Category Archives: Before you start film school

Script Writing – The Screenwriter’s Requirements

Do You Have what It Takes To Become A screenwriter?

There are many techniques, tips and tricks that I will talk about them later on in the scriptwriting section, but before that, I think you should look inside yourself and see if you really have what it takes to become a professional screenwriter. Looking at all the writers who really succeeded, one can see a number of common features to all. I will try to review some of them here

Creativity and originality in script writing

Script writing is all about being original and creative. Now I’m not talking about re-inventing the wheel here. Take Pulp Fiction or Memento, for example, They both¬†tell a pretty simple story- Memento is an ex-insurance investigator who tries to find his wife’s murderer and Pulp fiction is about two hitmen trying to get a stolen bag back to their boss. In both cases, the stories are not that original, but the way the stories are told- the structure of those films, the characters, and the dialogs are very original.

As a beginner screenwriters, though, it is important to be original and stand out. I will write about inspiration and creativity later on in the blog, but the crucial thing to understand is that you have to be affected by life and not TV or the other movies you’ve seen.¬ You can not know from where inspiration will come, so¬†you should be ready all the time. It will also help greatly if you surround yourself with creative people but, on the other hand, don’t be too affected by them too. Allow yourself to be alone from time to time and figure out what you have to say to the world.
Click here to read about finding your own voice

‚ÄúYou see things; and you say, ‚ÄėWhy?‚Äô
But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‚ÄėWhy not‚Äô?‚ÄĚ
George Bernard Shaw

Flexibility with the script writing

Script writing is not an art that stands on it’s on. A film is produced by a very large group of people and lots of money is invested. You will be required to be flexible and compromise with your story. Of course, you do not have to sell your soul to the devil so fast, but know how to balance with what the producers want and what you want. I recommend reading the Make low budget film article to understand what the producer look at in the script when he plans the budget.

Commitment to your script¬

The main thing to remember in script writing is – Do not give up no matter what! When You start working on your first script, it will be something like this – you sit in front of the blank page in a notebook or on a computer and just stare at it. It could be an hour, two hours or a full day. You do it every day. Never Give Up. Take a notebook everywhere you write down scenes in every spare moment you got. If carrying a notebook is too heavy for you, I recommend using an app called celtx script – Celtx Inc.¬†It’s a great app that many screenwriters are using. The app allows you to be able to work on your script anytime and anywhere. The app also helps you to write formatted scripts right away and to share it with your partners.
Even when you finish writing the script, you will still be required to do many rewrites. Keep doing that until you have something that you, the director, and the producer are happy with.

Courage to be in the business of scriptwriting

If you really believe you can make a living, only from your brain, so either you crazy or you have great courage. This script writing business¬†is something very hard to do in the evenings after work (although that is not impossible). If you’re committed to the script, you’ll have to sit on it for days and that means no day job. It is important to ask yourself, are you really able to do it.

 

Know how to speak

It’s kind of¬†sucks, but you will need to know how to sell yourself and your script. There is a thing called Pitch – the scriptwriter has something like a minute and a half to present his story to producers and to convince them that he is the person to tell this story.¬ We will deal with this issue later on in the scriptwriting section of the blog, although I think it’s the least important things. At least not as important as knowing to write.

Knowing how to ¬†look¬

To be good writers, you should turn off your autopilot and start to be present. Start paying attention to what is happening around you and start asking questions about what is happening. Stop hanging out with headphones in your ears and listen to the conversation around you and ask questions about what you see- what this guy story? Why this mother yells at her children in the mall? What’s her problem? Take a small notebook and write anything interesting you see, even if at the moment it does not look like something suitable for the film.

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Be Able to accept criticism

Perhaps the hardest part of the profession of script writing is the criticism. You worked on the scene all night. Suddenly there was a breakthrough, you ask a friend to read it and he doesn’t understand what you wrote.¬ The trick is to know who to listen to and how. If a friend did not like the script, you do not have to run out¬†immediately and change everything.¬ Try to figure out what it is he did not like and most importantly, show the script to more people and see whether they think the same way. Be open minded to new ideas when¬†you get criticism on your script and don’t be stubborn, but also didn’t change the script just to fit to the others opinions.

Passion

If you do not have a strong need for writing, you might want to give up the idea. This script writing business is a very difficult process, which can cost many frustrations and anger. If you do not really need to do this, you should never start.  Writing is something that burns inside of you and you have to let it out. Most professional screenwriters say that, even when they are not working on a screenplay, they are writing every day. They just must. The most important thing in writing the screenplay for a movie is to love movies. Writing a screenplay is a process completely different from writing a novel. You have to really love the field of film and to know how to express yourself properly in this medium. Watch as many movies and read many scripts, to learn the tricks screenwriters made there. So now you see that you have everything you need, you can go in and start learning how you can write the script of your life.

