Tag Archives: Character

No-Budget Film School a No-Brainer

7 May

I rarely promote stuff on here, so when I do, I mean it!

The NO-BUDGET FILM SCHOOL will be held this weekend in LA. I have personally attended twice in the past and it is worth every penny. It is the single most effective event an aspiring filmmaker can attend.

And the following weekend, May 18th & 19th, No-Budget Film School presents CINEMA LANGUAGE, which I have also attended, twice! It will teach you to take the nuts-and-bolts of the No Budget weekend and apply it cinematically, with purpose and meaning.  Cinema Language is a visually driven seminar with a ton of movie clips and an amazing teacher.

Sign up here: http://nobudgetfilmschool.eventbrite.com/#

Embrace Emotional and Spiritual Murder

11 Dec

Establishing oneself as a professional artist is excruciatingly difficult in the United States.  The American social system does not support nor does it encourage artistic aspiration.  This is mainly because of capitalism, i.e., there is no monetary value in a novice work of art, thus, it is not invested in.

As a result of this resistance toward artistic aspiration, most striving artists suffer socially, economically, emotionally, and spiritually, which typically leads to an abandonment of dreams.  I used to think this is tragic and unjust; it upset me and made me mad.  However, the more I give filmmaking a go, the more I realize this resistance is a good thing.

When I decided to go to law school in 2003, I was socially, economically, emotionally, and spiritually supported.  It was easy; everything fell into place.  All I had to do was sign-off on student loans and show up to class.  People were proud of me and encouraged me.  And I felt spiritually grounded because I was comfortable.  However, when I decided to drop-out and pursue a more personal passion, filmmaking, the support pretty much dissipated.  I went from a top-tier law school student to a 31-year-old substitute teacher who wants to make movies.  I was questioned, mocked, and humiliated.

Most people lack vision, so they will attack, criticize, and ridicule artistic aspiration.  Rather than focus on the honesty and courage it takes to create, most look at the imperfect final product and devalue its creator.  This is immature, selfish, and hateful.  It’s a form of emotional and spiritual murder.  But that’s how it goes and I doubt I’m going to change that.  Rather, I have learned to embrace this injustice and see its benefits.

Resistance towards artistic aspiration has many latent benefits.  First, it weeds out the hacks.  Many dream of being a famous artist, but few really have the talent and the discipline, so they give up.  Most are not called to be an artist to begin with and it’s a good thing that they give up; it’s good for us and for them.

Second, resistance builds character.  Hate, discouragement, and indifference are like weights; you are forced to muscle them, which can build you up or kill you.  If you keep on pumping those weights, you will become stronger and more resilient yourself.  In fact, the more “famous” you become as an artist, the more resistance you will face, so the weights just get heavier, hopefully leading to greater character and better work.

Third, resistance forces you to become a better artist.  Although it may be deeply painful, you are challenged to improve your work.  In most cases, an artist is ignored because his/her work is not good, full of cliche, cheap mimicry.  A mature artist will acknowledge this reality and strive to improve, to be more personal.  Sure, even great art is often ignored due to subjectivity, ignorance, and fear; however, there will always be appreciation somewhere for good art if the artist continues to persevere.

Most importantly, resistance toward artistic aspiration leads to more authentic relationships.  As the aspiring artist evolves, so to will his/her priorities, values, and perspectives.  Superficial, vain, and unhealthy elements in life will no longer matter to the artist, thus, they will be drawn to and attract similar folks.  The artist will be inspired by their new community of courageous, bold, and beautiful human beings.  And though it may be painful, some people in the artist’s life will reject them and ostracize them, but that’s okay because these people are toxic and need to be distanced if the artist is to thrive.

Resistance sucks.  It is often brutal, unjust, and, at times, evil.  But if it is embraced, resistance can lead to beautiful things.

Stay the Hell Out of the Way!

2 Oct

The most exhilarating part of writing a script is when “your” characters begin to speak on their own and do things on their own initiative, demanding that you get the hell out of their way!

Such has been my experience lately while writing my current feature film script.  Don’t get me wrong, I end up in the way quite often, but more and more, I am able to observe and notate my characters rather than dictate, manipulate and contrive.  

In many ways, this process is much like a spiritual discipline, where the faithful submits themselves to a higher power, following its lead.

My higher power?  In the case of screenwriting: the characters!

New Film Synopsis

26 Apr

I’ve been eluding to my next feature film project in recent posts and now it’s time to share what the heck it’s about! 

Our film is a love story that explores the beauty and enigma of two people being drawn together as they help one another overcome personal fears.  The main setting is a thriving Indiana grain farm where its lone occupant, a gruff widow named Eugenia, is bedridden due to a stroke.  Her estranged children leave her in the hands of Bernadette, a live-in caregiver who is as gifted at baking, as she is caring for the sickly woman.  Bernadette soon discovers another presence on the farm, Shane, Eugenia’s loyal, yet withdrawn farm hand.  As Bernadette and Shane work alongside one another on the farm, they discover that love is a phenomenon beyond their control, one that chooses them as much as they choose one another.

So there you go!  As I mentioned before, I recently completed the first draft of the script and am now rewriting.  I’m excited to share the process of making this film with you, everything from writing, to directing, to editing.  I’ll be posting a lot more frequently with questions, thoughts, and concerns you hopefully with comment on.

Here are a couple of photos visually exemplifying why I wanted to make my next film in Indiana…

Indiana Country Road

An Indiana country road in August. I have a few scenes in my script where characters ride along country roads...

Eagles Theatre, Wabash, Indiana

The beautiful Eagles Theatre in Wabash, Indiana, recently restored by the Honeywell Foundation. Not only is there a scene in my film set at the theatre, we also hope to premiere our film there in 2014!

Let’s Make a Film Together!

19 Apr

As I considered post topics for this week, my gratitude for all who loyally follow my blog arose; thus, I thought I would take a moment to THANK YOU!

FollowMyFilm.com has definitely been rewarding, especially when I hear back from readers.  I admittedly don’t do a great job inciting conversation with my posts, so comments and feedback are always a treat.  That is why I’m going to make an effort to write more conversational posts from now on.

Rather than primarily make statements via posts, I’m going to think out loud and ask questions more often, especially as I work on my newest film project, which I will post about next week.  Your thoughts and insight will not only be helpful, but exciting to hear as well.

For instance, I’m going to ask for feedback regarding the characters and plot in my script.  Then, when it comes time to previsualize the film for directorial purposes, I’d love to hear your thoughts on cinematic elements such as costuming, color scheme, and camera work.

The more I work on films, the more I realize that I absolutely love the communal aspect of the art form.  So I want FollowMyFilm.com to be a way in which I can connect with other cinephiles and create together!

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