Independent Project


Script Proposal

Mind map - enter the pitch

 

After mind mapping some script ideas for the Enter the Pitch competition (pictured above). I came up with a proposal for my project.

The rules of the competition:

‘The Pitch invites original pitches of up to two (2) minutes in length, showcasing the potential of the entrant to make a film. The entrant will demonstrate this with a pitch for an original contemporary short film (running length 10-20 minutes) that takes inspiration from a biblical story, parable, character or book. Any genre is acceptable, and the pitch may be a simple piece to camera telling the story, or it may be a storyboard, pilot piece, etc.

Each pitch must be accompanied by the official entry form (available from 1 July), which will outline the case for supporting the film maker, cite the biblical source material for the pitch, and include a rationale for the choice of material.

The competition is open to everyone aged 18 years or over.

With all this in mind I aim to create a short video based on the story of Noah’s Arc. The rules state it must have a biblical reference and I think this story can be altered in a way that would tell a completely new narrative. I aim to use simple camera techniques that will allow the idea to be told without much visual distraction because the competition is about the idea, not creating a ‘trailer’ as such. I want the video to reach out to a wide demographic with a target age of anybody 12 years or older. With a limited budget, I will look to use friends as actors and aim to film locally, although I’m willing to travel to locations if I feel they would improve the overall aesthetic of the video. Now I have decided on this idea, the next step is to actually write the script.

Independent: Depict!

Project Design, Implementation and Evaluation – Criteria 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.1 & 4.2

For this project, I require an external brief so I looked online for film competitions. My tutor told me to look at Depict.org, an online competition where the only restriction was the finished video must be 90 seconds or less. This sounded ideal so I went online to look at the competition and the previous winners to see the sort of standard I would be up against. I read through the brief and it suited this task perfectly so I decided to go for it. This competition was much more feasible than GeneroTV or Mo film projects. The Mo film and GeneroTV briefs were all a lot more specific and complex and in terms of budget, time and available resources I think would have been too difficult to do to a decent standard. Personally I would rather attempt to create a video for the depict competition anyway because I like the idea that you can film anything provided its 90 seconds or lessĀ and the video must have been completed after September 2013.

Depict Competition

 

Because the brief states the video can be no longer than 90 seconds, I began to think of things that I could fit in to this time frame. I wanted something that would be simple and easy to film but that shows something interesting and unique at the same time. As I was trying to think of ideas, my brother asked me to help him take some photographs of his car which gave me the idea of creating a short film that shows why people take such pride in their cars. As he was cleaning his car, I got a few shots of him cleaning it and afterwards I asked him to talk about his car and why he loves it so much. I hoped that if I could get some good shots and some decent dialogue then I could create a short documentary style video in a short amount of time. This would be ideal because the filming process would be completed in a matter of a few hours. I wouldn’t have to travel anywhere for filming and as my brother would be the only one in shot, communication and monitoring the filming would be easy without the pressure of trying to direct lots of people or actors.

I used my 600D to film and as I was at home, I had access to all my equipment, lenses, tripods etc. This meant the only problem I had was a flat battery that I was able to replace within minutes. My brother was happy to help me out so didn’t mind me filming him or his car and was more than helpful when I asked him to talk about his passion for cars. I got as many shots as I could to ensure I had enough footage for a decent edit. I wanted the video to feel fluent and natural so I didn’t use a script, instead I just recorded a conversation that me and my brother had about his car and then edited out anything I didn’t want and took the best bits to add over the top of the video. The first time we tried to record the conversation, the camera was picking up a lot of noise from general movement so we tried again but sat still and spoke a bit louder which improved the audio. We finished our conversation when I thought I had enough to add to my video and I packed away all my equipment.