 

Film directing – Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Film Director?

The Film Director Requirements

Learning how to direct a film is kind of fun stuff, but there are a lot of responsibilities that are coming with it. Eventually, you are going to be in charge on a lot of money, so let see first if you have what it takes to become a film director.

Know the filmmaking craft

Before you start directing a film, make sure you know the film directing fundamentals and film directing techniques. It’s been known that the job of the film directing is¬†to tell a story with pictures and sounds,¬†but the truth is¬†that In film directing the story is being told also through actors, art design,¬†clothes design, dialog styles and more.¬†You are in charge on all of that.¬†That’s why the director must have knowledge in all the filmmaking departments like script writing, camera and lightning techniques, sound designvideo editing etc.¬†If you’ll look at the most respectable directors, you’ll see that many of them¬†have a gift at least in one of these departments. Find yours and develop it.

Visualizing abilities

In the article The film director’s vision I talk about¬†how to translate the script into visual shots and concept that it unique to you.¬†On the next articles I am planning to talk about¬†the tools that will help you do that like storyboard and shooting script,
but the bottom line is:
While you are visualizing your movie (which is the main job of the director in In film directing), you’ll need to do it through the departments mentioned above.¬†You will learn how to develop your visualization skills with practice.

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Film as many short films as you can

Like everything else in life, film directing is all about¬†practice.¬†Shoot as much as you can and offer yourself to participate¬†in as many productions as you can.¬†Shooting a lot of shorts will also help you to get your deepest artistic voices, out of the system¬†until you’ll find the one that works best for you.¬†You have to be ready to deal with the fact that most of your first shorts¬†will be bad ones and that you can only learn In film directing by making mistakes.

Find your own true voice

As a film director and an artist, you will have to find your inner voice-¬†the one that separates you from all the others.¬†You’ll have to be real honest with yourself and listen to it very good.¬†I recommend reading my article, Find your inner voice, to learn better how to do that.¬†Understanding your true voice is not enough.¬†you will also have to keep it as your guide through all the trip.¬†That means to watch out from what other people say,¬†but also to watch out for yourself.¬†Don’t try to show out how smart and artistic you are¬†and focus completely on what the movie really needs.

Become a leader

The different betweena In film directing and other arts like¬†a poetry or a painter is that the film directors have to lead¬†a big crew after him.¬†You’ll have to be good with people and also¬†know how to push them to their limits,¬†so you can take out the best from each one of them.¬†You’ll need to be able to guide them, inspire them¬†and supervised them all at once.You’ll have to make decisions that sometimes will be against the view of your crew.¬†You will also have to lead with confidence.¬†There is nothing worse for actors and crew member than¬†to follow a director that is unsure of his actions.¬†If you don’t know what to do in certain situations,¬†don’t be afraid to console with the right crew members¬†and then make a confident decision.¬†Sometimes the producers will try to change things in your script to lower the expenses.¬†Unless you really agree with their changes,¬†it will be your job to defend the script.¬†With all of that, you’ll have to remember that you are working with artists,¬†and an open mind is needed too.

Recommended books on film directing

Film making courses at film schools or by yourself

 

Study film at film schools or by yourself?

One of the questions that every film student deals with throughout his college years are can art e thought or am I¬†wasting my time?¬ There are many advantages and disadvantages to taking¬†filmmaking courses¬†in film schools.¬†I will try to review here the main ones. For now, we¬†will ignore the question of whether art can be taught,¬†but we’ll focus on the problems that could arise from studying art.¬

¬ “When people ask me if I went to film school
¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬ Quentin Tarantino

I’ll start with the pros for taking¬†film making courses¬†film in film schools:

Professionalization of technical equipment

Film schools are a good way to learn all the technical issues,¬†which sometimes can be difficult to learn by yourself.¬†I’m talking about stuff like video editing,¬†Cinematography, lighting and other stuff you usually learn when taking¬†film making courses.¬†Even if you are just thinking to direct, you have to know at least the basics of the technical world.

The society in film school

Contacts that you will make during your film making courses at the College can be such that will help you in the future in your career. In addition, you are always in a creative atmosphere.

In film schools, you can learn from the experience of others

In this industry, you can be a great filmmaker and still not make enough money. Many film makers take a second job as a lecturer. You should do a background check on the faculty members teaching the film making courses. You will find that some schools have lecturers that are currently active or at least was until recent.

