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First ever serious film making. The script.


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#1 Ron Flex

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Posted 28 September 2008 - 08:36 PM

I have decided to undergo my first large, serious project. A short film (15min) that I hope to enter into national festivals.

The film will be shot on hopefully a CP16R using around 2400ft of various film stocks to give a (limited) shooting ratio of 4:1

At the moment while I push on to find equipment (I have a large portion of the film stock but just recieved a horribly broken CP16), I am focussing on finalizing my script from all my various drafts etc. I have a few questions about this.

  • Is 15 minutes a good length for a festival aspiring short film?
  • The script has a fair amount of foul language but for good reason due to its content. Does this deter festival organisers?
  • I am using Final Draft and am sticking to proper script formatting. However some parts may not be written in the perfect way. Does this matter a whole lot since I will not be selling the script?

I probably have a ton more questions but I'm too tired to think. Its 2:30am, I got carried away writing and have to be up at 7:30am.

Thanks for any advice.
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#2 Garrett Shannon

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 02:50 AM

My advise festival wise would be to keep it as short as possible. It is easier for the people doing the scheduling to fit in films which are shorter, especially under 10 min. But that is just what I heard.

Foul language probably won't be a problem just keep that in mind when you submit and make sure to check the entry requirements as well as the festival's "theme" or mission statement. Probably wouldn't do you any good to submit to festivals which advertise themselves as family oriented, etc.

If you aren't selling the script and the writing isn't so terrible or improperly formatted that it is causing problems for the actors or anyone else reading the script then I would advise you to write in whatever way best tells your story.

Good luck.
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#3 John Brawley

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 03:45 AM

I have decided to undergo my first large, serious project. A short film (15min) that I hope to enter into national festivals.

The film will be shot on hopefully a CP16R using around 2400ft of various film stocks to give a (limited) shooting ratio of 4:1

At the moment while I push on to find equipment (I have a large portion of the film stock but just recieved a horribly broken CP16), I am focussing on finalizing my script from all my various drafts etc. I have a few questions about this.

  • Is 15 minutes a good length for a festival aspiring short film?
  • The script has a fair amount of foul language but for good reason due to its content. Does this deter festival organisers?
  • I am using Final Draft and am sticking to proper script formatting. However some parts may not be written in the perfect way. Does this matter a whole lot since I will not be selling the script?

I probably have a ton more questions but I'm too tired to think. Its 2:30am, I got carried away writing and have to be up at 7:30am.

Thanks for any advice.


It's been discussed already around here a bit already.

5 mins great. Under 10 mins ok.....15mins and it has to be sensational...and I really mean sensational.....hundreds if not thousands of short films get made....is yours _really_ going to be that sensational ???

The last festival I was a selector on, screened over a hundred features and dozens of shorts. Only 6 of them were over 20 mins.....that's out of hundreds of entries....

IN fact the most common comment heard in the screening room is usually..."be great if it was half as long"

Foul language shouldn't be a problem at all. Most festivals usually have an exemption from classification (similar to art in galleries).

If you're trying to attract other professionals and crew to help, especially actors, then non standrard script formtting absolutley SCREAMS no-idea first time film maker timewaster....

It might not be right, but that's what people expect and when it's not that, well, you're going to have to overcome a fair bit of prejudice. Why do you want to have a non-standard script ?

jb
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#4 Ron Flex

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 06:30 PM

Thanks for your replies.

The script is not non-standard as such and at a glance looks like any other film script. I just have a feeling there maybe some bits that are not conforming to the standard.

I have thought about what you have said and discussed it with my peers but I do not think the film can be any shorter than 15 minutes. I have typed up the first 6 pages in Final Draft and believe I have just finished 'the beginning' and I am a few lines into 'the middle'. I believe the story and characters are strong enough to carry 15 minutes.

I have a quick question though that I cannot find an answer to. In the screenplay there are settings with the same name. For example EXT. STREET - NIGHT

How do I get around this? I also have 2 scenes in houses would I have to use the owners name to differentiate them in the script for example INT. BEN'S HOUSE/LIVING ROOM - DAY?

Thanks for your help all!
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#5 Jon Capogrossi

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 07:15 PM

What's going on?

I would say, for Slug lines, aka EXT. STREET - NIGHT, etc... you will want to differentiate which street this is...

The reason for this has to do with the Production schedule (VERY important in making a film)...you're going to want to plan out locations, days, who can be there/who cant, etc, as best as possible

Your crew, actors, etc, will need to know WHICH street you are talking about, if you have two totally different scenes that happen outdoors, at night, but on two different streets... because that makes it two different locations...just for planning purposes, you'd need to be a little more specific

I would think it would be OK in the script to put the actual NAME of each street down, like "EXT-OAK STREET-NIGHT" and then "EXT-GREEN STREET-NIGHT" etc, just to differentiate... the main thing is that you'll need to plan out locations, so that you can get as much shooting done at that one location as you can...so any scene that happens on a certain street at night should be filmed that night, up to about 5-6 pages of script...I think 6 pages per shooting day is the SAG Union limit that actors can do-

If I'm wrong on any of this folks correct me, but to me, that would be a solution

Edited by Jon Capogrossi, 29 September 2008 - 07:20 PM.

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#6 Alex Ellerman

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 07:39 AM

Hi - you're writing this script for yourself, so you can really do anything... the rules are more important when you're writing on spec or assignment.

That being said, you should get ahold of some scripts (google) and read them. You should also look for some "shooting scripts," and you might even be able to compare and contrast a spec script and a shooting script for the same movie. Some scripts are just transcripts of the movie, that is not ideally what you want.
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#7 Christopher Frey

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 01:55 AM

Hi-- I can only comment on your questions about the screenwriting. For future reference if you plan to sell scripts to producers and or directors who may not be familiar with your world, it's recommended that the script be as least particular because it may deter the reader. For example if you're writing a scene that is to take place on a street across your town, a producer or director will not focus on that and this will make harder for him to focus on the larger picture.

It's nice because each reader will interpret a story differently so let them picture it in their minds rather than you tell them where to be. If it's a good director he'll discuss his visions with you and then collaboration with begin.

I know that isn't relevant to your situation now, but for future reference. Good luck with the script and shooting.

Chris
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Aerial Filmworks

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Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

Tai Audio

The Slider

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Opal

Abel Cine

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