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Short Film Review: Day Zero


Day Zero is a post-apocalyptic thriller from indie film-maker Stephen Nagel, written by Dean Ravell and starring Nicola Duddy, Megan Alexander, Caelan Curry and Brad Roman. Set years after government, scientists and authorities fail to solve a looming water crisis in Cape Town, a group of survivors must make their way to a safe haven pursued by a vicious hunter. In many cases, independent means shoestring budget or no budget at all as in the case of Day Zero. These passionate film-makers took it upon themselves to craft a short film using limited resources about a limited resource, water.

WARNING: Day Zero trailer features strong language.

The film's teaser trailer does a great job of foreshadowing the context of this thriller and probably would've served well as the film's introduction. In fact, it's recommended viewing if you want to make sense of Day Zero, which drops you in the deep end as a ragtag bunch make their way to an oasis. The plot, setting and styling of Day Zero has been directly influenced by Mad Max: Fury Road down to the hunter's mask as this journey unfolds. At first, appearing to be a wasteland slasher, we get snippets of back story as the hunter joins the hunted.

Day Zero is timely, following months after the #DefeatDayZero campaign, greater worldwide awareness with echoes of people saying the next war will be over water. Using many natural locations and ruins in the Cape metropole, they've managed to give the journey scope and setting it against many varied backdrops gives texture. The make up and wardrobe is fitting, adding some layers to the storytelling and transporting the audience to this post-apocalyptic vision of the future with little to no water.

While promising, it's constrained by its budget... probably not giving the film-makers enough time to develop the screenplay and forcing much of the film to be done on the fly according to availability and resources on the day. While it starts like a hot pursuit slasher, it fizzles out as the two parties converge in a rather disappointing anticlimax. Using flashbacks to create tension, there's just not enough exposition to anchor the characters in this world. The amateur ensemble look the part and seem eager to be involved, but perhaps the call should have been for naturalistic performances.

Inconsistency in editing, foley work and performances keep you at a distance. While there are some good ideas at play with some promising shots, the storytelling is a bit haphazard and choppy. You understand the basic outline and motivations, but Day Zero just seems to be a bit too ambitious for its own good struggling to develop one's interest in the characters or scenario. The passion is there, the film-makers are inspired by some edgy cinema but perhaps delving into their memory banks and confining the film to one or two locations would have given them more depth and control over the final product. The good news is that these film-makers are young and hopefully take the experience they've gleaned from this project into their next.

 
'The Three Wells' Podcast featuring Raffaella Delle Donne


The Three Wells podcast is based on the principles expressed in Matthew Kalil's book, The Three Wells of Screenwriting. Working screenwriters, film professors, first-time screenwriters, adaptation writers, TV writers, commissioned writers, script editors, playwrights, novelists, songwriters, journalists, documentary writers... anyone looking to break into their next idea or overcome writer's block can benefit from this practical screenwriting aid.

With Spling as the host of The Three Wells podcast, Matthew gets to the nitty-gritty of what it takes to be a writer, how to find inspiration and how to apply The Three Wells of Screenwriting methodology through the lens of the films, TV shows and novels of screenwriters and authors.

Raffaella Denne Donne is a creator and writer, known for her work on many animated series including: P.King Duckling Adventure Club, The Happos Family and Monster Beach. She co-wrote award-winning animated features Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba for Triggerfish Studios and served as the TV Development Executive for Triggerfish Studios/Disney Storylab.

Pivoting around the metaphor of a well and finding your deep sources of inspiration, the concept deals with the External Sources well, the Imagination well and the Memory well. Kalil discusses how one digs into each of these wells in terms of what's been gleaned from pop culture, what the mind can fathom and how our experiences can be leveraged in the writing process.

An extension of the book, Kalil uses the podcast as a platform to discuss the writing process with renowned screenwriters and authors to unpack how they've come to rely on each of these wells in their writing journeys. Speaking about each of these wells and finding out how these screenwriters operate, you'll be able to get a better understanding of the core principles at play in The Three Wells of Screenwriting and hopefully be inspired by some of the ideas and concepts for your own projects.

Here's a review of Matthew Kalil's book, which will give you a much greater understanding and a veritable treasure trove of honest advice that has helped him and is worth revisiting.

This The Three Wells podcast was recorded at Fine Music Radio's recording studio at the Artscape in Cape Town, South Africa.

 
Six Top Movies to Watch Out for in 2019


Movie enthusiasts are already gearing up for an exciting 2019. The film studios have begun to release trailers for their upcoming releases and excitement is building among the film-going public. Some of the films are already being talked about for film awards by Springbok mobile players and other movie aficionados.

Some of the upcoming 2019 films to watch out for include:

six movies to watch in 2019

What Men Want

In 2000 Mel Gibson starred as Nick, a chauvinistic male executive who suddenly gained the ability to hear what the women around him were thinking. Nick’s first instinct is to try to rid himself of this curse but he starts to realize that he can manipulate women by using the ability to read their minds to his advantage.

In the 2019 sequel, What Women Want, sports agent Ali Davis (Henson) is passed over for a promotion at her agency. Soon after that incident, she experiences an accidental knock on the head and suddenly finds that she has the ability to hear men's inner thoughts.

Ali begins to use this newfound ability to try to understand what it takes to succeed in a "man's world". Her ultimate aim is to outsmart her co-workers in a race to represent an up-and-coming basketball star. The question is, while Ali's new power is helping her get ahead, could it also be putting other important parts of her life at risk?

This is a feel-good comedy that gets a little raunchy at times but is basically a good film for the entire family.

