Monday, May 31, 2010

The Real SAS





Since I'm writing a film about a fictional SAS trooper, research is very important, and as I've posted before I turned to all the books on the Australian SAS I could find. The best I've found has been two books by Keith Fennell, who wrote candidly about his time with the SAS.



In fact his books are quite inspiring, the way he looks at the world, and the determination in the way that he approaches everything is amazing. In Warrior Training he reveals the extremes the men go through as part of the selection course for one of the most professional military units in the world. In Warrior Brothers, Keith talks about the situations he ended up in as part of his duty, and it soon becomes obvious that he has been involved in the majority of the scenarios that reached the public view, the 90 minute firefight in East Timor in '99, on board the 'Tampa', frontline Afghanistan and then as a private contractor in Iraq.

So of course, me being me, I tracked him down and sent him an email about 'Redeemed' and asked him if I can call upon his expertise, as a consultant, or somehow get him to look at the script when it was ready. He was kind enough to take the time to reply. Keith is in high demand, being utilised by corporations for inspirational speaking, team building exercises, security appraisal, plus consulting with film and TV projects already.

So he's busy for the rest of the year, but he still took the time to send me several emails in reply to my requests, one of which is to use a poem he wrote about his SAS mates, it sums up the incredible bond they share, and is something I wish to capture in my film. This was the response -

Hi Simon


Thanks for the great feedback, I'm stoked that you would like to use the poem. I don't have a problem with - to be honest I'm honoured mate - but I'll check with my publisher just to make sure there are no copyright issues.


Best,


Keith


His publisher Random House gave permission, and I will be using it in the film. An original poem, about the SAS, from an SAS operator. Go to the source and ask the question, that's the way I live. If you'd like to look at purchasing his books go here - http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/Default.aspx?Page=Book&ID=9781741667943
http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/Default.aspx?Page=Book&ID=9781741668988

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Heart and Nerve

My head is whirling with a thousand things, and I know I haven't blogged for over a week, and that's because real life and bill paying got in the way. I was sent to another TV station to take over someone elses workload for a week, and have only just returned home...to a writing computer that has totally failed. Gone. I'm not going into details, but it's being sent to the pros to be fixed.

Everything is backed up, so no worries there. I back up scripts and files regularly after learning my lesson years ago about the failings of technology.

Anyway, so Tina Cousins is coming to Australia soon, and is performing in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on the Queens Birthday long weekend. Her Brisbane show is on the Sunday 13th - The same weekend as the Aboriginal Dreaming Festival where I'm going to film Alec for the concept trailer, (just an hour up the road)



I'm hoping to hear from her people soon to see if we can have further discussions about having her in the film as a cameo. If it was even a possibility, some footage of her performing could be shot for the concept trailer also.

Like I said, ideas whirling through my head, real life to deal with, but inch by inch I'll get there, it's a matter of organisation and taking action. I just need to approach my work with heart, show that I am dedicated, committed and professional, and have the nerve to ask the questions, and the nerve to hear the answers. Here goes...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Setback

As promised, I said I would detail all progress and setbacks for this film...here's a setback. The response from the department of defence came through -

UNCLASSIFIED:COMMERCIAL

Dear Mr Van Der Spoel,

I have reviewed previous requests for support to productions at this stage of development and found that we do not, in fact, provide assistance to a project until it has attracted funding or achieved a pre-sale to a broadcaster or distribution chain.

This avoids a situation where resources are allocated to projects which are unable to reach completion.

I wish you luck with your project and you are welcome to re-submit your application once funding has been obtained.
Sincerely,

Yuri Shukost
Entertainment Media Liaison

So as you can see, unless distribution, funding, pre sale etc etc is lined up, you're in the same boat as most indie film makers, having to make do without such.

What I had requested, initially is footage of blackhawks, to be used within the concept trailer, what I, as the film maker, saw as a low risk, low commitment from defence. If the film didn't happen, well the supply of footage was not seen as a commital of support.

If the film takes off, the relationship was already established. Oh well, move forward, push another part of the string, untangle this one later.

