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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Last workshop in Bratislava

26th of March. Friday.

We had our very last workshop session.

Just to explain a bit more on the Script & Pitch workshop that I have attended without giving away supremely confidential information...

Basically 15-20 (cannot remember exact number) writers from around the world were selected for this session to develop either their first or second feature-length screenplay. (I, of course, was to work on my first feature-length screenplay)

We were divided into six groups. My group has me, and Anita from Slovakia (working on her first feature), and Alexis from Greece (developing his second feature, his first film was Tale 52).

Me and my teammates: Anita from Slovakia and Alexis from Greece


In each group, we have a tutor and a script editor trainee.

That's Hanneke, our script editor.

With Hanneke the script editor


And that's our tutor, Marietta von Hausswolff von Baumgarten (with Virgil the French filmmaker).

Virgil the French filmmaker and my tutor Marietta


Aside from developing our own screenplay, we were also helping to develop our teammates'. Perhaps that is the beauty of this workshop: the fact that everyone got to work together. By providing feedback for our teammates' screenplays, I was also helping myself think. The merits of their screenplays gave me much to consider, and if there were any weaknesses, I would have to evaluate them as well.

Previous experiences in screenplay classes (I am talking about years ago) had been rather annoying. People often worked in isolated seclusion, and ended up filled with delusions. (yeah, it's a strong accusation)

I remember how while I was taking a break from my typing, I would just turn to look at computer next to me, and the person using it would immediately throw his entire body upon the computer screen, trying to stop me from reading what he was trying to read.

My reaction was "What. The. F-?"

His reply was "I won't let you copy my story!!!!"

I sneered at how he overestimated his greatness. The ocean of creativity that resided within me oversized head (literally and figuratively) had always been flowing with ideas, would I stoop so low to copy something POSSIBLY mediocre?

My sneer was lost to him, he remained in paranoia. Since then I constantly worked with annoyance. And used him as an example on why I was annoyed with my screenwriting class in Perth.

I also felt annoyed when people started talking excitedly to their cliches-ridden screenplays as if they had just created a literary work of unsurpassed greatness.

"This is a story of how a dude realizing he is sexually confused and felt repressed because of his strict parents. He would then strive to discover acceptance from contemporary society!" (... again)

"This is a story of a foreign girl living in a foreign land, and feeling culturally confused." (... again)

"This is a story of a girl who was going to marry a guy only to then find out that the guy was gay." (believe me, I see this a lot)

"This is a story of a misunderstood artist struggling to attain acceptance." (how very original)

Now, mind you, I'm not being critical of them. I mean, back then, I myself was writing a silly little tale of a girl who flew to the moon (fairy tale/ fantastical moon, not realistic moon) because she fell in love with someone she met over the Internet and the someone turned out to be a sentient supercomputer. Just that my own narcissism and cynicism made me interpret my classmates' zealousness as smugness, and thus turning me into such a bitter, hateful human being.

(But then, I always feel that the feedback of your own peers are just as important as your tutors/ teachers. It's kinda silly to tell me how much YOUR teachers love your screenplays just to argue against my own opinions of your screenplay's shortcomings. I'm not illiterate, does that make me less qualified to give my comments on your stories? Jeez.)

No camaraderie? No fun.

But anyway, yeah, few years later, the workshop sessions I had in Bratislava had been fun. And I think I will be making some strides with my feature-length script.

IT WILL BE AWESOME!!!!!!!

(yes, I deliberately contradicted what I said in the past few paragraphs for comedic effect)

The last workshop in Bratislava


After the session was over we prepared to head off for dinner.

This is a group photo I took of the entire Script and Pitch team.

The team of Script and Pitch 2010


I took another one just to be safe.

The team of Script and Pitch 2010


Then I let someone else take a photo of me with (most of) the team.

The team of Script and Pitch 2010 + me


After that we crossed the Novy Most bridge.


(click here if can't see embedded video)

Crossing the Novy Most bridge

Crossing the Novy most bridge 2


After crossing the bridge, I took a photo with the UFO restaurant.

Unfortunately, the flash of my camera was too strong and I ended up looking like an alien (albeit, a gorgeous one).

The UFO restaurant and... me

UFO restaurant


Dined in AUCafe.

AUcafe


Click here if you can't see embedded video

Chatting in AU Cafe


That's me with Antoine Le Bos, he's a tutor too.

Antoine's from France.

So is Julien.

Julien the french filmmaker


He looks very French.

