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my first short film...how do I get ideas???


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#1 Seth Mondragon

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 05:16 PM

Hey everybody, this is my first post here. I've been shooting a lot of Super8 lately (mostly test footage to make sure the camera works, get more experience with actual film, and see how the film looks under different circumstances) and it's time I put together a real project. I've been shooting professional video for the last 7 years, so I know how to compose shots and run the camera and all that. Shooting and editing is where I do my best work, but writing and coming up with a story is not my strong point. How do all of you come up with ideas for your films, both short and feature-length? Any help is greatly appreciated.
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#2 Dickson Sorensen

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 06:26 PM

I once heard, sorry I forget who said it, "Writing is easy, it's coming up with good ideas that's hard."
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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 10:58 PM

Maybe if "writing and coming up with a story is not my strong point" then you should work with somebody for whom it is. If you don't have ideas bursting out of you at this stage, then find someone who does have them. They probably have great stories but lack your experience or ability with a camera.

The collaborative nature of filmmaking is one of its greatest strengths - don't fight it.
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#4 Eldon Stevens

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 11:12 PM

The best overview of this topic I have ever personally read is here:

http://www.wordplaye...ns/welcome.html

Academy Award-nominated screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are among the best in the business. Plus, not only do they excel at their craft, they have that rare gift (as does Mr. Mullen, who frequently posts on these forums) of being able to articulate the process.

If you're truly interested in developing your own scripts, then this is the place to start. Start with Column #1, and be sure to read Column #2, 'Strange Attractor.' Then read every other column.

I hope this helps.

All the best.

Edited by Julius, 11 October 2005 - 11:13 PM.

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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 11:23 PM

Ok I'll help you out. Here is a short film idea that I gave to my students back in the day when I was teaching film at a university as a TA. Many students where stuck for ideas so they would take this idea and run with it, it was always interesting to see how the various filmmakers would visually interpret the story.

Here it is:

An older track coach is training a young man for a big race. The track coach is seen putting the young man through the various training exercises, the young man is being trained on a budget he doesn't come from wealthy family. The young man wears old running shoes and trains by running on the streets at all hours of the day. If this project has audio then you can include the sage advice given by the old track coach to the young man about being a winner etc etc etc. Think of the scenes as some thing from "Chariots Of Fire" and "Rocky."

Finally the day of the big race arrives. From a low angle we see the young man getting into the start position, we see the nervous look on the old track coaches face as he looks on, the starter gun is raised into the air and fired. The young man takes off. He rounds a corner on a city street and grabs the purse from the first old lady he runs past. The he grabs another old lady's purse and another, and another. We see a montage of his feet running, and purses being snatched.

Finally from a distance we see the young man running with all of the purses, his coach jumps up and cheers him on, the roar of the crowd can be heard. Finally the coach embraces the youn man and lifts him high into the air, the young man raises the purses in triumph over his head, the music swells.

THE END: FADE OUT.

Ok now you can see how a film like this would be rather easy to shoot, two main actors, that's all. No need for expensive sets or costumes, and you can get really creative with the camera work and editing. Plus no matter how badly I have seen this film made, it ALWAYS gets a laugh from the audience. The joke of the film is solid.

So there you have it one short film script, no go forth and create.

R,

PS: All are welcome to comment on my genius :)

PSS: Don't forget my writers credit.
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#6 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 01:50 AM

Ok I'll help you out. Here is a short film idea that I gave to my students back in the day when I was teaching film at a university as a TA. Many students where stuck for ideas so they would take this idea and run with it, it was always interesting to see how the various filmmakers would visually interpret the story.

Here it is:

An older track coach is training a young man for a big race. The track coach is seen putting the young man through the various training exercises, the young man is being trained on a budget he doesn't come from wealthy family. The young man wears old running shoes and trains by running on the streets at all hours of the day. If this project has audio then you can include the sage advice given by the old track coach to the young man about being a winner etc etc etc. Think of the scenes as some thing from "Chariots Of Fire" and "Rocky."

Finally the day of the big race arrives. From a low angle we see the young man getting into the start position, we see the nervous look on the old track coaches face as he looks on, the starter gun is raised into the air and fired. The young man takes off. He rounds a corner on a city street and grabs the purse from the first old lady he runs past. The he grabs another old lady's purse and another, and another. We see a montage of his feet running, and purses being snatched.

Finally from a distance we see the young man running with all of the purses, his coach jumps up and cheers him on, the roar of the crowd can be heard. Finally the coach embraces the youn man and lifts him high into the air, the young man raises the purses in triumph over his head, the music swells.

THE END: FADE OUT.

Ok now you can see how a film like this would be rather easy to shoot, two main actors, that's all. No need for expensive sets or costumes, and you can get really creative with the camera work and editing. Plus no matter how badly I have seen this film made, it ALWAYS gets a laugh from the audience. The joke of the film is solid.

So there you have it one short film script, no go forth and create.

R,

PS: All are welcome to comment on my genius :)

PSS: Don't forget my writers credit.


Richard,
That's wicked!
He-he.
Interesting approach of a runner's work.
Dimitrios Koukas :) :) :blink:
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#7 Mike Lary

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 02:45 AM

I agree with Dominic. Find a writer you can work with or find a short story in the public domain you can use. You could take a fable or fairy tale and adapt it to modern day. The troll under the bridge, for instance, could be an angry hobo jumping kids and stealing their iPods :D Working from someone else's material might be a lot more challenging, anyway, because the writer wasn't in your head preconceiving shots as he/she wrote.
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#8 Seth Mondragon

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 07:07 AM

Working from someone else's material might be a lot more challenging, anyway, because the writer wasn't in your head preconceiving shots as he/she wrote.

You could be right, although when I first got started in video back in high school, sometimes we'd be given the choice of write a report or do a video. Obviously, the video sounded more fun so we chose that. We did a few projects like Beowulf, Cyclops and a couple others for english class. I found this to be fairly easy since the story was already there...we just had to re-enact.
Thanks for everybody's input. I really like the idea of the track coach...might be fun to shoot. If I decide to shoot that, I'll touch base with you, Richard Boddington, to get your permission once more.
I also like the idea of taking a fable and adapting it to today....that's kinda like what we did with Beowulf.
I have a couple more questions now as well:

1) Where can I find short stories that are in the public domain?

2) Does anybody know how I go about getting permission from an author to "base" a short film on their story?

Thanks again for everyone's input!
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#9 Mike Lary

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 11:59 AM

Here are a few links to stories in the public domain:
http://www.ipl.org/d...se/hum60.60.00/
http://www.authorama.com/
http://www.ibiblio.org/eldritch/
If you grab stories from the web, you should doublecheck and make sure they _really_ are in the public domain before using them, though.

To use stories that aren't in the public domain, you need to contact the copyright owner. With published works, you can call or write the publishing company and ask them who to contact. In the case of small press publications, the author usually owns full rights to the story, and the publisher/editor can put you in contact with the author. My preference would be for small press because there are some great authors out there who haven't made it big yet, and some of them write in a very visual style that would translate well to film.

Good luck.
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Broadcast Solutions Inc

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Rig Wheels Passport

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Aerial Filmworks

Visual Products

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Tai Audio

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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