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Remember when you were a kid and you had those painting by numbers coloring books? There would be an outline of a bear or giraffe or something and within the outline would be additional outlines with various numbers representing colors.

So you'd align the color with the number and fill in the center, ultimately you would have successfully "painted" a giraffe.

Writing a short script is the equivalent of painting by numbers. You put in the shots, angles, stage directions and dialogue, but the real filmmaking begins when you actually make the film.

When you paint by numbers there's really no creativity involved. Somebody else outlines the shape, tells you what colors to use and then you do it. Maybe that gives you some self-esteem when you're six, but after a while it's kind of unfulfilling.

Not that writing a script is unfulfulling. It's extremely rewarding no matter if it's full length or a short. But if you want to be a director--a filmmaker--writing the script isn't enough. It becomes as unfulfilling as that giraffe you "painted" long ago.

Real painting and real filmmaking means YOU actually do it. You choose the subject and the colors. With a screenplay, you take it and transfer it to the screen. You make it work or you screw it up. A painter must choose the right shadings and contours. Same deal with you.

When you realize the scene that you thought you could shoot in your neighbor's garden can't work because it rained or a deer ripped up the vegetation, it becomes a creative decision on your part to figure out where to shoot the scene. Or when the actor who gave such a great audition suddenly chokes and can't remember his lines (or doesn't show up at all and YOU have to play his part), you have to make a creative decision.

Painting by numbers is easy and even at age six, it brings a brief reward, but ultimately it's unfulfilling.

I'm not minimizing the value and satisfaction of writing a script. For screenwriters it's the whole show. But for the director in you, it's just the first stage and the real work( fun) begins when you make the movie.


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