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The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Lesson 2 of 17

Screenwriting - Where to Find Your Inspiration

Francesca Gregorini

The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker

Francesca Gregorini

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Lesson Info

2. Screenwriting - Where to Find Your Inspiration

Lesson Info

Screenwriting - Where to Find Your Inspiration

About inspiration and we're going to shifting gears going back and forth to the film tenor hall now just curious to know how did you get your inspiration for that film well really it was like I said before kind of you know a collaboration and it was you know top ten tonight you know sharing our experiences the older guy experience on dh no guns but it was really just it was a movie about friendship and because I have such a close friendship with tatiana that sort of came across in the movie that's one of the things that ends up happening is like it's celluloid is a very porous material and kind of like everything that goes on during the writing process everything that goes on on set kind of ends up in the movie and some weird way he knew what I mean so the movie is kind of your script but it's really the heart and soul of like what everyone's going through as they're making it in their own lives and it just kind of ends up you know getting onto the screen that's our producer julie snyd...

er that's russell tatyana's baby daddy that's us discussing something difficult because I usually gave it to tatyana to negotiate because they had a better relationship so we discuss it then she go back and I'm watching her and like you better get it done on dh she did she's very tactful more so than me andi, I really enjoy cinematography. I'm like a closet cinematographer, but technically super un inclined that my assistant grant will attest. Tio so that's me trying to figure out sort of the lenses that's us having a good time boring this guy, tio that's, actually, my cousin, who I cast in a little part. Um and this is the dance sequence. You know, I started putting in some fantasy type sequences. Like in ten or hall there's. Only a couple blips of it. Sort of. When she walks down with her coffee, you see sort of these girls in the background, dancing and it's. Like what? But then it goes away and it's just that's. The start of, you know, something that is important to me. Sort of bringing fantasy into filmmaking on dh, you know, and it sort of has been growing as I've made more films, I sort of allow myself to do that more and more this's, just the dance sequence. This is more fun with lenses. This is just a great outfit I wore that day. And this is sorry, brian rigney hubbard are our dp on that? Um and um yeah, this is just, you know, and the good thing you know about co directing is that, you know, if I like something and she did it or vice versa, you know, we could just take another take where it gets difficult when there's two of you is in the edit room because that's the final decision like, you know, so it's like we just kind of we came up with a policy that was like, whoever is more passionate about something winds and because we trusted each other, we're going to take each other out like, I'm really passionate about this if I'm not and, you know, ninety nine percent of the time that's sort of, you know, worked out, and it was fun to do a first film with unknowns because these girls were unknown to the times he'd it you weren't dealing with any crazy actor egos like, you know what I mean? It was just fun and, you know, easy and yeah, and, uh and that's the end of the tenor hall good of madness looking at it from the screenwriting point of view you mentioned they were collaborating with your best friend. I'm curious, no, what was that process, the writing with your best friend versus writing on your own, how did that work? Well, it's definitely a less solitary experience, which is is kind of great, but it's like, you know, you're definitely duking it out along the way, and we were called writers on bed rest because you vote a lot from touching on his bed on dh, you know, it was just fun. It was this part and extension of our friendship, you know? And I think that we came across in the movie that's a movie about, you know, friendships with girls and sort of, you know, what that experience is and, you know, to my career today I've done sort of coming of age movies because I just think that territory so fertile, you know, and you're so vulnerable and everything so volatile and everything's the first thing and the first time and, you know, it was it was really, you know, good experience, I think I think the editing, like I said, was sort of the most difficult for both of us, but here we're happy as you can see way have no photos of us in the edit move sort of duking it out a some point we just took separate at a time, you know what I mean, like we started editing together and then, like, I did, like a couple weeks, then she would clean up my mess and do a couple weeks and we just use find ways of like, you know how we're gonna make this work and sort of get through it all right way have a question here we can go ahead and take a question did you make changes to your screenplay on set or did you stick to it? Well, that's that's an excellent question I think like if I was to say like one of the flaws of this brilliant piece of work I would say we were only like maybe seventy five percent there with the script and miraculously we came upon the money is something that is willing to fund this madness so we were just like, ok, let's go already, you know and we weren't ready and we realize that in the edit room and that's sort of your second chance at writing but you really don't want to be doing that so much so I think that was, you know, maybe I'm sorry what was your charlie? Charlie? That was maybe the sort of the heart thing about this, but really for me and I know people do do this they're sort of like writing pages at night and then getting to the, you know, rewriting and new pages they're going out the next day for me it's so overwhelming the experience that, like I want to get to sit with a script that's pretty nothing solid, you know what I mean? And that I know the scene works and I'm happy with it and, you know, I let the actors do some improvising if they want tio and you know, I'm always open to sort of discovering something amazing, but something amazing is probably not going to come from me when I'm getting home from set at, like, three in the morning and then have to be back there like at eight, like nothing a magical is happening then it's just like I'm just trying to survive and get to the next day so that's, how I work, I just make sure that the script is really as and I go over it and over it and over it and rewrite it and check it and send it to friends and anyone that you know what I mean, so it's, like I'm kind of maniacal about that before I get to say, because I just know sets going to be so stressful and that's not a good space for me to be creative in that way. Yeah, ok, well, now we're gonna show some stills of the truth about emanuel get into that process in the screen writing now it seems like it's a very personal film, is there anything about it that is autobiographical? I mean, I think when you write kind of everything goes through your land, so ends up being, you know, autobiographical. I mean, I think the difference for me between sort of town hall and emmanuel's, I felt a dug deeper into myself with this movie, and it was more on exercising of my own kind of demons, like, you know, the young character of emanuel is sort of like me more in my youth and the mad person jessica biel. Notice how I cast myself really much prettier than in real life is sort of my old herself sort of, you know, and my younger self, you know, sort of dealing with, you know, carrying secrets for the older people in my life on dh sort of what that experience was sort of and how you protect sort of the people you love and how you sort of take that on and what that how that changes you and, you know, and, you know, and I had a mother who think that is not dead, come as emmanuel's is, but, you know, she was an actress, so she was gone a lot all throughout my youth. So I always had that sort of missing mother syndrome and on dh, then she got into some, you know, other silliness later in life that sort of made her absent from my life s o sort of you know I think that's sort of like a missing piece in my heart that you know that I sort of you know, worked out expensive therapy making a movie about a girl sort of who has is searching for a mother sort of figure you know and that I'll get into that's a whole other madness this is like where fantasy sequence got really intense like that in the first film I just was like, ok, we'll have some girls spinning their trades and he I'm like we're going to sink a room you could be on their water you know and so it's just you know it progresses as you get more confident and more insane um but ah yes oh oh and the linda character in the movie is sort of you know, mawr my old herself kind of dealing with denial keeping secrets from myself, which is you know, the whole movie is sort of about, you know, secrets things we keep from ourselves things we you know, keep from each other secrets and carry for each other on dh you know and really to me sort of the override being theme of the movie is sort of that you can't save yourself but in saving another you kind of end up saving yourself, you know, so it's like um and that's, the other recent kind of, you know why, you know, I haven't really taken on other movies because a lot of movies like aren't really about anything, you know what I mean? And it's like to me it's going to take you three years if you're lucky to do something, let it be about something. They put something out there in the world that is in some way sends some sort of message, you know, like some beacon of light about what it is to be, you know, a human and alive and and, you know, and so to me, that was kind of, you know, an important thing to deal with and yeah, like that theme here, I want to talk a little bit about writing an adaptation versus an original screenplay. Now, for instance, you wrote olivia has a different from an original screenplay as an adaptation, how is that process different when you have your own story versus an adaptation? Right? Well, olivia's a movie I'm currently writing this bit of business here, and so the first film was a collaboration, so that was one kind of experience. The second one, you know, was an original, and this is an adaptation, and basically I just somebody mentioned this. Stupid little book to me and like I said I don't like to read but for some reason I ordered on amazon and it came and it's really thin I was like I could definitely read this on dh on and so I read it and by like, you know halfway through it I called you know, my attorney I was like, I really want to option this book and it was because so much of it spoke to me in this takes place in the nineteen hundreds between england and france and you know and it's a coming of age story but it's sort of dealt with a lot of you know, issues and themes that you know run through my life and you know, it's a it's a gay you know it's a gay movie about this girl sort of you know, discovering her path it's a relationship between a younger girl and an older woman which I haven't had but there was just, you know, it's it's her teacher and I you know, when I went to school in rome I was like, you know, the head nuns like pet pupil, you know what I mean? So I knew that dynamic of sort of having like this like magnificent, you know, person think that you're special and sort of how that sort of tweaks your brain and you know, and so there's so many concepts and themes and that you know, that ran through this book that I was like, I'm I can tell this story and I think that's the thing you know even in reading other people's scripts is like I always my test for it is like, why am I of all the people on the whole planet the right person to direct this movie and usually I'm not usually I pass on most scripts unless it really hits me somewhere that I'm just like I'm the only one I know this relationship that relationship how this all works I see it in my mind it's like this is my movie and then you just go after it, you know, in a crazy fashion but it's like, you know, I guess what's you know, what's different about it I was like, what is going to super easy? I don't have to like sit at a blank screen and just come up with everything it's already all here but then it's really what it taps into is your you know, screenwriting abilities as you know structure really because the book is structured completely different than you're gonna have to structure your film and you know, some sections are totally going toe work and some are and there's a lot of interior life in a book like I feel like this I'm looking at that this is I did, and it's not really dialogue. So it's. Just like, you know, it really does exercise your creativity in a in a different way. But it's, challenging and exciting because you're like, oh, I haven't done this before. This is exciting and challenging. And, yeah, I think that

