Volume 6, Issue 1
"The Short Film" - Introduction
Even in my early youth, when I knew very little about filmmaking, I was sure I wanted to be involved in the process. All I knew then was that you go to the theater and films are shown, or you put a videocassette in the box to watch it at home. As I aged, my most apparent strength was in writing and I pursued it tentatively. For some time, I did not know the connection between the two. When I finally realized that screenwriting was a possible profession for me, I looked into it avidly. However, the numbers against me were overwhelming and discouraging.
Then, an amazing thing occurred. Digital video started popping up here and there, though many people disliked its aesthetic or application. However, a quality storytelling began to take hold and people grew to accept this new twist of the visual medium. The trend was set and is destined to be developed until it satisfies the masses. The revolutionary aspect of this shift was the drop in cost. Consumers could afford to make films that increasingly imitated Hollywood features. With some care taken to production value and story, small movies could make large splashes.
One formula that has effectively launched the names of several starting directors is producing films for extraordinarily small amounts of money. This worked for Robert Rodriguez with his film El Mariachi. More recently, this has worked for digital video users Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) and Jonathan Cauoette (Tarnation). Even established directors are turning to the digital format in recent years, such as Danny Boyle (28 Days Later), Richard Linklater (Tape), and even George Lucas (Star Wars Episode II).
Where previously the likelihood of having one’s screenplay produced was very slim, the possibility of producing one’s own screenplay is becoming a much more viable option for many people. And these films are not just sitting in someone’s closet. Some are winning festival awards and getting major distribution deals. The power to be seen and heard is within grasp for those with the will to try.
This thought brings us back to the issue at hand. The jumping off point for most aspiring filmmakers is the short. It is the microcosm of the feature, manageable with a small cast and crew, and an indication of one’s potential. These are a few short screenplays by the undergraduates of Bowling Green State University. I am proud to present two comedies that aren’t about getting a loser friend laid (PLANTS and Meats of Evil), and two dramas in which the world does not end and terrorists do not attack (Something Old/Something New and Essential Oil). Please also explore the resources page, which should aid both beginning and seasoned screenwriters.
Editor - Warren Chan