2-minute soundtracks: a filmmaking exercise

Just thought I’d share this.

I’m rapidly educating myself in the practical skills of film directing and editing. One of my ongoing stratagems is to write and make original 2-3 minute long short films as often as life will allow. To inspire me, and to keep things varied and interesting, I’ve been basing each around an existing piece of music, which then informs the mood and progression of the action. Some of the films are silent, others have dialogue. Some are acted, some are just slices of real life. Sometimes I’ll listen to something and it just suggests to me a line like, “I can’t believe they let me get away with it!” or “how the hell did we both end up like this?” and wherever that comes from I’ll just run with it, put it in the mouth of a character, and see what coalesces around it. It’s quite liberating to write something you’ve no intention to show publicly. Art for art’s sake and all that.

Here’s the list of pieces of music I’ve put together to select from, on Spotify:

There’s a kind of a logic to them, they’re all instrumental (with one exception), all under three minutes, and they all end with some kind of harmonic resolution (with a few exceptions) – they don’t leave you hanging.

Obviously, none of the results of this exercise can be released commercially, not without clearance of the music (and it’s a paradox of filmmaking that it’s almost always cheaper to commission new compositions than to use something already out there, however appropriate), but thanks to YouTube’s licensing agreements, most videos featuring existing recorded music can be uploaded to YouTube non-commercially, with any ad revenue going back to the musicians. I may post a few of them here on that basis in the near future.

In the mean time, you can listen and enjoy, and if anyone out there is getting into filmmaking as well, feel free to try the same approach. It’s pleasingly inverted, if nothing else.

Wanted: film producer

I am seeking a film producer to help me realise my first film. It will be a feature-length low-budget drama filmed and set in France.

Cross Road Blues, which I directed at the Hackney Empire

While I have many years’ experience in writing plays for the stage, and have directed at theatres including the Hackney Empire, I’ve no experience in film outside making short inserts used as projections within stage productions. So, I’ve decided to openly advertising my search for a producer here as an adjunt to the usual informal networking. Maybe the perfect producer is out there somewhere. Maybe it’s you.

Qualities and qualifications

I’m looking for someone with a bit of experience under their belt or someone who is very hungry to learn: who has produced a few shorts perhaps, has worked alongside a producer on a feature, or has experience already in producing low-budget features. You will be responsible for raising funding (including your own fee), recruiting the production team and working with me to organise all aspects of the production.

You can be based anywhere, but London or southern France would beĀ  convenient.

Speaking French would be a huge plus, but it’s by no means a deal-breaker if you don’t.

The film

The film will be a feature-length drama set in the south of France, in English with a mix of British, French and Australian characters: tense, funny, psychological, tragic and redemptive. It’s got a lot of darkness in it, with personal histories scarred by loss and abuse, but also a lot of light, and love and happiness prevail for some if not all of the protagonists.

The location and some cast members are in place, and I have a solid plan to shoot in September 2018. I expect to need to raise a budget in the tens of thousands (GBP).

The script

I have a script treatment (synopsis) at the moment. The full screenplay is a work in progress. Please email me on plays@davidwalterhall.com if you’d like to see either or apply for the role.

And please share this post with anyone you know who might be interested.

Thanks.


Update: This position has been filled!