NEVER IGNORE A GOOD IDEA
Here I am, finished screenplay, pre-production complete and about to embark on my first day of shooting when it happens, an idea strikes. Goddammit…
I was watching Hamilton on Disney+ over the weekend and then again yesterday. I was completely blown away. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard or seen anything like it. The music, the dance, the language, the choreography, the acting, the everything. It was simply spectacular. I honestly would consider it a masterpiece.
Naturally, at the completion of the show, I think about how incredible it was. I get inspired to push myself, work harder and try to take my craft to another level. I think about my scenes, how they play and how I can improve on them. I think about the aspects of Hamilton that I REALLY enjoyed, the ones I’m drawn to and I wonder how I can steal them. Yes that’s right, I want to steal something they did...who gives a shit. In this case, it’s the dancing.
DANCE YOUR LITTLE HEART OUT
For real, the film ended and I was like…
Sean - Shit...I need a dance number in my film. That was fucking impressive.
This was a literal thought. I wanted to add a dance number. Nay! I NEEDED to add a dance number. Luckily for me, I already had one written in my screenplay!
With the idea already there from the beginning, I really just needed to expand on it. Originally, I just had Molly put some headphones in, press play on the ol’ iPhone and off she goes. 10 seconds of dancing which concludes in something shitty happening to her. But that’s no longer enough. I need to take it a step further. I need to get Hamilton with this bastard.
I text Chiara.
Sean - I watched Hamilton, it was incredible. Inspired me to think harder about your dance number. I have some idea’s brewing.
Chiara - Ooh, exciting!!
Sean (sends Footloose Dancing Warehouse scene) - Maybe I can break this apart and reconstruct for something similar for Molly. Also add a little comedy in it.
Chiara - Epic.
Challenge accepted. I dug around for music that could work given the tone of the film at the time and I finally stumbled upon one that I love. BINGO! Reading the scene, I identified another character who watches Molly dance by at one point. This is where I can add some comedy. I will have the other character join in, adding to the number. Is that funny? Hmm…not really. That’s okay, leave it and let's see if I can link it to something else.
Later in the story, there's a single line in the script that says, Bob dances by. That’s all I needed to see. He dances by. THIS is my comedy. THIS is the moment I was looking for.
I text Matt.
Sean - I think I’m adding a dance number in there for Bob. Given your background, maybe you can help choreograph something for me?
Matt - Is there a specific song you have in mind?
Sean - Literally looking into that now. I’ll send something over when I have it.
10 minutes later.
Sean (sends upbeat song) - Not going to lie, I kinda dig this. I can picture Charlene talking to herself in the bathroom mirror. Bob interjects and she gets pissed. Screams dammit Bob! Cut to, this song and a close up of Bob. He snaps his head up into frame, dancing towards the camera, making love to it. Let me know if you’re seeing the vision.
Matt - That would be funny! I can do that haha.
BOOM! I love actors who are willing to try things and have some fun. That dance could literally steal the movie. This is going to be great. What Matt doesn’t know is that I’m going to bring that character back from Molly’s dance number to also join in his.
I text Charles.
Sean - Can you dance?
Charles - I got rhythm.
Sean - Great, you just got a dance number!
Charles - I’m in.
NOW, it’s funny. You have sweet little Molly dancing with an unsuspecting neighbor in one scene and then we recreate it with ridiculous Bob later on. Love it.
CONFIDENCE IN CHANGE
Look, in all reality, this might be a terrible idea, I don’t really know. I should just stay in my lane. I don’t know how to shoot a dance scene and definitely don’t know how to choreograph one, but I’m not letting it stop me. I took a good idea and ran with it. Expanded it, got creative and loved where it went. I’m shooting it. But, I’m also going to save my own ass, just in case.
ALWAYS follow these letters, CYA. Cover your ass. Learn it, love it, live it. Of course I’m going to shoot my epic dance numbers and they’re going to be fucking magical, but I’m also going to get coverage for safety. If the dance numbers don’t play the way I see them in my head, I’ll cut them out and go with the original plan. CYA.
Never ignore a good idea. If you’re drawn to something, have a little spark in your mind, let that shit grow and explore it. Get creative, have fun and take a chance. A good idea is a good idea, who cares if it modifies your script a bit. If you can fit it in there, take a chance and do so. It could improve your movie...or turn it to shit. That’s why you’re also going to practice, CYA.
This advice doesn’t only apply to film. If you have a good idea, something you’re drawn to, move towards it. Explore it, have some fun, get creative and see what’s there. Who knows, might be what you’ve been looking for.