The Director's Chair Issue #46 – Sep. 28, 2004 (What to Avoid in Low Budget Scripts)

by Peter D Marshall

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THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

September 28, 2004          Scene 5 – Take 6
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Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Web Site: http://www.actioncutprint.com

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Dear Friend,

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CONTENTS
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1.  Introduction
2.  Action-Cut-Print!
3.  33 Ways to Break Into Hollywood
4.    Special Interest for Filmmakers
5.  Featured Film Book
6.  Feature Article – What to Avoid in Low Budget Scripts
7.  Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
8.  Share This Ezine
9.  Suggestions & Comments
10. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
11. Copyright Information

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1. INTRODUCTION
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Welcome to Issue #46 of The Director’s Chair (September 28, 2004)

1) This month’s Feature Article is “10 Things to Avoid
When Writing a Low-Budget Feature.”

2) VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – If you would like to contribute articles,
tips, links of interest, industry news, interviews, special event
dates or other resources to The Director’s Chair please email:
mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

—–

Enjoy.

Peter D. Marshall

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2. ACTION-CUT-PRINT! –  A Website for Filmmakers
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If you are a Film or TV Director; a working professional who
wants to Direct; a film student who wants to learn more about
Directing; or a “student of film” who just wants to know more
about Filmmaking from the pros, Action-Cut-Print! is for you!

Take a moment now to visit http://www.actioncutprint.com where
you will find over 1200 Online Resources for Filmmakers, a Film
and TV Bookstore and Film Directing Workshops.

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3. 33 WAYS TO BREAK INTO HOLLYWOOD
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Got a script you want to sell to Hollywood? Good. Then you need
a map that will guide you through the relentless obstacle
course designed to keep 99% of the screenwriters on the planet
out.

“33 Ways to Break Into Hollywood” is divided into five categories:

A. The Standard Routes — Do these first.
B. The More Aggressive Routes that can get you through back doors.
C. Outrageous Routes that have produced surprising results.
D. Networking Your Way to Success .
E. High Probability Methods — Strategies Top Writers Use.

You’ll get solutions, links to articles and sites that can help
you, and strategies that you can use today to increase your
chance of breaking in.

There’s no charge. We’re simply introducing our site to you.
Go to http://www.scriptforsale.com/33ways/signup33.htm to download.

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4. SPECIAL INTEREST FOR FILMMAKERS
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1) The Women In the Director’s Chair Workshop

An intensive story and skills development program for
mid-career Canadian women directors of fiction for screen.  Led
by senior mentors with professional actors (ACTRA) and crews
(DGC, IATSE), participants can explore their personal
story-telling and leadership style, network with peers and
develop short and long-term career plans in a safe educational
environment.

Produced in partnership by Creative Women Workshops, The Banff
Centre and ACTRA.  Annual deadline for directors: September 30,
2004

http://www.creativewomenworkshops.com/

2) FREE SCREENWRITING PANEL DISCUSSION

Book Launch for ASK THE PROS: SCREENWRITING
“101 Questions Answered by Industry Professionals.”
Sponsored by Lone Eagle Publishing, Hollywoodlitsales.om
and Final Draft.

When: Thursday, October 28, at 7:30 PM
Where: Barnes & Noble, 3rd Street Promenade,
Wilshire & 3rd, Santa Monica, CA

3) FOR ENTRIES: SCRIPTAPALOOZA OPENS THE COMPETITION

7th Annual Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition
http://www.scriptapalooza.com

Supported by the Writers Guild of America, west

Early deadline is January 5, 2005

First place prize is $10,000

All thirteen winners will be considered by Scriptapalooza’s
outstanding participants.

For information visit http://www.scriptapalooza.com or call
323-654-5809

4)  4th Annual Taiwan International Documentary Festival

December 11 – 17, 2004.
For more information, visit:
http://www.tidf.org.tw

5)  THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION

The digital revolution is not just threatening Hollywood–it’s
threatening mainstream film industries all over the world.  In
our most recent interview, “Let’s Talk: Bollywood Coup d’Etat,”
we chat with Ram Madhvani, the first filmmaker who utilized
small-format DV technology to shoot a feature film intended for
mainstream distribution in India. In many ways a guerrilla
effort, “Let’s Talk” startled Shringar, the largest film
distributor in India, by opening to full houses in Mumbai
(Bombay) in December, 2002.

Read the Ram Madhvani interview at:
http://www.braintrustdv.com/interviews/lets-talk.html

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5. FEATURED FILM BOOK – “Film Directing Shot by Shot”
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“Film Directing Shot by Shot” by Steven Katz.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0941188108/actiocutprint

Film Directing Shot by Shot offers a good introduction to the
rudiments of film production. Steven D. Katz walks his readers
through the various stages of moviemaking, advising them at
every turn to visualize the films they wish to produce. Katz
believes that one of the chief tasks of filmmaking is to
negotiate between our three-dimensional reality and the
two-dimensionality of the screen.

He covers the number of technical options filmmakers can use to
create a satisfying flow of shots, a continuity that will make
sense to viewers and aptly tell the film’s story. Katz provides
in-depth coverage of production design, storyboarding, spatial
connections, editing, scene staging, depth of frame, camera
angles, point of view, and the various types of stable
compositions and moving camera shots.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0941188108/actiocutprint

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6. FEATURE ARTICLE – What to Avoid in Low Budget Scripts
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“What to Avoid in Low Budget Scripts.”

Last week I attended several Trade Forum panel discussions at
the 19th Annual Vancouver International Film Festival.

One of the panels was called “Writing for Low-Budget Features”
with Writer/Director Guy Bennett (“Punch”), Director Mina Shum
(“Happiness and Prosperity”) and Producer Marc Stephenson (“On
the Corner.”)

The main topic of the panel discussion was the following “10
Things to Avoid in Writing Low Budget Scripts”

1) Avoid too many characters
– keep your speaking roles to a minimum
– try and combine characters

2) Avoid too many locations
– a large part of your movie should be in one location
– a house can offer many locations (rooms)
– try and combine scenes to accommodate a few locations

3) Avoid too many special effects
– squibs, smoke, rain, explosions, wet downs

4) Avoid to many stunts
– physically demanding on your actors
– safety concerns (takes more time)
– stunt performers are expensive

5) Avoid large exterior scenes on streets and sidewalks
– crowds, police control, vehicle movement, extra crew

6) Avoid large night exteriors
– expensive to shoot (lights, manpower, equipment)

7) Avoid places where you need crowds
– extras are expensive

8) Avoid period pieces
– expensive for art department and costumes
– limited location availability

9) Avoid children and animals
– children can only work a few hours a day
– during school months, they need tutoring several hours a day
– animals take time to work with (plus use up a lot of film)

10) Avoid scenes that are dependent on weather and water etc.
– you can’t depend on the weather (sun or cloud)
– when working on water, everything takes twice as long

Many of these items are self-explanatory, but as you write your
script, or you are in pre-production with a low budget feature,
review this list often to help bring your movie in on time and
on budget!

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7.  BACK ISSUES OF “THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR”
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To read back issues of The Director’s Chair, visit:
http://www.actioncutprint.com/ezine.html

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8. SHARE THIS EZINE
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Share this Ezine by email – forward it to your friends and
associates.

This Ezine may be reprinted with permission.
Email me at: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

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9. SUGGESTIONS & COMMENTS
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Send any comments, suggestions, questions or advice to:
mailto:comments@actioncutprint.com

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10. SUBSCRIBE & UNSUBSCRIBE INFORMATION
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11. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION
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Copyright (c) 2000-2004
www.actioncutprint.com
Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved

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