Scriptwriting Master Class Review

The Screenwriting Master Class I attended on 21st October 2013 at FACT as part of the BFI Film Academy was an extremely valuable evening in which a professional screenwriter and director talked about the process of creating stories specifically for film. She started by discussing the meaning of the terms genre and theme and emphasised the importance of every film having a theme that the audience could connect with such as love, loss or frustration so that the deeper meaning behind the writing would have greater impact emotionally. She then showed the group of us a short in which a man on a bus found himself getting increasingly irritated by everyone’s noisy use of technology around him to the extent whereby he went on a violent spree beating them up to vent his frustration. This then turned out to be a dream as he awoke to realise it was his phone going off in his pocket and everyone on the bus was in fact annoyed with him for leaving it ringing for so long. I found it useful to use an actual example and put what we had discussed into context and after watching the film we were able to categorise it in the thriller genre and identify the theme as natural human frustration.

We then looked into forming ideas and getting them down on paper and we experimented with the technique of stream of consciousness writing whereby we were given a word or phrase taken from a newspaper and then had to write whatever subsequently came in our heads. This technique was entirely new to me and I found it to be an interesting and useful way of getting ideas flowing. Following this exercise we each wrote a character biography based on a photo of a person we were given and were given a checklist of attributes to consider in order to flesh out their overall persona. I found the checklist incredibly helpful and will definitely make use of it in future. However, I feel I would have got more out of this task if we’d been given slightly longer than five minutes to complete it because then I could have put more thought into the character and started to also think about the characters’ inner elements such as who they care about, what they want in the future and what they fear (as suggested on the checklist).

The next task undertaken as part of the master class involved getting into partners and working out a relationship between our two characters in order to write a scene. I found this enjoyably challenging and when we were initially unsure of where to go with the plot I was grateful of some personal help from the professional writer who said not to over think or over-complicate it as it was only one scene. Overall I found it to be a really beneficial evening full of good advice such as “make the audience intrigued” and “everything means something so don’t just put Greek books on the shelf” (in relation to a past error i.e. if it doesn’t serve a purpose to the plot do not include it). I liked the idea presented that the writer has a creative palette including: genre, theme, location, characters, dialogue, action, movement, emotions, sound, mood, colour, lighting, pace (in the edit), framing and special effects. My eyes were really opened to the limitless possibilities for imaginative direction in the writing – as long as they are not completely out of budget of course. However, in conclusion I left with not only ideas but also further knowledge of how to convey them for screen and therefore I think the Screen Writing Master Class was a great event which I would recommend to anyone with a similar interest in writing for film.

 

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So 2013 has been a great year for Freehand with two fabulous BFI Film Academies, our new app In Hand starting development and our new group Freehand Connects. Not to mention our Summer School; Prototype and a whole host of more activities!

We are looking forward to 2014. We are hoping to development our programme even more, moving further into mental health and working with an even wider range of young people from across Merseyside!

HERE’S TO THE NEW YEAR!

If you don’t already, make sure you follow us on Twitter @Freehand_FACT

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On the 23rd November, as part of the Freehand Makers project at FACT, a team of six people got together to create the minimum wage machine. The team consisted of four young adults: Megan, Lauren, Eve and Ollie and two adults: Louise, the inspirational project leader, and Patrick, a design engineer. We started at 10:45am and had to leave at 5:00pm even though the machine was still not fully complete. We worked tirelessly, but our work paid off, as very shortly the minimum wage machine will take pride of place in FACT. We were inspired to make this machine by Blake Fall Conroy who originally created the machine. During the day we talked to him on Skype and he told us how he had the idea whilst having a minimum wage job. He recalled counting the seconds to see how many pennies he had earned so far. We all thoroughly enjoyed speaking to him and he answered many of our questions. Whilst making the minimum wage machine we all learned skills that we will probably find very helpful in later life. We all worked as a team and were all really pleased with the results.

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The Ambassadors Call Out!

 

Wanted! Fresh creative minds to work with some of Liverpool’s major arts organisations to design a citywide celebration of young people’s creativity that includes performances, workshops, projects and events happening in and around Liverpool in July 2014

 

We’re looking for 15 young people aged 16-25yrs to join a management group called The Ambassadors.

