Saturday, January 5, 2008


Okay, so I know it's passe to talk about Juno and "Real film people" have to jump off the bandwagon because it's opening in wide release. But since I just started my blog a day project yesterday, I have to catch up with my favorite movies of last year.

For about 6 months of the year, my favorite movie was Waitress, I even wrote a blog about it on my production musings blog and reposted it here. I thought it had everything and renewed my faith in movies for another year.

However, in the last part of this year, we have hit several snags with the projects I am working on, and I could use another boost to my film tank. In comes Juno. Yes, another movie about pregnancy. This is the year of the PREGGOS. From starlets to the screen, everyone's getting Knocked Up. However, I have to applaud the movie, specifically Jason Reitman, who is becoming one of my favorite directors with Juno and previously with Thank you for Smoking.

This is exactly my kind of movie. I really only like a very small subset of movies, with few exceptions. QUIRKY, FUNNY, CHARACTER-DRIVEN, INDEPENDENT, COMEDIC, DIALOG HEAVY, films. There are exceptions like Kill Bill, Dawn of the Dead, and many others. But I have found a subset that I like, and basically any movie that comes along in that category I like.

However, I must say, I LOVED Juno. It had everything a movie should have, and takes a storyline we've already seen throughout the year, and just does it better than everyone else. The dialog was simple, understated, and hilarious. The art direction was classy, but not overpowering. The cinematagraphy didn't try to be more than it is. I would think Michael Bay would loath this movie because it's puts substance over style. It doesn't have 50 different angles of a scene. In most scenes they follow an incredibly simple formula: wide, 2 shot, singles. Then they sprinkle in some dolly moves, steadicams, and coverage shots.

It was really nice to see a movie succeed for the right reasons. It came from nothing, expected little, and changed the year. And to to the filmmakers out there trying to break in, it uses a tried and true formula.

If you are producing a script for little or no budget, all you have that can compete with studio projects is FINAL DRAFT. Everything else will be out of your control. Even a movie like Juno was produced for several million dollars. However, every movie begins with a script. Every script is written with a script writing program. And script writing programs cost $150-$200. Or you can download a free one like CELTX.

However you think about it, this movie could be shot on a handicam or DVX100, with the same dialog, same shot list, and still gotten into Sundance. However, your horror movies or action films won't go anywhere, except possibly direct to video.

Regardless of the genre, the most important thing in any movie is the script. Action film, horror movie, character-driven indie, all need you to write good dialog, know how to move a plot along, and know how to create a story.

I wrote a script a couple of months ago called, Johnny's Black Flag, based on a draft a client of mine had, showed it to a studio, and they are looking to develop it. However, the script is completely against character for me. I'm an indie-writer and it was a horror script. But since I knew how to get things done, I was able to write it well.

For more information about JBF, check out the BNS media blog.

Pee Sout.

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