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misc Making a movie about people talking of the interstellar war.

Happy new year, everyone.

As stated in my recent threads, I am thinking (as always) of doing that film. One low-cost way of doing it is to have actors talking about the interstellar war, as opposed to showing the combat scenes. I have started a background fictional history of the war, with the introduction and the epilogue. The history is by the defeated Enemy General (EG), who writes it while in prison.

As I understand it, the rule of thumb is that, to adapt prose to film, one page of prose would equal one minute of film, but a history can be lengthened or shortened.

I am thinking that the film, to keep it as low as possible, should have one set of scenes where the EG talks to his counterpart, then another set of scenes where a reporter talks to survivors of the war, and so on. And, to splurge a bit, we can always have a dance scene.

The regulars here know film better than me, but many good movies have been done with inexpensive sets - examples are "Same Time, Next Year", and Hitchcock's "Rear Window".
 
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Alcove Audio

Business Member
indieBIZ
I am thinking that the film, to keep it as low as possible, should have one set of scenes where the EG talks to his counterpart, then another set of scenes where a reporter talks to survivors of the war, and so on.

Then you have to write it that way. Check out both the novels and mini-series "The Winds Of War" and "War And Remembrance." General Armin von Roon is a fictional German general who, in the novels, writes books about the German view of WWII while serving his prison sentence for war crimes; in the miniseries he's more "active" as a character.

The regulars here know film better than me, but many good movies have been done with inexpensive sets - examples are "Same Time, Next Year", and Hitchcock's "Rear Window".

There's also Hitchcock's "Rope" (one room) and "Lifeboat" (but tough to shoot on the water) as 'contained' films. "Twelve Angry Men" (based on a play) is another small set film - 95% is in the jury room; the rest is in the bathroom or outside the courthouse. "127 Hours" is another contained film.
 
Happy New years!

I have to second alcove's "12 Angry Men" reference. You'd have a hard time finding a better example of a dialogue focused film that achieved such an exceptional result. A masterclass in the dramatists side of the directing spectrum. Also one of the best films I've ever seen period.

I absolutely understand the thinking that would lead to an all exposition movie, but personally, I'd advise against it. A far more effective approach would be to film a very limited scenario. A good recent example that worked was "7500" where the entire film took place on a plane, and the majority of the runtime within just the cockpit. They weren't telling the story of the movie, it was going on around them, and the conversation drove the plot as it happened.

1. Value in art is based in rarity to a large degree, and because this course of action is so logical, about a million people have tried it. It's a cost saving approach, and has become unintentionally synonymous with low quality productions.

2. I had this same idea in the early years, and had to have a more veteran filmmaker explain it to me. It's complicated, but basically you need to have viewers constantly engaged, and if your film is all talk, you are going to need riveting actors. They will cost a lot more, and there goes your savings. I'd recommend "The King's Speech" as a film that relies on dialogue, and has about the minimum caliber of actors that were needed to pull it off flawlessly. It ran about 30 million if memory serves. They were excellent actors, but that's my point. Tom Sizemore and Bruce Willis would not have been able to pull off that movie.

3. Attention spans are notably shorter these days. Talking about action, and long exposition sequences, are transparent to modern viewers, and visual storytelling is considered the vastly superior approach to the forum. I think Sean's comments across these threads are right on the money. Remember, Elvis made "a little less talk, a little more action" before I was born, and Twitter decided that people probably didn't want to ingest more than 3 sentences at a time about a decade ago. Personally, I like 1000 page novels, but the public at large is going to strongly favor a "show don't tell" approach. I'd also note that a novel would really be the better format for anyone that wanted to tell a story in words, or perhaps a stage play in some instances.
 

mlesemann

Staff Member
Moderator
The one recent highly regarded indie movie that's primarily talk is I'm Thinking of Ending Things
And much of it is a conversation that takes place in a car, which is even more of a challenge.

@Nate North said you'd need "riveting actors" and I agree 100%. Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley are two of the best that I've seen in the past few years (although how they handled the homonyms of Jesse & Jessie on set I can't even imagine).
 
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