Reality and In my head

Reality sucks. You have bills to pay, you have a job to do, it will consume your day, and to make ends meet you will have to do things you don't want to do. But you do them.

Because you must.

There is no other option, unless you want to end up on the street. I approach my film the same way, I write because I must. If I want this film to be made, I must write. I must push this string, nudging this idea closer and closer to realisation. I must push to get the music right for the idea, I push to get the script right, I push to get the actors lined up, I must push to get this concept trailer off the ground so I can show people what it is that I'm talking about.

But of course I'm constantly thinking about the film, the story, the characters. In between shooting a job for work and editing, I'll get a flash of an image, a snippet of conversation and often it will be lost as I don't have time to write it down.

As much as I'd like the ability to stop everything I'm doing and concentrate on my idea, I'm paid to implement other people's ideas and put them on the screen. After work is my time and that is the reality.

The film is in my head, I have to get it out before I can implement my ideas. Screenwriters are masters of conveying a story and an idea visually through their writing. My wife has pointed out to me, that to get my concept trailer to work, I have to share my vision, I can't keep watching it in my head and not tell anyone but
I can't just pack a camera and go film it now.

I am impatient, but unless I make the concept trailer the best it can be, I will do more damage than good by putting something together not of a high enough standard to get noticed.

Sketching takes me a bit of time, I can't sketch from out of my head either, I have to be looking at a source image and draw from that. (My mate Tony Graham, a photoshop and graphic artist whizz found some of my source images and made some postcards!)





So the best way for me to get this mass of imagery of the concept trailer out is for me to write a concept trailer script. Write what I see. Storyboards, locations, equipment, actors must come after that. First...I have to write what I see. Because I must.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Warrior Brother



I'd like to introduce my other actor Alec Doomadgee, who will be playing the SAS soldier's Warrior Brother, a soldier from NORFORCE, an elite reserve unit responsible for patrolling 1.8 million square kilometres covering the Northern Territory plus the Kimberley Region of Western Australia.



Around 800 men, 60% of them are aboriginal soldiers, leading the way with their incredible knowledge of the land, the water ways and how to survive in this harsh country of ours. They have close ties with Commando regiments of Australia, and are masters of their craft.

Alec has been involved in the media industry for a long time, and has a great quality on screen, as seen in the short film Joonba (2008), and Channel 9's TV series 'The Strip', he has a strength in his being and voice that commands attention, something critical for the film Redeemed. It probably stems from his years as a radio host.



Alec's character will be the childhood friend of our SAS hero, in fact they joined up together, ending up in different Regiments, but they are the best of friends, and as former SAS Keith Fennell put's it - Warrior Brothers.

It should also be explained that Alec is my own brother in law, my own warrior brother, fighting for his people's rights as representative for the Waanji-Garrawa people, and recently married to my little sister. In fact, my wife and my sister roll their eyes when we all catch up, because all Alec and I ever talk of is film, a kindred spirit in determination and desire to be a part of this industry, so watch me get him to the big screen.

Alec is in the process of getting a documentary made about his son going through his initiation ceremony to become a man in his people's eyes. It will be an amazing film and he is looking for production funding to create it.



I'll keep you all posted as to how we both go!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Killer Elite v Redeemed

When I wrote the script for Redeemed last year, one of the biggest concerns for me was after completing it and getting looked at was the announcement that an International SAS film was gearing up to be filmed in 2010. That film is 'The Killer Elite' based off Ranulph Fiennes' bestseller "The Feathermen", and currently has Jason Statham and Clive Owen attached. There is talk of Robert De Niro joining the film, as well as Aussies Lachy Hulme, Ben Mendelsohn, and Dominic Purcell.





I've never read "The Feathermen" and when news of this film started getting around that it was co-financed by an Australian company, that were involved in Statham's 'Bank Job' film, I started to feel depressed about it. How can I compete with a line up like that? Is the story involving Aussie SAS? It's partly being shot in Melbourne and rural New South Wales, so maybe. It's a crushing feeling for an independent film maker, like the David and Goliath story.

