Su-City Pictures East, LLC

Screenplay & Film Consulting By Susan Kouguell

Month: April 2016

Tribeca Film Festival: A Conversation with Acclaimed Writer/Director Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold
Andrea Arnold

Tribeca Film Festival: A Conversation with Acclaimed Writer/Director Andrea Arnold

by Susan Kouguell

At the Tribeca Talks series at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, filmmaker Ira Sachs (“Love is Strange”) interviewed U.K. writer and director Andrea Arnoldabout writing, filmmaking, and surrendering.

In 2005 Arnold’s short film, Wasp, earned an Academy Award. She also received two BAFTA awards and two jury prizes at Cannes, as well as a multitude of festival accolades for her films, “Milk,” “Dog,” “Red Road,” “Fish Tank” and “Wuthering Heights.” On television she has directed two episodes of “Transparent.” Arnold’s latest film, “American Honey” starring Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough (recently acquired by A24) about a crew of teens who sell magazines across the Midwest is her first to be filmed in the U.S. “American Honey” is one of just three films from female directors in the 2016 Cannes Film Festival’s main competition and one of two from the U.K.

American Honey
“American Honey”

On Filmmaking

In Andrea Arnold’s films many of the actors are non-actors and they employ street casting.

Sachs: The shooting process has surprises, dangers, and risks.

Arnold: I love that. It brings life. I don’t like knowing everything that’s going to happen on the shoot.

Sachs:  What frightens you in filmmaking?

Arnold: I like the obstacles. In the last one (‘American Honey’), I think I pushed it. It was very tough, there were days I had scenes with loads of non-actors, and there were a few days I really pushed it.  What are you frightened of?

Sachs: I’m burdened by everything.

Arnold: The money?

Sachs: Yes, the money. It’s fear and fearlessness.  You navigate between the two; I don’t panic in it.

Arnold: I remember before starting the film, I was taking a lot of risks that definitely entered my head. I try not to let the money stop me, you worry too much then you don’t push it. I do feel responsible for the money.

READ MORE HERE

CONVERSATION WITH ANDREA ARNOLD AT TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

 

CONVERSATION WITH ANDREA ARNOLD AT TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL | Script Magazine #scriptchat #screenwriting

Conversation with Writer and Director Andrea Arnold at the Tribeca Film Festival

Filmmaker Ira Sachs (Love is Strange) interviewed writer and director Andrea Arnold at the Tribeca Talks series at the Tribeca Film Festival. Their lively discussion highlighted Arnold’s auteur viewpoint of filmmaking and some of her unconventional approaches to narrative screenwriting and filmmaking.

In 2005 U.K. born Andrea Arnold’s short film, Wasp, earned Arnold an Academy Award. She has also acquired two BAFTA awards and two jury prizes at Cannes as well as a multitude of festival accolades for her films, Milk, Dog, Red Road, Fish Tank and Wuthering Heights. On television she has directed two episodes of Transparent. Arnold’s latest film, American Honey, starring Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough, was recently acquired by A24, about a crew of teens who sell magazines across the Midwest, is her first to be filmed in the U.S. American Honey is one of just three films from female directors in the 2016 Cannes Film Festival’s main competition and one of two from the U.K.

ON INSPIRATION

“As a kid I was always writing stories.  I’m inspired by things that I see every day. Sitting on a bus.  Someone walking up a path, and I could see her back and I start thinking about her.  I invent a whole story about her life.  Usually what starts driving me is an image I have that won’t go away.

I use a mind map.  It organizes my thoughts. I start with images and then piece it together. And then when I have a rough idea I start writing. “

WRITING “FISH TANK”

“I had an image of a girl pissing on the floor in someone’s house; it wasn’t her house. And I thought, ‘What is this girl doing?’ and then I start thinking about what that means and who she is, where she comes from, why she’s doing that, and so I start a mind map.  I start with that and think how to build from there.  I wrote the full script before the Fish Tank star was found. I cast quite close to what I saw. She fit in exactly what I envisioned.  The script didn’t change that much after that.”

GETTING SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK

“Sometimes I don’t want to hand it over but I actually got better at it and I do love getting feedback. It’s usually from the people who funded it; they are great people, really supportive and really do want to help. Sometimes I give it to people like a friend of mine who’s a painter — people I trust who understand what it means to make something. We have loads of screenings, literally inviting people off the streets to get feedback. It’s good to know what’s working and what’s not working.”

‘AMERICAN HONEY’

ARNOLD: “The idea for the American Honey script came about when somebody gave me an article from the New York Times about the subculture of kids selling magazines; it had huge resonance for me. It wasn’t the story in the article, it was just the world, and from that moment on I wanted to do it.

 

READ MORE HERE

Making Your Screenplay a Success: Webinar

Webinar: Making Your Screenplay a Success with Susan...

 

Webinar: Making Your Screenplay a Success with Susan Kouguell
Monday, Monday, April 25| 1:00-3:00pm EST
Regular Rate: $25.00 | (discount rate) $15.00
Sign up

Whether you are working on your first screenplay or you’ve got several under your belt, this workshop will help you hone your craft and better understand the business of screenwriting. Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Susan Kouguell will cover key elements of screenwriting including analysis of structure, plot, characters, story ideas, dialogue genre, and underlying themes. This webinar promises to be a great primer for anyone wanting to learn about the craft of dramatic writing, how to write for the screen, and how to market your work

Susan’s ‘SCREENPLAY SUBMISSIONS: Is Your Script Really Ready?’

SCREENPLAY SUBMISSIONS: Is Your Script Really Ready?

SCREENPLAY SUBMISSIONS: Is Your Script Really Ready? by Susan Kouguell | Script Magazine #scriptchat #screenwriting

 

The Truth

Are you really telling yourself the truth?  Be honest — when you are considering sending out your script to film executives, agents, competitions, and so on — are you thinking that your screenplay “is good enough as is” OR “I can’t look at it anymore, I’ll just send it out”?  If that’s what you’re thinking (and you’re not alone) — then you know in your gut what the answer is.  The truth is this — your script definitely needs another rewrite or several more rewrites.

The Consequences

Here are the tough facts. Once you submit your script to a company and it’s been rejected, the likelihood of that company reading the script once again even after a brilliant rewrite is nearly impossible.  It’s challenging enough to get a screenplay into the hands of film industry folks, so don’t blow your chances by being impatient with your writing process.

The Facts

Every writer is different.  Some screenwriters can hammer out a brilliant script in just a few days and a couple of drafts while others take years and dozens upon dozens of drafts.  The amount of drafts screenwriters need to complete a script is no measure of talent; a script takes the time it needs to be good.

Get Feedback from Truth Tellers

Before you submit your screenplay, get feedback from people who will tell you the truth. And nothing but the truth.  So, giving it to people who might sugarcoat their critiques — such as family members and best friends, who probably want to remain on good terms with you, is probably not your best choice.  Knowing what to ask when receiving feedback will help you stay focused and enable you to gain more objectivity with your screenplay.

20 Questions to Ask When Receiving Feedback

  1. Did you care about the story and characters?
  2. Does my plot make sense?
  3. Does my script have a solid three-act structure?
  4. Are the stakes clear?
  5. Is the genre clear and consistent throughout the script?
  6. What elements made the story engaging? Were there places you lost interest or felt were implausible?
  7. Is the subplot (or subplots) overpowering the main plot?
  8. Are the scenes building to a climax?
  9. Have I paid off actions that I set up?
  10. Does the dialogue ring true for each of my characters or does it feel interchangeable?READ MORE HERE