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How to Make a Movie · 22 April 2010


int.classroom.day


The lights are dim or off as the INSTRUCTOR gives the last instructions to his class.  He gathers and straightens his notes as he leaves the lecture area.  We just hear him give the due date as the class gets ready to work on their projects.


Instructor


Okay.  It is Wednesday and screenings of your movies are next Friday.  You have your group assignments.  You have lots of work to do.  Let’s make some movies.


Students gather into groups.  Some are more reluctant than others to get with their members.  In one group everybody is excited until their last member pulls up his chair.  The six members in the group are sitting around in a circle of chairs as they discuss their project.  It is obvious that they are doing their best to keep one member out of the discussion.


sally


So how do we make a movie anyway?  We have all the instructions but where do we start?


(pauses for effect)


I think that we ought to do Shakespeare or make a documentary. Or both.  We should follow the soon to be valedictorian, me, around for a week just filming what she does.



Joseph


(sarcastically)


Great idea!



(playing with his camera and adding seriously)


I actually think a documentary is not a bad idea but we need to make sure that we get some cool action shots.  Maybe we should all go skiing this weekend and make a


(adds air quotes)


“Warren Miller” movie!  It would be cool!


Billy


(trying to be noticed)


But…


Jenny


(excitedly)


Yeah!  We can take some really cool footage of all of us up in the mountain doing helicopters and backscratchers and other jumps and stunts!


BILLY


(quietly)


We do not all ski and…


Kurt


I can be the star!


JENNY


You always are.


BILLY


(quieter still)


It is supposed to be fiction…



victorIA


(excitedly)


We can even put in some ghost images as people do moguls or put flames on people’s heads as they careen down the hill!


Everybody except BILLY seems to be getting into the idea and they start talking excitedly about plans of shots, who will drive, and what snacks they will pack.  BILLY tries in vain to get a word in edgewise and then seems to give in to the inevitability that he will be excluded.  He sits down with his head on his hand.  But then he seems to change his mind.  BILLY stands up in the middle of the group and has his say.


BILLY


(loudly and forcefully)


Quiet!


BILLY waits for his group to quiet down.  The instructor can be seen in the background watching with a smile on his face.


BILLY


(forcefully but not quite as loudly)


Your idea is great and all but there are a couple problems.  First, I do not ski.  I know you do not care but I am part of this group, like it or not.  Second, the project is to make a fictional movie.  We need to write a script and get the project approved.


BILLY pauses again and then addresses each of his group members in turn.


BILLY



(to Joseph)


There is nobody at this school better than you at getting a good camera angle and editing a movie but can you do it on skis?


(to SALLY)


I may not be the next valedictorian.  Heck, I do not even know how to spell valedictorian.  But even I know that if you do not follow instructions, the likelihood of getting a good grade is nil.


(to KURT)


And I may not be the captain of the football team or the star of every play or even the salutatorian for our class but I know that with a good script, the star can shine better than without one.


(to Jenny)


And without a script, even the leading lady cannot shine.


(to Victoria)


Neither can the FX person.


SALLY


So what do we do?  We have spent the whole time talking about the skiing movie.  We have wasted our time.


KURT, JOSEPH, JENNY, AND VICTORIA


(almost in unison)


Yeah?


BILLY


(slowly at first)


Well.  We did not really waste our time.  We know that we want action, special effects, and at least three actors.  We also know that we want a good grade for the project.


Everybody nods as BILLY meets their needs in his speech.


BILLY


I may not be the brightest kid in this group.  And I know that none of you wanted me to be in your group.


Everybody looks innocent and then apologetic.


BILLY


(offers parenthetically)


I saw your reactions when my name was called after all yours.


(confidently)


Even so, I know how to make a movie and make sure it is a successful project.


The group looks to be holding their breath.  They hang on BILLY’s every word.  His boldness and confidence more than anything else have made them believe in him.  At least so far.  They ask with their eyes that he proceed.


KURT


(bragadoccio-like)


So Mr. C-minus man, what is your plan.


SALLY


(impatiently and curtly)


SH!


BILLY


Like I was saying, I may not be the brightest person in this group but I did listen.  All we need to do is follow the formula.


Everybody but SALLY blows him off.  They poo poo him and do what people do when they believe that they have been taken.  Until SALLY speaks.


SALLY


Knock it off!  Billy is right.  We just need to follow the formula.  That is how you do well in any class.  Figure out what the teacher’s formula is and then follow that formula to a T.  It works every time.


Reluctantly, everybody comes back to BILLY.  They do not like the fact that SALLY is right and they probably hate the fact that BILLY is but they cannot argue and so they listen.


BILLY


This is what we need to do.  Sally and I will write the script.  It won’t be Shakespeare but the plot is the thing.  And I have an idea for a good plot.  Then Joseph and Victoria will make the story boards from the script.  Kurt and Jenny will pitch the story to Mr. K and then everybody will do what they do best.  We act, shoot,  edit, and add special effects and we are done.  And just like that, our movie is made.  And we all get ‘A’s.  Just like the man said.


Everybody seems to think it a good idea.


KURT


Let’s get to work.


INT.CLASSROOM.DAY (and possibly other locations)


BILLY and SALLY are working on the computer writing the script.  JOSEPH and VICTORIA look over their shoulders periodically and then go draw story boards.  KURT and JENNY work on dialog.  There is only music over the action.  Everything is sped up or stop-motioned to get the creative process shown in 30 seconds (or so).  In that time, KURT and JENNY pitch the storyboards and get approval from Mr. K. and the movie is shot and edited.  Then it back to real time and real sound.


INT.CLASSROOM.DAY.no lights


It is screening day and the lights are dimmed.  The group is called up in front of their classmates to introduce, then show their project.


Mr. k.


Okay.  Quiet down.  I know you have all worked hard on your projects.  Here is the first one from the production crew called ‘A’s R Us.


BILLY


Our film is called “Acceptance.”  It started out to be just a movie but I think it ended up being more than that.


Kurt musses his hair and the rest of the group gives him a big hug.  The lights dim and the old fashioned numbers count down 5, blink, 4, blink, 3, blink, 2, blink, 1.  The movie starts with the exact beginning of this script.  (repeated below.)


The lights are dim or off as the INSTRUCTOR gives the last instructions to his class.  He gathers and straightens his notes as he leaves the lecture area.  We just hear him give the due date as the class gets ready to work on their projects.


Instructor


Okay.  It is Wednesday and screenings of your movies are next Friday.  You have your group assignments.  You have lots of work to do.  Let’s make some movies.


Students gather into groups.  Some are more reluctant than others to get with their members.  In one group everybody is excited until their last member pulls up his chair.  The six members in the group are sitting around in a circle of chairs as they discuss their project.  It is obvious that they are doing their best to keep one member out of the discussion.


sally


So how do we make a movie anyway?


The movie and sound fade to black and the lights turn on again.  The students in the class are clapping and whistling.  The instructor, MR. K. is smiling broadly.  The group is once again giving BILLY a group hug.  This time, KURT is giving the biggest hug.  Fade to black and the credits roll.


after.credits


SALLY


(Voice over)



So how did we do?



© 2010 Michael T. Miyoshi

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