Building the Tamara Team

Update: The film company like the script and I’ve also sent them a Visual Narrative. They have asked me along for a meeting with a ‘bigger cheese’ to discuss working with experienced professionals. These may include a writer and director who will mentor my less experienced small team. Critically, we have secured an adequate budget.

I’ve been reworking the script and have created visuals for the characters and for the scene where the story is set.

We have, potentially, a couple of actors in mind who are known to us. Watch for an update next month.


Meanwhile… if any actors are interested (for a very modest fee) and available for a couple of days in the London area (timescale as yet unknown), the role descriptions are below!

  • Male, mid-40s to mid-50s, London accent
  • Male, late-20s to mid-30s, London accent
  • Female, over-50 (non-speaking)
  • Female, over-60 (non-speaking)
  • Male, mature, for voice-over (think John Motson)

Cheers!

Writing Time

I read somewhere that a screenplay should be 80 – 120 pages and will typically take about three months to complete a reasonable first draft. Add on another month for improvements and rewrites.

Of course, professionals writing for a TV company often have less than a week per episode but I’m a long way from that level! I have managed 8 pages for my short film – it was about a page longer but now it’s better quality. Based on the guidelines I was taught, 8 pages = 8 minutes of screen time.

  • According to Sundance: “a film that’s less than ten minutes has double the chances of being programmed” – so that’s good.
  • According to Hollyshorts; “You might find yourself in more festivals if you make a 5 minute short versus a 15 minute one” – also good.

And there’s some interesting stuff in this blog post from the New York Film Academy.


Meanwhile, I’ve progressed from the initial script approval to being asked to prepare a presentation for a pitch to investors and actors. I need to consider a time era and include a wish list of who I’d like to see perform the various roles.

It’s starting to get interesting!

Back on Track – Film stuff!

My interest in a film career started in 2011 and was sidetracked sometime after 2016 when Hollywood (or Pinewood, for that matter) didn’t thrust a contract in my direction. Without formal employment, I lapsed into making short promos for companies in and around London. It wasn’t easy, though, as I don’t have quality equipment or the means to invest in it.

Recently, someone threw me a lifeline. Nothing may come of it but it sparked something and I have resolved to resume work on some of the short film scripts that have been languishing in limbo for a couple of years.

We’ve all been “Waiting for Tamara” for a long time…

Opportunities in Film & Video

Recently, I’ve seen a couple of opportunities that are of interest: Dialogue Editor & Short Film Writer, which I’ve applied for. And… just in case any prospective employers/colleagues are checking out my blog, my filmography is below 😉

For these applications, I needed to select (1) a script where I’ve re-written most of the dialogue (Mr.King), (2) a dialogue-heavy short film script that I’ve written (Regret), plus (3) another short film script to demonstrate my versatility as a writer. Choosing the ‘best’ ones which are to be read by potential producers/directors was not easy.

Working titles of short scripts not yet filmed are: Tamara; Much Adieu; Greatest Hits; Confidence Trick. My roles in completed film shorts to date are in the list below:

  • Director
    • Regret (drama)
    • Psychosis (noir, thriller)
    • Resting (comedy)
  • First Assistant Director
    • Mr King (thriller)
    • Shame (drama)
  • Casting Director
    • Mr King (noir, thriller)
    • Good Boy (drama)
    • The Last Text (psychological thriller)
    • The Art of Trying (comedy)
    • Resting (comedy)
  • Scriptwriter
    • Regret (drama)
    • Resting (comedy)
    • Psychosis (noir, thriller)
  • Dialogue Editor
    • Mr King (thriller)
  • Editor
    • The End of a Nightmare (thriller) 1st editor
    • Resting (comedy) 1st editor
    • Unreal Estate (dark comedy) 2nd editor & trailer editor
    • The Art of Trying (comedy) 2nd editor
  • Other roles
    • Unreal Estate (gaffer)
    • In a Time Lapse (focus puller)
    • Misplaced (sound)
    • Resting (camera, cinematographer)

Additionally, a company that I occasionally freelance for has invited me to direct and edit a series of business messages for one of their clients’ websites.


Meanwhile, on the film-watching front, I’ve been re-visiting Lord of the Rings and, on TV, I’m looking forward to seeing the Netflix series, Altered Carbon. I hope I won’t be disappointed!


The featured image is of Marie Everett, playing the lead character in Regret.

_____________________

All the best for 2018!

Just when you think it’s all over…

Hooray, Hurrah… school’s out!!! As we attended our final day at the London Film Academy, I was invited back to develop one of my scripts and produce a short film of “Waiting for Tamara“, together with Ron Zlatkin as director.

The Academy offered to provide support in terms of equipment and facilities and suggested that some of their current students would be willing to volunteer as crew members as it’s a great opportunity for them. We are now working on finding a budget to cover other costs, such as location, cast and general expenses during the shoot.


Shout-out to Agents, Actors and Angels…
If you are able to support this project by donating your time or funding, please contact me by leaving a comment (comments are not public unless I approve them so you can leave your details). The deadline is approximately end of 2016 as we hope to start shooting in January.


I still have to assemble a few cuts from the films I’ve contributed to whilst attending the LFA and will be editing them into a new showreel of my recent work, reflecting various skills I’ve acquired in writing, directing and editing.

Meanwhile, the London Showcase will be held in November at the British Film Institute (BFI), where those of us who have passed will be presented with our diplomas. I achieved three merits, including scriptwriting and directing.

Onwards and Upwards!

4-minute Film Project

Following on from the previous post (2-minute Film Project) where I mentioned this project, I’ll now go into more detail. The film is called “Mr King” and was filmed over a long weekend, from Saturday 5th to Monday 7th March, 2016.

