Film 210 - Real World

Audio Version

Your Final Weekly Updates

  • Keep those scripts tight. Just because you have two more pages, remember that it isn't that much room. Keep your characters and your stories focused.
  • Remember that your outline isn't written in stone. You can abandon parts of it, or all of it. Consider your outline a rough draft to work out story problems.
  • Remember to fill out the Instructor Evaluation in URCourses.
  • Feedback is due December 8 before midnight. There will be no final one-on-one as listed (it will be exempted).
  • The rewrite will be changed to a bonus mark. The expectation is for that script to be perfect (5 mistakes allowed). When correcting, don't just change my corrections. Things get missed or your changes may create other changes. Use all your resources to catch the errors.

Upcoming Dates

  • Final meetings: Dec. 2–5
  • Final scripts due: Dec. 6 at midnight (Saskatchewan time)
  • Final feedback: Dec. 8 at midnight (Saskatchewan time)
  • Optional meetings (mark exempted): Dec. 9–11
  • Rewrite for bonus mark (only 5 mistakes allowed) due: Dec. 13 at midnight (Saskatchewan time)

Audio Version

Lesson

Heading off into the real world...

My career after university

My journey through the film industry:

  • Odd jobs and a lot of unemployment
  • Industry: television and movies
  • SaskFilm: the industry boom
  • Masters and the major industry change
  • Selling scripts and stories

WOARO and you

Just like story, you can apply  the principles of story to your life (like I said, story is life):

  • What do you want?
  • What stands in your way?
  • What actions can you take?

Wants & Obstacles

  • Skill level. Your degree doesn't mean a lot to the industry—some do, but mainly for connections.
  • Industry is just restarting—stay or move—And where? Canada or States or elsewhere?
  • Working 12-14 hour work days—hard to think afterwards.
  • How do you find producers? Filmmakers? Funding?
  • 2017 WGC: Scripts: $55,419; first draft from existing treatment: $19,396; Script, based on a Story or Screen Story, First Draft Script without preparing an Outline: 33,426
  • Producers may not offer $ for your option or will tell you non-union shoots don't pay IPA dollars (= $0).
  • Producers will often try to undercut you.
  • A lot of people competing for your job.
  • Low demand: Execs, producers, agents, filmmakers get 1-15 scripts on their desk every day (15 x 365=5475 a year). Of that 99% of all scripts are rejected. Then there are options, non-union, production hell, shelved projects, etc.....

Actions

First steps

  • Keep writing. Set goals. Improve skills.
  • Writing groups. If you can’t find one, start one.
  • Read other people’s work. Provide feedback.  You’ll learn as well.
  • Take more classes.
  • Read more books.
  • Remember the graph of skill = time x work

Next Steps

  • Do you know where you are taking this?
  • What broadcasters, producers, programs are available to you? What fundings and grants can you use?
  • Time to research.

Paths to Getting Sold

  • Working in production—networking
  • Fellow students
  • Scriptwriting competitions
  • Pitchfests
  • Festivals—best when you are a writer/director or part of a team (i.e. writer, director, producer).
  • Cold Calls and Query Letters—Agents
  • Social Networking (blah, blah, blah)
  • Build your own career—filmmaking is different now.
  • (unexpected and often rare path to career)
  • Do good work and share it.

Big Steps

  • Work your butt off (write 10+ scripts) and get great.
  • Foot in the door—things can happen. Meet producers, filmmakers, funding agencies…
  • Network—be friendly, talk, introduce yourself.
  • You don't need to work in the industry to find success.
  • Patience.
  • Some say sacrifice: sleep, money, time. I say always treat yourself well.
  • Pick yourself.
  • It's who you know and your attitude.

Pitching

  • We are all in sales now. Learn to talk, to pitch, to work with people.
  • Build pitches that are 2-3 minutes. 5 minutes max.
  • Your script is your calling card.
  • The more scripts you have in your arsenal, the more prepared you are.
  • Every path is different, but most depend on the connections you make.

Log Line

  • Try not to compare it to other movies
  • Make it simple: What if (premise)?
  • How about a drama? Get to the hook.

Plot Summary

(Title of script) is a (specific genre) in the vein of (similar film). It follows (main character) and (supporting character) as they (second act activity). Problems occur when (complication). Now they must (third act strategy)!

Talking Points

  • This movie is unlike any in its genre because of (unique approach).
  • Audiences will respond to (theme).
  • And they’ll love scenes such as (memorable set piece).
  • Why do you write?

The Pixar Pitch

Pixar story artist, Emma Coats, says that every Pixar film shares the same narrative DNA – a deep structure of storytelling that involves six sequential sentences:

  1. Once upon a time there was… (Main Character)
  2. Every day…(Ordinary world), then one day… (Catalyst)
  3. Because of that… (End Act 1)
  4. Because of that… (End Act 2A)
  5. Because of that…(End Act 2B)
  6. Until finally… (Act 3)

The Pitch Document

Build a one page document. Focus less on images and fancy fonts and focus more on conveying your story.

There are several formats, but a popular one is using a one sentence logline, with a short paragraph that summarizes the story, and a further detailed description over several paragraphs.

You are trying to draw a producer’s interest into the story. The logline acts as a hook, compelling them to read further.

Working on Production

Shots from my car in DTLA
Photo by Joel Muniz / Unsplash
  • Sleep, eat healthy, and exercise as best you can when you are on production.
  • Production is like kindergarten—egos, expectations
  • If you thrive on stress/rest/stress/rest/“OMG there's a fire!!!”/rest, then you are perfect for production.
  • Learning to be people person will really help you.
  • Don't be incompetent, lazy, or an asshole and you'll likely get hired again.
  • Have a day job, but do what you love. If you want to do something, then do it—every day.
  • Work hard and don't give up.
  • Don't let shitty people get you down.

Film 210 - Week 13 Exercise - Final Script

Write a 3-5 page script based on your outline. This is opportunity to demonstrate all that you’ve learned in the class in a longer form. Remember: the script can grow, change, evolve from your outline. Think of the outline as only the first draft of your final script.

Marking Criteria:

  • Does the script demonstrate an understanding of WOARO?
  • Does it achieve the purpose of this final week’s assignment?
  • Proper screenplay format (including active, present tense; sluglines; character introductions), as well as spelling, punctuation, grammar (5 mistakes allowed per script).
  • Are all the elements of the story there? Does the story feel complete?
  • Proper page count of assignment.

Regarding Feedback:

Keep an eye open for elements of the above marking criteria. If you notice issues, help your fellow writers.

  • Did the script meet the criteria?
  • Any confusion in the flow of action? Be critical here—don’t give free passes.
  • Talk about any general comments, including grammar, mechanics, etc. here.

Due: Sunday, December 6, 2020 at midnight ( Saskatchewan time ).

Return to Film 210 Main Page