Monday, June 09, 2008

Mid-West Weather/More Writing/New Stuff/other thoughts

First and foremost I want to say that I have been reading the news about the bad weather in the mid-west all weekend. I hope that my friends out there are doing okay. I’ve sent some e-mails to check in. I can’t believe all the bad weather you have been getting back there. Take care of yourselves.

And to my friends in the Franklin, Indiana area, (home to the Indy Film Co-op), I heard your town was really hit hard. I am so sorry. It was a beautiful town and I hope the flooding doesn’t have lasting effects. Good luck with the clean up, whenever that can start. I understand that you’re getting more rain later today. I hope you are all safe.

Take care and know that I’m thinking about you guys. I wish I could be back there to help.

From my previous blog.

Writing continued…

When I give my scripts to people I trust, I also give them a questionnaire so I can find out specific things about my story and characters. I want to know who they like, and why? I want to know if the story drags anywhere, does anything not make sense. I want them to put their thoughts in writing. That way I can compare their thoughts with others. Does more than one person have the same problem with a character or plot point? The more people agree on certain things within your script the more you know what is working, and what isn’t.

After talking to everyone, I go through all the notes and make comparisons. That usually tells me what I need to work on. I will do another draft or two and then hand my revised screenplay to the second group of people. They also get a questionnaire that usually contains the same questions that I asked the first group.

I want to see if I fixed the problems from the earlier drafts. I also want to know if I have created any new problems. Depending on the response tells me how many more drafts I will need to write.

The group that I have put together over the years is very important to me. They come from all walks of life and have all sorts of different points of view. Only one of them is a filmmaker. He is also a novelist. I rarely have other filmmakers read my scripts. Why?

Most filmmakers can’t separate themselves from their craft. They always want to talk about how I’m going to shoot something, what kind of gear I’m going to use, or they will compare my script to something else they’ve seen. (Film Geeks are even worse in this aspect.) That doesn’t help me at all! I want people who like films, but are more interested in character development and plot then blood, special effects and explosions.

I also want people who will be honest with me about the script. When someone says your script “sucks”, walk away. You will never learn anything from that person. If a person tells you they had some problems with your story and they have some questions, open your ears. You are (hopefully) going to be told honestly about problems with your story.

Many people have their own agendas when discussing your work, and that’s fine as long as you are aware of that. I always tell people that your parents and your friends will always tell you that your scripts (and films) are great. They don’t want to disappoint you.

I don’t have that problem. I can tell people that I have problems with their scripts and WHY! Why is a big thing. You need to explain why something doesn’t work for you. That helps the writer to understand where your criticism is coming from.

When I was at USC they would rip our films up one side and down the other. It was some of the meanest criticism I have ever seen and experienced. The faculty there wanted to know how badly you wanted to make films. We had a 50% drop out rate with the group that I started with.

I now have extremely thick skin and I’m smart enough to know that someone may not like my work but that doesn’t mean they don’t like me. It just means that I made something that they don’t like. That’s fine. You can’t please everyone all the time. (There are a lot of people who don’t like me or my work, trust me, I am not losing sleep over it.)

More on writing next week.

Your Angry Filmmaker Tip.

The Gospel According to Arthur: "Don't ask. Don't get!"

- - from The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide (coming really soon)

Other thoughts.

I am not sure what’s going to be happening with my Masters Class in Filmmaking this summer through the Franklin Film Institute. Let’s see what happens with the damage in the town. Go to and we’ll post details as we know them. I’ll also post them here as well.

Find out more about the Angry Filmmaker @ There are a lot of great tips contained in my work books. Buy one and see for yourself. You just might learn something.

I have also posted some new stuff on the site. Check out Odds & Ends, and the new page, The AF Speaks. Links to both are on the Home page,

Take care, Bill, Josh, and all my other friends back in the mid-west. - - Kelley

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