Friday, May 3, 2013

2013 48-Hour Boston Film Project

Starting tonight, we're going to make a movie.

I've never made a movie before. Or, maybe it's a film we're making, not a movie. I'm not sure if there's a difference. I imagine there are lots of people who could fight the live-long day about the difference between a movie and a film, just like in theater people fight about the spellings, theatre vs. theater.

When I was an undergrad studying photography we had to say we were making images. We couldn't say we were taking pictures.

Making images.

Making film.

Lots of people in theater say they're making theatre. I know I do.

I guess maybe it's all about intent? Is it? Film, theatre, images is about intending to make something, oh, I don't know, something lofty. Something...more?

But I've never done this before, though as a playwright I have worked on a couple of 24-hour theater events. In 24 hours, we--the playwright, director, and cast--met, and in 24 hours we wrote, rehearsed, and performed a new play.

As you can imagine, it's scary stuff for the writer, because it all starts with the writer. You have to make something--a script, a screenplay--out of nothing. Well, not really nothing, because there is a whole lot of somethings that writers pull from. You just have to remember that.

And I'm not in this alone. There's a whole crew of people, and just like with a good bunch of theater artists, you work together. Wendy, the person on my team (we're Red Dirt Productions, just so you know, named for the production company that we're with) and I met on a 24-hour play fest, with me as the playwright and she was the director. At our initial meeting, I was in that state of shock where I was wondering, what did I get myself into? What am I going to write? And all Wendy said was, you know, the characters don't have to be people. From that, I wrote A Meating of the Mind, from about 11:00 that night to 2:30 a.m. So, I'm sure we're going to do a bit of brain-storming tonight before we all go our separate ways for the night and I camp out on my couch with a pot of coffee and a bowl of popcorn, because for some reason I like to snack while I write.

The first time I did a 24-hour play fest I tried to think of scenarios, things to put in my pocket. That doesn't work. You just have to give yourself up to the process. The best thing I've learned to do is view the things that inspire me, no matter what it is. Things when I look at them or read them or experience them in some way, make me go/say/think, damn, I wish I had done that.

I've been looking at a few short films, just to get my head around it.

And when it comes to intent, what I'd love to do is make a film that has maybe one line of dialogue, and is filled with visuals that tell the story, and a soundtrack that supplements the telling of the story. Sometimes the clink of a coffee cup in silence conveys so much, you know what I mean?

That's where I stand now, about five and a half hours before we do our kickoff meeting.

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