5 Fingers - Be Phat Motel


Just a follow up on Be Phat Motels new feature film “Five Fingers for Marseilles” The guys are scouting locations and developing their script in the Free State.

The Eve of Departure
Intrepid movie explorers Sean Drums and Mike T Matthews head off early tomorrow into the wild and desperate Free State. We’ve got our story clenched tightly on one hand and our map book in the other. What is it all about? Where and why are we going into the wilderness? Well, it’s all for Five Fingers for Marseilles…

In Five Fingers for Marseilles, we’re aiming to bring the classic western into a South African context, set in the remote Free State, along the Lesotho border. It’s a story of liberation and redemption, friendship and corruption between 5 friends and allies, that spans two generations of one small community. We’re really excited to get on location and into the meat of storytelling. We have the skeleton of the story and great characters almost all figured out; now we tailor the film around a real small town location, for a few reasons:

1) More than anything, it’s to make the film and story authentic, looking at how life really is out there and what issues affect the communities.

2) For costs reasons, so we won’t need to build a town, or too many sets that don’t already exist. That leaves lots of money for all the CG horses and maybe a couple of winged beasts. Should we be inspired to take the story into winged beast territory.

3) To integrate with the community and bring them on board the film: as crew – training local guys and gals up with production skills, as the people facilitating the production – catering, accommodation and security over our projected shoot, and even as potential film stars – casting locally as much as possible.

4) Discover a part of the country pretty much as familiar to a lot of Capetonians as the surface of the moon.

And so we’re heading towards Marseilles, the small, dusty Marseilles of the Free State. Lots to do before we leave… car fix ups, internet fix ups (please please let this little net devicethang work out there, or this blog series will be the shortest in history) hair cuts, Afrikaans and Sesotho lessons… Matrix-style………….. Send us your well wishes and keep in touch so we don’t get cabin fever or desert fever or yellow fever. “Two went out, one came back” sort of shiznizz.


Keep checking in on our Free State blog here in the Motel Diaries… And if you want a present from the Free State you better leave some real nice comments…


Win a Writing Course!

So by now you know about The Forum is on thursday night. You have even invited all your indy movie making mogul mates…right?! And because you are so darn cool The Writing studio and The Forum are giving away, that’s right, giving away two places on a writing course! All you need to do is rock up on Thursday!


If you’re an aspiring screenwriter with a vivid imagination whose ideas are larger than life, The Writing Studio’s The Write Journey will turn words into big screen action!

Aspirant screenwriters can sharpen their storytelling skills and develop their craft at The Writing Studio’s The Write Journey workshop at Artscape Theatre Centre on Saturday, October 10, 17, 24 and 31 from 2pm until 5pm.

Within FOUR DAYS writers will understand the principles of writing for a visual medium and what it takes to be screenwriter in South Africa.

The inspirational and motivational workshop is ideal for ANYONE with an idea for a story. If there is something or someone you want to write about this is your opportunity to turn thoughts into words.

Ideas are transformed into concepts that will be reworked into hardcopy, into 120 pages filled with dramatic action, lively characters and description.

The course turns theory into practise and ideas inside out. It explores the full dramatic or comedic potential of stories and empowers storytellers to write a compelling story that will reflect the uniqueness of their culture, history and experience.

The workshop is also an introduction into the world of filmmaking and teaches writers how to read and interpret the fascinating language of film, and how to evaluate and analyse film, television and theatre constructively.

It is ideal for novelists who would like to adapt their work into a visual medium.

During the past eight years The Writing Studio, an independent training initiative, has done more than 250 writing workshops throughout South Africa. The trainer is local writer, playwright, movie journalist and Education, Training and Development Practitioner Daniel Dercksen, who has been teaching workshops in scriptwriting and creative writing throughout South Africa the past eight years, as well as a Masterclass for Screenwriters for 40 writers from Africa at the Sithengi Film and TV Market’s Talent Campus.

The cost of the workshop is R900. If you are a registered student, scholar, or a pensioner, the cost of the workshop is R800. Bursaries are available on discretion for disadvantaged writers.

Following the workshop, the writers can join an advanced workshop for scriptwriters, The Write Draft..

The Write Journey workshop for scriptwriters takes place at the Artscape Theatre centre on Saturday, October 10, 17, 24 and 31 from 2pm until 5pm. For more information and registration, visit the website www.writingstudio.co.za, email daniel@writingstudio.co.za or call 072 474 1079

Writing adaptations and picking projects

Scripting a short film

A short film, like a short story, can’t waste any time. You need to give us your principal characters and establish their motivations immediately. There’s very little stage-setting before you get to the inciting incident and the ensuing complications.

The hero’s fundamental problem/challenge/obstacle needs to occur by the time you get to the 1/3rd mark. So, if your short is meant to be three minutes long, the big event needs to happen on page one. If it’s a 10-minute short, it happens around page three. It’s not that you’re worried about your reader getting bored before then — if you can’t entertain us for three pages, there’s a problem — but rather that if you delay any longer, your story is going to feel lopsided: too much setup for what was accomplished.

Beyond that, I wouldn’t worry much about traditional structural expectations. Funny almost always works better than serious for a short, because there’s not enough time to create the narrative movement you expect in drama. But there are exceptions. The Red Balloon for example. And I loved Walter Salles’ chapter in Paris, je t’aime, which was simply a sad rhyme.1

So think funny, or poignant — but only if French.

I’ve put the script for my 1998 short film God up in the Downloads section.2 It’s 30 scenes in 11 pages. A lot of story happens, quickly. But many successful shorts take the opposite tack: they’re essentially just one joke, fully exploited. Todd Strauss-Schulson’s Jagg Off is that kind of short, as are most of the SNL and Will Ferrell videos you’ve seen.

For the competition you’re entering, however, I’d be careful not to submit anything that felt too much like a comedy sketch. If I were a judge, I’d be looking for a script that doesn’t seem like it could end up on Saturday Night Live. (Or the British equivalent.)

Good luck!” - john august

John takes us through adaptations and picking projects in these videos from his personal blog. enjoy.

Part One/

Part Two/

johnaugust.com- (a ton of useful information about screenwriting)

Changing Landscape Videos

The Public Pool cut the footage of our first Forum, The Changing Landscape, and I posted them to Vimeo today, for your watching pleasure;

1. The Forum - Introduction/

Louw Venter our panel moderator takes us through the forum introduction:

2. The Forum - Landscape/

Zaheer Goodman Bhayat, producer and panelist on the forum had a lot to say about our current industry:

3. The Forum - Local is lekker/

Pam from Zoopy, made a comment regarding cinema in SA and that “Local is Lekker”. Simon Hansen whom I quote often in my blog, had something to say about that statement:

4. The Forum - Writing/

Getting into the nitty-gritty of where it starts, and our inspiration for the next Forum, Zaheer talked about writing. The idea that writers have this space where they can “just write what I love” does not exists. If you really want to do that either starve, live with your parents or get better and have people pay you.

5. The Forum - Paradigm/

Lastly Simon talks about shifting our paradigms. Having an idea of something is fine but if your idea isn’t the same as reality its not reality that’s wrong. If you want to live in your ideas then change your reality paradigm and come up with something unique and with value.