03/14 Group Reading + Feedback

 

Today we read my script in Filmshop, a great way to hear and understand your script differently, and receive intelligent, thoughtful, invested feedback.

But! Before that -- Randy read the script, this morning. He gave a note I thought was really good: that people usually try to avoid conflict, not stir it up. One of the characters in my script stirs it up. In fact, her character is called 'Instigator.' Going back in, to make her a bit reticent to stir the pot, I changed her completely, and I think I made things better. It actually meant turning her into two characters! One embarrassed of her friend, and the friend who is really trying to be well-mannered but just can't help it. Not sure this is ultimately the right call, but for now it works.

The script I brought to FS tonight it a whopping nine pages. It used to be seven and has only ever supposed to have been five. It fields unwieldy and that it's in the "ugly kid" phase. It'll get where it needs to go, but it sure ain't there now.  A good time for feedback!

The readers were excellent. I think even when just doing a table read with friends, it's important to think about casting. Who IS a particular part? Who might be bring something surprising? Who will butcher it because of whatever affects etc. you know they have? I have to say that some of the choices went very well tonight and may ultimately lead to actual casting decisions. 

Other than going into the feedback session with open curiosity, I had the one specific question regarding the believability of my script. I often write pretty heightened characters and plot points. While I want to continue to do that, I don't want them to break the suspension of belief. Actually, I think it's this narrow line that a lot of my favorite filmmakers toe so well! 

The reading went well. Lots of laughs and people believed the world, the characters, the events. It is absurdly over-the-top but never questioned. I think the most substantial notes I took away were:

- consolidate some of the characters
- there is a lot of funny dialogue, but the characters don't need to all always respond to everything; pinpoint their 'moments' more.
- end can get way more concise; beginning can also be compressed
- heighten the stakes by broadening the world just a bit -- show how far the main character has to fall

There was also fun conversation about the lead character's motivations, and how changing them would help or hurt the end. It could go a few different ways. It's fun to consider the other ways, but I think I like the way I've got now, I just need to sort of, enhance it. 

My goal next week is to head back in with these notes! I also might add to make the script FIVE PAGES. Maybe six. No. Five! Ugh.

The great thing about FS is also that people volunteered to help out, which I need! This will mean trading favors, but I'm happy to do it. In particular, Arielle offered to edit! Arielle Apfel is a comedic genius and so this is very exciting. She and I co-directed a short together last year and I look forward to helping her do whatever she needs on whatever project she has coming up next.

We also gave feedback on Hillary's pilot tonight. It's this project for which her short is a proof-of-concept. The reading went really well. The script is unique and personal, providing insight into a niche world that not all of us know much about, and yet is so universal and relatable. I want to be able to watch it!

In other news my phone was stolen (stolen from the street, where it was hanging out because it fell out of my jacket pocket; but "stolen" sounds so better than "lost"). In a dramatic stake-out that I will surely make into a short of its own one day, I used the "Find My Phone" app on my computer and ended up in a restaurant down the street from my apartment, where my phone ended up before the culprit turned it off and I lost connection to track it. So, unfortunately I did not find my phone in that restaurant, but a delicious chicken torta provided at least a bit of a silver lining.