Posts Tagged ‘Philip Bloom’

” I wanted to minimize the locations and there are really only four locations in the movie so we designed the production to allow us to go from one location to the next.”
Writer/director Jamie Linden (10 Years)
article by Stuart OldhamBride and Groom 2

There’s nothing quite like high school friends.

Yesterday I missed writing a post on a weekday for the first time in a long time. But it was just one of those crazy 15 hour shooting days. I’m working on a video version of the Mike and the Mechanics song The Living Years that will be used in symphony concert settings.  The budget’s tight so I had to reach out to some friends for some assistance with props and people.

The video is an arc of life concept shot in silhouettes and I needed a bride and groom and just put it out there on Facebook and a friend from high school said his nephew got married earlier this year and thought they’d be game to help. So Chris and Danielle were kind enough to drop by yesterday and allow me to shoot the above shot. (The finished shot will be more stylized, but I do like the simplicity of this shot.)

Turns out that Chris went to the same high school I did (many years after, of course) and two of his classmates just happened to be actor Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights) and screenwriter Jamie Linden (We Are Marshall). Small world, huh?  A few years ago Linden and Porter returned to Florida for their 10-year reunion of Lake Howell High School.

“I went to [my high school reunion] with my friend, Scott Porter, who is an actor.  We grew up in Orlando, Florida, as far away from this business as you could be.  I have a couple other friends who live here in L.A. that went to high school with us, and we went back as a group ‘cause we don’t get a lot of chances to go home and definitely not together, so it was an excuse.  And I don’t think I was disappointed by it, but just was underwhelmed by it all.  But, I found it interesting, just purely on a sociological and anthropological level.”
Jamie Linden
Writer/director of  10 Years
article by Christina Radish

That experience was the beginning of Linden writing and directing the feature 10 Years.  If you didn’t see (or even hear of) the 2011 film that’s because it was a small indie film. But the ensemble cast included Channing Tatum (who both Porter and Linden worked with on Dear John),  Rosario Dawson and Chris Pratt.

Two days ago Variety reported that Linden, “will write the screenplay of Lionsgate’s franchise starter Chaos Walking: The Knife of Never Letting Go.” George Clooney and Jodie Foster are set to co-star and Robert Zemeckis attached to direct. Porter plays George Tucker on the TV program Hart of Dixie. Linden and Porter are kind of the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck of Orlando.

And speaking of Lake Howell High School, last week I dropped off two boxes of my screenwriting and filmmaking books at the school in hopes that they would inspire the next crop of Scott Porter’s and Jamie Linden’s. Go Silver Hawks.


P.S. Yesterday’s shoot was the first time I’ve done a 4K shoot. Used the little Lumex GH4 which for the price may end up being the hottest camera to come along since the Canon 5D. Here’s Philip Bloom’s review of the camera.

Related post:
Remembering the Friday Night Lights
The 10 Film Commandments of Edward Burns Low-budget indie film tips
Screenwriting from High School (Back in 2008 I went back to my old high school to give a talk.)

Scott W. Smith


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“Re the spec script market. Yes, it sucks right now. We’re on track for perhaps 50-60 sales this year, maybe even less.”
Scott Myers
Go Into The Story
April 30, 2010

“Being one of the 33 (spec scripts) that was purchased this year is probably akin to winning Powerball.”
Amy Butler
I Write with Pictures

A question being asked a lot these days in screenwriting circles is, “Is the spec market dead?” That is writing a screenplay on the speculation that someone will buy it in hopes that it will get produced. Depending on your source, there are estimated to be between 50,000-100,000 screenplays written every year. And over 99% of those are written on spec.

If you include all the studio and independent feature films made every year in the United States you come up in the 500 film range. Most of those don’t make it to a theater near you nor would you recognize the titles if you heard them. And if Scott Myers’ estimate is correct, in the year 2010 there will only be 50 or 60 spec script sales. Not very good odds for those 50,000-100,000 scripts being written every year.

So if all your hopes are on selling a spec script the only real question is—Is it wiser to write a spec script or play the lottery? Of course, you can always do both. Spread the odds around a little. But if you factor in the work involved in writing a screenplay, the long road the script must still take to get produced, and the low odds that anyone will see it if it is produced you may just want to go crawl into a hole. (Or move to the Midwest— which some would say is the same thing.)

Amy Butler on her blog mentioned that she went to hear Daniel Pipski speak and one of the points she came away with is, in fact, “The Spec Market is Dead.”  And she wisely writes, “At this point, I was had to ask–if the spec market is dead and art movies are vanishing, how do you make a career as a writer.”

The answer is get creative. Throughout history most artists have just plied their trade and just eked out a living. Sure a few rock stars popped up here and there and made some serious coin, but the norm is pretty modest. (There is a reason the words “starving” and “artists” are often seen together.)   Even in Hollywood it has been said that, “screenwriters drive Camerys.”

But believe it or not I’m here to give a little hope. If you are going to write screenplays from Iowa or some other unlikely place, the chances are good that you already have an unorthodox view of things. If you’ve followed this blog at all over the years you know that on the road to writing the great script you may have to write two or three bad and mediocre scripts and then two or three good and very good scripts before you write that great scripts. (Not uncommon for Oscar-winning screenwriters to say it took 10-12 scripts before they sold one.)

It’s a process and it’s hard work. In the meantime, you pay the bills by doing what creative people have always done—you get a job. And if you’re fortunate it’s a job somewhat related to what you want to do. One of the most successful artists I know started by painting vans. (And if it’s not related, think of it as research as if you were wriitng the next Office Space or The Office.) Everywhere in this country there are creative people who are producing and directing local commercials, industrial and corporate videos, documentaries, web videos and short films. Connect with those people because many of them would also love to make feature films. The odds are much better in those circles than in the spec world.

Screenwriter John August recently wrote a post on his blog titled Advice for Canadian criminals; “Remember that specs are not a screenwriter’s bread-and-butter. Landing assignments and setting up pitches requires meetings. It would be hard to develop an ongoing screenwriting career without being able to meet face-to-face. Screenwriters are ultimately part of a larger filmmaking community, and if you can’t live in Los Angeles, you would be well-served getting involved with the French-Canadian productions shooting near you.

Filmmaker Philip Bloom recently echoed that sentiment on his blog basically saying not worrying about going to film school (or about never having been), “I say to kids who email me asking about film school “have you considered getting together with a couple of mates, buying a T2i and a lens or two and shooting a movie every weekend?’. Best way to learn in my opinion.” (The camera he is talking about the Canon  55oD/T2i costs less than $1,000.)

So pull your lottery money together and invest in yourself. Start a film club—whatever it takes. Why not hit a few singles, before swinging for the fences?

But most importantly—keep writing. The cameras and editing gear keep getting better and more affordable. Good stories are what is needed to complete the digital revolution.

P.S. Tomorrow I’ll write about an emerging market for screenwriters and filmmakers.

Scott W. Smith

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