Thursday, January 21, 2010

Now What?

Okay.  So I thought I'd break down where things stand, what resources I have and what I still need to do/get.

I have a script.  I've been working on it for a long time.  I'm pleased with it, but it's too long.  Short films are a funny animal.  The analog is short story writing versus the novel, I guess.  Short stories don't try to accomplish the same things in the same way as a novel might.  Similarly, a short film usually approaches story telling in a different way than a feature might.  More impressionistic, perhaps, or a very simple sort of set-up/pay-off structure.  Not me of course.  I basically have a mini-feature.  Not really ideal for a couple reasons.  The lore is that the sweet spot for shorts in around nine to eleven minutes.  This has to do with the fact that a festival programmer would rather be able to squeeze in two or three films in the space that a longer one would take up, plus a lot of times they show them before the feature - so shorter is better.  Furthermore, shorter is better for web distribution in terms of file size, You-Tube limitations, and of course people's generally short attention spans.  Not to mention the simple matter that making a longer film is more expensive.  There is really no revenue to be made from shorts.  Maybe a few dollars here and there, but this is basically just a self-indulgent endeavor that is going to cost a lot of money.

So why am I making a long short?

The story I am trying to tell, and the ideas I am trying to explore seem to demand a longer format to play out.  However, I have never felt that there was enough meat on it's bones to warrant a feature length movie.  It's just in between.  I'm aiming for around twenty-three minutes.  We'll see.  A friend of mine, a successful screenwriter, is taking a look at it for me this week to suggest possible cuts.  I've been over it six ways from Sunday and have become convinced that it doesn't have any fat on it, which is of course nonsense.

The other concern with the script is that it is very dialogue heavy in places.  I always subscribe to the idea that with the best films, you could turn the sound off and still have a pretty good idea what's going on.  It is a visual medium, after all.  The dialogue should be icing.  This is probably even more crucial in the short film format.  It just so happens, though, that I haven't in many cases found a cinematic/non-verbal way of expressing some of the philosophical concepts and the science vs. religion debate that I am trying to explore in the script.

So that's where the script is at.  Now I have to go to work to cut a weight-loss infomercial to make some money to make this excessively long movie.

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