Monthly Archives: June 2014

Short of the (every few) week(s)!: WORLD-BUILDING

Hello Internet Dwellers!

In consistently inconsistent fashion your favourite wedge of Internet cheese is back, once more here to stain your palette with it’s fragrance and flavours. This week we are looking at World Building. Specifically around the idea of futuristic/dystopian type shorts where you need to very quickly explain to the viewer where they are, what the status quo is and set up any rules which will inevitably broken later on.

The short I’ve chosen for this is THE EXIT ROOM written and directed by Tom Wiseman and loosely based on “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”.

Open your eyes and watch this:

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HERE BE SPOILERS
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Welcome back. So, pretty brutal eh?

Ok so the ending was a bit cheap but definitely makes it provoke a reaction. The production value of this very impressive &almost feels like cheating by having the world’s second best looking man (Charlie from Girls) in your short. Timothy Olyphant is number one obviously.

But in terms of world building how well does it do? Personally I found it a great example. Using things like the Youtube to explain the back story is brilliant and certainly something I’ll be looking to rip-off at some stage. (See also Catfish’s use of Facebook/Google Maps/ iTunes interfaces. These tools are now as ubiquitous to us as an Indiana Jones’s style map overlay. Instantly understood and can be a great solution to wordy exposition).   It lets you quickly and relativity cheaply cram a lot of information into the front end of your short so by the time we get into the meat of the story we have a very good sense of where we are and what the issues of this world are.

From there it’s about creating a consistent world. The look of the rooms and especially the costumes/props all work so well to make you feel this is a real world when in fact all we get is a few corridors.

One aside, and I’d be interested to see if anyone else picked up on this, but was the buzzer sound the same as the exit room gun sound? I remember the first time I watched it it immediately but very subconsciously made me realise something was not right, without it being too obvious.

So in short, set your world out quickly, define your rules, make them consistent and then have fun breaking them.

FURTHER WATCHING:

Prospect

Hugely rated sci-fi drama, I wasn’t mad on it but again it’s all about making a consistent believable world. Amazing what the costumes/props add to it. If they hadn’t looked good it would have just looked like some people being weird in a forest. With them you can buy this being an alien land. This has been optioned for a feature.

 

Dates For Your Calendar – July 2014 Edition

Date Event Notes
July 1st Sir Peter Ustinov Television Scriptwriting Award Deadline TV Drama, participants must be under 30
July 3rd London Writers’ Circle XVII
July 15th Final Draft Big Break Standard Deadline Feature Film or TV Drama
July 17th London Writers’ Circle XVIII
July 18th London Writers’ Circle – Writers’ Retreat
July 31st Shore Scripts Screenwriting Competition Regular Deadline Features and short films
July 31st Final Draft Big Break Extended Deadline Feature Film or TV Drama
July 31st London Writers’ Circle XIX
August 14th London Writers’ Circle XX
August 15th LSF – Actor’s Table Reads Submissions Open LSF 2014 delegates only
August 15th LSF – Advanced Mentoring Script Labs Submissions Open LSF 2014 delegates only
August 21st ScriptAngel / London Screenwriters’ Festival Mentoring Competition Deadline TV & Film Drama; LSF 2014 delegates only
August 31st Shore Scripts Screenwriting Competition Extended Deadline Features and short films
September 1st Bluecat Screenwriting Competition Early Deadline Features and short films
October 15th Bluecat Screenwriting Competition Regular Deadline Features and short films
October 24th London Screenwriters Festival
November 15th Bluecat Screenwriting Competition Final Deadline Features and short films

 

Short(s) of the Week(s?)!

Hey friends!

The eagle-eyed amongst you (Shaff) may have noticed that the weekly format of this slice of Internet pie fell apart faster than Heroes Season 2. Well to make up for it I present to you three fine shorts spread over two delectable topics  for your viewing business/pleasure.

So without further “a Jew”, open wide and cram this down your gob.

PART UN (ONE): THE MONTAGE

As the song in Team America went – “We’re gonna need a montage. I love a good montage. You normally get a load of great scenes together, stuff actually happens and invariably there’s a cracking song or “Fix You” by Coldplay, in the background. A montage in a short can be tricky to pull off as you have limited time to set things up. If done well though you can really increase the weight of your piece by making the journey feel longer/deeper.

First up in this category we have “Set No Path” by Brooks Reynolds.

Watch it and let’s meet downstairs in seventeen minutes and ten seconds.

Ok, you back? Pretty depressing eh? Sorry about that… But hey how bout those montages eh? I loved how they used three stitched together with some Dawson’s Creek-esque acting bits. The editing of the montage sequences was incredible, linking the present day, flash forwards and using the Super-8 style camcorder footage for the flashbacks – all worked perfectly. Mucho kudos to Justin Dube for providing a brilliant soundtrack.

PART TWO: “Using your limits to your advantage OR How I have no money…”

Next up is an great example of how to do a lot with a little. It’s ALSO an example of a montage type piece. Pretty smart eh Stephan? (Yeah Andrew you are the best! – Stephan).

This is a short by a fellow called Gabriel Bisset-Smith and is named “Thrush”. Watch it with your eyes.

Pretty neat eh? Amazing how you can do so much with relatively little. Also think of all the issues this overcomes that might be stopping you from being able to tell your story – be it access to good actors, directors, camerapeople. Of course not every story can be told in this format but it’s a good example of thinking outside the box. Spotify did something along the same lines of using very little to do a lot for their recent ad campaign.

Another great example of this is Mark Colombus’s “Battle of the Jazz Guitarist”. Now those amongst you who are Stephan know how much I love this. Superb use of basically just subtitles to tell a story. Sit back and enjoy.

Wow. Eh? If that didn’t make you reconsider how you are planning your short I dunno what will. The way the subtitles change, or reveal, to be more of a stream of consciousness is amazing . And anything with M83 will always get bonus points from me.

Ok that’s it for this week. I’ll be back next week. Comment below. First comment wins a prize. Comment!