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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    One Week Challenge    October, 2011 One Week Challange  ›  Preparation for the October, 2011 OWC
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  Author    Preparation for the October, 2011 OWC  (currently 4842 views)
Grandma Bear
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 3:21pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RayW

There's no (practical) money in producing a short.
Even if it wins film festivals, big film festivals, it's just fun money down the toilet.

I'm on your butt today Ray!!  

Your comment is wrong. Take for example Drew Daywalt of Fewdio and Daywalt Fear Factory. He wrote and directed tons of short horror films. Most of them 5 minutes or less. Now he is a director for a series at MTV.

IMHO, people underestimate the power of short films. They are also becoming more and more popular with viewers.


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dogglebe
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 3:29pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RayW
There's no (practical) money in producing a short.
Even if it wins film festivals, big film festivals, it's just fun money down the toilet.


Shorts are a business card; they are a foot in the door.  If you're stupid enough to think you'll make a living off them, then you're probably too stupid to turn on your computer.

If a director is looking for a writer and it's between a guy with four shorts produced and a guy with 6,000 unproduced scripts, he'll probably lean towards the produced guy.  After all, other people invested money in his work...


Phil

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leitskev
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 3:38pm Report to Moderator
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I forget the name, Ray, but I posted a link to a short a month or so ago. It was the director's only work, and based on it he was hired to do a huge horror movie that's now in theaters(I forget).

So Phil is absolutely correct.

Another example, I think, is the director for District 9. He had a short that was very similar to that.

Granted, a lot of these are written by the director, which is really the way to go if you can. And some of these things do have a budget.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 3:49pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RayW

Bingo.

There's no (practical) money in producing a short.
Even if it wins film festivals, big film festivals, it's just fun money down the toilet.

So, given that, should we then be encouraged to write pie-in-the-sky budget shorts?
Jet planes, giant Samurai robots, fembots with lazers from their jubblies battling midgets in Las Vegas showgirl costumes armed with venomous hamsters?

Sure.
Just write something.
It's good for you.

And I guarantee you no one will ever contact you to produce your short.
And you will have lost that opportunity to build a professional contact.
And professional contacts are what this biz lives on.

Four idiots with a camera will go farther than a pontificating genius.

I'm writing for the four idiots with a camera.


Theoretically you can make a lot of money from a short. In the hundreds of thousands if you win many of the cash prize festivals.

In Europe (other than the UK) they are even shown on mainstream TV.

With Maya, Cinema 4d, After Effects now all available the line between low budgetand big budget is also somewhat blurred. There's been lots of recent shorts that have acted as proof of concept for features: Mama, The Raven, Saw, Attack of the Killer Robots, the Silent City, Alive in Joburg (District 9)...the list is ever increasing.
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SLM
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 3:51pm Report to Moderator
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As the OWC is not mandatory, you don't have to do it, so don't.

It's as simple as that.

If you don't like shorts, don't write them.

Again, it's up to you.

And if other people prefer shorts, or want to enter the OWC, then that's up to them.
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SLM
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 4:08pm Report to Moderator
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Some writer/directors of shorts who have recently hit the bigtime:

Fede Alvarez. His $300 short got him a 30 million dollar Hollywood deal.

Gary Shore.  Shore now has now a deal with Universal to remake Phasma Ex Machina. Included in his deal was the chance to make a feature film out of his short, Cup Of Tears.

Patrick Jean. His Pixels short got so much press that Adam Sandler's production company has decided to develop it into feature film.
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RayW
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 4:12pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Grandma Bear
I'm on your butt today Ray!!  

Your comment is wrong. Take for example Drew Daywalt of Fewdio and Daywalt Fear Factory...

You keep good company, so you can stay on my butt anytime you want.
You can't cite a few rare instances and call that a practical norm any more than you can point to Blair Witch, Open Water and Paranormal Activity and call those practical norms.
Those are monster odds beaters.

Without argument, the overwhelming majority of shorts produced go nowhere and do nothing.
A screenplay that has zero chance of being produced has even lower odds of going anywhere.

Encourage writing that has a snowball's chance in August Miami of going anywhere.
Don't encourage people to write funNgames.



Quoted from dogglebe
If a director is looking for a writer and it's between a guy with four shorts produced and a guy with 6,000 unproduced scripts, he'll probably lean towards the produced guy.  After all, other people invested money in his work...

I'm pretty sure you're arguing my case here.

Write something that has a chance of being produced.
Not pie-in-the-sky silliness.



Quoted from leitskev
Another example, I think, is the director for District 9. He had a short that was very similar to that.

Rick beat me to it.
Alive in Joburg was Neill Blomkamp's calling card to Peter Jackson when the Halo project fell apart.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le3y0QlLjJE

And then there was that Panic Attack short that's supposed to be leading to something.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dadPWhEhVk

And again, those are the exceptions to the rule, just like the rare virgin writer spec script that gets bought off the street out of nowhere for $1.something million.
Those are the exception.
Not the practical norm.

Write something that has a chance at being produced.


Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
Theoretically you can make a lot of money from a short. In the hundreds of thousands if you win many of the cash prize festivals.

In Europe (other than the UK) they are even shown on mainstream TV.

