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The differences that will help you write a great script
I think there are two areas of film writing and filmmaking that have big futures: very low budget small productions designed with web distribution in mind from the start, and international co-productions (but not on the old “we’ll have one German, one British, and one French actor…”) model. If you’re interested in getting in on the ground floor of the new model of international co-production and have the time and funds, this could be of interest:
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS MASTER SCREENWRITING
For Writers, Directors, Editors, Sound-Designers, Producers and everyone who shows strong artistic skills in writing and wishes to develop feature films for the international film market.
This Master program is a collaboration between the ifs internationale filmschule köln in Cologne, Germany, the School of Media, Music and Performance at the
University of Salford in Manchester, UK, and the Tampere Art and Media School at the University of Applied Sciences in Tampere, Finland.
This program offers writers an environment in which to develop scripts for an international market that are not only innovative, but also commercially viable. The program’s key objective is to strengthen the economic and creative viability of European writers, and offers access to an exclusive European network while encouraging intensive dialogue between students.
In the course of the program, students will complete two feature film scripts.
It starts in Tampere in September 2012 and continues in Salford in the second semester, completed by an intensive writing period in the students’ home countries.
Application deadline is May 3, 2012.
The online application is available on www.filmschule.de. If you require additional information, please contact Julia Grünewald, Head of Screenwriting Dept. ifs
Film school used to be the way to get a job or up your chances of selling your projects in Hollywood. Now the studios are making bigger and fewer movies and the action is shifting to other platforms.
On The Wrap, Brent Lang writes, “In the digital age, institutions including New York University, the University of California, Los Angeles and Boston University have torn down the old barriers between teaching television and film production, and merged film and interactive departments. The internet age has led film schools to encourage students to think about narrative in different ways than their predecessors did.”
He quotes Bob Bassett, dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts: “Twenty years ago, people went to film school to become the best filmmaker they could become so they could go out and make films. Today, they have to be much more calculating about developing their skills, because those skills are what lead to paying jobs.”
The new outlets: YouTube, Funny or Die, and other sites, as well the the more adventurous cable TV outfits. YouTube has joined with various companies to start new channels. I wouldn’t be surprised if before too long we’re watching Facebook TV.
The formats are new, too. On the internet there’s no particular reason to think of programs in chunks of 30 or 60 minutes. There’s room for stories that take 30 seconds, and for all kinds of media combinations and interactivity.
I’ve always felt that the one big advantage of going to film school is the contacts you can make. You needed a path to reaching the powerful people who ran the film business. The digital media landscape is much broader and you have more ways in. I’m not naive enough to think it no longer matters who you know, just that it matters a bit less than it used to.
Does it make sense at all to go to even the new versions of film school—what I’d call digitelefilm school? Sure–you’ll learn a lot and find collaborators and make useful connections, too. That’s if you can afford it or don’t mind racking up big student loans. Otherwise, get out your Flip or point your New iPad at some actors, or teach yourself Flash or HTML5 animation, or make some stop-motion figurines and make something brilliant.
(What you still need is a good script–which is the missing link in most productions made for the web. A good place to start is my book, “Your Writing Coach,” published by Nicholas Brealey and available from Amazon and other booksellers. It’s not specifically about writing scripts but it IS about crafting the kinds of solid characters and storylines you need.)
Having recently seen the wonderful film Hugo, it’s hard to believe that it was directed by the same man who directed Taxi Driver and so many hard-edged gangster films. It’s sad that Hugo has been such a flop at the box office, Scorsese deserved success with it.
Anyway, if you’d like to get a peek at his storyboards for Taxi Driver, I found some of them at the site OldHollywood.tumblr.com and you can see them here. Good luck trying to read the captions, but it’s interesting to look at his sketches.
Below is a two-part video of Scorsese talking about Taxi Driver, its influences, and why it was a labor of love (they are about 8 minutes long each).
Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver – part one
Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver – part two