I have recently come across this interesting article by Carson Reeves on Scriptshadow where he discusses Militia (which is a Black List script I enjoyed reading) and if you want to make a low or micro-budget film the best thing is to come up with a compelling SITUATION – a life-changing moment set in one location. Ok, what are some examples of films relying on ONE SITUATION? In LOCKE the whole film happens in a car after the only on-screen character receives a phone call on the eve of the biggest challenge of his career. One car, one man, and a compelling catalyst which keeps us on the edge of our seat. The same with BURIED, where a civilian truck driver tries to escape a coffin where he was buried by insurgents in Iraq. One guy, 95 minutes, one coffin. In MARGIN CALL we follow the key people at an investment bank, over a 24-hour period, during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. It’s all set on a trading floor, and yes, it’s actually fascinating. And what about THE SLENDER THREAD, a 1965 film starring Anne Bancroft and Sidney Poitier about a suicide prevention lifeline operator trying to locate a desperate woman’s address before she dies from an overdose of sleeping pills? The list is endless. In a situation type film you show one SEMINAL MOMENT on screen, the tip of the iceberg, and the rest – the submerged 90% that make the story – happens off-screen. And if you combine SITUATION and a TICKING clock you have potentially a low or micro-budget film. So here is an exercise for you: grab a pen and think about all the films based on situations you have seen, which might inspire you to come up with your own ideas. It would be a great preparation for Sean’s upcoming course Write/Produce/Direct Your 1st Feature Film in September.


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