The comfort of film schools

Personally, I don’t like comfort.¬†It scares me and later on in this article, you will read why. In college, you will have access to a lot of equipment and that means you can spend more money on art, costumes, etc.¬

¬† “filmmaking is like sex, there’s no one way¬†to do it,¬†and the only way to learn it is by doing it.”
Ana Lily Amirpour

Competitiveness in film schools

In most film schools, you’ll have to deal with competition. Competition can help you to take everything you have and stand out in the crowd (Later on you will read why competition can also be harmful).

Learn about cinema

If you want to get real film education and know about movies that have been made outside Hollywood, then film making courses in film school is a good tool for that (but not the only tool for that)¬†Most film schools cover all the important films made outside Hollywood and outside the USA. It’s a good thing to expand your knowledge on films and to get know movies that are not mainstream and more artistic.

Now:

I wanted to write that in film school you can learn from the mistakes, but that’s not always the case.¬†You should check out with the graduates of the college,¬†what’s the policy on artistic freedom.¬†There are many colleges that insist you do things their own way and this is very problematic in film studies.¬†In my opinion, it is very important to get out all your crazy ideas right at the start, especially to know yourself and your style better, and¬†also to know, what is working and what does not and why. Film making courses should be a good place to do just that. You should always go back for a moment you began to dream of making movies¬†and remember which movies made you want to enter the field.

¬† ¬ “I was never interested in being powerful or famous. But once I got to film school and learned about movies,¬†I just fell in love with it.¬ I didn’t care what kind¬†of movies ¬†made.”
¬† ¬†¬ George Lucas ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬

Now the disadvantages of film school in collage:

Film school’s Permissions

One of the biggest problems with the film schools¬†is that you constantly need their approval.¬†This is a very bad education for a film student.¬†First, you need to be accepted to the school,¬†then you need them to approve your project to start shooting.¬†All the time you need their approval.¬†The principle on which you as a¬†future director should work is that once an idea came to your head, you¬†need to just start working on it and see by your¬†self if its working or not.¬ But there are many film schools that might not allow you to go out and shoot a film, not necessarily because your idea was not good enough or you’re not talented enough. Sometimes it’s mainly because there is not enough budget to finance also your film. Their excuse will be that your film is not good enough.

Film schools are too expensive

Let’s face it. film Schools can be very very very expensive.It’s not popotional. Basically with this amount you pay for film schools, you can buy yourself a great camcorder¬†with reasonable lighting equipment,¬†sound equipment and even video editing computer.
You can also buy online courses. There are a lot of up to date online courses that are presented by professional from the industry and not only they are cheaper, but also more focusedon practical stuff that you need to learn and at your own pace. You can find some great courses on this page

The disadvantage of comfort in filmmaking classes

When you have the freedom to use whatever equipment you like, you learn to depend on it. It can be very discouraging when you go into the real world of film making and suddenly equipment costs money. Suddenly there are technical conditions that you feel you have to have them, to shoot a film. When the truth is that-and this is not taught in school film Рin order to shoot a film, you just have to want to film it.

Competitiveness in film schools

One of the biggest disadvantages in filmmaking courses in film school is the constant competition. In a constant state of competition, it is difficult to make the movies you want. When you are competing for the attention of the establishment, you are forced to make films for the establishment and not necessarily those you believe in. You can get lost in it very easily, so you should watch out.
Remember that you are in total apprentices now and still does not work in production Company. The movies you make right now, are for learning and not for global success. Sometimes because of the competition, students has a tendency to get carried away with high-budget scripts. Remember you are currently studying and it is not worth investing everything in one film.
Always try to remember what made you want to take film making courses in the beginning. I think the biggest drawback to most film schools is that they prefer to teach students how to make films than to try to help them understand why they want to make movies.

Taking responsibility on yourself

In film schools, you always have someone else to blame- your teachers, your classmates, the equipment they gave you and so on…, so if things don’t work out it’s not your fault and there is nothing you can do about it.¬

When you learn film by your self, it’s all about you. You have to find your disadventages and fix them. that kind of thinking gives you a lot of power and it puts you in a place where you have to improve yourself all the time.

Do you have what it takes to become a filmmaker?

What do you need to do to learn filmmaking by yourself? Pick up a camera and start shooting, read a few books or take a few online courses and watch movies. If you can’t do all that, then filmmaking might not be for you. You simply don’t love it enough at least not enough to start working in it. Filmmaking is not something you learn to make money or to become famous. There are much better ways to get these things.

So what’s the verdict?

Well, it’s up to you. Personally, I think that if you have what it takes to become a filmmaker, you don’t need film school.

Just remember one thing:
Whether you will go to film school or not, you will find yourself spending a lot of money on making films, but the movies you will make (whether in film school or by yourself), will teach you the best about this profession.

 

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