Class Description

Independent filmmakers are often called on to not only write and direct, but to produce their projects. Wearing all three “hats” can be a daunting, yet inspiring proposition. In The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker with Francesca Gregorini, you’ll learn easily-applied strategies for balancing the demands of doing all three very unique jobs.

Francesca’s work has been officially selected by the Toronto Film Festival and premiered in the US Dramatic Competition at Sundance. In this class, she’ll discuss both the advantages and challenges of producing a film you’ve written and will direct. 

You’ll learn:

  • How to decide when its ‘right’ to produce your script and when to develop it further
  • Which "hat" to wear at what time from start to finish
  • Personalized paths for fundraising, production, and distribution

Francesca will explore the processes of writing, directing, and producing and how leading the charge can make these three unique perspectives more efficient, productive, and artistic.

The Self-Sufficient Filmmaker will help you develop best practices for all aspects of indie film production and inspire you to take control of your own destiny as a filmmaker. 

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I think there were TONS of marvelous takeaways, here, in this course. The examples she presented about Scene Cards, the hardships, and the beauties-- all of it was very beneficial information for aspiring filmmakers. However, the verbal hesitance; "um", "you know", "uh", "you know what I mean", "or whatever"-- that started to get really distracting really quickly. But the course and the overall purpose of the lessons, that was great!


The good - Lots of helpful info about pre-production, things to consider, and working with actors. The not-so-good - Not exactly self-sufficient. If you were to cut out all the " know..." clutter, the course would probably be about 30 minutes shorter.