Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Short cut to short film
A few years ago I did not one but two screenwriting courses. They were both in Glasgow (not renowned as a centre of the movie making world) but I enjoyed them thoroughly. Each one had a teacher who was inspiring and fun (though very different), I met some great, fun people, and I learned a lot.
But not once did we actually make a film.
Week after week we worked on pitches, synopses, dialogue, plot. I don't disagree with this. Screenwriting is about structure, and courses that teach it are more aware of structure than a lot of novelists and critics who write about novels.
But, I repeat, despite all that time we invested in writing and theorising about film - and in looking at other films, debating their merits and speculating about what they cost etc - neither teacher ever thought to say: "And here's a camera go make something."
Even in the few years since I did those courses, I think attitudes to this kind of thing have changed massively. Technology is cheaper. Cameras are better. Kids who were still at school while I was chin-stroking over heroes and anti-heroes, have now hit their twenties. They have apple laptops with iMovies and tiny video cameras they can operate at the flick of a wrist.
What's more, they are fearless. They think nothing of twisting their pals arms to get them to star in their bloodsoaked zombie western mash up in which all the dialogue is in Latin (hey, what a great idea...) or a five minute kidnap movie about a man who thinks Britain is about to be poisoned by a new pesticide.
Which brings me to my point: and yes it is a plug. A pal of mine in London is involved with the people who made this excellent short film. It's daring, high energy, well acted, scrappily written, but it follows all the right paths. And here's the thing I most respect, it has actually been made. You can watch it if you follow the link above - though you will have to sign in to the website first. It's a contest too, so every vote counts.