Sydney: The PartyCp8 Initiative has chosen its very first feature film to work on. A young actress, June Lee, threw up her idea amongst forty-two others and has come out with over 60% of the votes to ensure that the film will be made into a feature. The film will be set in Sydney but the students are keen to turn their film industry into something they can always be proud of.
The PartyCp8 film school initiative is a method whereby anyone can enroll to ‘participate’ in the making of a full feature film that will be submitted to International Film Festivals and screened at cinemas in May 2007. To find the idea for the film the producers didn’t turn to a Hollywood screenwriter, they turned to the cast and crew of over a hundred students. Anyone could pitch an idea, and if it won the most votes it would be crafted into the feature film.
Over a period of several weeks the individuals pitched ideas to the class. Authors were given comments for improvements by the producers and were allowed to re-submit their pitches as many times as they saw fit. “It was really interesting to see each synopsis become more and more professionally structured”, said Adrian Bertino-Clarke, PartyCp8’s co-founder. After the 5th week, voting began. It didn’t take long to narrow down the ideas to twelve pitches and then three. Finally by the 8th week, an idea was chosen.
Ideas ranged from comedy to drama, action to adventure, even period-style films and moreÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ The experience of pitching in front of over a hundred people was daunting. Feris, an aspiring screenwriter said “I was scared stiff”. Neil Dryland felt that “it was something I had to do, no matter how badly it might have been received.”
“Pitching is a must-do in the film industry; therefore we want our students to get plenty of practice at it. In the first week some where trembling, their voices shaky and unable to make eye contact with the students listening to their pitches,” Mr Bertino-Clarke added, “but by the end of the process, they all seemed confident and were able to answer direct questions on structure without any problems.”
To make their overall experience even more intimidating, authors would also have their peers vote on how good their pitch was. “Standing up in front of them was one thing, but knowing that one might get few votes or none at all for all to seeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ now, that was tough!” said Kieran Donovan.
“In fact, that’s probably what kept a few students from submitting their pitches until the very end,” said Mr Bertino-Clarke.”We had really interesting stories submitted to the group. Some by acting or cinematography students, others by screenwriting students, some who are very prolific indeed,” said Adrian Bertino-Clarke. Kieran said: “I even submitted 2 full drafts in proper screenwriting format. But, interestingly enough, the top three stories were all comediesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ not mine, though. I’m happy to be one of the writers of a film that will be produced and released next year: how cool is that!”
The 12 quarter-finalist ideas were given to the team of student-writers to polish and then they were all read by one of the student-actors. Eventually the full class overwhelmingly selected the winning story. The student-writers already turned it into a treatment that was read last Saturday to the class – the cast and crew for the movie.
The changes to the original chosen pitch have been received well, Julia Lee herself stated: “I really liked the way they changed it,” Neil, a student-Director, “I love what happened between the original pitch and the treatment we heard.”
The student-writers with the help of professional mentors will now transform the story treatment into a feature length screenplay. “But that won’t be easy,” said Adrian Bertino-Clarke, “we have until November to come up with the final draftÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ principal photography is scheduled for December”. In the meantime, students (cast and crew) will start rehearsing with scenes from this script.