Friday, 24 February 2012

SCREENPLAY CONSTELLATIONS

Haus 1, Studio Babelsberg, Berlin; where they shot Metropolis!
Last week I had the good fortune to attend the Berlinale Talent Campus; ‘a creative academy and networking platform for up-and-coming filmmakers from all over the world’. It was an incredible experience, meeting with participants (representing no less than 99 countries) and attending workshops from some of the world's leading filmmakers.

SOLUTION FOCUSED SYSTEMIC STRUCTURAL CONSTELLATIONS

In a week full of surreal moments, a four-hour writing workshop took the biscuit, placed it in the middle of the room and asked it how it felt to be a biscuit. The idea behind the convoluted title above is to take the key elements of a screenplay-in-progress (such as character, theme, setting etc), select people to physically represent these elements and have the writer position them in a room in relation to one another. They then experiment with different ‘constellations’ and take input from the story elements themselves, who are asked to contribute, in character. It was in turns bizarre, hilarious and eventually kind of emotionally intense. Definitely the most unusual approach to writing I’ve ever encountered. 

Here’s a short video, featuring an interview with me. I look a bit spaced out but I've just been through some seriously weird shit, so give me a break OK?


If you want to know more about the campus and access some of their rich online archive of material, have a look around here. Huge thanks to the amazing organisers of the BTC, all the speakers, and to the British Council for subsidising the trip.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

BERLINALE TALENT CAMPUS



I’m about to brace my buckles and fly in a plane – which is neck and neck with ‘hacking off my own fingers with a rusty spoon’ on my list of favourite activities. Luckily it’s for a damned good reason; I’m heading out to the Berlin Film Festival to take part in the Berlinale Talent Campus. The program for the campus looks excellent, with masterclasses from Mike Leigh, Werner Herzog, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Juliet Binoche. Oh, and Andie MacDowell. That’s right - Four Weddings, Loreal. She’s gonna be there.

So I’ve been dusting down some of my film projects in the build up to the festival. Pictured above is a mood board I put together for a psychological thriller I’m working on. I have a few friends who use mood boards (here's a good one) and I got into the habit last year. They can be time consuming to put together but are a great reminder of what you set out to do. I’m using this one (which is mostly made up of film stills) to orientate the development of a feature script called Bitter Memoirs. It’s a dark version of the rags to riches story, where worldly fulfillment leads to moral ruin. That sounds a little bleak but my protagonist's descent into the maelstrom is going to be a hell of a lot of fun. Until he gets stabbed.   

I’ll be tweeting from Berlin like a bastard Chaffinch, so if you want to chart what may be the gradual unraveling of my soul in a haze of Germanic excess, do check in. Till then, tschuss!