Monday, 8 April 2013

Inside The Mind Of A Student Filmmaker

He's excited. He's been given a new brief. He's mid-way through his degree course at a university that he often has to convince people actually exists. He sits at his computer and starts to write. Ideas come flooding out of him like a leaky tap in the middle of the night. This has never happened before. He's suddenly got ideas for characters that he's never thought of before. He types long into the night, eager to make sure that this incredible idea isn't lost.

He wakes the next morning, his head squished into the keys of his laptop. He looks at what's on the screen and finds a script he's fairly sure he hasn't written. It's crafted beautifully, it has interesting characters and a story arc that he can't quite believe he has created. As he scrolls through thrilling action and delicate conversation, he begins to get worried. He must've stolen this. This gorgeous creation can't possibly be his. As the script comes to the most stunning end, a mash of words start to appear on the screen. It's what his sleepy forehead has brought into the world as it crashed down in exhausted slumber. He starts to breath a sigh of relief as his work becomes familiar again. The characters wave at him like he's a lifelong friend. The gangster and the woman that's naked throughout both smile at him knowingly. The female character has her knickers round her ankles and an awkward sex scene plays out. This is the work he recognises. This is the film he has written.

He hastily deletes the mystery script, hoping no one ever discovers his act of accidental plagiary. Now it's time to get this film made. As he's student, he doesn't have to worry about budgets or paying actors so he sets about finding himself a cast. He's described the actress as being in her 40s so he needs to find an actress, preferably in her 20s, that he can insult as much as possible by offering her the role. And that's when he finds her: Miss L. There's her face, all happy while she desperately clings on to the final dying months of being 29. He scowls at her as she endlessly smiles at him through the screen. She knows nothing of what is coming her way and is blissfully unaware of the 20 years that are currently being added to her. While she sits there in her all her comfortable clothes like a normal human being, he's planning to humiliate her as possible with unnecessary sex scenes and gratuitous nudity.

He looks back over the dialogue between the two characters to check that it's as unrealistic as possible. "They'll struggle with this," he thinks to himself, barely able to contain his utter glee. He giggles as he imagines how much they'll agonise over his poorly written lines, misspelt words and baffling construction. He pictures their constant awkwardness on set while they trip up over the clunkiness of it all and he wishes he could high-five himself. He realises that high-fiving himself is the same as a clap and he applauds his masterfulness for the next hour.

Once his hands have cooled down from 60 minutes of self-congratulation, he emails her, adopting a friendly tone in hope of fooling her. If he's polite in his cover letter then she might just fall for it. In just a couple of months she could have nearly 30 minutes of material that makes her cringe so hard that she has to work in a call centre for the next 6 months to afford enough Botox to correct it. He'll become a legend for creating the first film that's so excruciating that she can't even bring herself to put it on her showreel. Her experience on set will be so horrific that she talks about him for years. People will think she's lying but she'll know. Her nightmares will remind her.

He fires off the email, sits back and waits. Waits for her cries to echo across the internet.


  1. "He realises that high-fiving himself is the same as a clap and he applauds his masterfulness for the next hour" I laughed out loud a lot!

  2. As a student filmmaker(guilty!) I feel sorry for actors who are treated like this. One of the biggest assumptions that people going to film school make is that they know everything or in a modest way they think " they learned everything". I feel that the learning process only starts once you step out with your degree and start working on real sets with real structure and discipline( you soon realize through humiliation that what you thought you knew was a complete joke). However, as someone who tries to stay in touch with the reality of making a film I would like to know from an actors perspective how should a film student director or writer(clearly a genius) go about casting for his/her film. What is the usual procedure to tapping the interested party and giving them the necessary information about the role. If you find my query confusing, all I am saying is this-How do you expect to be treated from someone with little or less experience?