Monday, December 29, 2008



1. What's the opening shot of your film and why? Will this set you apart as a filmmaker? How does it fit in with the rest of your film?

2. The introduction of a character can be an exciting visual moment, and an important opportunity for you as a filmmaker. How do you plan on introducing your protagonist and other important characters?

3. Identify the main character in your film. Are you assigning any elements of production design to be associated with your main character? Colors (hue, sat, temp), tones, lines, shapes, spaces, patterns, other? Please elaborate:

4. How does the production design scheme for the protagonist above contrast or combine with that of your antagonist and / or obstacle?

5. How does the production design scheme for your protagonist compare to that of your other characters (supporting or otherwise)?

6. Does your main character, or any other character undergo change? Are these changes reflected by changes in your production design? (Or does everything stay consistent)

7. If there are changes, how are these changes reflected by changes in your lighting design?

8. How will these changes be reflected by changes in your camera technique and shot design?

9. Identify key turning points in your script – as a director, how do you plan on supporting these key points visually, and / or with the use of sound?

10. Is there a place your character belongs? Or does not belong? How will you show this?

11. Are there uses of your camera, lighting and production design that could be interpreted as elements of plating and payoff?

12. How visually, will you convey important psychological moments and insights of character?

13. As your story progresses, how will you visually convey a sense of building tension... leading up to the all important moment of climax?

14. Do you plan to make the climax the most visually exciting moment of your film? If so then how?

15. Ideally, every shot should be in some way motivated. But sometimes we may want to try special shots just for fun, to show off a little, or to push ourselves and see if it can be done. Are you planning any kinds of special shots? If so are they motivated? Could they be?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Film Business: 'Development' in Hollywood

(15th-17th Dec)
The dope from Sandra on 'Development' and 'Talent Agencies' in
Hollywood. (she had worked for both such companies; on 'Development'
she worked with Wendy Finerman, whose claim to fame was getting
Forrest Gump made; Sandra worked on The Devil Wears Prada and other


- Focuses on developing the script; 'development' strictly refers to
script development

- The company may be involved with production too; typically, Wendy
gets into production - her team may not be involved, but she is.

- Guess the number of the team when Sandra worked, when they did The
Devil Wears Prada? A huge number - 3! That's it - three.

- The main job: find a good story/script; find people who do good
stuff, but...keep looking out

- At a given time - how much scripts each person works with - it could
be 30. This means...talking to writers, talking/pitching to producers,
working with writers to develop the script, negotiation and...once the
script is green-lit then working on the project.

- Finding writers - she once went to Craig List and put up a
requirement. Lo and behold every day she would get 300 emails (am sure
it's relatively much easier to have people respond with stories here,
even though they may not be solid, since every 2nd (film) person seems
to have his/her own story)

- Skills required -
Script analysis, 'feel' for the story (you need to focus on finding a
great story)

(22nd Dec)
- Studios do have their own departments, but as good stories are hard
to find, they are typically open to meeting such development firm

- Development Fee: From what I recall, as per Sandra, though you may
negotiate, typically a Studio will say how much they shall give you
and you work with that. sure it's all open for negotiation.

- Wendy Finerman Productions had a deal with...hmm, Warner i think, or
Columbia; they had the first right of refusal, so if they did then (of
course) they could go to anyone

- Typically, with new writers - WFP would (or others too) - option off
the script for free - this means that you get the right to pitch the
script to anyone (for a specific period), without paying any money to
writer. He gets paid only when you do a sale.

My Take:
- This is definitely an interesting business to explore
- The fact you can work with a very small team is great; one may even
work part-time, though I realize the focus may not be as strong
- The critical aspect - script analysis - this is definitely not a
joke. This entails knowing what to look for in a story, how to make a
story works, how the story will be 'converted' into film, its
marketability, knowing the market

- learn, read as much as possible on story
- read as many scripts as possible
- identify and interact with people who have ability to evaluate
scripts and story
- know what it takes to tell a good story economically
- have a pulse on the existing scenario/society
- build network - especially with producers, directors & writers
- ...whatever works!

(The 'talent agencies' bit I shall try to collect my thoughts and
memory later; even need to talk to Sue, my script-writing instructor.)