Lego Movie 2

The 2014 Lego Movie was the surprise hit of 2014 for the younger set. That computer-animated adventure comedy film followed Lego characters around as good Lego guys battle the Lego villains to save the world.

The new movie picks up where the old one left off. Bricksburg is now a post-apocalyptic wasteland but Emmet, the hero of Lego Movie, must prepare to defend his hometown and his friends against new invaders. The movie includes many of the elements of the first film including characters, intergalactic action, Duplo intervention and royalty. When the evil Watevra Wa-Nabi launches an attack designed to take over the universe, Emmet and intergalactic hero Rex Dangervest team up to do battle to defend friends, family and fellow Bricksburg citizens.

The technology and imagination of Lego Movie 2 promise to be everything that Lego Movie delivered and more.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

This is the third -- and ostensibly final chapter -- of DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon trilogy. The first How to Train your Dragon film of the series followed a hapless young Viking who sets out to hunt dragons and learns that there are more to dragons than he assumed when one of the dragons becomes his friend.

How to Train Your Dragon 2, which came out in 2014, focuses on the characters Hiccup and Toothless who discover an ice cave where hundreds of wild dragons live. They encounter the mysterious Dragon Rider and embark on a battle to protect the peace.

The 2019 film, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, takes the viewers into the peaceful dragon utopia which Hiccup is trying to create. Toothless, however, discovers an untamed, elusive mate which draws away the Night Fury, causing danger to mount. Hiccup's reign as village chief is tested and he must join with Toothless to save their kingdom.

Greyhound

Tom Hanks wrote the screenplay and has the starring role in this WWII drama about Commander Ernest Krause, a naval commander who is charged with leading a convoy of 37 Allied ships across the North Atlantic while they elude pursuing German U-boats. The movie is based on the book, The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester, a nautical war novel that explores a career Navy officer who embarks on his first wartime mission. Krause must lead the captains of the other vessels who are younger and junior to him in rank but who have already seen battle. He fears that he is unsuited to combat and, as he sets out on a battle of wits against the Germans, he must battle his own self-doubts and feelings of inexperience and inferiority.

The tale moves past the crossing, which concludes successfully, as Krause’s skills are acknowledged and he is given command of 'The Greyhound', a navy destroyer. Like the book, the movie illustrates the struggles that the Navy encountered during the Atlantic war, especially the exhaustion brought on by constant tension and vigilance. The movie also touches on the problems of early radar and the difficulty experienced due to poor communications between the High Command and the fleet as radio operators struggled with HF Radio and early manual cryptography.

Avengers: Endgame

The coming year won’t be devoid of superhero movies and the new Avengers film promises to be one of the best. Following hot on the heels of the highly successful 2018 Avengers: Infinity War – Part I comes Avengers: Infinity Wars – Part II, titled “Endgame.” The storyline of the Endgame movie revolves around the attempt to bring resolution to the conflict between Thanos, the Mad Titan, and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The war has been raging since the last episode and now Hawkeye, Ant-man, and Tony of Lost in Space are joining the fray.

Superhero movie fans will likely find Endgame to be quite satisfying as this movie marks the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “phase three”.

Dumbo

It’s one thing to make a live-action movie with human actors and inanimate objects but Dumbo adds animal characters to the mix in a heart-stopping remake of the Disney 1941 classic about a baby elephant who can fly, the people who are ready to exploit him and his friends who stand with him.

The movie follows the original storyline faithfully but adds new elements that give viewers a highly engaging and compelling movie experience.

2019 promises to be an exciting year for movie fans of any genre.

 
'The Three Wells' Podcast featuring Sean Drummond


The Three Wells podcast is based on the principles expressed in Matthew Kalil's book, The Three Wells of Screenwriting. Working screenwriters, film professors, first-time screenwriters, adaptation writers, TV writers, commissioned writers, script editors, playwrights, novelists, songwriters, journalists, documentary writers... anyone looking to break into their next idea or overcome writer's block can benefit from this practical screenwriting aid.

With Spling as the host of The Three Wells podcast, Matthew gets to the nitty-gritty of what it takes to be a writer, how to find inspiration and how to apply The Three Wells of Screenwriting methodology through the lens of the films, TV shows and novels of screenwriters and authors.

Sean Drummond is a screenwriter and director, who has a wealth of writing experience from feature documentaries Lost Prophets and Outsider, to shorts Sweetheart and Wide Open. His debut feature film, a gritty African western named Five Fingers for Marseilles, caught the world's imagination in the wake of Black Panther. The in-demand screenwriter is currently busy with several projects, including: the period-set Miami fantasy, The Blue Lady, a TV drama Acts of Man and an adaptation of Charlie Human's acclaimed South African sci-fi, Apocalypse Now Now.

Pivoting around the metaphor of a well and finding your deep sources of inspiration, the concept deals with the External Sources well, the Imagination well and the Memory well. Kalil discusses how one digs into each of these wells in terms of what's been gleaned from pop culture, what the mind can fathom and how our experiences can be leveraged in the writing process.

An extension of the book, Kalil uses the podcast as a platform to discuss the writing process with renowned screenwriters and authors to unpack how they've come to rely on each of these wells in their writing journeys. Speaking about each of these wells and finding out how these screenwriters operate, you'll be able to get a better understanding of the core principles at play in The Three Wells of Screenwriting and hopefully be inspired by some of the ideas and concepts for your own projects.

Here's a review of Matthew Kalil's book, which will give you a much greater understanding and a veritable treasure trove of honest advice that has helped him and is worth revisiting.

This The Three Wells podcast was recorded at Fine Music Radio's recording studio at the Artscape in Cape Town, South Africa.

 
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