But then it occured to me, I am no worse off than I was before, there are huge films out there already, I'm an indie film maker, the industry is already against me and if anything, this film will bring SAS content to the front of the public's view.

I must look at it like the 'Blackwater' film vs 'Rogue', both crocodile films, vastly different budgets, with different box office results.






Blackwater was more successful than Rogue and it was the David of the two.

Looking at what little info is online about The Killer Elite, my film's story is completely different too, which is reassuring. You have to look for the positives, and if anyone wants to spread it around that Australia has its own answer to 'The Killer Elite' by all means do so.

I'm readying my sling. I'm booking a HD camera to shoot part of my concept trailer at the Aboriginal Dreaming Festival. More on that soon

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Concept Art and Reality

As part of the imagery that is ripping through my mind I sat down and drew some sketches, concept art to crystalise what I see, and show others what it is that I'm thinking. I can't just pop out and film this stuff, at least not yet, so here's what I see...













Immedietly it becomes apparent that I see military hardware in action, the Blackhawk Helicopter, with several angles on it. The stuff in the jungle is relatively easy to recreate (people, costume, firearms, jungle location - achievable), but the Australian Army Blackhawk is not.

I have to get the support of the Defence force for permission to film the Blackhawk in the actual film (when that day comes). I also have to get permission to get footage, already filmed by the defence department, of the blackhawks in action, for the concept trailer I'm putting together.

To do either, one has to contact the relevant department and make a submission with supporting paperwork signed by the Producer http://www.defence.gov.au/index/details/film.htm

If you're interested in what's required to film the Department of Defence, take a look at the supporting information, which is very important to adhere to. It is my hope to create a film where the characters portraying military personell of the Australian armed forces conduct themselves with honour, courage, professionalism, and integrity. I hope that an audience will watch them go to hell and back and believe in them as I do. A writer has to believe in his characters.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Research: Special Air Service

Research is so important for capturing the authenticity of your characters, their movements, attitude, social status and even how they think, and even the background world they exist in.

I can honestly say, that watching 'TV news story' based films, I and every other current and former news camera op watch the movements of the Camera Operators in the movies, and can pick if they are just an extra, or really know what they're doing. (Loved Hank Azaria in Godzilla...Camera op in the rain, and camera behaved very realistic...water and cameras don't mix well!) Real news camera ops don't rack focus every 2 seconds to make it look as if they're 'operating' the camera.

But then, that's just a small demographic, so why bother researching or hiring a camera op to operate that fake camera. I guess it comes down to how you approach making your film and the level of detail you go to, and making it feel 'real' to the audience.

Ridley Scott goes to great lengths to do so, the amount of research combined with 'Hollywood' tweaking is a great mix. Eg. Kingdom of Heaven, the research into the arms and armour of the period of 1195 when it was set was exquisite, and then he tweaked the laws of history to bring later period style armour earlier into the century because it looked 'cool'. The average punter wouldn't know the difference, but the textures of the backgrounds, people, artefacts, utensils, and buildings create the fabric of the reality. Who cares if a helmet is 100 years too soon!

I read on a blog somewhere that mentioned 'All you see is the actors and the art department' which is so true!

My research into the SAS is based on the only information available to the public.

These three books are the best I've found so far because it deals exclusively with the Australian side of the story.





Thursday, May 13, 2010

Music to my ears

I'm the kind of person that has ideas and then tries to implement them. I don't consider difficulty, I consider the end result if someone says yes. I don't care if I hear no, I tried and got an answer. I know a lot of people that wouldn't even ask, they wouldn't even bother.

It's a calcualted gamble, you weigh up what you will lose vs potential success. If you don't ask, you'll never know.

So I'm driving in the car and I hear a song on the Radio called "Waiting for Something to Happen" by 'The Solomons'...I caught half the song, loved the quirky, interesting sound and heard the DJ back announce who the artist was. (I wish they did that more often, otherwise who knows what the name of the band and song is if a listener comes in halfway?)

