Plants Short Film Notes

March 28, 2019 0 By jstefanphoto

I’m working on a short film called Plants. I’ve wanted to do a short film for years but haven’t. I was reading a book on filmmaking and the authors suggested that readers just dream up a script and shoot a movie around the house. The subject could be anything- just make the film. That stuck with me, and Plants is what I came up with.

I’m making Plants just for the sheer joy of making a short film. It’s so unlike shooting still photographs, even on a big commercial shoot. I’m documenting the processes I’m using as a record for myself and for anyone else who is interested in making a short film. I’m learning as I go and thought I would share the experience.

My plan is to submit Plants to as many festivals next year as I can.

Here’s the plot:

Three houseplants live in home. The plants communicate via hormone bursts. One of the plants, Howie, is a dwarf spider tree.  Howie touts this perceived superiority over the other two plants, Angie and Tyrone. Angie and Tyrone are different species of palms.

Howie is located in a living room next to a window. Tyrone is in a corner in a dining room. Angie is downstairs next to a chair.

One morning a new plant appears, Marvin. Marvin is in a window sill (or on a dining room table). Marvin’s a Money Tree. Howie, Angie and Tyrone bond quickly. Howie feels threatened. Marvin tells Tyrone that he’s a real tree and not just a palm. Moreover, Tyrone says that Howie is not really a tree, but a plant. Howie is enraged, bursting black hormones.

Tyrone and Angie align with Marvin and shun Howie.

A pair of human hands pick up Marvin and move him into the living room next to Howie. Marvin tries to be friendly to Howie, to no avail.

The sun goes down and night falls. During the blackness of night we hear a thud and a pot shattering.

The sun comes up. We see Marvin dead and scattered on the living room floor. And that’s the end.

Here’s the characters in their locations.

Here’ s Howie in the living room.

Here’s Tyrone in the dining room corner.

This is a snapshot of Angie.

And here’s a shot of two candidates to play Marvin.

The first step is writing the script and creating storyboards. I roughed out a ten page script, refined it but kept it at ten pages.

I wrote the script using Scrivener, using the Scriverner screenplay format. I like this format and it’s compatible with Final Cut Pro .fdx format, so that’s a plus. 

Scrivener is a versatile word processing app that’s inexpensive, compatible with many formats and inexpensive.

After the scenes and the dialog were complete I created a shooting script. All I did was intermix shot numbers and descriptions in the original script, as you can see in the screen shot above. This may not be the professional way to do it but it works for me for this short film.

To visualize the hormone communication I’m learning to use Blender for the CGI and Natron for composting. I’ll post about those as I go along. I’m deciding what cameras and lenses to use, and I’ll document those also. The next step is to storyboard the script. That’s the subject of the next post.