Skip to main content

In Development

As a newbie, one may ask, "How do I get into the film industry here in Australia?" What do I have to do?

Writing and organising a team of like-minded individuals towards the common goal of actually making a movie is being in the industry. All you do is write and put together submissions or proposals. Once you are writing - you are in the film industry. You don't need anybody else to tell you otherwise.

Over 95% of your time will be spent writing scripts, auditioning for a gig or meeting with actors, producers and financiers.

In the last two years, I have been lucky. I was actually on set, directing . . . for nearly two whole weeks! (A Stone Throw and Streetsmartz).

The rest of my time was spent:
  • Writing (I'm pleased to report . . . most wannabes talk about writing. Don't be a wannabe!).
  • Earning a living (building websites).
  • Teaching others how to write, direct and build websites (at Curtin University).
  • Meeting with producers and greater mortals who may help get new projects happening.
Unfortunately I wasn't one of the 60+ directors chosen for a gig on Marx and Venus *sniff*. It's possible that my screenplay will be one of the 25 selected from the 1,700+ screenplays SBSi received (although I won't wait by the phone).

Either would have been nice - but these things come in waves.


The Hottest Director in Town

Usually the hottest directors in town get the gigs - and then they move aside as new heat comes into play. The heat is off me right now because my latest short film didn't hit too many festivals or accumulate gongs. You're considered hot if your film so much as hits a festival these days as it's difficult to even get a screening. Another industry truism to consider as a director is that you are only as good as your last film.

All of this is twaddle, naturally. But it's something you feel as you walk into a room filled with investors. Who is this guy - what's he done recently? The corridor rumours are that Troy Lum (Hopscotch Distribution) will only consider developing screenplays which have a hot director attached.

Nobody tells you that you are hot. But it's your job to know it . . . Ask an honest friend. None-hot directors need hot people attached to their projects. This usually translates to a producer or an actor. And here's a tip for for the non-hot.

Every actor is looking for a good role.


Our New Screenplay

Phil and I have manged to scrabble together a sketchy outline for a new horror screenplay. This one is much straighter than we usually write . . . a genre piece. But interesting enough to keep us amused. We don't have a producer attached just yet. Which, in itself, is a bit exciting.

Meetings with Tait Brady (FFC) have been organised with the Australian Writers' Guild. Hitting the submit-your-synopsis-for-a-meeting deadline is next cab off the rank.

So . . . as usual it's back to the pen.

If you want to be part of the great Australian film industry - you might want to stope earning money and get out your own. I hear it's mightier than the sword.

Ninety-nine percent of the time!

Comments

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, …