Waiting for ‘the Golden Snitch (Pt. 1/2)

End scene. The credits are rolling up the 27″ iMac, 2 meters away from me. The sound of eastern european music is playing in the background.

“Did you like it?” my girlfriend asks me with anticipation in her voice.

“Yeah, it was good!” I answer.

The eastern european music continues, and we start laughing at a tiny animated cartoon, dancing what looks like a Russian traditional folk dance.

It’s times like this, when I’ve finished watching a movie I really enjoy, that is not only a good story that has kept me interested the whole way through, but also done excellently in terms of costume, style, colours, framing etc, that I start dreaming again about finally making a narrative film myself.

But then, the excuses come.

“I don’t have a script yet”.
” I can’t think of anyone to act for me”
“When will I get time for this?”
“Would other people want to help me?
“I don’t have enough gear”

The list goes on and on.

I think one of my biggest problems when dreaming about making something new, is that I’m waiting for everything to be perfect. I am waiting for the right opportunity to make the film that I’ve been dreaming about making for so long. So I sit. And watch. And I look for ‘the Golden Snitch’. It’s out there somewhere. I know it. And when I get it, it’ll win me the game. So I leave it with dreaming, and waiting. Maybe I’ll start writing a new script, and then put it on the shelf after 2-3 pages. And then I wait again.

How long am I willing to wait? Don’t know. But maybe I should just start playing the game instead. Get in the game with the other players. Fight for goals and have a good time. And then, maybe one day, the snitch will show up. But who knows?

Stop Making Shorts!

I recently attended a 2 day film school with a well known instructor from LA. These three words slapped us in the face, and set the tone for the rest of the two days. At first, I did not agree with this statement at all, but as the course progressed, I understood the context of it.

The whole point of the film school was that we would learn how to produce and distribute our first feature film, on a micro to low budget. We got taught how to write, budget the money, shoot and get it out on the market. This brings me to the point of the statement; if you are going to spend $50 000 on a short film, why not spend the same amount on a feature film? The instructors point was, that it isn’t easy to make money on short films, but a good feature film on the other hand, actually has a huge potential!

So, does this mean I will not make short films anymore? Not at all! (In fact, I just shot one the other day). I believe there is so much you can learn in the process of making a short in terms of directing, storytelling and so on. It is faster to produce them and you can get away with a smaller crew. On the other hand, one thing I got from the course was that I can’t be limited by a ‘short film mindset’ anymore. What I mean is: it is so easy to think of a feature as something you will maybe make one day in the future, and I won’t start until I have years of experience. So I settle for making shorts with my friends. But the fact is, if I actually want to create a feature film, why not just start?

So that’s what I did. I started working on an idea that I got the weekend of the film school. To be honest, I haven’t gotten further than the treatment of the film, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I’ve begun on a journey of making my first feature film. I can’t guarantee that this will be the feature film that I’m going to make, but it has expanded my way of thinking. I’m not limited anymore to “only” create short films or work on commercial projects. If I really want to tell feature length stories, I have to go for it. And so do you.

Every dream has the potential to become reality, but for this to happen, you have to start somewhere.

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments!

– Morten

‘Thief!’ or ‘Thief?’

Where does the line between being inspired by something and copying go?

I remember when I first started doing graphic design. I said something like “I am not going to copy or use anything made by people from the internet. I’ll make all the graphic elements my self..” There is probably no need to say that this didn’t get me really far.

It is so easy for us today to go online and get inspired, find resources and learn from tutorials. And with everything available by just a quick google search, it is also so easy for us to just copy what we see and make it “our own”. I mean, who is going to find out if I use a design for something?

Or what about filmmaking? There are lots of movies out there that build on the same concepts, and even comes close to the same story. Are they just inspired by the same thing, or did something think they could “copy” something, tweak it a little bit and make it work? In my “Storytelling” class at my college we learned about the concept of “Reinvention”. It is basically taking a story and putting it in another setting. Our assignment in that subject was to write a short film, based on a bible story. This was a great exercise, and I loved writing the script. But it raises the question if I was just copying and tweaking, or actually being inspired to tell a story in a different way.

I guess this could be an endless discussion. I just thought I’d ask the question.

What do you think? What separates copying and being inspired, and where do you draw the line? Would be great to get some comments on this.

– Morten

“Nothing Found”

That’s what welcomed me when I first opened this blog. The reason? I hadn’t posted anything yet. (Obvious, I know..)

This happens to me a lot, especially when I am trying to find ideas for a new story or just being creative in general. My brain tells me: “Nothing Found”. So I sit there. Trying to dig through all distractions and working with every single hint of an idea that I can possibly think of. But again, I usually end up on “Nothing Found”.

What I realised was that the more I try to look for an idea, the harder it is. Usually, the best ideas that I’ve had has come when I really don’t think about it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I’m just going to walk around and do nothing, then one day something big is just going to hit, and that’s when I’m going to start writing. I believe I need to write and work on my creativity every day (That’s partially why I started this blog). My point is that when inspiration hits, I write it down. It can be as short as a small note on my phone, or I sit down and write the first pages of a script. That way, I’m not stressing out when it seems like my brain is going “Nothing Found”, but rather just relax and take a hold of inspiration when it strikes.

– Morten