The Ambassadors will work with artists, producers and industry experts to come up with a name, feel and look for the citywide celebration. Plus develop ideas for the programme, projects and featured events.

Are you….?

  • Are you aged 16-25yrs and itching to make great things happen in this city?
  • Looking to sharpen your project coordination, leadership and teamwork skills and gain confidence in decision-making and creative programming?
  • Interested in theatre, photography, music, poetry, dance, visual art, digital media – or any other art form?

Support with travel and access will be provided plus refreshments at meetings.

To Apply….

To apply please share a link to your creative work this could be written article, a blog post, a film, poem, animation or sound clip and tell is why you would benefit from this opportunity please include your full name, age and contact details and send it via email to E: amy.martin@tate.org.uk with the subject heading: The Ambassadors by Deadline 28th November 2013.

 

Liverpool Arts Regeneration Consortium (LARC) is an alliance of seven of the city’s major cultural organisations and was set up to play a leading role in helping regenerate Merseyside.

www.larc.uk.com/

 

 

 

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‘About Time’ Review
About Time is a new British romantic comedy, science fiction film from Richard
Curtis. The film, for me, was so utterly unrealistic that it was impossible to
dislike. If you avoid the questions of how and why it is easy to float away with
the romance and simplicity of it.
The film revolves around the character of Tim; a hopeless romantic, desperate
for the perfect girlfriend. Therefore when told he has the ability to time travel
and asked how he will use it, his answer is, of course, “for me it was always
going to be about love”. Tim’s character is endearing and thoroughly decent,
he believes his childhood in blissful Cornwall was perfect and aims to recreate
it. Tim, along with the entirety of the film’s cast, is kind, nice and predictably
charming.  However Domhnall Gleeson (who plays Tim) rescues the character
from being a soppy mess of kindness, acting truthfully and with a beautiful
simplicity that complements the film. Tim’s seemingly flawless and affluent
family live on the picturesque coast of Cornwall in a large house where they
spend long afternoons skimming stones on the beach. Despite the fact that this
is not an accurate depiction of the majority of families in Britain, and therefore
should be completely unrelatable, Curtis manages to create a fondness and
attachment to this oddball family.
Despite flaws such as failing to explain how, the film offers an escape from the
laws of reality into a world where relationships are seemingly flawless and a
father and son can travel in time. Regardless of its predictable, slightly confused
storyline ‘About Time’ allows for easy watching, amusement and a huge dose
of sentimentality. As well as this the film is flooded with Curtis’s commitment
to happy endings, family values and love. Accompanied by a soundtrack of  feel
good, classic love songs, ‘About Time’ is the type of film that even the greatest
cynic needs every now and then.
This romantic fantasy glides through the first hour and a half, sliding passed
the beginning years of a relationship, a wedding and the birth of two children
before the film truly begins.  Curtis’ purpose towards the end of the film is
simple but serious. He aims to tell the audience how we should live our lives,
however he cleverly does this without preaching or patronising. The message
is simple- to spend our daily lives deliberately noticing, “how sweet the world
can be”.  The beginning of the film seems an unimportant sub-plot compared
to this meaningful breakthrough, however provides light, heart-warming,
About Time offers the question, what if you could alter time in order to make
your life perfect?  The film answers this conundrum towards the end with the
incomplex answer of -you wouldn’t. It suggests you should just attempt to live
everyday as if everything is perfect and enjoy your “extraordinary, ordinary
life”. Refreshingly, the film isn’t a typical rom-com and after a slow, almost
hypnotic beginning delves  back into reality. Tim’s perfect family is hit with the
one imperfection that finds everyone- death.  The film then continues with new
purpose and a gentle, tender-hearted appreciation of the important things in life.

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Freehand Connects-a new strand of our young people’s programme for the artistically inclined!

We are looking for a group of twelve 16 to 25 year olds who are interested in getting involved in an innovative artistic programme aimed at young creatives. We are looking for students/artists/film makers/bloggers/curators based in Merseyside who will collaborate with FACT’s programme team to plan, create and deliver workshops and exhibitions to compliment FACT’s Exhibition Programme.

