Month: April 2014

“The Legende Immortal”- The new western coming from Vintage Image Films

Image      The Legende Immortal is an upcoming supernatural-western thriller film that I wrote. It centers around a bounty hunter, Dollar Bill, and master bounty hunter, Texas Tom Slaughter, who mentored Bill. They are the biggest, baddest cowboys in 1863 Indian Territory (what would eventually become Oklahoma). On one of their bounty hunts, they stumble upon a book containing the formula for eternal life, and they seek out an alchemist to help them create it. Meanwhile, the crooked Sheriff of Butcher’s Pen, a small, surreal old west town, is onto them. He knows they have this book, and he wants in on it. Ultimately, the film leads into a tense race and a battle of wits, with all six shots blasting away.

The reason I want to make this film is because I understand that as humans, we have an internal desire to live forever. It is something that may seldom be on the top of our minds, but is usually always running rampant in our subconscious. I think this film will coherently address mankind’s fear of loss and death, as the characters are going to be put through a lot of that. That said, there will always remain a fairly light undertone, with witty humor and razor sharp dialogue. The characters should have an “epic” feel, and everything about the film is going to be a fun adventure. The film will be shot on location in Colorado and Oklahoma, with Native American actors, crew, and props, staying true to the roots of what we are trying to accomplish- a western thriller set in the Civil War, in a time when Native Americans were poorly treated, along with African Americans as well.

The overall tone of the film will not be equivalent to your modern day western, with polished tracking shots and epic wide angles. Instead, it will feel more natural, raw and gritty, with as little polish as possible. We definitely want an organic vibe to the picture, as it was influenced by the Spaghetti Westerns of the 60’s & 70’s. Films like Django, A Fistful of Dollars,  The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, etc. This means trying to emulate the raw, grainy 35mm film look, but with a slightly modern twist. High contrasted darks, washed out whites, grainy and low saturation. The plan is to shoot on either the BlackMagic Cinema Camera, or Canon DSLRs, and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro.

— Written by Kyle Oliver, 2014

So, if you’re interested in sensational violence, fast-paced action, and fast-talking, interesting dialogue, come check us out.

We have recently started a Facebook page, which can be found at http://www.facebook.com/TheLegendeImmortal

And to follow Vintage Image Films, go to: http://www.facebook.com/VintageImageFilms

 

      Soon, we will be considering a crowdfunding campaign to potentially raise money through fans who want to see the movie. If you like this idea, or if you think it is tacky, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Kyle Oliver is an award-nominated filmmaker. You can see his nominated short film, NUMB, here:

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© Copyright 2014 by Kyle Oliver

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“How To Write Great Original Screenplays” (Part 1 of 3)

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Ever wanted to write a screenplay? Many have, but a lot don’t know where to start. It was frustrating for me at first, having to learn the format, structure, and “rules”. So, we’ll start simple. What is a screenplay? Screenplays are written documents, professionally formatted and prepared specifically for the medium of film. A simple rule of thumb is that one page of a properly formatted script should equal approximately one minute of actual screentime. If you do not intend to learn the proper format for screenwriting, I suggest you stop reading now and save yourself some time. I am not going to cover formatting here, but instead, I’m going to cover the next step beyond that. The most crucial step, which cannot be learned or taught; storytelling. Without the vital gift of storytelling ability, it won’t matter how well you can format a script, you have to have the creativity to actually create a quality piece (well, I guess in some places, quality doesn’t matter, and bad quality is actually sometimes embraced! Take “Plan 9 From Outer Space” for example).

First thing’s first, if you want to write a script, you’re going to have to learn the format. There are plenty of resources online to quickly decipher the hardly-complex filmmaker’s code. Secondly, you’ll want some software, as formatting in standard word processors can be quite tedious. There are plenty of great programs I would recommend, like Final Draft and Adobe Story. If you want something for free, I would suggest Celtx, a free screenwriting software for Mac or Windows that does most of the hard work for you. http://www.celtx.com for a free download.

