See podcast player below and the program is also available on iTunes and STITCHER.
After living in Asheville for less than two weeks, I decided to plunk down $160 bucks and enter what is called the 48 Hour Film Project. This means that on a Friday night you pull a genre out of a hat and then are assigned a prop, a character, and a line that must be spoken in the film. You have 48 hours to turn in a movie between 4-7 minutes in length.
Here was our assignment:
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Prop: bell
- character: Cynthia Peters gym instructor
- line of dialogue: It’s your choice. What are you going to do?
When I entered the competition, I knew my team would at least consist of my youngest daughter age five, my older daughter age eight, and my wife who probably prefers me not disclose her age. With less than a week before the competition began, I hoped to secure some possible locations and recruit additional members to our Torg Stories team. I went to the library and checked out Asheville travel books, read the local Mountain Xpress hoping to find talent in the way of music or comedians, and sent messages to people I’d never met on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Using that process, I put together a team. Here are a few of the people I worked with and the places we shot:
Barbie Angell who starred as the Fairy Protector of the Garden
the garden in the trailer is owned by Chris Mello. He also acts in the film
Dave from the Asheville Outdoor Center keeping me afloat
we filmed at The Odditorium in West Asheville
Film by 16 year old Alex who did great work with us
Jeremy Vogt hooked us up with sci fi and travel music.
Love to hear comments and questions from you or if there is any other part of the 48 Hour Film Project that interests you.
Working from notes I’m going to use for a panel at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, during this podcast I talk about how I learned to write, how I try to teach writing, and how a person might be able to get something going when it comes to the business of writing, screenplays, and film.
In the podcast, I expand on the following notes.
First, how did I learn to write?
- I learned to read like a writer in an MFA program focusing on fiction. Texts can be your best teachers.
- I read and write a lot.
- I finish stuff and I send it out.
- The lessons in the stack. For example, I’ve read a lot of literary journal submissions, lit agency submissions, and stacks of student writing. The stacks show me what’s being done and what I might do that’s interesting with those stacks of ideas. The opening films of the festival are another kind of stack.
How do I try to help students write?
- by creating writing territories
- through experiencing an audience of each other
- by providing examples of many writers have a different process for how they finish their work
Some Favorite scripts:
- Diablo Cody’s Juno: her transitions
- Tarantino’s InGlorious Basterds: there is the fact that he is writing for himself, but I could see that you can just do it like you want. I can envision something on the screen and just write it so that it makes sense to the reader. Doesn’t matter if it’s unconventional. That, in fact, might be a strength.
What was the result of winning the festival prize?
- a bit of credibility at the festival, lots of little bits can add up to something substantial
- the lesson of the films I wouldn’t have seen (back to the lessons of the stack)
- the impulse to make my own short film which then accidentally became a feature documentary that will screen at the Phenom Film Festival in Louisiana
- Good talks with Elfar Adalsteins who did the short film Sailcloth
- That I won the film festival and was trying to make a film meant that I met more “like” minded people who may eventually be a part of future projects that we do together.
- Last week I met William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg from Moonbot. Their Lessmore won an Academy Award. Their company is in Shreveport. I first became acquainted with their film because I was in Rhode Island connected to the prize. So my script Love on the Big Screen isn’t a film, but a lot else has happened that’s been fun and intellectually stimulating.
Some Books that helped me write or think about filmmaking:
- Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434 (practical how to that got me started)
- How Not to Make a Short Film: Secrets of a Sundance Programmer by Roberta Munroe
- The Hollywood Economist by Edward Epstein
- The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide: A Down & Dirty DV Production, by Anthony Artis
- Stephen King’s On Writing
- Donald Murray’s Write to Learn
Two Podcasts I like:
- KCRW, The Business. Filmmakers are common guests and they explain how they get their work done.
- “Here’s the Thing” with Alec Baldwin. Guests include Lorne Michaels, Michael Douglass, and Jon Luvitz
- The Creative Penn: just got turned on to this one. Some interesting stories from writers and how they’ve marketed their books.