Sorry for the long silence. But I finally have some great news, because I am currently in the process of revamping all my services.
Here is a teaser: Until now most of my services were for producers. With HIGH NOON – The Talk I will finally have a service that aims directly at you, the writers and filmmakers.
HIGH NOON is a 90 minute session for your specific questions about your current project. Maybe you have a rough cut of your latest short film, but something feels not right. Or you just completed your first research for a documentary, and now your are lost in the vast amount of possibilities. And you might have the perfect idea for a feature film – if only you had a clear story with interesting characters and some plot points to hold on to, so you can start writing an outline.
In our HIGH NOON session we will address your specific questions and work out answers so you can continue with writing, filming or editing your work. If it is not possible to talk in person we can meet on Video Skype. You can also record our session for future reference.
Stay tuned to this site so you will know when HIGH NOON will officially launch. If you have questions now, please contact me, I am happy to hear from you!
While I am back in Vienna, I am still thinking about the great time I had at the International Film Festival in Venice, where THE FIFTH SEASON did not win any Lions, but two other prices. Meanwhile you can watch a few impressions from the red carpet.
The world premiere of THE FIFTH SEASON (Script/Directors: Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth) will be held on September 6 2012 at 10 p.m. in Salla Grande at Lido/Venice in the main competition of the International Film Festival of Venice.
I am going to be there from September 5 to 9. If you want to meet me for a coffee, call me on my mobile.
“Formula movies” is a term for films that always use the same structure and plot devices. here you have a beautiful visualization for the most common movie genres. (If you click on the image it will lead you to an article with a bigger version of the illustration).
Pitch consultant Stephanie Palmer writes that you should not tell the decision-makers in a pitch meeting how they should feel about your story. And I totally agree. Saying something like ““Everyone is going to want to see this”, or “This is the best thing you’ll read this year” makes you look arrogant and annoys the people in the room.
I want to add that I often read sentences like these in written form in pitch papers. I am sure that the writers mean well – they want to get across that they have done their homework and know how to position their project in the market. But it always comes across in a wrong and sometimes even embarrassing way. So please avoid this. Thank you.
P.S.: I also checked out Stephanie Palmers website Good In A Room, which is a really great resource about pitching in the film industry. For example her post structuring a pitch meeting – really good advice.
From time to time I am giving lectures on pitching a story. I think I can stop that now, because most of the things you need to know are being said in this video. Writer and director Tony Gilroy hears a few loglines and gives his opinion on the storylines.
Footnote: Please let us not forget that making a movie is ALWAYS a very expensive and time consuming process, if you do it in a professional way and without exploiting yourself end everyone around you. If you want to sell a screenplay, you have to do your homework, step into the shoes of a producer for a moment and try to see your script through their eyes. And for me this is what the video is about.
These are the most important points for me:
The high costs of a movie can almost always be predicted after reading only the logline.
The risk of gathering money for an expensive movie that is not adapted from a well known prior material is very high. If on top of that the script comes from an unknown writer, producers will probably stay away from the project.
A story that matches in tone and in some fragments of the story to well known other movies has a big chance of getting made. But the downside is that there is a huge competition in the market for such projects. You have to find the right amount of originality for these stories.
Is the script castable?
You need a really good title.
If the basic concept and the concept of ideas is so complicated that you can hardly get it in the logline, the pitch will most likely fail. (Which sounds reasonable, because how will you sell it to the audience then?)
What is the tone?
Before all of the European Arthouse film lovers start complaining in my comments, let me add something: Of course you can break those rules. Of course there are dozens of great movies which are successful nevertheless. And of course there are many movies of high artistic value, that are excellent and compelling just because they don’t stick to any rules. But the vast majority of movies is made to find an audience beyond the film festival circuit.
And if someone says “But if I stick to those rules the result will be the same old mediocre recycled stories again and again!” – let me tell you something about my approach to my work: I personally love constraints. Because they are a challenge – how can I bend the “corset” from the inside and create something new withing these constraints? I think, if with every new project that sits on my table literally everything would be possible, I would have quit my job a long time ago, because there is no challenge and I would be bored to hell. But maybe this is just me.
There are lots of web series on the internet these days, and how you get them financed is still a mystery in most cases. But what was I going to tell you? Oh, yes!
Flavorwire is presenting 10 web series to watch. Some videos don’t work here in Austria, but there is one I did not know before and I really dig it. It is called SUBMISSIONS ONLY, a series about auditions, castings and Broadway shows. I like the humor, the dynamics and the emotional moments. And maybe another reason why I like it is that I spent a good part of the 1990ies in rehearsal rooms because I worked as an assistant director at several theaters.
You can find all episodes of the first two seasons here, and this is the first episode:
Meanwhile I watched all episodes of both seasons, and I can promise you: It is getting better and better. Not only the storytelling, but also the camera work. Hey, I am a fangirl now. When is the next season going to start?
I know you always wanted to see Jean-Luc Godard in swimming trunks, Wim Wenders fully clothed (including suspenders) and Heiner Müller reading a book at a beach in California. Here you go:
Personally I think the video is rather mediocre until the film cuts away from the adults at 6:57 mins and shows the kids… :-)
Oh, and whoever is wondering about the weird commentary: “Shortly before Ira Schnieder edited it, he had seen some Godard political/very wordy films which he couldn’t stand. He therefore spoke a rather cynical narration.” (I found the video in the CARGO blog, and the statement by Ira Schnieder is quoted here.)