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Wildscreen 03 – In Over My Head

Today I’ve attended the “Advanced Screenwriting Workshop” taught by Richard Burke-Ward immediately I realized I was in way over my head.

Yesterday, when I took part in the “Underwater #Filmmaking for Beginners” workshop, I found out that people here are playing a whole different ballgame. ¬†Up until I got into the taxi, that drove us to the swimming pool, I felt a little sorry that I didn’t register for the Advanced version of the same workshop. I mean, I’m an advanced filmmaker and I am definitively not a beginner scuba diver. So taking part in the advanced course would make sense, wouldn’t it?
However 5 minutes into the first presentation of the day, it became painfully obvious that I was right where I belonged in the beginners group.

We started out with a presentation on safety and legal compliance. Sounds a bit dull, I know. However, it did a very good job in making me realize that there is more to underwater filmmaking than taking a camera and jumping in.
It wasn’t just my naivety that raised its head. All the filmmakers I am meeting, here are performing at a very high level of professionalism. Which is probably best seen in their collaboration with others. Almost everybody I spoke to, so far, only has one job. As a cameraman you are most loyal to your editor. And they take that job most seriously. The editor will make your rough footage look great in sequence, much the same way that good source material will make the edit look a lot better. Most cameramen do not edit their own footage mainly because, all though it might be in your own best interest, is most definitely not in the best interest of the film.

So, back to the #screenwriting workshop. Richard was showing us a video clip of baby turtles hatching and running towards the sea. The clip was heavily narrated. At the end of the clip he asked; What is wrong with the story? Wrong? It was beautiful! What could possibly be wrong?
Well, the room was filled with twenty or so screenwriter whom could tell me all about it. It was probably the worst written voice-over in the history of film (intentually, and written specifically for this workshop) and I didn’t notice any of it.

I have to say it was great fun listening to someone that is so passionate about language. And I have really learned a lot! We’ve talked about how stories can be helped with carefully selected words. Even after the edit is already locked.

But the thing that stood out most this morning where definitively the people. Everybody was so friendly and everybody is open to a conversation. During the workshops nobody ever made me feel dumb or inferior. Instead, they would happily tell me about their experiences and best practices.

I have learned a lot these past couple of days, but there is still a big gap to bridge.

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