digital shakespeare? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Techniques for Independent Production
The challenges of creating Digital Cinema and other narrative forms.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 24th, 2008, 12:09 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Posts: 425
digital shakespeare?

This may seem like an odd idea to post, but I guess it deals with techniques of independent production.

I was thinking of taking a scene in some Shakespeare play - don't know which play or which scene - and directing it for film (well, video). Basically as a learning exercise as a director/filmmaker, also just as an experiment.

I wouldn't do period costumes, I'd use the modern clothing and setting. But there are so many resources on the characters, stories, etc it could be really interesting and instructive.

Plus, perhaps some very talented local actors would be interested in doing something like that.

Off the wall idea. Has any tried it, or something close to it?
Dennis Stevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 628
Has anyone tried it you ask?
Try almost every major director. Everyone should start in Shakespeare. Although, you should read up on Orson Welles. He's was a master on revisiting Shakespeare in the contemporary. That's the trick. Have an interesting take on how it applies to today - w/o a big budget. Character and conflict don't change. Human nature is static - so find an interesting way to portray it (ie - human condition) and you'll be well on your way.

-C
Christopher Drews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2008, 01:53 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Posts: 425
Well, yeah, lots of film adaptations of Shakespeare. I was thinking in particular of those of us toiling on our little micro budget films.

I'm interested in directing and the acting process, but I don't think I'm much of a writer. So if I took a scene from a Shakespeare play, I won't get actors saying 'I'm not sure if this story works....' or at least less of it.

Plus, as you've suggested, there are lots of resources and examples on how to approach the story, adapt it to other settings, etc. That's my main worry, it's so much. I mean there's probably more written on Othello than I could read in a lifetime.
Dennis Stevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2008, 02:32 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
Yes its a viable idea. Yes big budget examples abound. Yes, it will 'work' as a starting point for an excercise in filmmaking. Yes people have done it. Yes, its easy to BUTCHER Shakespeare with bad acting. Yes, you should try it.

Have fun!
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 24th, 2008, 07:43 PM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Central Coast - NSW, Australia
Posts: 1,420
If your can set up and film a 'scene' - as opposed to someone doing a monologue, You should get plenty of actors interested - it's a great addition to a showreel.

you need graduate actors who are trying to make a name for themselves - they'll have the talent and the training for Shakespeare (it's very muscular dialogue). I think you'll get them lining up for it.
__________________
Cheers - Paul M.
www.relivetheday.com.au : www.perbenyik.com
Paul Mailath is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 26th, 2008, 08:11 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 611
Why Shakespeare? Shakespeare is pretty stylised by today's conventions. You might want to pick something a bit more modern. Shakespearian acting is a specific skills and you might have a hard time working with actors who aren't used to it.

What is it you're specifically trying to learn? coverage? staging for camera? directing actors? You might be better taking a scene from an film and trying to recreate it shot for shot in order to learn coverage/staging for example, or a scene from a more recent or even contemporary play if it's about actors, where they're not going to be fighting to with the iambic pentameter.

Ibsen's A Doll's House has lots of good two hander scenes (though sometimes quite long) and the dialogue is quiet straightforward and contemporary, but there's usually lots of heavy subtext too, which is fun for the actors to work with.
__________________
Shorts::Cut - www.shortscut.org.uk
The Short Film Festival for Portsmouth & Southsea.
Dylan Pank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 27th, 2008, 07:09 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Posts: 425
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Pank View Post
Why Shakespeare? Shakespeare is pretty stylised by today's conventions. You might want to pick something a bit more modern. Shakespearian acting is a specific skills and you might have a hard time working with actors who aren't used to it.

Ibsen's A Doll's House has lots of good two hander scenes (though sometimes quite long) and the dialogue is quiet straightforward and contemporary, but there's usually lots of heavy subtext too, which is fun for the actors to work with.
Well, I was thinking if it comes out really well, maybe show it submit film festival. Then I was thinking of using something in the public domain. I don't know how an isolated scene of a play would fare at a festival, but it would be nice to have the option.
Dennis Stevens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2008, 04:00 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 611
It depends on the festival of course, but generally they won't be interested in anything that's not a complete self contained film.
__________________
Shorts::Cut - www.shortscut.org.uk
The Short Film Festival for Portsmouth & Southsea.
Dylan Pank is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 29th, 2008, 08:40 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bozeman, MT
Posts: 215
Shakepeare does lend nicely to film, and it certainly does not need to be done in period, let alone period costuming. Many, many of his plays can be set in other times and settings. Kenneth Branaugh's resetting of Love's Labours Lost as a 1930's era musical was particularly clever. And of course Baz Luhrman's resetting of Romeo + Juliet is anything but a period piece.

Onstage I have done everything from Taming of the Shrew in the old west to The Comedy of Errors as -- get this -- an Arabic film company making a "Lawrence of Arabia"-inspired movie. This production, directed by actor/director Bill Pullman was great. during scene changes the cast spoke only in Arabic, and then began each scene by slating it.

I was also involved in a very ingenious production of A Midsummer Night's Dream which was a cross between punk rock and the then-popular night time drama series Dynasty.

In the right hands, you can really do a lot with Shakespeare without changing any of the words, but placing it in a different setting. In the wrong hands you can really make a big mess that no one would want to see. You have to have a strong concept, and my advice would be to not try it without a thorough understanding of the play you are adapting. Just doing a resetting for the novelty factor does not cut it. The story must always come first.

Good luck!
Frank Simpson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 16th, 2008, 07:59 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Los Angeles, california
Posts: 228
I'd encourage you to start with a contemporary piece.

there are huge numbers of writers out there who have never had anything produced. Put an up on Craig's List LA for a short script and see what you get - you'll have hundreds of responses. What the writer gets in return is a work of theirs produced.

Read a couple hundred scripts and find something that you really, really like that uses locations you can get for free. No extras. No night time shoots. No scenes in classrooms or hospitals or labs. And go from there.

Shakespeare requires real skill to direct. Wait until you're comfortable working with really great actors before you tackle it.
Lori Starfelt is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Techniques for Independent Production

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:10 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network