Anyway, I jumped online and Googled the band. Found their site, and most importantly, the record label producing their album. I got onto itunes and bought the song for $2.69AUS and listened to it from start to finish. An idea was forming.

After seeing the trailer for the Animal Kingdom, an Australian film directed by David Michod which won the World Cinema Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.



I loved the contrast of such a soft song from Air Supply with the hard visuals of the film. I thought that perhaps I could do the same with my trailer, have hard hitting action and emotion to the light sounds of this band "The Solomons"



I tracked down their record label PopBoomerang and contacted them. Something that has been bugging me for a long time is that there are independent film makers busting their guts trying to the their films off the ground (I'm one of them) and there are independent musicians and record labels doing the exact same thing. At no point have I seen a concentrated effort to bring these two industries together.

A film needs music. Music for trailers, music for scenes, music as background radio noise, music to highlight emotion and add depth to characters themes. When I write, I line up music tracks that suit the mood of what I'm writing. Action scenes are usually written to the tunes of Heavy Rock (I love the fact that Iron Man 2 has drawn upon Aussie rockband ACDC - yes we claim them)

Emotional scenes are written to orchestral scores from soundtracks such as The Truman Show and Thin red Line and Batman Begins scores. James Newton Howard and Danny Elfman are my favourites.

So in approaching PopBoomerang, I spoke of a collaboration, a meeting of ideals, I have a film to make, which is a product, and they have product that I need to add depth to my product. A film is a great way to showcase their product in a form and market that has an impact. Great visuals combined with music stick in your mind. If the majority of tracks come from PopBoomerang, well there's a film soundtrack release to be considered.

PopBoomerang immedietly saw the possibilities, and I negotiated to get their entire catalogue of artists and trawl through all their tracks. 60 CD's with up to 15 songs on each on average. That's an average of 900 tracks to listen to, many many many hours. But it's worth it, because it could be the start of a beautiful (business) friendship.

PopBoomerang contacted "The Solomons" and I have permission to use their song if it suits when it comes time to create the trailer. Once all the footage has been filmed, we'll assess if the idea and impact is still viable. It's an idea, and is organic, but I've put the wheels in motion to implement the idea.

Speaking of implementing ideas, in the film there is a nightclub scene. A nightclub singer is required. Like I said, I have ideas and I put them into motion, not being afraid of hearing no.

I contacted British Pop Sensation Tina Cousins people, to see if she would be interested in discussing a cameo appearance as this performer in the nightclub.





This is the response I got back -

"Simon
This sounds fantastic. I will speak with Tina shortly and get back to you. I know she is back in oz shortly to promote material thank you for contacting us
Dave"


It's a beginning. It's an idea that I had and put into action. As Chris Jones of the Guerilla Film Makers Handbook says 'Take Action. Take BIG Action'

Get out there and take action, do something, implement an idea, PUSH THAT STRING!

And if your wondering why I'm not hiding the fact that I've asked, while I haven't got a concrete answer, it's because I'm not afraid to fail, and if these 'ideas' fall over because I've shared them with you, well then that's not the open and honest relationship I want involved in making my films.

I promise you now, I will make this film. I have to. I will make it with integrity, honesty, and I will work in a professional manner with professional people, giving them the respect they are due, so I may one day earn the respect of my peers and my audience.

Come with me as I try. Pushing String.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mutual Exchange

Being an independent film maker, learning the art of wheeling and dealing is a integral part. Now for this project to catch the eye of a potential funder/supporter I will need to put together an amazing trailer that conveys action, story and most of all, heart, emotional punch. I'm not making a wham bam thank you m'am action film here, I want to make something different, something that hasn't been seen before (at least here in OZ) at least I like to think so.

I need footage for a trailer, and it turns out Frankie needs a showreel. So a mutual exchange, where we both benefit from pooling our resources and both of us end up with something we need.

Solution, Frankie hires the equipment, the armourer, the makeup artist, and I shoot it for him for free, and I get to keep the tasty stuff that aligns with my story, and showcasing my skills as a director/cam op. Frankie wrote his own dialogue!