Okay, so you know the format, you have the tools to write, but where do you start? The daunting task of staring the blank page straight down the face is all too overwhelming. You need a story. But not just a story. A story. Not just vague characters and dull plotlines, but vibrant characters, witty dialogue, and a rollercoaster plot. But where do you find the inspiration for that? Well, you could steal, borrow, or “homage”, or, you could simply pay more attention to life. Life is the ultimate rollercoaster ride, why not try to incorporate some pieces of your life into your story and characters? You’d be surprised by how many famous writers take everyday pieces of their own lives and weave them into cinematic gold. Pieces of conversations you either have or hear can be a great starting point for natural, coherent dialogue.

Here comes some theory. Basic screenwriting formula can be applied to any story, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. The standard formula that you’ve seen over and over again. The romantic comedies, action films and blockbusters that all seem the same. But once you understand the elements of these basic Hollywood formulas, you can manipulate them as you please. You have to know the rules to break the rules. Some of the key rules are as follows: “show, don’t tell”, simply meaning, film is a visual medium, try and keep it that way. Of course, this rule is broken all the time, most notably by filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Martin Scorsese, who’s films are driven almost entirely by dialogue. In other cases, the rule of showing, not telling, is applied well, in such films like “Drive” and “Carnival of Souls”. The dialogue and character development is pushed to a minimum in these films, focusing more on ambience and story.

Formula is slightly different, as you can go pretty much any direction. That said, the most basic and heavily used formula, the “3-Act Structure”, can be seen countless times, and summed up pretty quickly. Basically, in this formula, you have a protagonist and antagonist. The protagonist wants or needs something, and his goal in the story is to achieve his desire. The antagonist is meant to make the protagonist’s goal harder to achieve, but typically, by the end of the stoy, the good guy always wins. This formula can (and does) apply to many films, you just have to watch and pay attention. “Star Wars”, “Superbad”, and “Machete” all use this formula. In “Superbad”, Seth and Evan want to buy liquor for girlsso they can party, and hopefully get laid. This seems easy, as they walk right down to the liquor store, but their plans are thwarted by two cops who want their friend McLovin to know, not all cops are assholes. By the end of the film, they make it to the party with most of the liquor in tact, and the story resolves. Conflict is key. Conflict creates interest, and you want people to be interested.

Other films, such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Slacker”, follow completely different formulas. “Pulp Fiction” takes three narrative stories, and intertwines them in a completely mixed up format, feeding different parts of the story to you at different times. “Slacker” starts off on one conversation, and then proceeds to jump from the next one to the next one, following a large town of people in Texas as they go through their average day. This type of structure has no clear narrative, but is a good experiment if you want to write a script full of opinions, viewpoints, and even messages.

The formula is up to you. Keep in mind, formula is NOT your story, but merely the way in which you tell your story. Don’t fret too much if you can’t come up with a formula that isn’t “fresh”, “new”, or “different”. The story should always be the most important focus. Finding the way in which to tell your story should come afterward. So when trying to find inspiration for your story, characters, and even dialogue, start with real life, then exaggerate. Blow things out of proportion, and make them interesting and entertaining, with enough drama to satisfy a teenage girl in a courtroom, enough action to put sports stars to shame, and enough story to make people have to watch it again and again…

written by Kyle Oliver, 4/26/2014

Kyle Oliver is an award-nominated
film writer, director and editor.
You can follow him on Twitter @ThatKyleOliver

© Copyright 2014 by Kyle Oliver

How To Succeed By Not Failing

One of the most seemingly unattainable things in life for the majority of people is merely success.

But why is being successful such a difficult thing? Well, for one, many people are plagued by the opposite of success- failure. Or at least the idea of it. It definitely isn’t good for the ego. The thought of failure can weigh a person down, inevitably keeping them from their success. And when put into perspective, it is merely their own mind that is keeping them from accomplishing their goals. Isn’t that kind of ironic? As the old saying goes, “mind over matter”, and that is definitely the case here. When it comes to success, it is only you who can ever hold you back. If you break free from your own chains, the sky could be the limit. Stop failing and start succeeding.

written by Kyle Oliver, 2014

© Copyright 2014 by Kyle Oliver