Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Fork In The Road -- With Four Tines

It’s getting more complicated.

I keep thinking of more things to do. But I can’t do them all at once. And I don’t want to take years to get them all done. So I gotta choose. Choose or lose, baby. Vote or die.

I want to pick two of the following to work on. One will be the primary assignment and the other will be the distraction. I find it best to have two things to work on – when I get stuck or bored with one, I shift to the other and usually doing so breaks through the barrier faced with the first. Natch.

So here they are:

I’m about 30 pages in, and I like it. I keep going back and revising the first act instead of moving on, so my page count hasn’t changed in a long time. I have a loose outline of the plot from here on out, but frankly I’m not wowed by all of it and there are holes. The good news is those things tend to work themselves out as I write, so I’m not that worried about them. The big issue now is that I have a lot character development work to do: the two main characters are brothers and their dialogue is starting to sound too similar so I really need to differentiate them more. I started writing out character sketches but got bored and gave up. Need to go back to them.

Got a lead on a group of investors who like the work a friend and I have pulled off before, and who are looking for a certain type of film – this script, tweaked a few degrees, could be it. And since it’s still deeply in process, tweaking it is no trouble at all. So one option is to do it ourselves. Or I can just try to sell it as a spec to someone else.

I’m a long way from trying to figure that out, though. Hell, I’m only through act one.

My brother and I are continuing to bang out a reasonable outline. I’d say we’re about 33% set with it. Once we sketch the rest out, we’ll have to decide how exactly to write it together. I know sets of partners who do it all sorts of ways: splitting up scenes or sequences, taking turns writing and note-giving, sitting in the same room and actually writing together, etc. Since he lives in Vermont, we’ll only do this in-the-same-room thing at the end, at best. It’s a really cool idea, and very marketable. And it’d be fun to do, especially with the bro.

A friend wants to hook me up with his friend, who’s a producer on one of the CSI shows. I really got into Dexter and am thinking about speccing an episode of that to send to Mr. CSI. My friend asserts that, because of the type of shows I’ve done in the past (lots of forensic and crime stuff), I’m a natural fit for CSI, and I think Dexter is a natural choice to spec for CSI producers.

Haven’t really started planning the episode, though – just thinking of possibilities and jotting down notes here and there.

What? A short? Why?

Yes, I’ve produced a ton of factual TV and one full-length feature. And I’ve directed a little, but mainly small pick-up scenes and second unit stuff. I do believe I’d be a solid director, having been a producer for so long, seeing what works and what doesn’t, knowing what needs to go into pre-production, what has to happen – and perhaps more importantly what needs not happen – on set, and what works or not in post. I certainly understand story and how to communicate that to others – actors, department heads, partners, investors. I think I have a good eye, though I’d need a kick-ass DP of course. The good news is I know just such a kick-ass DP who lives nearby.

I’ve been selling myself as a writer/producer, or at least as a writer who thinks like a producer, but now I’m thinking it might be better if I can show the Bigs that I can direct, too. I think I could raise a little money to finance the short, but I would write the script to exploit available materials and call in favors to get talented pros to work at (drastically?) reduced rates and do it for very little money.

Of course, that means writing a perfect short script. And then deciding to invest the time – and available time is more and more rare these days.


Think I’ll get another cup of coffee and think about all this more.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I Failed

But only kinda.

I was supposed to be totally finished with The D Line on March 31.

I wasn’t.

But I did finish on April 2. That’s only kinda failing, right?

So there it is. Done. Sent out. No more work on it.

Unless someone comes along and wants it, and asks for changes of course.

Barring that, I vow to do nothing more but send it out and talk to people about it.

To that end, a friend handed it off last week to the management team of the actor I had in mind as I wrote the lead character. This past Saturday another friend got it physically into the hands of a veteran A-lister – the kind of guy who gets lifetime achievement awards now – who has his own production company, the mission statement of which says they formed to produce exactly this sort of film. 16 other copies have gone off to various actors, producers, directors, agents and managers, through industry contacts I have – didn’t cold call anyone or generally query it out without a connection. Might do that later, if nothing happens for a while with the Connection Plan.

I started on the first version of this script more than three years ago. It’s been a great ride, but I’m relieved to be through with it.

It’s good. Solid. So much better than that first version three years ago. Man have I learned a lot.

And now I move on. Whew.

To what? That’s still a battle between the action script and the thriller my brother and I are considering.

Wonder who’s gonna win that battle. This is for certain, though: I'll pick soon, and whichever one I choose to pour my energy into, I won’t work on it for three years.