It was here that I saw that Frankie really knows his stuff, he's enthusiastic about the idea of the film and is working with me to see it happen. His skills and his acting ability is something that my film needs to seperate my film from the pack!



Of course I want to show you what we did, so here's the behind the scenes!



Make up was done by Desiree Vogelsang, a very experienced and talented woman, who worked on Narnia! Her make up and SFX abilities added a level of quality and professionalism that shows we mean business. Her site is here http://www.desireemakeup.com.au/

The armourer was Dr Astrid M Valatti, a licensed armourer who's film credits are incredible (including the Matrix!) and he's a forensic ballistic expert for the police, plus he's the nicest gentleman you've ever met. http://www.avballistics.com.au/

In this video, you can see the majority of weapons we got to play with.



In this scene, the Uzi jammed so we went with the WWII German Schmeisser for the drive by weapon of choice. In the low angle shot I'm to the rear of the car looking at the monitor and getting showered by hot brass shells, god I love being on set!



Frankie had so much fun that he had several photoshoots in his own time and put together this video for me to showcase imagery for "Redeemed" now that's proactive!



So this is a pure example of mutual exchange, getting excited about the potential of a project and working together to create something amazing! That is my goal, and proactive, positive people are who you need to surround yourself with when chasing a goal.

Frankie's website is here http://www.frankieoatway.com/

And there's more to come next blog entry about mutual exchange, this time with a Record Label...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Writing the script

Once you have an idea of a story, the preparation for writing the script is so important. I'm just like every other film maker, wanting to hurry up and get to set, get filming, get creative, MAKE SOMETHING.

But we've all seen those films that look amazing, but are crap. The idea may have even been a great one, but it didn't work, or it wasn't structured properly and left you feeling flat at the end (if you finished watching it)

I don't want that to happen to me, so I'm preparing. How do you prepare? Researching your subject matter, and then there's the craft of actually writing a script, making the film etc etc.



I've always been a big reader, I was always reading when I was a kid (my grandmother used to babysit me with the TV, and then my parents thought I was watching too much, so they gave me a book. Best thing they could have done!) Reading Biggles was the genesis for my Spitfire doco.

So books on the process of writing a script, books on the process of making a film, and books on the subject of your film idea are the best way to go.






I don't know if this happens to anyone else but reading through those books, I wish I could just graft the knowledge of creating an amazing script and film into my head and just go do it. We've all heard about 'that guy' who sold a script before he was 25 and now writes/directs multi million dollar films.

Bastard. Hate 'that guy'. For me, I work full time as a Camera Op and Editor for a TV Network, so I'm constantly working in a visual medium to train my filmic eye and story telling ability. Plus the life experience is sometimes extreme, but that's experience for you.

I come home after work and I flip through my script writing books, keeping the principles of good screenwriting and film making in my head as much as I can. Now I have to write my script. The most important part of the movie, get that right first.

For "Redeemed" I wrote a 13 page outline of my idea, it began like -

'Redeemed is the story of "X", an Australian SAS soldier...'

And no, he didn't have a name at that point. And I wrote the outline like 'he gets wounded in 'XX' country, he ends up in hospital, his father takes him back to the country, they haven't spoken in years' and build the story from there. 13 pages of A4 paper of story. A rough outline, basically getting the idea out, who the bad guys are, who is his ex fiance etc etc.

It will change, I know it will. As I write the script, I will think if fresh ideas that will elicit more emotion and write them in. I am not bound to this outline, it is not set in stone, I can vary away from it and I may even change it dramatically!

Now on one of my TV commercial jobs, here in Australia, I met an Actor by the name of Frankie Oatway, a Brit from East End London. The accent is straight out of every Guy Ritchie/Matthew Vaughn gangster film.



My eyes light up and we get chatting, he wants to be in the film industry and I want to make films, blah blah blah, am I working on anything? Well actually...



