Leap of Faith

You’ve got to see this movie!

This, the opening line from my short script, Hype, is probably the only thing left in its entirety from the original work, except the title.

Fashioning a screenplay is a patchwork of trial and error. Perhaps more than a book, a script is an ever-changing work, first in rewrites and then in the shooting itself. Even when you locked a final draft, you never shoot the script exactly as it was written, and that is especially true in extreme low-budget productions, as mine is. You have to take into account the conditions on the location itself, and aspire to use its advantages and disadvantages to move the story forward. In low-budget filmmaking, it’s not the location you want, but the location you can get.

During the exciting, frustrating and exhausting maelstrom of pre-production, the filmmaker has a commitment to have the story in front of him in all times, to never forget its essence, its themes, its heart. While occupying myself with finding locations, doing technical research, recruiting people and scheduling them, I always tried to take the time to get back to the script and go through it again, to remind myself of why I’m doing it in the first place. In narrative filmmaking, everything exists to serve the story. And the characters, and consequentially the actors, are the nexus of it all.

While a story at its core is about the truths of the human existence, Filmmaking itself is a contradictory beast. It is ethereal and practical at the same time, belongs to the real world and out of this world at the same time. It is, as is well known, art and business all at once; in order to be successful in this field, one often need to be a shrewed businessman as well as a gifted director/producer/writer.

Taking care of all this practical stuff, all this doing, and trying to remember the story – and it was quite hard sometimes – was, and still is, like trying to be several personalities at the same time.

At my core, I think abstractly. I’m not good at practical, fact-based stuff like mathematical quizzes or crossword puzzles. They frustrate me and bore me after a time. I like to daydream, to imagine, to think about possibilities, to see connections, to find beauty in whatever I can, to imagine people doing strange, funny stuff in places they shouldn’t be doing it, to picture different lives in different worlds, to wonder what would’ve happened if–

That is the writer side of me, more than anything. But the director and the producer cannot afford to be this way. They exist in the real world, in the here and now. They must be practical and active. They cannot daydream. They must do stuff. They must act. If they sit and think all day, nothing will happen. They cannot afford themselves the luxury of pure artistic flights of fancy. The producer is the one that wills a movie into being. The director creates the visual storytelling out of the written word, aided by his skill-specific crew, in the only art form to incorporate all other art forms, which is what makes it so fucking awesome.

Hype goes into production soon, leaving behind its ethereal existence on the page and making its way to the practical, technical, money-dependent universe we all inhabit.

And that’s the greatest leap of faith in the world.


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