How do you create energy around your feature film script? Forward momentum is essential, not just to keep you motivated as you write but to cut through all the other projects being pushed equally hard by everyone else out there.
I’ve just decided to go to Arizona to research my feature script, ‘Anchor Baby’, and recce locations. It was already a goal for this spring but setting the date and checking out flights has created a huge swell of energy and excitement. I feel like I’m in production already.
DON’T WAIT FOR PERMISSION
Features are so expensive and take so long to develop and make that you can often die of old age while the deals are being done – and undone – and done again. As a first or even second time director you are under a lot of scrutiny – can you carry a multi-million dollar movie? A lot of money is at stake so it’s a fair question but if you wait for someone to say yes, it’s OK, you could be waiting a long time. The popularity of Kickstarter and Indiegogo is testament to film makers who don’t want to wait for permission anymore. The digital revolution and the internet mean you now have the option to take some or even all of the movie making process into your own hands.
ACT LIKE IT’S TELEVISION.
The long development period on features can get you down. Working on TV shows I’ve learned that things happen fast. You are given a deadline and you have to stick to it. And with a lot of prep and hard work, everything can happen on schedule, on time and turn out pretty damn good too. Instead of looking forward into an uncertain future, be your own commissioning editor and give your project the green light – and a delivery date.
THINK LIKE A DIRECTOR
Go to the location that inspired your script – and take some shots, even shoot a trailer, visualise the scenes you’ve written. Make mood boards of inspiring images – costumes for characters, colours for sets. They could become part of your development package and, even if they don’t, they’ll help you be more specific in your writing as you’ll know what your world looks like.
JUMP BEFORE YOU’RE READY
If the script isn’t there yet, write it while you’re looking at the locations. Rewrite it while you’re casting, finesse it in rehearsals. The script has to be strong, but if sitting behind a desk is getting you down, start planning the movie and use that pressure to work harder and faster.
All these ideas come down to one thing and one thing only. Don’t let your movie exist only in your head… MAKE IT REAL.
If you’re not sure how to do this, brainstorm ideas with friends. How do you create energy around your projects? Leave a comment here or tweet me @emlin32 on Twitter.