If you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably aware that I have had the great honor of coming on board as Line Producer for Jeanne Veillette Bowerman’s @jeannevb and Michael Bekemeyer’s @bekemeyer production of IMPASSE. (Yes, Tom Glavin, you, too. Get a Twitter handle 😉 ). It’s thrilling to be part of this glorious production. The script and the story are pointed, meaningful and heartfelt.
I’ve been surprised at how many eyebrows have raised in response to this news: Really? You do this? I had no idea? Why?
Ah. A) I’m an independent filmmaker. Budget dictates that I wear multiple hats. B) Acquiring these skills has made me a better writer.
It’s one thing to dream up a story, outline it, tweak it, vomit the first draft, then move onto the endless rewrites. It’s quite another to write a script that is going to get made.
I’m a writer. I’m also a director. Yes, I do that, too, and now, I write like one. Every word, every moment distilled into its visual elements (I hope). Crisp. succinct. To the point, but hopefully, maintaining the poetic voice I’ve struggled to develop.
I’m a producer. I write with budget in mind. In the first draft, I let it rip. All the locations I want, all the money fat, VFX, etc. Then, I come back and start piecing it together. How much will this moment cost? Or this? And, one, by one, I kill those darlings. I find more out of the box ways to express the moment or the intent.
This might sound painful, but it’s not. It’s liberating, for, by doing so, I have to find, new creative ways to express a moment or a scene. “Necessity is the mother of invention” – never before have words rung so true. Poverty forces you to think creatively. It can be the lifeblood of the muse.
A bonus? Neural plasticity. As a lifelong right-brainer, I find that channeling my inner Spock keeps my gray and white matter nice and flexible. Your brain is like a muscle; you have to work it out.
Speaking of which, this is how I spent my weekend:
It’s definitely a skill set to develop.
Now for something completely different. Last night, we reached 10,000 views for Episode 1 of “They Live Among Us.” To celebrate, Jamba entertained all with reading an excerpt from “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
I will never, for the life of me, understand the mentality of women when it comes to the Great American Summer Book Read. First, Twilight. Now, Fifty Shades.
Don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with erotica… but this? It’s crap. You want great, hot, panty-dropping erotica, try A Spy in the House of Love, or Henry and June, both penned by the incomparable Anais Nin, both written at a time when men and women exploring their sexuality were doing so as adults, as opposed to being redacted to engaging in what is at best a series of infantile, adolescent peep shows and nocturnal emission fantasies. Cable ties, indeed.
Now, go write.
HRH, Princess Scribe
Amen to A. Nin!
It’s been clear to me for a while that seeing for myself the process of a script being translated to a film would be invaluable to me as a writer. And I’m going to be on set for the first time soon, as a PA, and am so looking forward to it. Among other things, I hope to identify which crew positions I’d be good at, so I can start learning them.
How did you acquire the necessary skill set to be line producer?
I’ve produced theatre for years, from little four person indie productions to managing a cast and crew of about 120 total for an outdoor historical drama. Budget is everything. Plus, as a sometimes DIY filmmaker, I have to create my own budget and schedule. Sometimes I have help, sometimes it’s just me. I’m not independently wealthy, so if I have a 10k budget, it’s going to come in under that line… or just at it. 🙂
Bravo for taking on set work. A lot of writers don’t understand how necessary – and transformative – it is to work on a set. I think it’s vital to do what you are doing – work on somebody else’s project. It’s film school that you get paid to attend. And it will affect your writing; you’ll begin to think like a filmmaker.
The collaborative nature of filmmaking is my favorite aspect of it, and while I picked up pretty quickly on how much there is to learn as a writer by being part of it, I also want to be able to contribute to it in other capacities.
Jamba needs some new jewels
a bigger tiara
nice bracelet with emeralds