Filmmaker Case Study – Getting your script seen
Amrit Sonya Bains is a scriptwriter based in London
She decided against formal education, and opted instead for a mixture of workshops, seminars and other courses.
“I don’t believe imagination can be taught,” she says. “I love visiting all kinds of places around the world, making friends, listening to stories – some of which I write as screenplays. I think of myself as an entrepreneur, explorer and storyteller.” She rattles off a long list of conferences and events that she’s attended in the US and in Britain. “All in all, I’ve spent about four years attending workshops and working with several script development consultants. I guess that’s equivalent to a four year Master’s in screenwriting!”
Amrit has a strong interest in comedy of all sorts, but her deep passion is world cinema stories that provide a platform of understanding among different cultures, and she is particularly concentrating on hard hitting films with a social message. She recently founded her own company, Anteros Entertainment, to showcase her work as both writer and producer.
Her most recent work is a short previsualization for a planned live action feature film, Dracula Spectacular. This came out of an assignment for a performing arts course, where they were asked to create an improvised melodrama stage production about vampires. “It a hilarious experience,” she laughs. “I volunteered to play Ugo the henchman, because no other actor/actress could bear the thought of looking so ugly! I thought the concept was incredibly funny and would make a brilliant movie, so I wrote the feature screenplay. The current trend of vampire films, shows, and books is but one of many waves that have existed over the past three hundred years. Whatever the reason, we continue to be fascinated with the concept of vampires, bloodlust and eternal life.”
In order to pitch Dracula Spectacular to potential producers, Amrit decided to create an animated short film to show the concept.
Initially, however, Amrit couldn’t find anyone to create the animation she needed within her budget. Then she discovered Moviestorm at the 2011 London Screenwriters Festival, and found out that they could make the film for her. “Once I had sent them the script it was all systems go. It was great to know that Moviestorm were just as excited about my project as I was. I believe that it benefits to have more than one imaginative mind and perspective to create something great. Alex Gowland designed the sets and characters, putting a lot of work into the detail.”
The project lasted six weeks from receipt of script to the finished film, and was structured into design, alpha, beta and release phases to allow Amrit to take control of the creative direction, from character and set design, through to cameras and final editing. All in all, the animation in Moviestorm took less than 15 man days, and the new shaving and teeth-brushing assets that were required for the plot were also released to the Moviestorm community as a free bonus pack, reducing the cost to Amrit by 50%. Amrit was overjoyed with the results.
When you only have two to five minutes to impress a producer and you nervously talk incoherent nonsense, end up devastated and praying that the producer never remembers you – then think of Moviestorm. In the long run you may save yourself time, money and shame.”
Of course it wasn’t all plain sailing. Moviestorm cannot be everything to everybody out of the box, so there will often be the need for technial tricks or new assets to deliver the script writer’s creative vision. This time the challenges, included creating characters with different heights, Ugo’s hump, and the werewolf’s body texture. However, that was part of the fun for all concerned.
Amrit has ambitious plans for the future. “I intend to contact Ben Stiller’s production company in the hope that he fancies himself with fangs and a cape. I think it’s a great look for him – hotter than Zoolander. Meanwhile, I shall humbly continue to do what I am most passionate about – writing stories!”
Watch Amrit’s film ‘Dracula Spectacular’