Sunday, August 28, 2011

Still to Life: Storyboards

I'm going to cop to it right now. I have only the most basic understanding of how storyboarding works. I'm trying to learn that right now, and I've found some useful stuff in my journeys I thought I would share.

Karen J. Lloyd is a professional storyboard artist who runs an awesome blog about the art form. She also offers a very swanky set of storyboard templates in a variety of aspect ratios that you can download for free. All you have to do is sign up for her mailing list.

Here's the link to her blog: Karen J. Lloyd's Storyboard Templates

There's aslo a great book I've owned for years that examines all aspects of visual storytelling. This is a book I've used constantly and highly recommend to everyone looking to make a movie that hasn't attended film school. In addition to all its useful information in regards to different types of shots and staging, there's a large chapter about storyboarding. It even includes complete storyboards for an unused opening to Blade Runner, which is really cool if you're a fan.

Here's a direct link to that: Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen (Michael Wiese Productions)

I hope this helps. I'll continue to update on storyboards as I get better at it. The final draft of the script will be done for the 15th of September, and after it gets copyrighted I'll start talking a bit more about the specifics of Admirer.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Well Oiled Machine: Start Writing

So you have a great idea for a movie. It's going to be great! What most people will tell you is to just start writing it.

Well, I don't entirely agree with that.

True, you have to get going as soon as possible, and writing as much as you can. However, just sitting down with Microsoft Word open is setting yourself up for some challenges.

First thing you need to do is write yourself a basic idea of what the story is. You may not have it all figured out, and that's alright, but write down what you have. Maybe doing this will help you figure out the rest of it. That's what happened for me. Don't worry too much about dialogue or big descriptions unless it's really important to the plot. This is going to be your outline.

You'll often see structures for outlines, telling you what to put on which page and things like that. Don't worry about that. Those outlines are for people that are pitching ideas. You already know you're writing it, so this outline is for you. Use it to gather all of your ideas together. It can be as short or as long as you want, but I'd recommend keeping it around 3-5 pages. It's meant to be organized, so if it becomes a sprawling short story the point is slightly defeated.

Once you have that, and you know where you're going, don't start writing until you can do it in proper format. Eventually you'll want to switch to proper format, so you may as well start there and save yourself the trouble. Most writers use programs like Final Draft, but they are expensive. There are free screenwriting programs you can get that are surprisingly full featured. The most popular is one called Celtx. Take a little time to figure how to use your preferred method, then get writing!

I'll post again to talk a little about story structure and the creative side of things, but this should get you going. Again, this is what I did when I wrote MY Script. There's plenty of other ways to do it, and no way is right or wrong.

Below are some useful links, the first is to the free program CELTX, then two paid but great programs, Movie Magic Screenwriter and Final Draft. Clicking links from this site helps us make the movie, so please feel free to check them out!


Movie Magic Screenwriter Version 6

Final Draft Version 8

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Start of it All

Hello everyone!

My name is Spencer Jenkins, and I am the writer/director of a new no-budget film called "Admirer." This space will be dedicated to posting updates and information about how we are doing what we are doing throughout the production of the film.

Before we start talking about "how" I want to give you a little "why." This project originated about 8 years ago in high school. My friends and I, who often experimented with short films, were going to actually write one for a change. So we came up with a simple idea, a man following someone, and went with it. Over the years, it grew from 5 pages, to 10, to 20 and so on. Somehow it never really got off the ground.

After High School, my friends and I went off in our own directions for a while. My direction was to go to New York City to study acting. This experience not only opened me up as an actor, but to all sorts of other creativity. I took writing classes, I learned stage combat, I learned about cameras, auditioning. All things that I could bring to a project.

Then I came back, and we all reunited. We realized that "Admirer" kept popping up in conversations and just wouldn't go away. I started writing it again when I had time.

Over a year later, here we are with a full length feature film script. And you know what? We're all sick of talking about it. It's time to do it.

We have no money. Barely any equipment. No expertise. All we have is the creativity we each can bring to the table and a desire to work on something we love.

So four friends from high school, Spencer Jenkins, John Charles Mercurio, Kyle Molldene and Tony Diaz, are setting out to make a no budget, action packed feature film they've been dreaming of for more than a decade.

What I want to do here in this blog is update not only about the film, but how we're making it. We have to get creative with how we do things, and we want to share that with anyone who is interested. Maybe it will inspire someone, or give them the foundations that can lead to bigger and better ideas.

In the coming week I will add some more info about the movie itself and the writing process. I'll also update on the equipment we are currently amassing, as well as some helpful links.

Additionally, if you like what we're doing and what to support us, we are going to be launching a Kickstarter campaign in the fall. The amount we're trying to raise will be very modest.

Thanks for reading!