monsters and budgets: part 2

so much for the robert rodriguez-as-minimalist thing. ha! check this out:


film school, monsters and budgets: a screenwriter's take on what's scary

i'm a film guy. have been for quite a while now. i've been working on learning the art of screenwriting for nearly 10 years now with the hopes of someday selling a feature-length script. to be honest, i don't harbor any misguided notions of becoming a screenwriting sensation making money by the truckload. i truly only fancy the idea of selling a couple scripts to earn enough to buy a cool little house and provide for a woman i've yet to find...

i'm on my sixth or seventh feature length script (depending on how i count all the rewrites) and feel as if i'm just now becoming familiar enough with the craft of screenwriting to do it justice. i wrote a terrible action flick about a pair of college buddies who get entangled in an auto-theft syndicate on a weekend bender in las vegas... someday i may try to improve it. and i'm sitting on multiple versions of a story about a young rebel intent on breaking into Area 51 only to find out more than he ever imagined... that one has potential, but it's not ready. i'm currently working on a cannibal comedy that i (finally) consider to be worthy of professional submission.

one way for an aspiring screenwriter to improve his or her chances at actually getting material taken seriously is to minimize budgetary concerns within the script assuming it's actually going to be made. in other words, when your brilliance as an amazing screenwriter is well-established in the ranks of those who actually buy these works, then you can create scenes where aliens descend upon our nation's capital and destroy the white house. until then, even adding something as simple as rain (rain machines are expensive) or a dog (training a dog for a film is a headache) to a scene can add financial strains on a film's budget.

it's just something to keep in mind...

so with that, i'd like to share with you a look at two wonderfully talented screenwriters with very different approaches to writing scripts. both of these men are in the well-established, super-awesome category alluded to above who not only write amazing stories but have elevated their creative talents to include the actual direction/production of their own scripts. let's compare the differences between robert rodriguez and guillermo del toro, two mexican filmmakers who approach the creation of story and cinema in two contrasting ways.

rodriguez (desperado, from dusk till dawn, the spy kids franchise, grindhouse...) writes and shoots his films from a minimalist perspective. as you will see in the video below -- the robert rodriguez 10-minute film school -- he talks about learning technology, writing on your own terms, eliminating financial constraints and more to create a refreshing and inspiring view on movie making (i.e. you can make a great film without a lot of money).

want to be a filmmaker? he helps you envision your potential in 10-minutes! skip film school, watch the vid, write a story and start shooting. badaboom badabing.

del toro (pan's labyrinth, the hellboy franchise, many others) actually starts his creations from hand-drawn notebook sketches that make their way into his scripts. once his characters are born on the page they slowly make their way to masterfully creative CGI artists with millions of dollars who bring them to life on screen. wait til you see this stunning video from the new yorker detailing how del toro manifests his monsters.


what unique methods do you use to stay creative and productive? do budgetary concerns weigh into your creative decisions?

if you know any cinephiles who would enjoy getting in on the conversation, please pass this along. don't forget to sign up on the right to "follow" the satellite. thanks.