Posted by Michael Raben at spider-wg061.proxy.aol.com on August 07, 2001 at 18:42:09:
In Reply to: The script is not always King posted by Vincent on August 07, 2001 at 09:39:51:
: : Makes no difference, as long as the story is good. With a tight story and interesting characters, it doesn't matter who wrote it. As a director on a low-budget indie, it's your job to give the story a visual life without spending too much money in the process. The script does come first though; if your script sucks, you're in trouble.
: : Michael Raben
: Not all films are based on "script and "story", Michael. There are experimental films (like ERASERHEAD) that are based on mood and visuals and can be quite abstract, and that doesn't make them "bad".
I consider words like "good" and "bad" dicey choices when describing film/video work, since they're more often associated with opinion instead of technical prowess. The issue I was hoping to impress was that in the modern age, a filmmaker REALLY NEEDS a well written (or concepted) story with interesting characters or else it doesn't "work". You pick out a very nice example to the contrary ("Eraserhead") but your example is 25 years old, which doesn't make it any less relevant, but in terms of today's indie films, many more than not are working on the story and character aspects first - THAT is the script.
Now, all this may be moot; maybe this guy is the next David Lynch and will create a work of genius that isn't necessarily focused on what we're discussing. If he's not that guy, then maybe the script/story/characters have to come first.
: The script does *NOT* always come first. Film is a visual/aural artform that need not be confined to the rules of conventional storytelling. See 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY or any number of David Lynch films as examples.
I'll agree with you again, Vincent, the examples you cite are dead-on - but they also, for the most part, have larger bucks behind them than your average first-time indie and come from remarkably unique visionaries. I'll point this out only for the record, but "A Better Place", YOUR film, follows more in my direction of thinking than in the alternate - it's a tight, well-written story with interesting characters and with very little flash about it.
I agree with your position as Devil's advocate, since the nature of visual story-telling is broad. But to be practical here, whether talking in open or literal terms, the script DOES come first.
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