HOLD ON You say! I haven't actually written anything tangible and I'm already talking about casting an actor. Alarm bells going off? Well yes, but it's all 'what if, maybe' and 'one day' at this point, your general 'film biz' chat. So he says he'd like to have a look at my treatment/outline.

Now as any beginning film maker/scriptwriter you get a sudden case of 'Gollum'...."My precious script idea" etc etc and you do have to be careful, so you can register your treatments/outlines and drafts at your writers guild, it affords you a modicum of protection, but at some point, you will have to show your idea to someone other than your missus or mum.

So I showed him the treatment after taking the neccessary precautions and he loved it, thought it was a great idea. And then he had some ideas that could help flesh out one of the characters. Turns out Frankie was a british paratrooper in his youth.

Now even before I've started writing the actual script, I'm thinking ahead to how to get the thing funded, or attract attention to it. Making a trailer for a non-existant film is one way. And Frankie is up for acting in the 'funding' trailer.

But for now, I'm redrafting the treatment/outline with new ideas, characters, situations, settings.

Suddenly Frankie has some good news, he's been cast in two of Australia's premier gangland TV shows of Australia. He appears in 'Gangs of Oz' and 'Underbelly' and the press ask him 'What else are you working on?'

"Well, I'm working with Australian Producer Simon Van Der Spoel on his debut feature film 'Redeemed' among other things"

That's a lot of incentive to write a first draft. And so I did. Took me 3 months in and around work, late nights, some early mornings (I'm not a morning person at all)

But I finished a 1st draft...what to do with it. Well I registered it with the writers guild of America West. Why? Why not the Australian writers guild?

The American writers guild doesn't care if you are a member or not or what country you're in, it's $20US to register something with them. The Australian writers guild requires you to be a member before you can register anything. Ok so how much does it cost to become a member here in OZ?

Due to my broadcast doco "Spitfire Guardians" which was an 1hr duration, and I wrote it, that qualifies me for full membership.Over $400AUS. Before I can register my script.

Being an independent film maker, saving money is a priority. American writers guild won that round. Australian writers guild must not be very business oriented, since their competition is undercutting them by hundreds of dollars. (my opinion)

So now I have a registered 1st draft. It needs to be read. It needs to be shredded by professionals, and I must not have an ego on this as I'm starting out, it may be my baby, but it needs to grow up and so do I.

I hired an American script reader that I found via twitter and was highly reccommended by people I trust. Michael J Lee, author of the screenwriting foxhole blog http://screenwritingfoxhole.blogspot.com offers a very affordable reading service which I took, and got back 11 pages of notes. WELL WORTH THE MONEY.

Especially when there are other services out there that cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. Independent film maker = careful with money.

So now, I'm rewriting and rewriting and reworking and researching...I'll keep you posted how I go.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Film 'Redeemed' and me


After posting my philosophy, here's a little bit about me and where I'm coming from, my first film I made was a documentary on WWII Spitfires called "Spitfire Guardians" narrated by the late and great Charles Bud Tingwell.





It was broadcast on The History Channel. It was my first film I'd ever made and I wrote, produced, directed, edited and shot the film, with the help of my friends. I was 22 when I started the film after completing a degree in Media Production and Journalism, I was 27 when it was completed and broadcast! 56,000 people tuned in! It was an unreal feeling watching the premiere at prime time on November 11, Remembrance day!

I was an Associate Producer of an Oscar Shortlisted short film in 2009 "Gone Fishing" directed by the amazing Chris Jones. http://www.chrisjonesblog.com/ @livingspiritpix (twitter)

There were only five nominations that year and we were number six on the list. In 2010 that list was increased to 10 nominations, so we missed by that much.

Timing is everything as they say, I've worked in the Media Industry for 6 years as a news camera operator and editor, also working in commercial production for nearly two years on top of that, so I earned my stripes covering real life where there are no second takes, and the rawness of human emotion is unchecked.

I am well aware of the fragility of human life after what I've seen over the years, so I am persuing my dreams with all my heart for tomorrow it could all be gone. I've seen it.

