Friday, May 30, 2008

Diary of a Short Film I: The Script

For reasons too lengthy to go into, I've found myself back in school to get a degree in Film Studies. In some ways I'm just spinning my wheels, but a refresher will be very good for me and force me (and others) to be more analytical toward my work. One of my first assignments in my Film Production I class is to make a short film with no dialogue. This exercise is to help you tell your story with visuals, so you can't rely on the spoken word (voice overs are allowed, but I'm sticking to the letter of the law). It's essentially a silent film, something I've never done before.

Anyway, I thought it might be educational to post my progress on this assignment which may help others who are trying to do something similar. I also hope to get feedback from you, which can only help me to be a better filmmaker. The due date is June 24, so I had better get cracking.

The other criteria for this project is that you have to shoot it yourself, you can't star in it, and it can't be over five minutes. I have no problem with the first two items, and there is no way I even want to approach the five minute mark. I just don't have the time to craft a film of that length. I want my story to be about three minutes, which is will still be tough, but doable.

The first thing I needed was an idea and one came to me while getting out of the shower. Oddly enough, the bathroom is a place I often get inspired and this time was no different. I wanted to do something more character driven and less plot-heavy than my previous work, and I think I hit on it with Payoff, a short story that plays like the tail end of a prodigal daughter tale.

I wrote a first draft of the script pretty quickly, and it came in at just over two pages. It's all action (of course), which may mean that it plays longer than written. I should be able to get my three minutes with ease.

Read the screenplay for Payoff...

Please click on the above link, and feel free to give me your input below. My schedule is pretty compressed (casting and shooting next week), but I am always open to good ideas. I've had pretty good collaborative experiences when shooting, but have resisted this at the writing phase. Now's your chance to make a difference! Tell me what you like and why! Tell me what sucks and why! Just make sure you tell me!


Allan White said...

Read it, looks great! Can't spend enough time right now to really critique it. I think I missed some plot points in the beginning (yeah, really fast read).

It'd be fun to work on.

PunkmonkeyEd said...

Like the other guy said, it reads great. However, it sounds like a lot of work for an intro assignment. There are easily a dozen set-ups, three actors, exterior an interior shots, automobiles and buses that have to appear on cue. I think it might be a little aggressive for what will probably be the first of many class assignments. "The Payoff" sounds to me like thesis work. Why not try something a little more simple, like "how to fry an egg".

Scott Eggleston said...

Never let it be said that I aimed low...

I'm a big believer in treating every project like it might be your last one, so I wanted to do something ambitious. I've made shorts before, and this one is pretty simple compared to past efforts. The car is simply borrowed, and I just have to plop my actress on a bus and tape her as she exits. Not too difficult.

I could do "how to fry an egg", but the egg would have to be the result of some weird time/space anomaly for me to be interested.

Maybe by the time I do get to my thesis film, I'll have something really nifty up my sleeve. You'll just have wait and see...

Thanks for the feedback!