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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

“What does love look like? …It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”
Saint Augustine, Confessions

Late Saturday afternoon I drove into St. Augustine, Florida passing over the Bridge of Lions and because the light was fading quickly I had to double park to take this photo with my iPhone. St. Augustine at sunset is a visual feast I never get tired of seeing.

Lion_3288small.jpg

Scott W. Smith

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There is something I’ve learned about photography over the years that translates well to writing screenplays.

Last Thursday my company (River Run Productions) and its sister web design company Spinutech pulled down nine awards* at the 2010 AAF-Cedar Valley ADDY Awards. Two of the awards were for photos I had taken including the above photo which won a Gold Addy.

That photo was taken to promote an active retirement community here in Iowa and features a women in her 70s coming off a water slide. (May we all be as active when we’re in our 70s.) Photography has paid a lot of bills for me over the years, and every now and then you really know when you’ve nailed a shot. It’s a good feeling. And that photo was one of those times.

When I take photos I’m always asking myself, “How can I make this unusual?” It can be subtle or drastic, but something has to make your work stand out. Common ways that photographers make their work uncommon include:

  1. Lighting
  2. Composition
  3. Camera
  4. Aperture
  5. Shutter Speed
  6. ISO
  7. Angle
  8. Environment
  9. Expression (if a portrait)
  10. Post-production

“How can I make this unusual?” That’s a good question to ask about the screenplay you are writing. What sets it apart from the stack of screenplays on a readers or producers desk? Is there something different and out of the ordinary about your screenplay? Common ways that screenwriters make their work uncommon include:

  1. Unusual plot
  2. Unusual character(s)
  3. Unusual setting
  4. Unusual dialogue
  5. Unusual point of view
  6. Unusual ending
  7. Unusual conflict
  8. Unusual jobs
  9. Unusual situations
  10. _____________

I’m sure you can add to the list. But there must be something usual about your screenplay to get producers passionate about spending time and money getting your screenplay made, to get actors exciting about being in the film, and to get audiences interested in watching the finished movie. Look at your favorite film list and ask what makes them unusual. Then look at the screenplay you are writing (or want to write) and ask what makes it unusual.

A couple examples of #8 Unusual jobs would be found in The Hurt Locker and Up in the Air. Unusual usually means original. What are some of your favorite unusual movie elements?

*Here’s a shot of our awards from last week. (They’re not x-rated, it just happens to be the thirtieth anniversary of the local ADDY group.)

Scott W. Smith

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With all this talk about the Internet, blogging, Twitter, webisodes, etc., I thought I’d mention something a little more…well, more human. I bought a new photography camera today that I needed for a job Monday and while I could a saved a few dollars by buying it online I bought it at a photography store that has been selling photography equipment for more than fifty years. The fellow helping me ended spending an hour and a half with me going over the camera — and I had already done the research before I went into the store and knew what camera I wanted to buy.

Only toward the end of the deal as the salesman was ringing up the sale did I learn that he was the original owners son. I asked if his father was still alive and he told me that he had died earlier this year. Then he told me a couple stories related to his father and how he himself had gotten interested in photography while in high school. 

He then set the camera up for me so I was good to go the minute I walked out the door.

So to celebrate that human interaction with mankind I thought it would be appropriate to find a quote from one of my favorite photographers:

“A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.”
                                                                           Ansel Adams 

I think the same could be said for a great film.

 

Scott W. Smith

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