Even though we are still editing Don’s Short What would Jesuses Do? We met this past week and started to plan a new short based on a idea that I had many years ago in University while listening to a Death Cab For Cutie song. We started this by first mapping out the idea. I used a mind map software to block out what needs to happen in the order that it should happen but there is nothing to say that you could’t just use old fashioned paper. I then sent it over to Sean (who is still the man when it comes to all things writing) and we chatted about the mood and direction a little bit and together we roughed out an outline script. For our script collaborations we have been using Celtx which is some pretty awesome cloud based script and planning software that has been allowing us to do the writing together. I can have an idea and add it in and Sean can tweak it and send it back or vice versa. The Celtx Studio also includes a number of other tools including story boarding and index cards as well as more advance tools like budgeting and script breakdowns.
What is a Script Breakdown
A script breakdown for us generally happens when the script is locked (meaning complete as we can make it) we go though the script making note of all the technical elements required as well as props and VFX that we will need to make the filming all happen smoothly.
You can also do this by printing your script and highlighting the different parts and sections in different colours. But Celtx tracks these props and what not and can allow you to make reports and print out lists of things you will need for each scene. We haven’t used a lot of these features as of yet as our productions have been small and relatively simple, but I would have loved to have this for when we Filmed ‘Writers Blocked’ as we had a large number of quick scenes that all required there own props and different VFX that we actually quite hard to keep track when filmed one part at a time over the course of a month or so!
Once we have done this I will generally make a shot list as well. This can also be done in celtx but we haven’t utilized it quite yet sticking instead to simple pen & Paper for example when we Filmed Unit One I went though the script line by line and section by section and wrote out each shot we would require from start to end looking at what was happening in the script and determining wether we want a wide shot of them here then close to her here and they close over her shoulder on him etc..
I then took the script and printed it out labeling each scene with a scene number. I grabbed the shot list and reordered each shot based on the setting (all the shots that were upstairs in the Loft were grouped together) labeled them with the appropriate scene number that I just laid out on the script. Now being that you often shoot things out of order depending on peoples availability and how the shot is set up you may have a shot list that contains consecutive shots from multiple scenes.
Again using Unit One as the example, we shot all the shots that happened upstairs all at once. Because we did the same kind of shot with many people we actually set up the shot from Anna’s point of view and shot every one that need to be at that angle. we then reset the camera up facing the other way and shot them all again from the other way. Each one of those was technically from a different scene. So the slate (if we did it correctly that is) would have read 1A for a wide of Sean coming up the stairs 1B for a medium of sean coming up the stairs 1C for the reverse wide 1D for the reverse Medium and 1E the phone insert – 2A for Don and 2B for the reverse 2C for a closer shot and 3A for Andrew coming up the stairs and 3B for the Reverse Etc… So our reordered shot list looked like this
1A-Wide of Sean coming up the stairs
2A-Wide of Don coming up the stairs
3A-Wide of Andrew coming up the stairs
4A-Wide of Spencer coming up the stairs
1B-Medium of Sean coming up the stairs
2B-Medium of Don coming up the stairs
3B-Medium of Andrew coming up the stairs
4B-Medium of Spencer coming up the stairs
1C-Wide Reverse of Sean coming up the stairs
2C-Wide Reverse of Don coming up the stairs
3C-Wide Reverse of Andrew coming up the stairs
4C-Wide Reverse of Spencer coming up the stairs
1E-Medium Reverse of Sean coming up the stairs
2E-Medium Reverse of Don coming up the stairs
3E-Medium Reverse of Andrew coming up the stairs
4E-Medium Reverse of Spencer coming up the stairs
You get the point. Because we had the shot list laid out we could just go down the list and grab everything we needed in as efficient a manner as we could with minimal camera/lighting setups while ensuring that all shots were grabbed.
Back to the new Idea.
Now coming back to the new script idea and last weeks meeting. Sean & I had essentially laid out the framework for the script before hand & brought this to the group to get other opinions and new ideas on motivations. We left Sean and his EMD playlist to do his genius INSERT: VIDEO while we chatted about other new ideas, and by the end of the night he essentially had laid out the better part of the script complete with dialogue and setting. We did a quick read though, sean tweaked the script, and we were able to essentially lock the script by the end of the meeting.
So I am an ambitious guy! Always that descriptor can be pretty much applied to me! I was so excited about this script that I essentially wanted to film it right away! Looking at schedules of people and what not we tentitvly decided that we could attempt the bulk of this over this upcoming Tuesday & Wednesday evenings. Allie, who we cast on the spot, was free and….. well…. this is where we fell into the scheduling nightmare that is a group of talented folks who are all doing many cool things.
Seriously the moment we started working on casting the film, we immediately ran into the issues of scheduling. I spent the better part of Wednesday morning just trying to hash out when people were available, who could act in it, crew it, things like that. All of which led us to realize that we need some sort of scheduling or availability system. Something that we could all put our availability into so at a glance we could say Hey Don, Sean and Allie and Shannon are all available on Tuesday at 3 o’clock we could do something then
The obvious answer is Google Calendar except Google Calendar is great at tracking when you are booked not necessarily when you are free. I mean you can obviously put in an appointment as your availability but we wondered if there was better solutions. We looked at other things like doodle.com which are great if you have a few dates and time that you are proposing! Well looked at other options like basecamp and the like but we haven’t found what works best yet. If folks have suggestions on things to check out let us know in the comments.
All that said we couldn’t come up with a filming time before the 12th of Sept so that should be when you start seeing us chat that up again. We are doing a read though with Allie and Tim tonight so we will have fun with that!
For this short we obviously need a place to film it. I had thought about the river area near the Capilano Fish hatchery but after checking it out it didn’t offer the grandiose bridge shot that we were looking for! so Corbin & did some more scouting.
Other New projects
We also have a couple of new scripts from Don that are pretty awesome! The one would be a slightly complicated production, requiring a room of well dressed intellectuals and disappearing architectural features. So that might be out of our range right now! Noah has come up with a great idea about pissing people off for a bite of a whopper that I would love to explore this week. I have another idea
Where are we with the Other projects
The Pretentious Art Film is still tucking along! Sean & I are close to nailing out the rough script. We read though what we have with the every lovely Abigail last week and I am liking where this is going! If all goes to plan we should be able to start filming in the early fall. We started designing the sets and the props for the main Apartment