make your own film

The future is clear for anyone who is interested in writing for film.

Get a camera. Gather a crew. Make your own film.

I’m a geeky person. In today’s world that’s an advantage. I’ve been watching trends in technology now for a long time, and it seems obvious to me that writers have to lever their asses out of their chairs and be more proactive about getting their work translated into film.

Recently the Los Angeles Times declared that 2007 was the year of the writer-director, with a slew of writers taking the director’s seat for the first time.

I’ve noticed that a number of recent Irish films, short and feature-length, which are achieving success are all written and directed by the same person: Once, Isolation, “The Faeries of Blackheath Woods”, “Final Journey”, Speed-Dating, the documentary Home, and the announcement that Glenn McQuaid will direct his own script, I Sell the Dead, in New York in May this year.

When I was in L.A. a year and a half ago I was lucky to hear Shane Black speak about his transition from writing to directing his first film, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. At the time Black stated that he intended to direct all his future projects for the reasons that it was easier to ensure his vision would make it to the big screen intact. This is why most writers move into directing. I’m not saying that directing is simple, but I think some writers have the organisational and creative skills necessary to straddle both jobs.

Now, we have the announcement of the winners of the inaugural 2006 YouTube Video Awards. I watched all the winners, and the majority of them are well made. I’ve been a fan of the Ask a Ninja series for a while, so I was unsurprised to see it scoop that category. I was blown away by “Kiwi!” – a cute and touching animation with a macabre twist. That is my kind of fare. The other categories winners I could take or leave, except in the “Most Creative” section: I was happy to see OK Go‘s music video for their song, “Here It Goes Again” take the prize.

With the advent of Current TV, and the meteoric rise of self-produced online content (discussed recently by the LA Times), making a film and getting attention for your work has never been easier.

Of course, there is a lot of crap out there as a result. Yet, good work rises to the top, and there’s such a large consumer demand that quirky pieces can garner a niche market.

I expect YouTube’s Video Awards is going to become important quite quickly. I’m sure it will have its own online ceremony by next year.

In some ways this is a scary prospect for writers. My suggestion is that you embrace the potential and start looking for creative partners if you can’t get your mind around the technology. It is also an exciting period for people who have a project gnawing in them they want to express.

One of my goals this year is to buy a good camera, and start the process of learning to make my own films. I’ll be on YouTube within a year.