Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Skewed Perspective

Man I should be better at posting to this regularly. Just so busy. But I just finished my peanut butter and jelly sandwich in record time so I have a few minutes for a quick update.

We have picture lock on Dismal. Whew. It's a very good, solid movie, entertaining throughout -- and now it's gonna get better as the sound editors and composer get to work. All that, plus onlining and color timing should be finished by the end of March.

Which means by April we can do a cast and crew (and friend) screening and start hitting the sell hard: getting back in touch to the distributors who've called us, contacting other distributors, maybe renting theaters in LA and New York to screen for distributors. And we're continuing with the film festival circuit.

Speaking of that, someone on the team was expressing some worry, saying that so far, it's been nothing but rejections, so he's worried we'll end up with a very expensive coaster.


We didn't make it into two film festivals. Two.

Is that something to worry about? Does that mean we're doomed? Hell no. I heard that, in its first round of pitching, American Idol got turned down at every network and all the major cable channels. There are tons of stories of now-classic movies, books and people who at first were rejected a hundred times. A thousand.

Please people. This is the film industry. While it's true that only 13 days passed between the start of writing on Basic Instinct and its being sold for $3 million, usually, it's a long, slow, cruel business.

So let's stick to it, shall we?

Friday, February 09, 2007


Okay. I’m pissed. And it takes a lot to get me pissed.

The company I work for is experiencing a difficult lean time. It happens sometimes in the TV business, when a gap appears between show contracts. Production companies accordion up and down with staff levels all the time. We’ve been fortunate that in almost 15 years we’ve had very little down time, and few hiatuses. Hiati?

Anyway, we could be looking at a hiatus soon. Just went through a round of painful layoffs -– some very good, skilled people had to go, people whom I hope we can rehire soon once we get some more series up an running. All of us are worried.

But word’s starting to creep around the small-minded gossip grapevine that this is largely my fault. Since I’m in charge of development, it must be that I’m just not doing my job.

They’re not, of course, considering the 25 projects I have on the development grid, or the seven projects that various networks have expressed great interest in and could go forward at any second. They’re not looking at the corporate trouble way beyond me that our company’s going through that’s contributing to the lean times. They’re not realizing our main client is going through a massive upper-level restructuring and have instituted a freeze on new programming. They’re not considering that selling shows isn’t just saying, “Hey, I got this great idea” and then boom, you’ve got a contract for 13 hours. This is hard work, and it takes time.

One of the theories I’ve heard about is that last year I wasn’t doing much for the company because I was working on Dismal all day. Another good one: the professional conference I went to last week? Oh, all I did there was try to sell Dismal.

This is where I get pissed.

First of all, I wrote the script before I took my current position, while I was freelance writing from home. Secondly, when Dismal moved beyond a let’s-shoot-on-weekends-with-friends project and into a full feature, I had many talks with my employers, outlining how I would manage both projects and keep them separate. We came to a clear agreement and I kept to it.

Since then I have worked my balls off to do as much as or more for this company in terms of development than anyone has, ever -– and to make sure I do the work on Dismal I’m responsible for on my lunch breaks or after I go home nights or on weekends.

And as for that conference? It was a FACTUAL ENTERTAINMENT conference for TELEVISION. Factual. As in, not drama. And television. As in, not movies. There was literally no one there to talk Dismal with even if I wanted to.

Simple bastards. I mean, I understand people are frustrated, but shit, know the facts before you go slinging someone’s professional reputation in the mud.

I know I shouldn’t care. People do this gossip shit all the time. Just let it slide off, lad. But it’s hard to let it slide off -– because A) I actually have feelings, and this hurts, and B) once people start saying things often enough, they cease to sound like gossip and start to sound like fact. And like I said, this is my professional reputation.