X out the porn tabs and get ready for some real internet entertainment cause CMTedge.com just premiere the new Whiskey Shivers video that I did the cinematographisizing for. Can’t wait to hear what people have to say about it!
Events like this are pretty satisfying; there’s noting quite like seeing your work on a gigantic screen in front of an excited audience. Especially for online distribution content, getting to see it with an audience can be that last bit of fulfillment to let go of a project with a smile. And this premiere party was excellent in my opinion, mostly because the Scottish Rite Theatre is a gem and within its walls, even a used underwear auction could be transformed into a classy event. Or a super low budg Americana folk band music video.
For me, it was even more cathartic than usual because I was in charge of playing the video during the event; luckily my laptop didn’t didn’t go to sleep, explode, or transform into a Decepticon during the screening! John introduced the video, I hit play, and we just stood there waiting to be boo’d and trampled by an angry audience. But people seemed to like it for the most part and were happy to a part of the premiere of the video.
The last couple days we’ve anxiously been preparing for CMTedge.com to premiere the video online. Although our hearts are somewhat jealous that CMT is robbing us of all those valuable YouTube views, we don’t want our minds to be filled with worried lies.
This was an exciting week in class for me because I received feedback on my treatment for Hot Cold, the feature that I’m writing for the workshop. I was elated to get some many great pieces of feedback and suggestion. The biggest revelation to me was that people had interpreted many setting/world rules without my injection; they’d come up with their own excuses for how the world worked. And that was great for me because I’d spent little time establishing the rules for the setting, and some of the things the class came up with were better than what I would’ve used!
Jill, the class instructor, had some great notes on my third act also. She pointed out how the main character isn’t driving the action as much as he should be. She also told me I should reference the move Witness for a climax that would work better for what I’m wanting from the character.
One disappointing but useful piece of feedback was that most people didn’t seem to like the last scene as much as I’d wanted. The last scene is really the only piece of the story that I’m married to, so it’s great to know that I’ll need to rework some earlier scenes to make that last scene pay off better.
Jill also lectured a bit on proper script formatting. Admittedly, I thought I knew everything I should know about formatting, but I sat up in my chair when she started telling us about mini slug lines/William Goldman Slug Lines. Those have long interested me and it’d been difficult for me to know if they were universally accepted. For example, a scene might pick up space in a bank robbery and instead of writing:
— INT. BANK, FOYER – DAY
Sonny leans in to talk with the negotiator.
INT. BANK, OFFICE – DAY
Sal leans over with is uzi to see what Sonny is doing. —
Instead of rewriting that new slug line for the office, you could simply write:
leans over with his uzi to see what Sonny is doing. —
Those slug lines can really slow down the pace in some of my scripts and its nice to see a different way of organizing action.
John Valley was doing a quick shoot for an Austin singer/songerwriter Daniel Jack and I decided to tag along to bounce some light around. We had a great time, mostly because the sun was too bright for a couple hours and we had to pass some time by munching on some Tyler Speicher Butter Biscuits (no salt saltines and Economax Creamy Peanut Butter). Often times these are the most fun shoots because the pressure is very low and everyone is friends with one another. Although there was a brief altercation when Tyler and John couldn’t resolve whether Pocahontas or Mulan was more B.A.
Afterwards we decided to celebrate by trying out the Super Burrito on Oltorf. I’d never stopped there because I thought their prices were outrageous and I didn’t really like the branding. BUT Daniel Jack was adamant about Super Burritos superness, so I ordered a San Diego and split it with Tyler who tried the Gyro Burrito. The Gyro Burrito is interesting because its both cold and warm, savory and sweet, and not in a bad way; perhaps not a great way though either. The San Diego is a great concoction though, its a beef burrito stuff with fries and sour cream. I might have them do the catering at my wedding with just San Diego Burritos.
I’m enrolled in Jill Chamberlain’s Screenplay Workshop class that teaches her ‘Screenplay in a Nutshell Technique’. Most of the class is spent riffing about each other’s stories and playing Beer Pong, but sometimes we get to my favorite part: LECTURE TIME!
This week Jill was walking us through Character Development. Her main points were that films can convey character in two ways: Dialogue and Action. She pointed out that ‘showing’ character through Action is a more interesting way to reveal character. AND apparently, the way we get these figments of our imaginations to ‘show’ us their character is by putting obstacles in front of them. You could almost go as far as saying Character = Obstacles, but that’s probably alittle confusing. McKee sorta argued that Character and Plot are inseparable, and what is Plot but a relentless series of obstacles of greater and greater difficulty? Just like middle school… 🙂
Jill continued to say that the most human and engaging characters are often the ones with internal conflicts. We can create internal conflicts in characters by having them tell the audience that they “Don’t stick their neck out for nobody” and then show them doing the exact opposite by sacrificing their desires for the greater good like Rick Blane from Casablanca. BTWs, anyone else feel extra chipper about life every time they watch Casablanca?
Jill also revealed a bit about her writing process. She said that she’ll normally think of an event that could be the launching point of a screenplay, and then she’ll try to find the most interesting character to place in that event. As an example, she told us that Tootsie had been a terrible script for several drafts until they decided to make the main character a sexist pig. That choice suddenly elevated Tootsie from your 5 cent drugstore candy to the America’s second favorite comedy of all time.
John Valley is submitting a pitch for a television series in the ATX Television Festival. Anywho, I liked the idea for his show more than I liked sitting on my butt in front of my computer going through OKCupid profiles, so I thought I’d help him film his pitch. As per usual, we shot it in my bedroom, and yes mom, he was wearing pants the whole time (although I currently am not). I’m always rather smitten with life when we’re able to shoot things in my bedroom without the necessity of a ‘studio’ space.
Last Saturday I was lucky enough to be asked back to the San Antonio Riverwalk to film another of their events. The way these jobs usually work is they tell me to show up on the Riverwalk at a particular time, I get there and start filming as much awesome stuff as I can find, then later I’ll edit together the nice shots with some VO that Mike Roberts records. And this shoot was SUPER FUN! The audience at the Arneson River Theatre was in a great mood despite the worse than usual Texas humidity. In fact, the audience was in such a great mood that I was confident enough to ask many of them to pose for shots. I decided to shoot using the compact and unassuming T3i rather than the get-that-giant-camera-away-from-my-face HVX200 that I usually use. Good choice, people didn’t mind one bit! I include a few uncorrected screen grabs of the footage; one of them shows off what I call (in all my light obsessed dorkyness) ‘Pineapple Sunset’ because sometimes around dusk the golden sunset hits cloud cover in just the right way to bathe the world in a pineapple sort of light, the photo doesn’t quite capture the color, we can thank Canon for that… 🙂