The script was submitted by Ron Zlatkin (Dutch), then Tamas (Thomas) Draviczki (Hungarian) won the pitch to direct it. As 1stAD, I was responsible for casting and we advertised, via various channels, for actors to apply for one of the three main roles by submitting their CV and showreel. There were more than 40 applications which were shortlisted to ten, then those actors were provided with a page from the script and invited to audition for their chosen role.

The standard was high and the three actors who were offered and accepted were excellent! (Keep in touch, guys!) They are:

The script needed improvement. I was asked to edit the script and also added some dialogue (hopefully, I’ll be credited 🙂 )* and the shoot went very smoothly. I went straight from this film to working on two others… then a few days off to recharge!

Here’s an excerpt from the edited script:

VIKTOR
“I don’t care… I’m dead anyway
so… just get on with it.”

Viktor closes his eyes and leans back on the chair as he
accepts his fate. Mr King Pulls the trigger three times.

MR KING
“Well, credit where it’s due, you
are very dedicated to this guy. Or
is there more than one? Who are
they? The club owners? They run out
of money? Or maybe the associations
are jealous that I make more money
than they do? Guess I’ll never
know… Oh. Silly me. I forgot the
bullet. What am I like?”

Mr King and Carter laugh. Manuel only smiles.
Viktor looks at Mr King in shock.

Editing begins next week. As usual, as soon as we get the green light to publish, I’ll let you know.


*Unfortunately, I’ve been told that it’s not Academy policy  😦 so I remain uncredited again.

2-minute Film Project

It’s quite an intensive schedule at the LFA plus a gruelling daily commute of more than 3 hours, so news updates may be posted a little sporadically but here goes…

I previously posted an excerpt from a script entitled “Regret” which I’ve now directed as a two minute short film project at the LFA.

Pre-production, the script underwent a few refinements to keep the story within the targeted maximum running time. Shooting was completed in a day in December 2015, and the film was ‘released’ in January 2016. Co-starring two actors, Marie Everett and Lucy Pickles, everyone seemed satisfied with the final cut which was well received by fellow students on the course.

(Hi Marie & Lucy – I hope you enjoyed working with us.)

Next project, I’m going to be 1st Assistant Director on a 4-minute film, written by Ron Zlatkin and directed by Tamas Draviczki. More about that in the next post…


LFA: First Term Completed & Visual Narratives

It’s Chriiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaaas! During the Autumn, we were filming short silent-ish films, known as Visual Narrative. In other words, the story had to be conveyed without relying on dialogue. The brief for the first film also called for the film to be edited in camera – using one camera, filming and editing each scene sequentially.

We worked in teams, filming over weekends in various locations near the Academy. We each directed our own scripts and it was interesting how some took much longer to complete than others. We were able to add mood music afterwards, during final editing.

Inspired by various directing styles, including Charlie Chaplin and Sergio Leone, I was most likely influenced by Edgar Wright’s filming techniques, as I wrote the first visual narrative as a comedy script just after reading a review of his work.

The second visual narrative was a complete contrast; a mystery thriller with two shots that, on reflection, remind me of Quentin Tarrantino and his ‘foot fetish’.  The rest could be considered ‘Hitchcockian’.

My (almost silent) films were well received by my peers and I plan to post them to my show reel page. At LFA, we work in teams so, as well as writing and directing my VN films, I was responsible for lighting one of the others – a thriller – and I acted in another of the films – a comedy.

Finally, towards the end of term, we had another film project which I’ll cover in the next post, in the new year.

Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy my festive break and hope to be totally refreshed for 2016. Happy Christmas everyone!

Script: Regret

Excerpt from script written for an assignment at Lincoln University.

INT. KITCHEN. DAY.

A MAN (Name TBD) is keeping busy, back to camera, talking to a character who is off screen.

MAN
(Laughing slightly at his own story)
So then Connor said that he’d look into it if he had the time, not knowing that Edward had already done it! And he…

MAN2
(Exasperatedly)
Oh my God, shut up, I already know.

MAN
Sorry?

MAN2
You’ve told me the story before.

MAN
Oh. Sorry. My mind must be going.
(Slight laugh)

 MAN2
Quite a few times, actually.

 MAN
Yeah, alright…

Man continues to work, reaching for some tea. He reaches into his pocket and gets out a stress relief ball and starts squeezing it.

MAN
(Mumbling to himself)

Most people would just smile and nod politely but NOOOO, “My time is precious, stop telling me the same stuff over and over again and shut up.” Not even a simple “Sorry, I think you’ve told me this before.” No “This rings a bell.” Just plain and simple, “Shut up, I don’t give a damn. Stop talking right now and make my damned tea!”! how courteous. How kind. How… how.. expected.

 MAN2
Two sugars.

Man continues to make the drink, his anger more apparent as he slams cupboards and mugs.

MAN
(Still mumbling to himself)
“And of course he’s SO dumb, he won’t be able to remember a simple tea request, I think I’ll remind him! What was that? You DO remember how to make the drink you make for me at least twice a day because I’m too damned lazy? INCREDIBLE! Who knew your tiny mind was capable of such incredible feats!? Do you know how to breathe as well? You do?! MARVELOUS!!”

That’s all I’m revealing for now folks… I may make this into a short film one day!

Scripts written at NHC

Psychosis – screenplay based on a story co-written by Rhianne Deal and myself. First screened at the Broadhall Cinema, Letchworth.

Resting – screenplay heavily influenced by the script of Withnail & I.

Animation: ‘Phones in Cars – we had to write a short animation to promote safety. The group chose my script and we made the animation.

 

All films are available on the showreel page.