Skip to main content

Bedtime thoughts about a short film

Yawn. It's 6am. Maggies are warbling. Crows are cawing.

There was one thing that came back to me from several people. It's been bugging me all night. The same critique. And it has to do with thinking that the audience are dumb.

For those of you who know the film, I'm talking about the scene where Cassidy confesses his crime to his Mum. Several people at the premiere, including one twelve year old boy, asked me why we got to hear the dialogue between Cassidy and Tess as he confesses his crime. They felt it interrupted the story and hindered their connection with the film (my interpretation).

On the shoot day, Joshua Beechey was a bit nervous about Anna Brockway playing Tess - his mum. So I went with that. I got Joshua (Cassidy) to retell most of the story to her and finally confess based on what he remembered of the script. She would hug him and it would look awkward. It did. To actually hear this bit of dialogue was always going to be a bit iffy for me - but more importantly - we already know all this story information, and so the dialogue is completely unecessary. Jonathan Mustard's music is enough to take us through that one minute scene.

So, for those who came back with that thought. You are right. It was my original plan, but the producer, writer and sound designer were nervous about that choice. They thought the story needed wrapping up. I guess I couldn't convince them (or they convinced me).

In heinsight, I'll really fight for such choices - instead of making my films for a supposedly dumb audience. Instincts are never wrong.

Comments

Mister Trivia said…
Hi Edwin,
This is Phil, the other writer of A STONE's THROW. "Instincts are never wrong?" In film-making one is constantly second-guessing one's instincts before completing a film.

And triple-guessing and quadruple guessing.

How do you know that if you hadn't made that choice about hearing part of the main character's confession that you wouldn't have been dealing with twenty or thirty responses like this one: "What does the kid say to his Mum at the end at the end of the film?"

If you recall, the end of LOST IN TRANSLATION involves Bill McMurray's character saying a sedntence to Scarlett Johansen's character. We, the audience, don't know what it is. The world is very neatly divided into those (like me) who feel it's unimportant and those for whom the ommission of this sentence is just plain annoying and it spoils their enjoyment of the movie.

Just a little food for thought in prepartation for the next time you pit your insticts against those of your creative team :)

Popular posts from this blog

The Drug That Killed River Phoenix

This article was going to be about a new drug I'm on called Duomine, but as I knew very little about River Phoenix (aka the vegan Jimmy Dean) I thought I'd swat up on what's really going on behind that brain-worm ditty. I'll talk about Duomine another time.The song line I'm on the drug that killed River Phoenix is from Aussie alternative band TISM's tasteless 1995 single (He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River - and it's a bit cheap, frankly. The single's cover shows a mock-up of River's tombstone and was released shortly after his death. TISM were well-known for criticisin Imperial Hollywood and US pop culture, but they were masters when it came to borrowed interest marketing. More about these guys later.River Bottom's Awkward LifeIn 1944, River's mother Arlyn was born to a Jewish family living in the Bronx. When she finished school, she married a computer programmer but quickly grew bored of her secretarial life. In 1968, at 24, Arlyn dr…

Script development on a budget

Most people abhor criticism and nobody likes to open their wallet. If you are either, don’t - whatever you do - write a feature film screenplay. I almost guarantee that nobody will read it without being paid.

More importantly never go into production on a script that hasn’t been very heavily criticised, rewritten, analysed, rewritten gain, ripped apart, gutted and finally ... rewritten. I'm sure you can name a thousand movies with huge plot holes or character problems. Problems which could have easily been patched up with just a few bucks investment. Criticism is not the same as rejection.
While Mum will happily read your screenplay, getting constructive feedback from industry professionals costs money. Constructive criticism is the key to morphing an ailing screenplay into a great feature film. Nothing else will do this. Unfortunately, getting anyone who’s not your mother to read your screenplay (or read beyond your synopsis and director's notes) costs money. Even if you don&#…

The Three by Five Card Index System

Here's another approach to writing your screenplay. The screenwriter's friend. Introducing the infamous Three by Five Card Index System.

Wow! How can I get one?

In my case - I made it. What it amounts to is this: Three 90cm x 40cm sheets of chipboard hinged together so that the whole thing stands like a concertina on a table or floor.

Every 5cm or so down, I have drawing-pinned small cardboard hinges (triangles if you will) made from old file dividers. These become placeholders for your cards.

A couple of bunches of 3 inch by 5 inch index cards (available in packs of 100 at any newsagency) and there you have it. A sure fire way to make your screenplay bubble to the top of the pile . . . Not. But it's a tool and writers need their tools.

Cool. How does it work?

As you can see - each act has three mini-acts in it (fitting in with Australian script theorist Linda Heys' Second Act Story). Or rather - going one step further and suggesting that all three acts have a beginning, …