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LIM 2020

Less Is More Pre-Writing Workshops grasp the roots of participants’ ideas


- The specialised workshops welcome local talents with projects at the pre-development stage in order to dig deeper into their ideas before they reach the next creative phase

Less Is More Pre-Writing Workshops grasp the roots of participants’ ideas
(© Estelle Car/Le Groupe Ouest)

Thanks to Less Is More’s (LIM’s) experience gained through its workshops over the last few years and the constant experimentation of Le Groupe Ouest, along with an open dialogue initiated with cognitive research labs, a number of Pre-Writing Workshops have been created. The initial goal of these specialised workshops is to use a deeper understanding of how the brain works during its creative phases and as ideas emerge and take shape, in order to be able to mould and fully develop them later on.

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In partnership with national funds, the Pre-Writing Workshops are organised in order to scout out and aid local talents who are in this creative phase and who haven’t yet entered development. At every workshop, 12 national and local participants, who may be writers, directors or producers, expound their initial ideas, which will be reinforced in order to create strong upcoming feature-length projects, still in the pre-development process. The workshop is not limited exclusively to the writing process, as it also introduces the budget limitations that act as a catalystin the final creative outcome. The five-day workshop is run by two international script consultants from LIM/Le Groupe Ouest, while a talk or master class is also organised during the Pre-Writing Workshop to help further impart LIM’s methodology and philosophy.

One of the Pre-Writing Workshops, which has been running for the past two years, happens in Norway; the last one was held in December 2019 in partnership with the Norwegian Film Institute. Regarding the organisation of this workshop, NFI representative and manager of professional training at NFI:LAB Rune Tellefsen stated: “We at the Norwegian Film Institute find it very interesting to be a partner with the Less Is More programme. We have already had two Pre-Writing Workshops in Oslo, on our premises, bringing together almost 20 Norwegian filmmakers, all of them writers and directors, coming from backgrounds such as feature films, documentaries and drama series. The feedback was very positive for such an intense week that might not be for everyone, but I think we had almost 80% rating it at 10 out of 10, and that’s quite rare.”

The workshops were organised by LIM pre-writing consultants and screenwriters Nolwenn Guiziou and Pierre Hodgson. Guiziou gave some more details on the methodology they followed: “We try to establish a common ground of playfulness to create a safe space and a safe environment, and we get to know each other through our imaginations. We play, and that is, to my mind, a great way of remembering that we are in the entertainment business, but we are also there to ask meaningful questions.”

Hodgson added, “We have so many ideas, so our real quest is to find which is the right one for us and what we can do with it. When you’re working on a project and you care about it, you can’t see the wood for the trees, and it’s very complicated to learn how to step back. When people are discussing what is happening in a story, my job is to get the group to step back and imagine what the film could be.”

Finally, some of the participants also shared their experiences, with writer-director Kaveh Tehrani mentioning: “I think what this workshop gave me was a couple of tools to release my creative energy. I often get stuck thinking about structure and what the story ought to be, but now, suddenly, I can be much more playful with the material and I have found a couple of simple techniques that I can use to break this up and to move in a new direction with any project. It gets me a lot closer to the character, and it makes the process more playful.” Also, writer Hanna Hvattum offered her perspective: “It’s been really rewarding to have mentors come from the LIM project and see what I am as a filmmaker, and it’s also been rewarding to realise that I can be bigger than the size I have been able to grow to in Norway. It has been really amazing!”

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