I love absolutely everything about movies but without a doubt my passion lies in screenwriting. It’s an addiction.
Even when I’m not working on a script, I’m either writing about it on this blog, reading other people’s posts online or flipping through a book on the craft. I simply can’t get enough. I’m always looking for inspiration and trying to learn more. Where better to start than talking to other indie filmmakers out there?
In the second installment of my interview with filmmaker Phil Holbrook (@philontilt), we talk about how the screenplay came together for his first feature film: Tilt. We also hear from the screenwriters themselves.
Part 2: The Screenplay
King Is A Fink
Throughout this series, I’ve discussed Phil’s deep connection to the film community on Twitter. It began by taking an interest in other people’s work. This allowed him to build up a huge network of filmmakers and screenwriters throughout the world.
Enter Julie Keck & Jessica King (@kingisafink). The screenwriting duo are also a big part of Twitter’s growing film community.
“We joined Twitter last year as an experiment, and we quickly realized that there was a supportive and fun film making community that we never knew we always wanted. Phil was one of the first people we connected with”
The tandem became good friends with Phil and eventually began discussing the possibility of working with each other.
“When EgoFest opened for submissions last year, they (Julie & Jessica) sent in two of their short films. After watching their short, Snow Bunny, and loving the characters, I knew they were who I should ask about possibly writing TILT.” says Holbrook.
It’s definitely a new age for independent filmmaking. Even a series of messages limited to 140 characters can lead to new and exciting opportunities.
Twitter provided Phil with such an opportunity and he wasn’t about to pass it up.
“The screenwriting process for TILT has been different from anything else I have ever done. I basically told the screenwriters the dream. I didn’t give them my notes. I didn’t give them anything else. I told them that if they were interested, to take the idea and make it their own. That’s exactly what they did.”
The pair were instantly excited about adapting Phil’s idea for Tilt.
“We found ourselves faced with an opportunity to collaborate with someone whose work we respected, we fell in love with the idea of sharing the responsibility (and the work) of making a feature”
Twitter got them together. It was time to get to work.
Collaborating with a team of people is what makes filmmaking such a unique and amazing experience.
Still, adapting someone else’s idea can be challenging when you are in the same room let alone in different cities.
The Tilt team tackled these challenges head on.
“Phil told us from the beginning that we weren’t writing a script FOR him; instead, he wanted us to write a screenplay based on his idea that was ours through and through. This took a lot of pressure off; we were free to write a movie based on Phil’s idea that was still reflective of our sensibilities. It was also important that we didn’t have to think of Phil as our ‘boss’. Instead, we submitted our work to him as our colleague, eager for his approval, surely, but also hungry for his feedback and open to his ideas.”
Using Twitter and Skype, they continued this process for months. Little by little the screenplay for Tilt began to take shape. Phil’s vision for the film was becoming a reality.
“We have had Skype meetings to go through the script at different phases. Of course, those meetings were not always butterflies and fluffy clouds. We had some difficult times, but we always worked through them and now have a script everyone is very proud of. This process has probably been the most difficult thing I have ever done professionally, and most definitely the most rewarding.”
You always hear about the nightmares of working with other people in a creative medium. Everyone wants input and nobody wants their ideas to be ignored. The trick is to find a balance and keep an open mind. When you achieve that balance the results are extremely rewarding as the script will always get better.
This is a balance Julie, Jessica and Phil have mastered.
“The conversations we had as a group about the screenplay weren’t always easy, but we can safely say working through any rough patches we hit made our screenplay stronger. We’re very happy with the final result. It’s the best feature we’ve written so far and we can’t wait to see it up on the big screen.”
“They have crafted an amazing script.”
With the screenplay completed, it was time to move on to the next step.
In the third part of this series, we will go in depth and learn about how you can use Social Media tools like Twitter and Kickstarter to fund your movie.