I went for a Film Workshop in Central Market this morning with Duncan and his sister Cordelia. Presented by Australian writer cum director cum actress Denise Roberts, I expected a talk on the steps and process of making a film. Instead, the speaker seems more interested in sharing her view on what makes a good script and movie. Which is actually fine with me because I am even more interested in that topic.
Her first topic was the importance of punctuality, especially since shooting usually runs on very tight schedule and any delay could potentially raise the budget by several hundred thousands of dollar. This short topic is probably directed at the few of us who did not arrived before 10 am. Ahem.
Also present to assist her in the workshop are two local actors. I have never see the girl before but the guy looked familiar (not to mention tall, dark and handsome too). They were given a simple script without any indication of what actually happened. The script basically goes like this; the guy asking the girl to stop doing something that is annoying him and the girl telling him to get lost.
Needless to say, the act was rather dry. Denise then explained to us the important of love or lack of love in a script as "love makes the world go round". Love which she also used as an acronym for Loading, Objective, Vulnerability and Empathy.
The second time the act was played out, she loaded the actors with a little background. The guy loves the girl and can't stand that she is addicted to drug. The girl loves the guy too but stronger than her love for him is her urge to get her regular fix.
That little background makes a world of different on how they actors acted out their role and how they delivered their lines. It is much better this time. Denise keeps adding more dimension to the scenario till she fill up on the rest of the acronym. Although audiences do not necessarily need to know the full background of the characters, it is important that the actors at least have a hint of it so the scenes may be acted out with more depth.
The workshop covered on pretty basic but important stuffs. Stuffs most movie buffs would probably already know though not necessarily apply when they write or attempt to write.
However, the problem with film as an art is that everything can be very objective and what works for one might not work for another. I can see Duncan shaking his head when she said the movie Fight Club was boring, pointless and she fell asleep at the same scene the 3 times that she tried to watch it. I saw the movie later of the day on DVD and I also beg to differ. It has a brilliant script and can be very deep. I am still digesting it as I write this.
I am also rather surprised that her style is very much inclined toward the Hollywood 3-Acts format with their mandatory positive message ending. This is a topic that drew some debate from the audiences with someone pointing out that a film with no message can be a message itself. Personally I felt that topic is more toward the Etiquette and Integrity of Filmmaking and does not necessarily make or break a film.
Denise also shared with us her experience as an actress in Australia and some difference between theater acting and filmed acting. One hint I very useful was how to protect the copyright of your script when you send one to a producer, short of registering a trademark for it.
Overall, a satisfying workshop I have no regret attending. Personally, the most important thing a film can achieve for me is to tell a story effectively.
p.s. I just thought of the movie Babel. A very good movie telling a story very effectively that ties up everything in the end but one which I can find no positve message from. It was just very real and very engaging.