Monday, April 17, 2006

Chronicles 16 - 2005 - Things start moving - slowly


January 2005

So here we are heading for 5 years since the idea of the rom-com was first conceived. In 2005 I had already given up on the UK agent. He did his best but there wasn't much he could do for me. He'd tried to get it set up at some major UK prod. co's but with no luck. He also had some near misses on the animation projects.

I had hoped that on the wave of setting up the rom-com I could also co-produce the family comedy. Since the rom-com wasn't moving along that plan fell apart and the family comedy was also in limbo. I tried to get it out to a number of US agents and managers in Jan/Feb 2005. They all passed. I decided to get the script out to US prod. co's myself. See later in this post.

At the beginning of 2005 we were waiting back from more actors who either never responded or passed. Nothing was moving at all on the rom-com. Nothing. The UK tax system was also in a limbo so the industry as a whole was not that buoyant. I decided I would go to Cannes in May and try and get things moving. I also decided to source out some new contacts e.g. new producers since I was also planning on shooting a short film and using that to fund a low-budget feature. Essentially adaptions from a couple of plays I had written and staged.

Cannes went well. A few new contacts. Found a producer for the short film and a potential producer for feature projects. I also sourced a potential financier for the rom-com.

In summer I got the family comedy out to over 55 US production companies. This led to a whole bunch of meetings but no sales or options. The response to the writing was very positive and one Creative Executive handed me a treatment for my 'take' on the project. I wrote the 'take' up over the weekend. The studio based producer liked it but essentially said it would be a spec job i.e. I would not get paid to write the script. It was a CGI project. We talked on the phone, exchanged emails. The producer said he would secure the rights to the treatment but then got distracted. Haven't heard from him since. Welcome to the Pleasure Dome ;-) At least it gave me the opportunity to pitch my new project to the US prod. co's which was met with a very positive response. I'm on the first draft right now.

I met with the director's manager who mentioned that the director felt that the script needed 'work'. I resisted this because the UK producer at that point felt it was okay. Fast forward a month or so later. After getting passes or no responses the producer began to hint at a lack of enthusiasm for continuing with the project. He made suggestions for the script which I didn't agree with. A few heated email exchanges later and we decided to call it a day. A positive step as afar as I was concerned. I was frustrated at his progress and the project was now in my hands. I decided that if the director wasn't interested in moving ahead with me I would dump the project and put it all down to experience.

I spoke to the director and asked if she wanted to continue just with me alone. She said she believed in the project and wanted to continue. I said that I would like to work with her on the script so we went into 'development' for a few months.

She gave me great notes and I wasn't sure whether I would be able to pull them off. After 4 drafts I phoned her and she said that I had, "really pulled it all together". It was a far better script and she felt that the reason that we hadn't got talent on board was that the script hadn't been 'there', it wasn't believable in previous versions. Now it was. So by now I had written 8 or 9 drafts since the summer of 2000. It's a long journey.

See Chronicles 15

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