Thursday, May 24, 2012
I just won this wind up toy on eBay. It's a prop for Toñita Runs Away.
Instead of starting with a script, I'm letting ideas, location, props and actors lead me to the film I am meant to make. I'm reminded of the interviews with François Truffaut and Jean-Pierre Léaud (extras on the The 400 Blows Criterion DVD, which are precious) where they talk about the process of shooting that film. Truffaut only had pieces of paper where he wrote down the actions and locations he wanted to shoot and he encouraged Léaud improvise most of his dialogue. You know that famous scene at the end of the film where the social worker asks Antoine why he doesn't like this mother? Fourteen year old Léaud came up with it himself. Léaud is Antonie Doinel.
John August asks in this recent post Is Screenwriting Dead? I think the right question to ask is, should it be dead? I think so. As the "craft" stands today, it's responsible for the formulaic pablum created in this country. Mainstream entertainment is an oppressive environment and everyone knows it. American audiences expect this recycled crap and when confronted with something new, they don't know what to make of it.
So Hollywood is what it is, I get it. However, this unimaginative filmmaking has infected every screen, whether at a film festival or a computer. It's the same shit over and over and over again. If this is what you want to do, fine. But given the competition, and you know every other person in this country has Final Draft, an iMac and a DSLR, how in the hell do you expect to stand out and be noticed?
Bowing down to the oppressors is not going to do it for you. Find your own way.