The group will meet every two weeks to plan and discuss activities/ workshops/ exhibitions. You will lead the programme; generating research, artwork, public workshops and tours. You will have opportunities to exhibit your work as well as being involved in the Young People Festival (a city wide cultural festival for young people planned for Summer 2014).

This free programme is part of FACT’s young people’s programme ‘Freehand’.

About FACT

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) is the UK’s leading media arts centre, based on Wood Street in Liverpool City Centre.

If you are interested in this project please email louise.latter@fact.co.uk. You will then be invited to an ‘Interest’ evening at FACT at 19:00 on September 24th where you can learn more about the project and meet the staff.

 

Louise Latter

Young People’s Coordinator

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology)

88 Wood Street

Liverpool, L1 4DQ

louise.latter@fact.co.uk

0151 707 4444

Tweet for us!

Aged 16-25? Interested in creating & delivering a young people’s artistic programme @FACT_Liverpool? DM @Freehand_FACT for more info.

 

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Last week was a very exciting week at FACT as we welcomed 17 talented and very enthusiastic young people to come and experiment with us for three days.

Prototype is our new school holiday activity for young makers. The three day programme saw young creatives getting to grips with app programming, thermochromatic inks, 3D cinema and much more.

Working with local artists Laura Pullig and Neil Winterburn, the programme was devised around hacker and maker culture, offering young people a chance to work collaboratively with practising artists in a fun environment. We all made new friends and learnt some skills that can be used across art, technology and film making.

“I enjoyed having free reign to create what we wanted. The activities were diverse and offered tonnes of fun opportunities” Prototyper

“Everything was really fun!” Prototyper

 


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Cast: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga
Director: Sofia Coppola
The Bling Ring inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers living in the Hollywood Hills use the Internet to track celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes.
The film shows the negative side of social media by showing how easy it is to rob from peoples’ houses who’s lives are on display all over the Internet and news. They find out where they are e.g. New York, and easily walk into an unlocked sliding door or a cat flap. There are even car doors left open with purses with a load of money in and even cocaine.

• Rebecca (Katie Chang) is the ringleader of the group, who is the most obsessed with the Hollywood lifestyle and especially Lindsey Lohan, who she seen as a style icon along with her DUI’s and court cases. She tries so hard to live like the way these celebrities do, even the hard drug use and partying every night in clubs.

• Marc (Israel Broussard) is the first to be introduced in the film and speaks throughout the film talking to an interviewer. He is the new kid in the school, moved because he had so many absences from his other school because he didn’t want to go due to his low self – esteem. Rebecca is the first to approach him nicely. This is
how he got wound up in Rebecca’s crazy life.

• Nicki (Emma Watson) unlike Hermione Granger, is already like a Starlet, with a rich family, bratty attitude and lessons on celebrity’s everyday taught by her mother
(Leslie Mann) and her two younger sisters Sam (Taissa Farmiga) and Emily (Georgia Rock).

I really liked the film as it was set in my favourite location, LA, and it showcases the glamorous life that everyone wants to live, like a celebrity. The film had clips of celebrities such as Audrina Patridge from the MTV reality show The Hills and she is being interviewed on the red carpet talking about the shallow and surreal lifestyle she has, being asked how being in a relationship has changed her night life and her answer being how she used to party every night, but now it’s a little less than that because she has a boyfriend. I think most teenagers are attracted to this type of lifestyle and that’s exactly why Rebecca, Marc, Nicki, Chloe (Claire Julien) and Sam do what they do, to have the lifestyle of a typical Hollywood Star.
It got me worried that teenagers could be influenced to do this, especially those in LA who are close to Hollywood stars’ houses and that they could actually be shallow, media driven to want that life and not have a proper life and not bothered about the consequences.

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On Friday 12th April I graduated from the BFI Film Academy Talent Campus with the National Film and Television school (NFTS). I found out about the course during my time at the regional Film Academy with the BFI at Liverpool FACT when Pete Fraser, the project lead for the talent campus came to FACT to talk about the talent campus and encourage us to apply for one of the best experiences a young film maker could have.

