Sunday, May 28, 2006

Writing a script

A few weeks ago I mentioned the birth of a movie[^].

That was the high level view. Robin, Heino and I spent maybe 6 months on the script and argued for hours about the exact wording of a line. Since we had a limited budget we had to be sure that a location was available and 'looked' right; no money to build a set. Consequently we spent many a weekend afternoon driving around Melbourne championing this location over that; arguing and compromising, acting out scenes to see if they worked.

Heino was the professional working in the industry and I had little difficulty accepting his arguments for or against specific locations. In much the same way that I look at a programming problem and can 'see' the code in my head I imagine he looks at a location and 'sees' camera angles and sight lines and lighting.

I'll admit that I did relinquish the odd location with regrets but when it came time for the shoot it turned out that he was right.

We have some footage shot by Robin of our location scouting. One in particular that sticks in my head was shot on May 26 1990 at Angliss Park in West Footscray, less than a mile from where I eventually bought a house[^]. By coincidence this was the same park I ran through on the only occasion I ever won a race[^]! It wasn't a park then. It was waste ground!

The script at that point called for the villains to emerge from a drain, closely followed by Scarless and the gang. We had the drain so we wanted to see how it could be shot. Heino acted it out as he saw it, having placed us where he'd have placed the camera for a real shoot.

He emerged from the drain, clambered over some rocks and up a slope on the other side of the creek from us. At exactly the same moment two terriers sighted him and went for the attack. Loud buggers yapping and yelping as only that most annoying of dogs, the terrier, can, and completely unexpected. Heino turned and ran back, terriers snapping at his heels. Well it was funnier than that explanation makes it seem! :-)

I'd be lying if I said it was hard work. Well no, not lying, but not telling the complete truth either. It was hard work but it was also a lot of fun planning it all out and imagining how our movie would look.

We'd started planning in January. By the end of May we had enough of the script finalised that it was time to stop futzing around and start planning the shoot itself!

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