Scripting is the thing at CMM

Sometimes, one needs several pushes this way and multiple nudges that way to help shape one’s storytelling to be as effective as possible. Screenplay writing is no exception and Champaign Movie Makers seeks to fill that collaborative need starting tonight, Thursday, May 2, 6 p.m., at Quality Beer, 110 N. Neil St., in downtown Champaign. Meant initially to accommodate the discussion of multiple short film scripts each session, per CMM director Thomas Nicol, this first outing will instead focus on a feature-length effort, “Development Hell” by Jeff Kacmarynski. (CMM members acquainted with the Ning site can preview “Development Hell” here.) Local actors will lend their voices to characters as a narrator reads the intermediate elements. Whether or not you have a shelf or hard drive full of Great American Movie Scripts for the Making, consider supporting CMM’s effort to expand their reach!

CMM has also been heavily involved in the script selection and creation of the short films that will premiere during the inaugural Pens to Lens Awards Gala on Wednesday, May 29, at the Art Theater Co-op, 126 W. Church St., Champaign. Launched by the Champaign-Urbana Film Society and co-sponsored by the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization, ThirdSide, Accuraty Solutions, and CMM, “P2L” is an initiative to educate and excite the area’s grade- and high-school students about the filmmaking process. More than 120 scripts were submitted by students out of which nine were chosen for production, led by many of Champaign-Urbana’s brightest stars in the scene. We’ll share further details closer to show time but if you wish to learn more about the contest right now, take a look at the P2L Web site.

Finally, serious film buffs who are intrigued by how a movie story is translated between the script and the screen will be interested to know the Rare Book & Manuscript Library in the University of Illinois Library system has a collection of nearly 250 vintage Hollywood shooting scripts. While the artifacts themselves can only be accessed on-site for research purposes, you can glean the breadth of material in a 1983 catalog written by Nancy Allen and Robert L. Carringer, available here in PDF, Flip Book, and text-only formats. Shooting scripts hint at the production process because they are often annotated with notes during the course of filming; this catalog details how the collection’s specimens were marked and often theorizes as to the who and why.

~ Jason Pankoke

Pens to Lens Screenwriting Competition (Art: ThirdSide)

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