When writing your screenplay, it’s easy for the writer to just write whatever amazing thing comes into his mind. Now, for Hollywood screenwriters, the ones who are pretty much guaranteed a hundred-
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You, however, will probably not be writing for a hundred-
For instance, perhaps you want a quick scene at the horse-
Pretty soon, that quick scene at the race-
If you are writing an indie film, you’ll have to think about this stuff every scene you write! You can’t just set scenes in expensive locations. You can’t have babies, animals, water, etc...
panhandling carver he walked by on the street one day! That’s 13% of his budget he just pissed away on things that weren’t in the script.
You never want to piss money away. On a film, you need every penny. So, don’t spend money on things that don’t go up-
People are going to have to actually film your screenplay (hopefully). Think about what issues they’re going to have -
You can’t have anything expensive. And, on a film set, absolutely everything’s expensive.
I once worked on a shoot that ground to a halt for 4 hours, because the director needed a carnation and didn’t tell anyone. And, it turned out that carnations weren’t in-
You, the writer, have to pay attention to these things.
The writer I mentioned earlier who spent 2% of his movie’s budget having the first (of about ten) drafts of his script bound all nicely -
exact same scene with adults on dry land and lost nothing in the translation.
If you write your script with the film-
You don’t want the crew to have to spend money on something that isn’t important. And, as the writer, you are the only one who knows what’s important right now, seeing as you are the one who’s actually writing the script. Of course, the director will later take over this role, but that’s after the screenplay is already finished.
So, as an indie screenwriter, what do you want to stay away from?
Well, just so many things really. Absolutely everything costs a fortune when you go to shoot it for a movie.
Kids are one of the worst. There are child labour laws you have to follow that make filming with kids annoying, to say the least. The younger the child the worse it gets.
So, avoid babies and toddles like the plague.
Same goes with animals. It will take days of training each animal -
Society will want to be involved. You’ll need trainers out the wazoo. Everything will take 10x as long to film. Etc…
And, you never, ever, ever want to shoot on water. You’re away from all your equipment. Everything’s moving all the time. People get sea-
If you’re avoiding boats, it goes without saying that you’ll also want to avoid space-
Writers love showcasing large settings. For instance, a futuristic sci-
Giant industrial locations are the same, only a bit more expensive.
So, every time you write a scene like that, be aware that it’s going to cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Just for an establishing shot. If the shot’s important for setting the tone for the movie, maybe it’s justifiable. But, if the shot isn’t important and would just take resources away from the important stuff, maybe it has to go.
For another example, let’s say you want a scene in a grocery store. You’ll need to rent out a grocery-
As the writer, you are the only one thinking about this stuff right now.
Don’t make problems for your film-
You wouldn’t believe how many sets I’ve worked on where all sorts of money was wasted -
The story is created inside your head -
*Greeking is an industry term meaning a product has been imperceptibly changed to remove all the logos, trademarks, artwork, etc... Anything that could be considered copyright-