how “extra-ordinary” you really are!

Cheers & extra-ordinary good wishes,

Read Full Post »

1. You Can Do Almost Anything, So Long As You Sing It
How you tell a story is what’s important. Sure there are underlying messages beneath the overall framework of the story, but how you communicate the story will determine how how entertaining it will be. You’ve heard “write what you know” and when you think about what you know it may seem a little boring… OK, take the “boring” (which you know so well) and make it interesting by how you express it.

2. The Star System Makes It Happen
Even years ago when operas were first written, Stars helped to shape the final product. Take the Romeo & Juliet opera (by Charles Gounod). As I’ve heard the tale, Gounod was commissioned to write the opera for the opera house owner (who’s wife was going to be the Star). The Star didn’t like one of her solo arias and asked for it to be rewritten. Gounod was unhappy (to say the least) about having to rewrite it, so wrote a solo aria for her that was totally different in tone from the rest of the opera – a waltz. Perhaps he hoped to embarrass her with the “unfitting” aria… but what happened instead was that that waltz aria became his most famous song. How the star system helped push him to create some of his best work!

3. A Story Is Filled Arias & Recitatives
An aria is basically a melodic song, whereas a recitative is basically sung prose. You can’t string aria after aria for an entire opera – it would be too much. You can’t have only recitatives for the entire duration either – it would be too dull. You need pacing between songs and prose. That’s the journey. When it comes to movies, I see the arias as action sequnces, or comedic moments, and recitatives as deeper moments, linking moments. And yes, the right pacing makes it work.

All the best & an operatic shoot to you!


Read Full Post »