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24 Frames per Second - Writing Screenplays & Media Plays - Using online tools wherever you are


First in a series

Each day, professional, aspiring and student film and media-makers come through the doors of the Library for the Performing Arts (LPA) seeking resources that will aid in making their creativity become a reality.

If the 16th century focused on painting, the 19th on photography and the 20th on cinema, the 21st is all about integrated media.

Better stated, it is all about integrated performing arts media, and for the casual to the academic, there is no better place then LPA for the beginning, middle or end of a project's life.  Better yet, it is located on the Lincoln Center Plaza with some of the best views of the sloping grasses, mini-forest or even a sculpture or two.

For many of the patrons and researchers who use LPA each day, this means a need to understand, manipulate and create not only in the artist's primary format but also across formats.  Hence, integrated media arts may cover cinema, theatre, dance, music as well as moving towards interactive performance using computing devices, software and audience participation.  Although clearly the year is 2010, the following video from 2003 will give you an idea of what has been and will continue to be defined as integrated performing arts media.

Click here for video

As many of the researchers who access the world's largest integrated collection dedicated to the performing arts know best, planning is the key to success!  Whether in the early stages of pre-production, or moving through a project's implementation, the ongoing planning and ideating of projects leads to that production's success. 

As more of us jump from coffee shop, to wifi enabled plaza, to wifi enabled libraries and back to our own apartments in a single day, we are able to bring our thoughts with us wherever we happen to be.  The only serious caveat is you must lug around all your gear, or at least make choices about what gear, tools and reading materials you bring along for the creative ride.  A laptop may weigh five pounds, but once you include your reusuable metal water container, packed brown bag lunch, portable harddrives, cameras, cell phones, media players, 3G devices, head phones, and up to 50 circulating library materials, decisions have to be made as to what to leave behind and what to bring with you.  One thing you should never leave behind are your creative thoughts, right, so what ends up getting the axe?

So  writing and hammering out the pre-production for a screenplay, media play, or tele-play, and you don't have access to your thumb drive or personal computer and frankly that the touchscreen keyboard just isn't cutting it anymore, rest assured there is a better way: log in to your Google Documents, begin a new document from templates and use the free template to write screenplays or subvert it to write your integrated performing arts mediaplay.  It couldn't be easier, cheaper and more efficient especially when you can leave all those electro-techno devices at home and instead focus on the idea, saving room in your bag for some of the following:

1) David Mamet's On Directing Film is a great book to get your gears going

2) Alexander Mackendrick's On Filmmaking is a nice text as well

3) Ken Dancyger and Jeff Rush's Alternative scriptwriting: successfully breaking the rules is another great book

4) Once you've written your screenplay, give Mick Hurbis-Cherrier's phenomenal text Voice & Vision a thorough read (We'll be having an online conversation with him in the near future!)

Over the course of this Series, another 46 titles will be forthcoming just in case you decide to get a bigger bag so stay tuned!

Leave a comment and let others know some of your tricks and if the Google Docs screenplay template is working for you.  Have you already read the listed books above ~ contribute and let others know what should be on the list!

-cMc | IV April 2010 | Library for the Performing Arts


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LPA and Film

Hello Cortlan! I have been following some of your work and am really impressed by your knowledge as well as creative projects that you've been involved in. Do you also teach? I really like the idea of incorporating environmentally friendly behavior into our daily activities...I am particularly interested in any film classes that LPA may offer, as you certainly seem to have staff trained for teaching (well, at least from your post, it seems that you might teach on areas relating to film and integrate media in general). If LPA does indeed offer classes, I would be grateful if you could let me know. Hope to hear from you soon, AJ

Google Document Screenplays

Dear Cortlan and readers, Just wanted to share that I tried out the screenplay templates that were available in Google Documents and I didn't find anything of actual value. There are only a few templates and as far as i could see all were pretty shallow and not very helpful. I would love to see some more people adding more useful templates that we could all use. Would also like to add that in this WiFi connected world we live in it is also possible for producers to find <a href="">music for film</a> and <a href="">sound effects</a> (see example) while they're sipping their coffee or reading in the library. Amazing, always connected, no place we can rest anymore :-) AF

Great comments!

Hi AJ & AF, Thanks for your great thoughts! AJ RE: classes, this is an idea that we have been working on and planning in the near future ~ where might the most interest be on part of our film-making patrons? The first workshop will probably focus on post-production and editing. Although we do not have a Mac computer lab on-site to take advantage of the power and ease of Final Cut Pro, two other possibilities may exist: 1) focus on the fundamentals of editing using the free apps that come with Windows or have a workshop with patrons bringing in their own laptops + FCP (or another NLE). I mention FCP for the sole reason that I've been using and teaching it for many years but do have experience albeit less so with the other primary ones on the market. AF RE: usability of Google Docs template ~ I agree it certainly isn't as user friendly as apps that one may purchase (i.e., Final Draft and/or Movie Magic etc). I may be able to dig up another solution in a wee bit of time if you and/or others may find it helpful. Thanks again and remember that your input drives what comes next! Until soon, cMc

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