Matthieu (also French) then gives a speech.


Click here if you cannot see embedded video

Matthieu gives a speech


Then everyone continued wining and dining.

Axel the german filmmaker, Marietta my tutor, Virgil and Julien the french filmmakers and Haneke the script editor

Dining and chatting happily

Dining and chatting


The main course was some creamy chicken, with mushrooms, it was very yummy.

The main course: Chicken and mushroom


Speaking of food, Alessandro (left, seen here with Olga and Mercedes, Olga and Mercedes were the ones who ensure the workshops were ran smoothly) the Italian filmmaker is a connoisseur.

Olga of Italy, Mercedes of Spain and Alessandro of Italy


He had been making shorts and documentaries about wining and dining. I won't be surprised if he makes a SPAGHETTI western next, hehehe... yeah, bad joke.

Lorena from Mexico (right) and Orsi from Hungary (left). Orsi is a script editor.

Lorena and Orsi


That's Eva from Singapore, whom I have known since last year's Berlinale Talent Campus (she is my favourite Singaporean chick filmmaker), Aldrina from Venezuela (she's also a script editor), with Lorena and Orsi.

Eva, Aldrina, Lorena and Orsi


That's Alexis, brooding. SPAAAARTAAAAA!

Alexis, brooding


I tried to take a photo of him and the Bratislava Castle. But I failed.

The Bratislava castle behind Alexis


Trying to take a photo of myself with the Bratislava Castle would be something I tried to do for my next few days in Bratislava, since the castle is so pretty.

Bratislava castle at night


Anita took one of me with the castle, but I was out of focus.

Bratislava Castle and I... I was out of focus


Then she took another one. The castle was out of focus.

Bratislava Castle and I... the castle was out of focus


You can't have both, I guess.

From across the river, I saw the night streets of Bratislava bathed in orange light.

The Bratislava streets by the river

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Slovakian Sushi

Thursday. 25th of March. I remember that mostly because I had sushi for lunch. To think that I came all the way from Tokyo to Bratislava, just to have sushi! How fun!

Tokyo Sushi Bar


I looked at the calligraphy on the wall and wondered whether it was in Japanese or Chinese.

Tokyo Sushi bar decoration

Tokyo Sushi Bar interior

People getting seated in Tokyo Sushi Bar of Bratislava


They started by serving a bowl of miso soup. It was a pretty big bowl. Of course, usually in Japan, the soup comes last, but of course there are some adjustments that this restaurant needed to make, being in a European country and all.

Slovakian Miso Soup


The sushi actually looked pretty good too.

Slovak Sushi

Saturday, March 27, 2010

More photos of Bratislava

24th of May. Wednesday. Went off for a walk in the Old Town area to buy some souvenirs for friends.

Walking around Bratislava

Tram

Bratislava buildings

Cafes at the street

Looks like the town center

Heroic statue


While buying souvenirs, I noticed that many of them had pictures of a particular statue of a dude peeking out from the manhole. I didn't know what it was, and it didn't look that good, so I stuck with buying souvenirs (keychains, cups, trinkets etc.) with pictures of Bratislava Castle.

Then I exited the souvenir shop, walked for a while, and managed to see the Cumil statue myself!

CUMIL (The Watcher) aka the famous "Man At Work" statue


Night came. Time for dinner.

The group of us were heading off to the restaurant, but then me and Laura from Luxembourg were so busy trying to snap photos of both this statue and the moon that we lost the group.

moonlight and statue


After being lost, I made jokes about our situation being similar to the characters in the film HOSTEL (forgetting until two days later that the film was indeed set in Slovakia!) Maybe that prompted Laura to make the decision of taking the taxi.

So we did (got ripped off by the taxi driver) and ended up in front of the Three Musketeers restaurant.

"three musketeers" restaurant

Inside 3 musketeers restaurant

People chatting and eating in 3 Musketeers restaurant


That's Laura.

Laura from Luxembourg


Was totally stuffed after the food.

The food in 3 Musketeers restaurant


Left the restaurant.

Outside 3 Musketeers restaurant


Walked past the statues again. Realized that I didn't have to take photos of them when on the way to restaurant. And if I hadn't been taking photos of them then, I wouldn't have lost the group, and then I wouldn't have to take the taxi to the restaurant! :(

Statue bathing in moonlight

Statue bathing in moonlight 2

A clock tower


Today's my last day in Bratislava. There'll be more photos soon.
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