Friday, 12 August 2011

Writing and directing, from the heart.

I've been soldiering away for quite a few years now, working on different projects and films. Some I'm proud of, others I'm not quite sure what I was thinking at the time. But I content myself in the knowledge that it all adds to my experience. Every mistake or happy accident is tucked away in the memory bank and hopefully makes me a better filmmaker.

As a filmmaker I've often pre-ocuppied myself with what's the best thing to do "next". That eternal question...

With The Man Inside it was never like that.
I had discussed and thought about the themes at length, and drawn upon mine and a friends life experiences, and wrote a biographical screenplay that poured from my heart, rather than my mind.

It was the easiest piece of writing I have ever done.
The characters took over and spoke through me, with very little intervention on my part. its the first time thats ever happened.
I guess because many of the characters were based on people in my life it was inevitable that they would be easier to realise, but I was taken aback at how quickly it all came together.

Every subsequent draft would always find the characters steadfastly refusing to be taken in certain directions and always remaining true to themselves. It was an odd experience, and followed through to the filming too. With rehearsals often becoming very intense discussions about why a character would behave a certain way. Both myself and the actors knew these people intimately, as we had previously talked at great length, so all egos were set aside in favour of the truth.

There was a time I would have laughed at this kind of talk, but through The Man Inside I've discovered more about myself as a filmmaker than anything I've done previously.

I think it began with a short film I made called Big Mistake, and through to Girl Number 9. Something clicked inside me. Something that had been missing up until that point, and led me to where I am now.

For a while I talked about no longer writing but solely directing. But, I think thats a mistake. I'm now writing again. Not with "cool new ideas" but with things I want to say to the world.

The Man Inside is the first of a trilogy of films I have written. Not in terms of following the characters from that film, but following a particular theme that fascinates me.

Reading other peoples scripts, and finding great projects is still very very exciting, but I feel I have more to say and deeper places to explore, which I need to do as a writer and director.

And thats the difference that I've discovered in myself over this last 2 years. The "need" to tell a story.


Joanna said...

Looking forward to seeing this film. Good luck. Seems a long time ago since I knew you but your determination is still the same. Good luck for your future films.

Dan said...

Thanks Joanna.
Give me a surname!

Anonymous said...

Hi. Not sure if you wanted to remember me or not so left out my surname! It was West (college days). Always wondered what you were up to and a friend's husband told me you were now a film director. I'm really pleased that you are doing something that suits your creative talents. It's been a long time but I wish you all the best.

Dan said...

Thanks Jo. and thank you for getting in touch. its lovely to hear from you. I'm on facebook.


Jay said...

Filmmaking is such a tiring art form it needs to come from the heart. And I think in a mysterious way the audience can feel if it's not...