Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some Quick Notes

We just did a marathon session of scheduling, moving titles around, regretfully cutting some movies we really like because there isn't enough time to show them all, etc. Things are still settling, but I wanted to make a quick point or two.

First, plot summaries. Folks, whether you're a filmmaker submitting to festivals or a novelist submitting queries, by the time we've finished reading about your work we should know what the story is.

In our case, we have hundreds of movie titles, some of which we watched in December. We occassionally need a little reminder, "what's that one again?"

So we turn to the summary filmmakers provide. "Our film opens with a vista on the mesa of anytown USA where egnimatic things happen to non-discript people."

Okay, I made that one up, but it's not off by much. We have literally read summaries that are three of four paragraphs long and still not known what the movie was about.

"I must not have seen this one," I tell Leslee.

"Yes you did," she says, checking the database. "You gave it a Must See."

"I did? What else did I say?"

"Great cast. Great Story. Book this movie."

Okay, so I'm just as guilty as you guys, but still! We need one sentence that tells us exactly what your movie is about. It's called a Log Line and you won't get far in the industry without learning how to write them, so get used to it. You'll thank me when you're at a festival party, cornered by the dullest person on the planet with the worst breath who says, "So? What's your movie about?"

Next thing. It's very helpful to chapter your features. Often at this stage of the process we want to take one more look at climatic scene - or we watched half of a movie when an urgent e-mail from a filmmaker asking when we'd be done with the list makes us lose touch and we have to go back. Nothing worse than hitting the skip button and getting all the way back to the beginning, or all the way to the end.

Finally, we've had more DVDs fail this year than ever before. FYI, people, home burned DVDs are good for about 3 screenings then they skip like an old 45 record left in a sand box. It's always good to send a back-up.

Thanks for reading.


Alleged Author said...

Just like with books (pitches), a great log line is so important. Loved reading about this!

RSMellette said...

I'm glad you liked it. My whole philosophy is that we as artists can all learn from each other. While I'm making decisions about people's movie submissions, somewhere in New York editors are making similar choices about my book. So we share the agony and the ecstasy.

Mateo Guez said...

I believe making movie is a courageous adventure but I can see that programming movie is also an incredible challenging journey! good luck and thanks for giving us a chance to exist -;)...