A picture is worth a thousand words

(Ye be warned…Spoilers Lie Ahead)

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Still from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

Whether the infinite planes of outer space endorsed by an epic orchestral score in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), or a fleeing rebel ship with an Imperial Star Destroyer in hot pursuit in Star Wars (1977), the opening visuals of a film are vital in introducing an audience to the characters, plot, and setting of a story.

However, every new writer who takes the plunge into producing their early screenplays, myself included, finds themselves committing the same folly time and again.

This is writing a screenplay in the form of a novel, overloaded with scene description, dialogue, and parentheticals, turning one page into ten pages of highly detailed prose, overlooking the critical role of visuals in telling a story.

The most important point to consider is that we are writing SCREENplays, not screenPLAYS, an important distinction seeing how we typically only have 10 pages to convince investors or development executives that our script is worth reading. …

A Scene Analysis

The anatomy of a scene in ‘Rear Window’

(Ye be warned…Spoilers lie ahead)

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James Stewart as L.B. ‘Jeff’ Jefferies in Rear Window (1954). Still from Art Blart

Alfred Hitchcock’s murder mystery thriller Rear Window (1954) continues to stand the test of time, on account of its ability to maintain its tension and intrigue throughout despite its confined and static studio setting.

The scene I mean to focus on belongs at the point in the narrative when the main protagonists, Jeff (James Stewart) and Lisa (Grace Kelly), make the alarming discovery that Thorwald (Raymond Burr), Jeff’s neighbour living in the building opposite who they suspect of murdering his wife, is securing shut a trunk supposedly containing the dismembered remains of his wife [1].

This marks a pivotal moment in the narrative development by signifying both the first piece of firm evidence for Thorwald’s crime and also because this discovered prompts Lisa to finally acknowledge Jeff’s murder theory, having been dismissive of it beforehand. …

The Tale of the Soho Samaritan

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Photo by Tommy van Kessel on Unsplash

It was the autumn of last year when I was still working at a production company based in London.

These were exciting times for a townie like me, especially seeing as how I had spent most of my days beforehand increasingly resembling Robert Downey Junior’s character from Zodiac since graduating university.

One day I was out strutting along Shaftesbury Avenue in the process of running a routine errand, all suited and booted and with a confident spring in my step, akin to a young Charlie Sheen in Wall Street if you will.

For, after all, there are few places better suited for an aspiring creative than the bustling streets of London’s West End.

On this particular day, I was in the middle of crossing a road, somehow juggling an ordinate number of bags of supplies in my arms. …

Cinderella stands at the forefront of the Second-Wave Feminist Renaissance

(Ye be warned…Spoilers lie ahead)

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Libuse Safrankova as the eponymous lead, Popelka/Cinderella. Still from Three Wishes for Cinderella by Welt

Once upon a time, there was a young woman who was a horse-riding housemaid, a master huntress, and a beautiful princess all at the same time. Yes, you read that correctly.

The tale of Cinderella is universally familiar and highly regarded by all, boasting a rich heritage within international folklore as well as spawning countless adaptations across film and television.

However, one particularly bold and unconventional interpretation sought to reimagine the classic fairy-tale. This was Tri orisky pro Popelku, translated in the West under the title Three Wishes for Cinderella (1973).

The brainchild of a joint collaborative venture between DEFA Studios and Barrandov Film Studios of former East Germany and Czechoslovakia respectively, Three Wishes remains a timelessly captivating festive treat with an enormous cult following spanning throughout the Czech Republic, Germany, Scandinavia, Britain, and several other European countries. …

Facing unpaid work culture as an aspiring filmmaker

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Photo by User 1820796 on Pixabay

An Eastern European migrant working twelve-hour shifts on a fruit farm. Impoverished children making designer shoes for $1 a day in a sweatshop somewhere in Asia.

These are the common stereotypes which arise when someone mentions exploitation and modern slavery.

But very few people fail or refuse to acknowledge the degree-level educated intern working a 48 hour week at a globally acclaimed production company based in London — for free.

As a Film graduate and new entrant into the Film and Television Industries yet to secure my first paid professional credit, I appreciate how intimidating and futile it can seem to avoid accepting unpaid work, not to mention further exposing or challenging those who use or advocate this.

With even major broadcasters such as the BBC who scandalously advertised Runner positions disguised as ‘volunteering’ for filming at Wimbledon just last year, it becomes clear that this degrading and unethical practice transcends the territory of seedy independent producers and remains far from being completely banished altogether. …

The complex relationship triangle of voyeurism, envy and loving yourself in ‘The Neighbors’ Window’

(Ye be warned…Spoilers Lie Ahead)

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Still from The Neighbors’ Window by Marshall Curry

The Neighbors’ Window (2019) is an insightful and moving neo-Hitchcockian drama directed by Marshall Curry, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and later won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film at the 92nd Academy Awards (2020).

Beautifully written, filmed and acted, The Neighbors’ Window centres on a conflicted middle-aged couple, featuring Jacob (Greg Keller) and Alli (Maria Dizzia).

Both protagonists have reached a point in their lives where the spark in their marriage has faded and is in need of urgent rekindling. They have become overtly aware of the loss of their youth and of their overwhelming responsibility of raising three young children.

The narrative opens with extreme wide shots capturing the vast urban jungle of Manhattan. …

Is it too soon for the UK to start easing its lockdown?

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Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

‘ A second wave really is a clear and present danger ’.

Statement by Mark Woolhouse, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh and a member of SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies).

The obscurity and misinformation characterizing political and media coverage, alongside various attempts to distribute blame and politicize this health crisis, has made it increasingly difficult to obtain a clear picture of where we presently stand with the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of 1 June 2020, Westminster began implementing its plans to ease the nationwide lockdown, a decision that has elicited much skepticism from the scientific and medical communities as well as the wider general public. …

A Poem

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I did not know her well
The little old lady in the crumbling house
But I knew she was wise and caring and modest as well

She was but a pup
When the Devil scourged the Earth
But she did not lose her faith
She remained good and pure
Until her day at the gates

A simple smile, sweet word, warm gesture
Her motherly kindness wore no vesture
And now her soul forever rests
As her abode crumbles silently

There be not a sound nor a whisper
Just quiet walls holding memory
Of the little old lady in the crumbling house

The lessons I learned from filmmaking at university

Needless to say, I am no filmmaking maestro. Mozart was hailed a genius at the age of three, however, I am certainly not one despite completing three years’ Bachelor’s study in Film and History at university.

This is not to say however that my lasting student legacy consists entirely of endless microwave meals and a student bar tab Elon Musk would quiver at.

As my degree concentrated on theoretical study, in order to become involved in or to make my own films I had to scout the opportunities to do so myself.

Through this endeavour I came to procure what I consider the most valuable pieces of advice for prospective student filmmakers to truly learn and excel, tips I can only wish I had been told before commencing my own filmmaking journey.


Mirek Gosney

Writing about Film, History, Culture & Society | British-Czech | UK Based | Writer | Filmmaker | Film Teacher | BA Film and History, University of Southampton.

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