There is always a period of time between your first project and your second, where to focus, what to put your new knowledge into. My next attempt at a film, with a bit of government funding was "Mounted Steel" about modern day Jousting...yes...Jousting, you know, horses, armour, big sticks (male and female competitors!)



There were falls, there was blood, and a great time had by all...It's currently in negotiation to be broadcast.

Doco's have been an extension of my news background, covering real life, but I want to get into fictional FILM! So, where do my strengths lie? Documentary style coverage, and an interest in the fighters and warriors of our world.

It's not a great leap from those things for my film idea, I've been interested in the military for a long time, so making a feature film about an Australian soldier is an extension of my passion for the armed forces of this country.

So what is Redeemed about? Well, following Michael Hague's 'fill in the blanks' way of describing a film, here is the one paragraph synopsis.

"Redeemed" is an action drama about a wounded SAS soldier who returns to his rural childhood home to heal is body and soul. Confronted by his past, the soldier must decide between love for his country and the love of a woman. But the truth of his ex fianc├ęs past threatens to destroy them, and draws them into the vicious criminal underworld, where there is no guarantee of survival.

That's the idea, it's a clash of worlds, military vs criminal, city vs country. At the core of the story is the relationship of the Trooper with his Ex, a story plenty can identify with, and the conflicts and drama that arise should be intense and heart breaking. Hopefully. I'm redrafting the script and tweaking it so that the emotional truth is real.

I count myself a guerilla film maker, taking my lead from such film makers as UK Director Chris Jones (creator of that Oscar contender short "Gone Fishing" and author of the Guerilla Film Makers Handbook) but my Australian inspirations are the likes of the Sperig Brothers (Daybreakers) Gregor Jordan (Two Hands), Greg Mclean (Wolf Creek), Nash Edgerton (The Square) and David Michod (Animal Kingdom). I'm determined to make Australian films of a standard like theirs.

This is my goal, and by sharing it with the world, it makes me even more determined to succeed so as not to put lie to my words. This is my journey, pushing string.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why Pushing String?

Ok, this being the first post of my film making journey blog I should probably explain the title of the blog - Pushing String, now stay with me as it is philosophical based and I'll try not to bore you with it, but since I want to be a film maker, let me paint a picture for you with words, (screenwriting ahoy!)

It is the way I see my life/career/goals/work etc etc.

Imagine if you will a wide road, (It's up to you how you see the road, dirt, asphalt, yellow brick, gold, whatever)

You stand at the start of the road, and across the width of the road is a piece of string. You are at the start of your journey, so it is fitting here at the start of the blog, that I explain the string.

Along the road are markers, goals, sign posts, whatever label you want to give what you're striving for, but being my analogy, I'll say sign posts.

To get to a sign post, you have to push the string toward it, you can't pick it up, roll it up and throw it or anything, you have to push a section of the string toward your goal, as far as you can, before having to move to another section of the string and push that part and so on.

Film and video editors will see it as a flexible TLI (Time Line Indicator) moving along your road in life, and that string can get caught on friends, family, work, money, health etc. It will get stuck, until you untangle it, every rock and tree branch in the road will have to be untangled. You may have to pull the knot of problems with you for a fair way, the string may snap and have to be retied to continue...your friends, colleagues and family might help you push the string, they may even help you re-tie it, depends on your support network. Surround yourself with like minded people and the string will get easier to push.
It may get pulled in a number of different directions by different people and events, it could even be sent skyrocketing forward by a gust of fortunate wind...or get impossibly tied to something or someone and stuck there.

Up to you if you pull out the scissors.

It is string and not rope due to the tenous nature of life, if you really want to debate metaphorical tensile strength ha!

So this blog of my journey of making my film "Redeemed" will be the cataloguing of every knot, every push, every cut, every signpost reached, with unflinching honesty of what I plan to do (when it's best revealed) and what happens, good and bad. I'll be Pushing String for the rest of my life, but this part of the road is open to other film makers who might avoid a few knots...I hope I can help.

Regards

Simon Van Der Spoel

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