Friday, May 8, 2009

Nicholl and Me: Finally did it

Yes, that's right. I entered Nicholl this year with a coming of age drama about college, peer pressure and the plight of the beautiful woman. It always gets good grades but it's hard to make a movie about college with no smoking, drinking, drugs or sex.

I did think that college was about higher learning, not "higher" learning. Pardon the pun. I really believe in the demographic potential of the film so my fingers aren't crossed. I just hope that someone judges the thing on what it is, not what it isn't.

Anyway good luck to me. My next several have been dragging because of my day job, but I'm starting to get back into the groove. I was "blocked" on one BIG scene in my thriller and I left it alone for a month or so while I sharpened some new projects and actually broke the 100 outline start milestone.

If only I could sell that. :-)

Anyway, I think I am doing more complex plot structures now. My first few were meant to be simple plots with good characters. I've been told I accomplished that. I've had a lot of good help along the way and I appreciate them and all the discourse hopefully to come. They're all in my link list for those who manage to venture this way.

I've actually been modeling my progress along the lines of Tisch and USC Fine Arts schools. It's been paying off. My concepts are more aligned with Godard, Deleuze, Welles, Hitchcock than the "guru crowd:" no offense meant. There's nothing wrong with writing "Screenwriting for Dummies." It does though provide a real glut of "not well-thought out" material, where anyone with a couple of bucks for a program thinks this is easy because they're special.

Rather than writers starting out with something that happened down the street they go to exotic, hard-to-film locations and think act breaks make a movie. Of course, you want to stand out but look at Juno. Simple story, unique dialog. Even superhero movies are "location-accessible" for large audiences.

Anyway, rant over. The day job is getting on my nerves right now.

But being a Mechanical Engineer means a need for complex learning methods.


Anonymous said...

Good luck with the Nichol. Saw your post on Wordplayer.

Christian M. Howell said...


Eric said...

Indeed, best of luck with the big Nic.

When's the next post coming? Some good stuff here.

Christian M. Howell said...

Thanks much Eric. I'm so bus right now I'm not sure what day it is.

I think I'm goign to do a pure cinema post soon. Meaning it will be more about film making than screenwriting.

More screenwriters need to think like directors and cinematographers.

Eric said...

Indeed. And think like actors. The more I learn about acting, the more I rethink my approach to dialogue.

Christian M. Howell said...

Yeah, I put dialog much higher than "plot." A lot of cool lines can make a story better than a "twist."

Whereas more people quote "I see dead people" but only analysts mention the twist - which btw was just an eliminated scene that created ambiguity.

I guess the search for "cool lines" has frustrated many a writer and destroyed many a movie. Thinking like the character (actor) helps a lot. I try to imagine motion with speech because even two people in a room will move around, talk with their hands, change their expression, etc. That's where your dialog needs to go.
Always be emotional rather than clever.