Reflections… The Impact Of Our Words By Dee Chilton

Being involved in the whole script-to-screen process of our two short films, has taught me much about translating my stories for the screen, as well as what each team member involved brings to the party, be it pre or post production or on set.

As others have already blogged, you cannot put a price on the invaluable lessons this allows you as a writer to understand what your carefully chosen words mean to a film cast and crew and, as a crew member, producer or director, how those words are used to bring the characters and story to life.

I’d written, “a remote lake” (H2O). Ever tried to find a lake with no ambient noise then get a cast, crew and equipment there (and as for weather and light, let’s not even go there). We did all this, and more, but oh what fun we had. I now appreciate more how my ‘simple’ words can mean a not-so simple shot or location etc.

I’d written, “beyond the glass” in ‘Music to Die For’. Cue: how to shoot that without reflections of the crew/equipment? How to then put a reflection into it as, without that, it will look like there’s no glass and it needs it to look like there is? I’m fortunate (and truly honoured) to have seen how two different teams approached and overcame this issue, and to have two interpretations of the same script that are so very different but equally beautiful.

Reflect on this; are you doing much next weekend? What COULD you be doing?

There’s still time for you to stamp your creative vision on a couple of pages of words. Still time to grab a camera (your phone, a DSLR or whatever you have to hand), get together with some friends and create a short film from a 2-page script. There are 55 ready to go scripts sitting there waiting for you.

There’s plenty of easy to shoot one or two hander scripts with single locations you could have a go at. It says ‘Lake’ but you’ve not got a lake? Shoot it by a river, the sea or a golf course pond. Not got two young boy actors? Use two females or one of each, or make them older. Still stuck? Ask your local Am Dram group for help. Location a problem? Play with the idea and find a creative substitute. You could work with the writer to adapt it to your own needs with regards cast or location etc.

If you wrote one of the 2000+ submitted scripts, why not make your film FOR FUN? If it’s not one of the 55 ‘winners’, you could shoot one of those as well – yours then becomes a ‘wild card’, meaning both can be submitted for inclusion in the initiative… even if the winner you shoot is not as good as your own film! You never know, one of your films might even make the final selection for the feature film.

Thing is, that’s just the icing on the cake really. The most important outcome is that you’ll have created something tangible and been part of this amazing opportunity to expand your understanding and experience; you will have taken positive ACTION for yourself.

If you don’t feel able or want to shoot a film, then at least consider being part of the process. Get onto the site and read scripts, watch films and post some constructive feedback to help the filmmakers working towards their final edit. When you do, reflect on the process they will have gone through to get those shots. Like I said, invaluable.

Dee Chilton

Impact50 Screenwriter

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