Having made shorts, feature films, written the Guerilla Film Makers Handbooks, trained thousands of filmmakers and run The London Screenwriters’ Festival, I have seen a pattern emerge among creatives.
For one reason or another, many emerging screenwriters and filmmakers find it difficult to get that all important first credit on a large scale project, one that get lots of press, IMDB listings, real world reviews and massive internet activity.
That’s why we came up with ’50 Kisses’
A competition to find fifty new screenwriters, fifty new filmmakers, to make one feature film to be released in cinemas in the UK and USA and screened on TV.
After receiving nearly 2,000 scripts, the screenwriting leg of the competition is now closed. Our team is now shortlisting the entrants, the final 50 winners being announced at the end of July. At that point, any filmmaker in the world can produce any of the winning 50 scripts and enter their film into the competition (sign up below to get the filmmakers pack that you will need if you want to make a film and enter the competition).
The main awards for best film, best script, best actor etc. will be announced in October and the feature, made from the 50 best films, will be released on Valentines night 2013.
Why a competition?
I have seen lots of competitions for filmmakers: Virgin Shorts, the SciFi London 48 Hour, Shooting Peoples’ Film Of The Month. These are all great initiatives, but I wanted to take it one step further, to create a stand alone feature film that could capture the zeitgeist and the imagination of the public. To move beyond the internet. I wanted to help create a film that could be released in cinemas, on DVD and screened on TV, as well as online.
- Give writers two months instead of a few weeks. Ditto for the filmmakers too, a couple of months to make their films. This should increase quality massively.
- Make the brief wider and not UK specific, plus engage with a concept that can be open to any genre (and yes we have had all kinds submitted).
- Move from a short web based video presentation for the winner, to an theatrical and TV presentation, as well as web of course.
- Go from two winners to a hundred winners, increasing the amplification through their tribes by fifty!
Oh, and there are great prizes and judges too!
Four Nights In August
Last year we ran a similar competition, based around the UK riots. The idea was to write a one page script about the riots, the winning script is then released to the filmmaking community who had two weeks to film it.
We got nearly 500 scripts and 27 films entered – you can check then out here. We felt that this was an enormous success, so for ’50 Kisses’ we made some changes.
Leverage the crowd
Pretty much every filmmaker has tried a crowd funding campaign now, but I wanted to try crowd sourcing – ‘50 Kisses’ fits that bill. As a crowd sourced project, no single entity carries the risk of production, or gets to dictate the creativity. For sure, I will be acting as the overall creative director when the film is edited together, but that is more about finding the best rhythm for the constituent pieces than it is about creative dictatorship. No, the film will be made by the crowd, from around the world, with all that unique diversity. We don’t plan to stop at the film making stage too, we will be leveraging the crowd when it comes to posters, marketing, distribution – consider, this film has 100 motivated and engaged ‘authors’… that’s a very large social media footprint we hope we can harness to create massive buzz, packed theatres and newspaper headlines.
Marrying Writers with Filmmakers
So here is the problem I see. I meet loads of talented filmmakers who often, aren’t great writers. I also meet loads of create screenwriters who don’t instinctively write for filmmakers. This initiative will bring filmmakers and screenwriters together to collaborate, both giving the best of their talents to the other. It’s the 80/20 principle in action. Add to this that the scripts are just two pages long, and the investment for both writers and filmmakers is significantly reduced – seriously, you can find one of our fifty diverse screenplays that floats your boat, then invest the time and energy to produce it. You have two months from the August to make something worthy of YOUR name!
Think Outside The Box
We now live in an ever evolving world – creatively, entrepreneurially and technologically, it’s changing minute by minute. The old rules of filmmaking, the structures and business practices, are all crumbling rapidly. I wanted to create a new and annual initiative that embraced this new, exciting and dynamic world that we are living into, and I believe that ‘50 Kisses’ does the job. GET INVOLVED and sign up below.
Onwards and upwards!
And we have a Facebook page too, please join up for regular updates… www.facebook.com/50kisses