I began to put together an edit while all the shots were fresh in my memory. The first thing I did was get all the visual in place so I could then just drop the audio over the top. Most of the shots I got were good and useable so I put all the best shots together which gave me a 60 second video to work with. I then edited together the best bits of the audio and placed them over the top of the video but the voice recording on their own didn’t sound right so I added a ambient background which greatly improved the edit overall. By the end, I had a minute long video which I thought would be fine for the DepicT! competition as it met all the required criteria, so I uploaded it to the competition (Screenshot below)

Capture depict upload

 

The finished Video:

Evaluation:

I enjoyed this project a lot overall. I really enjoyed having no set restrictions on what you can film and although the time limitation was something to think about, I don’t think it stifled any creativity. It was a relatively easy project to work on in the end, once I had an idea of what I wanted to film the filming and editing process flowed nicely. I like the overall look of the finished video, my only regret is that I didn’t make better use of the audio. I wanted the conversation to flow and sound natural so I didn’t write a script, and whilst the dialogue does sound authentic, I think it lacks substance, I would have liked a bit more in terms of detail about my brother and his feelings towards his car. But this is something I’ll definitely think about in future projects. I think I could have improved the film by recording the audio at a separate time in a more suited environment where the sound quality would be a bit better. I would have also given my brother a list of possible topics to touch upon but not a script, that way I could have more detail on what I wanted to hear but without the pressure of reading a script and it sounding forced.

 

Script Writing: Task 2

Be able to create script ideas and proposals for moving image fiction.

I chose to write a script for the Enter the Pitch competition because I plan to film my pitch in the summer so I thought it would make sense to combine the two tasks.

The first thing I did was look online at the Enter the Pitch website to ensure the brief was the same as last years competition and it was. So I set about looking for a biblical story portray in my own way. I wanted quite a vague story to interpret so I looked online at some biblical stories and the most obvious choice seemed to be the tale of Noah’s arc. So I set about creating a script that was loosely based on that story but from the point of view of somebody left behind.

Pictured above are the three script drafts that I came up with notes.

Script Writing (Task 1)

Understand the markets and commissioning process for moving image fiction scripts.

Script writing is a very difficult industry to find work in and getting your script read by the right people can be a very tricky process. But there are companies, websites and competition that offer new script writers the opportunity to get their name out there. The BBC have a specific sub section that offers script writers the opportunity to send in their scripts. BBC Writers Room offer excellent advice, guidance and opportunities for script writers, they also provide a list of companies that you can send your script to. There are also plenty of script writing competitions to go for, which can be useful for exposure and sometimes valuable in terms of feedback. Kaos Films and Red Planet Pictures are two high profile competitions open to script writers and although competition is high it’s definitely worth entering if you’re confident in your work. Although getting an agent can be difficult, and getting a decent one even harder, working with a good agent can open up a lot of opportunities. Agencies are always on the lookout for new, fresh talent so it’s worth trying to get your work to them. Sending copies of your work can grab somebody’s attention so it’s always worth a go, if you’re good enough then you will be picked up by an agent eventually. Although having an agent is not essential, it will help you to find work because an agent’s job, essentially, is to find you work and will be able to do so through acquired contacts and knowledge on the industry.

The commissioning process for script writing again varies immensely. For somebody who has written a script, getting it noticed can be very difficult and take a lot of effort. So, you have a script but don’t know what to do next. Looking at online competitions can be a great way to get your script read, and if it’s decent then it definitely worth doing, some competitions will simply buy your script, others will offer you the opportunity to get it made in to a film but either way competitions are a great thing to get involved with. Networking can also be a very useful and helpful thing to get involved with, attending lectures, seminars, workshops and film festivals is a great way to meet people who can help develop your script and offer useful advice on how to improve your script and take steps in the right direction, the important thing is to get yourself known and get your name heard by the right people.

The Black List is a great online presence in script writing. By registering with www.blcklst.com writers are given the opportunity to submit their scripts and screenplays and if they’re good they will be picked up by studios, producers and entire teams wanting to turn your script into a film or series. The Black List boasts an impressive 225 screenplays that have been made in to feature length films and if you take the time to scroll through the list of previous success stories, you will almost certainly recognise at least one. Out of all the competitions and websites I’ve found, I think this looks the most impressive, if you’re confident in your script then I registering here is definitely worth doing. The statistics in The Blacklist Annual Report speak for themselves and is a very impressive, interesting read.

Overall, I think script writing is very similar to film making. Although it is difficult to get yourself known and get your projects out there, there are definitely things you can do to help yourself. With worldwide competitions and ever expending online media platforms and social media there has never been an easier time to get your projects seen. I think the important thing is to try and get your work everywhere and wherever you can. Enter competitions, apply for positions, ask for favours and use the web to your advantage and eventually, if you’re good, you’ll get noticed by the right people.