The Script is the Backbone of a Movie – Don’t Neglect it

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Don’t be a filmmaker that neglects the importance of a sound script because you feel you have a can’t miss movie idea, a buddy that has some film equipment, a hook up on some locations, and have some awesome talent all fired up to be in your movie. I knew this cocky wannabe Hollywood director type that strutted around like a rooster. He had a sure fire hit movie idea along with access to free film equipment he received through a friend. He not only lined up a couple of plush pads as locations, but also had full access to a hip bar near Hollywood and was able to cast two talented actor friends. The crowd he socialized with was in the entertainment industry.

I answered a crew call he posted on the Internet. Soon after he offered me a non-paying gig on his crew as director’s assistant (a gofer is more accurate). I was hungry to learn and accepted. After that we would hit a few bars together the rare times I was in the Hollywood area (after a few drinks you can tolerate almost anyone). After a night out with a couple of cast and crew members he handed me a copy of the script.

I use the term “script” loosely. It was about 30 pages with some scenes described and minimal dialogue, if any. At the first production meeting I curiously asked how he was going to turn a 30 page script into a full length feature. He said all the scenes needed for a movie were there, he had a shot sheet to go off of, and the actors would be doing a lot of improvisation. I had only started learning about screenwriting and had yet to make a movie at this point. I was really looking forward to learning more about making movies and hopefully making connections.

What ensued was a shoot filled with chaos. Cast became extremely frustrated that the scenes had no flow. The crew got equally frustrated each time he had to change his shot sheet. Every unplanned change caused delays in set-ups. He went into shooting his movie missing the most important blueprint for the entire production, a sound script. He did finish making the movie, but wasn’t able to edit it in post-production because it was a disjointed mess. It was a solid movie idea, but had a half-baked script. I learned later on he basically shelved the footage and pulled the plug on the project. Not the goal this particular filmmaker hoped to achieve. This could have been avoided with some solid advice.


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