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South African filmmaker tips Ugandans on script writing and directing

by Editorial Team
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By Hussein Kiganda

South African scriptwriter and director Siya Saanga Sityana shared knowledge with Ugandan filmmakers on March 7, 2023, at the National Theatre.

The filmmaker who attended one of the sessions by Film Club Uganda lectured filmmakers on script writing and director and answered most of their questions about film.

Tipping them on how to write a great pitch, he advised that it is vital to always keep one’s work brief and clear noting that investors do not have time to read through many documents as though they are reading a Bible.

“Some movies are not funded by filmmakers but entirely businessmen and they will be interested in how they will get their money back. They don’t have time to read all those documents,” he said.

Siya taught that one must mind much about writing a catchy logline, and synopsis that prompts the investor into considering one’s script.

South African scriptwriter and director Siya Saanga Sityana talks to the budding film makers. Photo by Hussein Kiganda

Asked about how one should deal with writer’s block, he advised that one should put a halt to his work and do something else at that moment to refresh his mind.

About directing, he taught that directing rotates around: script break down which involves, knowing the cast, scenes, number of sets required, the props, equipment needed, the format, and several other elements.

He warned directors against doing other people’s roles noting that it dilutes the essence of professionalism and devalues the people that the director chooses to work with.

“I have seen some directors trying to act for the actors and others doing camera work for the Director Of Photography(D.O.P) and I am left wondering why they entrusted those people with that job if they can not do it the way they want. When you do that, you make those people feel like they do not know what they are doing,” he said.

The attentive crowd digests the words of Siya during the session. Photo by Hussein Kiganda

Above all, Sityana emphasized that set etiquette is key because it puts each and everyone on set in the right direction. He warned directors against using vulgar and disrespectful communication with the cast and crew.

“I understand that the director is the boss on set, but this should not make you yell at them and disrespect them. Understand each and everybody, create a one-on-one relationship, and know their strengths and weaknesses to work with them well,” he advised.

In attendance was Andrew Lwanga Sebaggala, the Productions Manager of the Uganda National Cultural Center, who thanked Sityana for having shared knowledge with Ugandan filmmakers. He asked Sityana to keep coming to Uganda for the same cause and promised to always avail a favourable environment for such engagements.

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