Puppetry of the Dreamless

Above is “Puppetry of the Dreamless”, co-written by myself and Tales of the Borderline (whose site is up and running again). Feedback is more than welcome on the YouTube page, or on this post. We were given forty-eight hours to create a film – start to finish – including the character Vic Meyer (insomniac), a card prop, a POV shot, the line “Did you hear that?”, and given the Horror genre.

Pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone is a pretty healthy thing to do. There’s even research to back my little (big?) claim up (see Scientific American on the effect of doing new things on our openness to learning, which is perhaps one aspect of why kids learn so much faster than we do).

I’ve participated in this 48-hour film festival before, but usually had minor roles to play, plus co-writing which was easily my favourite part. This time, I was coerced into being executive producer. My first thought? Um, I have no idea what that means. Eventually (and we’re talking pretty late in the show, here), with the help of my co-producer / -writer, I was able to get into the role, and learn more about it (basically it meant I had to make sure that everything (and everyone) happened when and where they should have happened. On an hour’s sleep. And a gazillion cups of coffee.

I discovered that:

  • I can actually function on an hour’s sleep and a gazillion cups of coffee (the word ‘function’ being used very broadly here).
  • Writing for film is NOT the same as writing for, well, writing, except for the structure of the narrative which must be very sound. Script writing is concise, dialogue-based, and highly visual (sounds obvious, I know).
  • Sometimes you have to be ‘the mean guy’, for the greater good.
  • People skills are of utmost importance to get anything done. You have to know what ticks people off, so you can avoid these triggers at all costs, and know what people thrive on – a little bit of appreciation goes a LONG way (which, incidentally, I read an interesting chapter about in one of my new favourite books, “How to Win Friends & Influence People” (I promise you it is worth every cent)).
  • There are some very nice, very talented, and very funny people in the film industry. Just sayin’.

Think back over the past few months, or perhaps the last year – when was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone a bit, and did something new? What was that experience like for you? I would love to hear your stories:

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