12 June 2009

Writing a Challenge.

Since I finished "Gather" and have been working on a pretty big feature script, I haven't really had time to do a short-form Internet piece in a long time (beyond a short promotional film). Haven't made a short documentary, haven't made a music video, though I've wanted to.

I've actually dropped out of doing one music video, and I'm wracking my brain for a concept for another one, but this brings up a point. What is it that makes me decide to take something on?

I'm not a great filmmaker (and will never consider myself one), so this probably won't mean much... what I am is a dedicated student of the language of cinematic storytelling. I get excited by trying new things and learning new things to make the stories - either in my head or in another medium - come to life and have a reason for being told in cinematic form.

The short version - I don't do a project unless it presents a unique challenge. So, I thought I'd take a smattering of my past projects and tell what made them appealing to me in the conception stage.

1.) The Fourteen Minute Gap - could I make an engaging film about 14 minutes of tape hiss?
2.) Morley V. CIA - could I make a less than 10 minute documentary about a story that has been going on for years with absolutely no narration?
3.) Il Mio Canto Libero - could I make an entire music video using silent film footage that tells a story (as surreal as that story may be)?
4.) Gather 'Round the Mic - could I make a watchable feature-length music documentary with no prep time, no concept of what the story will be, no concept of the music going in, and one camera with no possibility of cutting and reshoots?

Also, my budget for all of these is non-existent. "The Fourteen Minute Gap" was made for exactly $114. Morley V. CIA and Il Mio were made for $0. "Gather" cost a grand total of $800.

The current project poses this challenge - could I take what is ostensibly a 500+ page hybrid of a research book and a personal memoir and turn it into a lean, mean, PERIOD PIECE political thriller that could be shot for a relatively low budget (by the standards of most lean, mean, period political thrillers).

But, while the above is like assembling a puzzle, I'm looking for another challenge. Right now, I'm taking a cue from Movieline's "One Page Screenplay" feature and doing my own, with the intent to shoot and get it online by the end of summer. The challenge there - can I write something that is a complete STORY (not a situation) that can only exist in one page, and not seem like a scene from a longer piece?

We'll see.


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