Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pitching, working with actors, and actors vs. the Apocalypse...

Two new developments in less than a week! I’m going to be taking part in the Galway Film Fleadh pitching competition this coming Sunday and I’m also taking part in Connecting Creativity, a project that connects artists and writers.

The pitching is a daunting enough prospect: on the one hand, I have 8 minutes (max) to pitch. Even if I only do six minutes, which sounds more likely, that’s a nice long time to have. On the other hand, it’s going to be in front of a hotel ballroom full of people on Sunday afternoon. And there’ll be no Dutch courage (probably a good thing) because I have to drive back to Dublin afterwards!

But apart from being a great opportunity to practice my pitching, this has forced me to finish a treatment for the script I’m pitching. Nothing like a deadline to get things moving.

I’m really looking forward to the pitch but also can’t wait to have it over…

Incidentally, this is the fourth year I’ve applied for this competition, and the first time I’ve been accepted. There are five writers chosen each year based on submitting a one-page idea (and the prize is pretty cool -€3,000!). In retrospect, none of the ideas I’ve submitted in the past have been all that strong on concept, so maybe this is what finally swung it this year.

The second project, Connecting Creativity, is a really interesting idea. Five Irish writers have been paired with American actors, and five American writers are working with actors over here. If you’re the writer, you have to talk to your actor via Skype and try to come up with a five-minute monologue for them based in some way on this conversation. Then in August, the actors will perform their pieces at a theatre in Dublin – the Irish ones in person and the Americans via Skype.

As you can imagine, this is fairly challenging as there’s no theme you have to stick up and no real guidelines other than basing the piece on your actor and your chat with them. I’ve already had a quick talk with my (very nice, friendly) actress Bridget, but I’ve a feeling it might take a few go’s to come up with a script! The golden thing about this project though, is the opportunity to gain experience working with an actor and in particular, to work with someone in another country.

Talking of scripts, I saw This is the End recently. This is a film which was about 50% improvised and I thought the quality of the comedy (possibly as a result) was really skewed. The scene where Rogen and company argue over the last Milky Way (minor, minor spoiler) was hilarious, yet I imagine it said nothing more than “They spat over the Milky Way and who gets to enjoy it” in the script. Or even, “Milky Way scene”. On the other hand, there are endless, talky sequences which manage to make a Hollywood Apocalypse seem boring.

There was a really good movie somewhere in there, it just wasn’t the one we were watching on screen. And I think this is partly because Seth Rogen wrote it (with Evan Goldberg), directed it, starred in it (with all his friends) and probably chose the music, arranged catering and did Jonah Hill’s hair. In a situation like that, you need perspective. Maybe he should have found some script editor who was a complete stranger to him and taken their thoughts on board.

I did enjoy This is the End but I have to agree with the sum-up delivered by the wise soul I saw it with (“it was REALLY self-indulgent”).

I’ll report back on the pitching terror next week…


Skot Christopherson said...

Well, it's self-indulgent, but then again it's just more h'wood product:

eilism said...

A good summary of the movie there, Skot!