With Maya, Cinema 4d, After Effects now all available the line between low budgetand big budget is also somewhat blurred. There's been lots of recent shorts that have acted as proof of concept for features: Mama, The Raven, Saw, Attack of the Killer Robots, the Silent City, Alive in Joburg (District 9)...the list is ever increasing.

Theoretically, yes.

I love the concept of proof of concept.
Tech is leveling the playing field.
It's synthesizing the gap between guys with cameras, audio and lights and the nerds with hours of time for non-in camera effects that writers ought to be concerning themselves with.

I know you know what can and can't be practically done in After Effects and 3D modeling.
Surely you'd want a writer that understood where the cost-effective time boundary lies between in camera and what'll need to be done in post, right?

Write something with a chance of being produced.



Did you guys note columns AC & AD in the indie film distribution analysis?
https://docs.google.com/spread.....VUxQVUE&hl=en_US
Those writer directors exclude all of your/our efforts.
Those are guys & gals with cameras and resources to write their own material, find a producer, shoot it, edit it and get it distributed.
We're not writing for all those writer/directors.
Babz isn't pinging us for screenplays for writer/directors.
We serve, she serves, those very few non-writer/directors in that rather small sample of indie filmmakers.

Write for those people with cameras and the resources to put something together but bereft the ability to craft their own stories.




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RayW  -  September 27th, 2011, 4:23pm
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leitskev
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 4:51pm Report to Moderator
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Ray, my point was merely that I think it's better left to the writer to determine what he thinks will be more likely to get produced. Personally, I don't see how having a high school produce one's script furthers the interest of the writer in any way. But I could be wrong. Leave it up to the writer.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 4:51pm Report to Moderator
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Citing the odds in terms of films is somewhat self-defeating.

The people that make it aren't picked out of a hat in some Holywood tombola, they get in because they make projects and pitch projects that are marketable.

The millions of shorts that are made and disappear don't have the legs to do anything else.

And that situation suggests writing to get produced per se isn't necessarily going to get you anywhere.

What you want is to write something that has the legs to go all the way IF produced.

You've essentially got two ways in:

1. European/Independent way: Social Realism (predominantly)...extremely realistic and powerful portrayals of real life...win the major awards get funding from the European distributors/funds etc.

2. Hollywood calling card...generally characterised by Hollywood level Production value and recourse to VFX. Proof of concept stories that if Produced well could attract the attention of major investors.

Then you need an energetic and applied marketing strategy (which is where a film's life really begins, and is usually the thing most films are lacking as they have no money left after the film costs).

It would seem that the studioes expect new Directors to be able to handle heavy VFX..which is unsurprising as many Hollywood pics utilise that kind of filmmaking...if you can effectively use VFX in a low budget environment on a one cam shoot, then you can handle shooting plates for a feature with 30 Red Epics and with a team of hundreds of artists.

A filmmaker who has serious intentions to get to that level of funding is going to have to bite the bullet and get to that level of filmmaking at some point.

If you write something with a brilliant premise, something that has the legs to really make people stand up and take notice, it's on the Production team to organise themselves well enough to make it. If it needs a team of 100 VFX artists to make it...then so be it. It just starts with getting one top notch VFX Director on board, who will know 5 other people etc etc.

It's an extremely competitive industry and you have to go in balls out, or not at all in the end....

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Scar Tissue Films  -  September 28th, 2011, 8:31am
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leitskev
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 5:22pm Report to Moderator
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Production costs we see on IMDB are not necessarily the true cost, either. VFX people, camera crews, and even recognizable name actors are often just trying to be a part of the right film. They're looking to open more doors too. So a director with the right connections can get a lot done on a limited budget sometimes.

I agree with Rick's points, especially that this is not a lottery, though it might feel like it. You need luck, but good ideas and talent rise to the top as well. Hard to know if you have the ideas or the talent, but you don't know unless you work at it.
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RayW
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 5:31pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
It's an extremely competitive industry and you have to go in balls out, or not at all in the end....

Perhaps this should be the a central theme to this OWC.

Screw conservative.

Go balls out - with legs.

What are some of the most "out there", hail Mary passes, gopherbroke horror stories out there?




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Dreamscale
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 5:44pm Report to Moderator
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I'll reveal that in a couple weeks, Ray.  You just wait...


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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mcornetto
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 5:44pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale

Limiting it to non human characters is also very lame...and far from cheap to produce.


Zombies are not human and very cheap to produce.  Not to mention any number of movie monsters.  And if you're looking to do something different then check out this use of a non-human character in an inexpensive to produce and powerful film.


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RayW
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 5:51pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Dreamscale
I'll reveal that in a couple weeks, Ray.  You just wait...

OMG. You're not talking about a "balls out - with legs" reveal, are you?

MY EYES!
MY EYES!
AYYYYYEEEE!!!!





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DarrenJamesSeeley
Posted: September 27th, 2011, 5:57pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RayW

Perhaps this should be the a central theme to this OWC.

Screw conservative.

Go balls out - with legs.

What are some of the most "out there", hail Mary passes, gopherbroke horror stories out there?



I thought I did that last year.



"I know you want to work for Mo Fuzz. And Mo Fuzz wants you to. But first, I'm going to need to you do something for me... on spec." - Mo Fuzz, Tapeheads, 1988
my scripts on ss : http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?m-1095531482/s-45/#num48
The Art!http://www.simplyscripts.net/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b-knowyou/m-1190561532/s-105/#num106
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