Monday, November 26, 2012

Total Words Written Today

I've been away, in my head, writing. I just finished the first draft of a novel called FLOAT. I signed up to NaNoWriMo this year as an incentive to write 50,000 words (that's 145 pages in old money) in one month. As it turned I wrote that in three weeks, not bad going! It is of course only the first draft, so more like 50,000 words of ideas and notes! But still, it's on paper. It's a start.

Mock-up Cover for FLOAT
I didn't really get into the whole NaNoWriMo thing, the community, the forums etc. I'm not big on clubs and clicks etc. Always preferred to do my own thing at my own pace. I really just availed of the online word counter! Which I could have done myself I suppose, but there was something different about it being live and online. An incentive I suppose. Which I guess is why the whole thing works.

I enjoyed the process, it was nice to write just to write and not to have to worry about trying to put it into production at the end of it. Philip Reeve once said to me "I much prefer writing - 5000 warriors appeared at the top of the hill, without having to worry about providing lunch for all of them!"

So often what I write is just the start. So this was certainly refreshing. It also showed me it could be done. And relatively quickly. I have three of four, maybe even five, half written novels on my computer right now. All of which I enjoyed writing and was very excited about at the time, still am. I think I just ran out of steam or moved onto other things.

I also found on this that it was right between the 20,000 and 30,000 word mark that I started to slow down. I started to feel like I was running out of ideas and steam and perhaps wouldn't finish it. But I muscled through. I got myself out of the corner and I ended up writing to the end very quickly. As it happens all the other books I've started are stuck between 20,000 and 30,000 words! A lesson? I think so.

So now I go back in. It came out as quite a short book. I had planned to go on, hit other points, but when I got past a certain point in the story, a lot of things came to a head and it felt natural to end it where I did, leaving a lot of things explained, but a lot unfinished and open. I guess that means there's going to be a sequel! But then again, I could go back in and find away to bring the lose ends in earlier so everything is tied up at the end. Though it's good to leave it somewhat open ended, let the characters live on somewhere.

It was a very enjoyable experienced. I've always said my favourite part of filmmaking is the writing, it always has been. I enjoy everything about it, the ideas, the storytelling, sitting down and letting it flow, being lost in my imagination and that feeling of being witness to something, like a war photographer, trying to capture a moment before it has passed.

I'll definately keep writing like this. It's something I've always wanted to do but have always been distracted, usually by writing... screenwriting! But I love the idea of the pure, uncompromised, story. Might be the way of the future!?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Of The People.

I have an idea. And it's kind of what I already do, I've just never thought of it this way before. Community Based Filmmaking. Films that are funded by the local community, about the local community, for the local community and by local talent.

What I've always done, is to hold fundrasiers in my hometown. They've always provided me with at least a quarter the budget of my films, sometimes more. And then I raise the rest elsewhere, online, personal loans etc. Then I go off and make the film I want to make, without restriction, without committee. I'm entirely independent. All my films have been based in my home town and are largely about my hometown. When they're done, I show them locally, to the people who partially funded them and they have always been well received. And they have screened here in Drogheda numerous times.

So why not have this be a regular thing, an acknowledged and practiced thing. That every few months a filmmaker is given money, donnated by the locals, based on an idea presented by the filmmaker, to go and make his film. It can be fiction, short, feature length, documentary, whatever he/she choses. It's about creative freedom too.

The filmmaker then uses his/her talent and resources to put the film together as they normally would, but perhaps using more local talent if they don't normally, local crew and cast. And they make an effort to shoot in the town, and about the town, and it's people.

It might sound a little restrictive, but I don't think it is. There are thousands of stories, interesting, inspiring, heartbreaking stories right outside your front door. They've been building up inside you all your life. Besides, so far I've made a drama, a comedy, a thriller, a documentary, a experimental arty piece... all outside my front door. So anything you're inspired to do is acceptable.

It's not about committees or focus groups or regulations deciding what you can and can't make. I cant be that. That would kill it stone dead. I'm just talking about being more focused in the community. In your town. And thinking about you film not just in globabl terms, in "Shaking the dust of this crumby town" as George Bailey once said, or getting to festivals etc. which of course you'll do, but it's about the films being for the people of you town. A more home grown approach to local cinema.

I guarantee these films will do well. If you're honest and hard working with them. Because if their routed in the town you know, about the people and places you know, they will relate in towns all over the world.

Just something to think about when you're starting out. Or looking for a new angle with your projects.

Addition: Money can also come from local businesses, or sponsorship in the form of food for crew etc. All for credit and press credit on websites etc.

The films are about the community, the town, the people, so in effect they promote the town and if the films travel they will do that on a global scale.