Enderby Entertainment is a new independent film company and this is a new blog.
Now, you can argue that there are already thousands of new independent film companies and gazillions of blogs and that the world doesn’t need another one of either. But we’re going to do both anyway.
As a company, our “unique selling proposition” as the advertising people say, is our belief in the foundational importance of story and screenplay on the creative side, and our belief that our investors are entitled to the greatest possible bang for their buck on the financial side.
You might think that both such beliefs are absolutely obvious, and you’d be right. You might even think that that those beliefs are so obvious that every independent film company would surely operate on that basis. To that, all I can say is, you’d be surprised.
Given those beliefs, and given that we’re going to do a blog, it makes sense to take those beliefs as our blog’s theme. I’ll largely leave it to my partners to talk about the financial side of independent filmmaking, and I will concentrate on the creative side.
While I am proud of being a producer and director, I wouldn’t be either one of those things unless I was first and foremost a screenwriter. You could even say that I’m a writer who also occasionally produces and directs, and I wouldn’t take offense. So when I claim that the screenplay is the foundational element that is the most important determinant of a film’s success or lack of it, you can certainly accuse me of being biased.
Well, guilty. I am biased. Nevertheless, it’s true. And, of course, Story is the foundation for the screenplay, so Story is the cornerstone upon which the entire structure of a film rests.
Now, I’m not saying that to denigrate the contributions of anyone else or any other element to a movie. Of course the director matters. The actors matter. So do any number of other things: the budget, the cinematography, the marketing, the score, the costume design, the makeup – everything matters. There are no unimportant aspects of making a movie.
Clearly some roles are more important than others, with, in movies, the director topping that list. In fact, the director is usually so important that he or she can fire the writer and hire another one. Some people take this as evidence that the director is more important than the story and screenplay. Not so. If that were true, why would a director bother to fire a writer and hire another? Why do directors work so hard and struggle so much to find good material? The late great director Sydney Pollack had as good a track record as anyone, but sometimes even he would make a movie that didn’t quite work. Thinking aloud about this, he once said, “I don’t suddenly get less talented on one project, and then more talented on another project.” So what’s the difference between a Sydney Pollack movie that works and one that doesn’t? I believe there is one place to go to look for that answer:
So my portion of this blog will center on Story and the screenplay that flows from it. But I can’t even start without acknowledging that I’m coming very late to this particular party. If through some fluke of the Internet you are a new screenwriter coming to this blog without first discovering some of the great resources for screenwriters that already exist on the net, let me mention a few.
First, there’s Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott’s site Wordplay, at www.wordplayer.com. The heart of this site is a series of over 50 articles, mostly written by Terry, that surely have to rank as among the smartest insights into screenwriting written by anyone, anytime, anywhere.
The brilliant screenwriter John August also has many insightful things to say in his blog at johnaugust.com. (You can also follow him on twitter @johnaugust.) The extraordinarily gutsy and funny writer Craig Mazin has a blog called The Artful Writer – artfulwriter.com – that is well worth following.
The next two sites aren’t blogs, but belong in any screenwriters bookmark list: the websites of the Writers Guild of America, west, Inc. at www.wga.org, and the Writers Guild Foundation at www.wgfoundation.org.
We hope this blog will also, over time, come to be considered a good resource for up-and-coming screenwriters and independent filmmakers. If you stumbled across this and stayed with it so far, thanks: I hope you’ll come back to see how we do. My partners and I welcome questions, comments and suggestions for topics from screenwriters and filmmakers, so we hope to hear from you.