One of the many highlights I experienced at Talent Campus was the master classes and screenings with industry professionals like Edgar Wright (director of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), Eran Creevy (director of Shifty and Welcome to the Punch), Menhaj Huda (director of Kidulthood) with cinematographer of Kidulthood, Billy Elliot and Trainspotting, Brain Tufano, Rebecca O’Brien (Producer of The Spirit of ‘45 and Bean). It was incredible to hear about their experiences and watch their films especially when Edgar Wright came, as the films are funny and enjoyable to watch as well as brilliantly made.

Another highlight from the experience was filming on set for two days with the other members of the team I was in, mentored by the epic hat wearing Corin Hardy (director of the amazing stop motion animation Butterfly and music videos for artists like The Prodigy, Olly Murs, Paolo Nutini and Biffy Clyro). It was an amazing two days of filming with the team who all worked together well and made it an enjoyable experience, I also enjoyed using my knowledge and skills for sound production that I had learnt while I was at the regional Film Academy at FACT and also talking with the team during lunch on set and after filming when Corin would show us some of his videos. When we had finished filming it was an incredible feeling of achievement for the whole team and we were all excited to see the final result.

The final day at Talent Campus was an exciting, nerve wrecking and sad day as we all prepared to see the final cuts of our films at the screening at BFI Southbank in London before we attended a networking event with industry professionals and we all said goodbye to each other and went home. My group’s film Man of the House turned out really well and I was and still am proud to tell people that I was a part of the team that made the film.

After Talent Campus I have been inspired to continue writing more screenplays and to get experience working in the industry starting as a runner on set. I hope to collaborate with the amazing people that I met during the experience as they are all talented and made the experience truly enjoyable, and I am hoping that in September I will be at university studying Film Studies with Film Production while continuing to write screenplays and collaborate on films.

I would like to thank Louise, Zoe, Alexandra, John Maxwell and everyone at the regional BFI Film Academy group at Liverpool FACT who provided me with the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills, supported me while I was at Talent Campus and were amazing people to work with, Pete Fraser and  John Wardle for giving me the chance to attend the Talent Campus, the trips to BAFTA, National Art Gallery, BFI National Film Archive and Pinewoods Studios, and for making it an amazing experience for us all, Corin Hardy for showing me the dedication its takes and being an awesome tutor and finally Team Hardy and the other members who attended Talent Campus for being amazing people to meet, work with, laugh with and for sharing the experience with me that I will never forget.

 

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Who would have thought that The Beatle’s iconic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover would now include images of Jessie Ware, Dave Grohl and Kylie? Well, after careful consideration and hours trawling through music magazines, blogs and personal paraphernalia, Freehand made it happen.

The Beatles inspired Stand-In (that’s the name for those seaside stick-your-face-in-the-hole-and-have-a-photo-taken stands) is just one part of the latest instalment in FACT’s Connects Space. Alongside this, Rip It Up is also giving FACT’s visitors the chance to design their own band t-shirt, create a pop-star hybrid using the Exquisite Corpse board and improve their music knowledge with the uniquely formulated Lets Get Quizzical.

For 2 months Freehand have worked tirelessly on coming up with activities that all ages can have fun with and share with their friends and families. From the questions for the quiz to the way the posters looked on the wall, Freehand have explored every aspect of how to make an exhibition space work.

 

Black and white giant posters line the walls and visitors are invited to write their response on the massive blackboard to questions such as, ‘What was your first record?’ and ‘Who is your favourite Artist?’ Paying homage to the poster-plastered bedroom walls of teenagers everywhere is the look that Freehand were going for when designing Rip It Up under the guidance of Well Made studio’s Joe Bramall.

This look has definitely paid off. The cover designs of the albums that have been kept a guilty pleasure for so long are being gingerly appreciated and favourite lyrics have been openly scribbled on the board (‘come on Barbie, let’s go party’ was a welcome shock).  The response is a feeling of pride of what you like and not a cringe in sight!

 

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