Monday, April 17, 2006

Chronicles 17 - Perceptible Progress?

Well here we are again - we're heading for Summer 2006 which is 6 years after I first conceived of the idea for the rom-com. Did I mention that the film business doesn't do 'quick'?

See Chronicles 1-17 (Summer 2000-April 2006) below for the whole story.

So here's the latest on the rom-com:

January 2006
After a few months in development the director finally signs off on the latest draft of the rom-com. She now feels that it is finally ready to go out to actors. Great! In the meantime I start working on the new script, a heist comedy, and we've also secured a producer and a well known indie actor for a short film that we aim to shoot in September 2006. The aim of the short film is to showcase the director (and me - the writer/producer) to raise money for a feature. The short is based on a short play I staged in London about 10 years ago. Man, I'm getting old!

February 2006
I send the rom-com script out to the talent agent I met in 2003. She is now with a bigger and more powerful US agency. She forwards the script to one of her clients, an Australian actress, who obviously has reading difficulties. She's taking AGES to read the script. I jest of course. It's not down to reading difficulties it's down to 'heat'. If a major star came on board then that would create heat for the project which would motivate her and her agent to elevate it a few layers up the reading pile.

I send the script to various UK producers. A few passes. No surprises there. There's no success without failure as they say.

I have a very positive meeting with a major UK financier. They are very interested in financing the project since it is "exactly the type of project they are looking for"! They are also able to fund a lot more money than I expected. The upshot of all this is that provided I can find a bankable star my movie is fully funded! The next day the financier sends me a letter of intent. The rest of the money I would get from the co-production partner along with gap finance and pre-sales.

I also meet with a major UK casting agent who is interested in helping out to attach talent. The casting agency have worked with the director before and love her work so that's good news. I smell actual progress here?

I also meet with a UK sales agent who are interested in selling the project. They usually are - but - here's the rub - it's all down to names - pre-sellable names - they need names that they can pre-sell to distributors. The distributors will only purchase the license rights if they feel they can sell the names in their territory this results in an industry not necessarily driven by creative choices. An actor may suck to high heaven but if his name can trigger finance then he'll get the gig over the highly talented but no-name actor. That's the way the mop flops and the cookie crumbles.

March 2006
My director meets with a big US agency who are interested in representing the project for possible packaging and domestic sales i.e. selling to US distributors.

April 2006
I ask a UK producer who has produced a number of films with major stars if he would like to come on board as co-producer. He reads the script and we meet up in a trendy media club in Notting Hill. He loves the script, thinks it's very commercial, thinks it's funny, full of heart and has very good dialogue. He also says it's engaging, characters are authentic etc...(continue the unadulterated praise please!).

The Upshot - he wants to come on board as co-producer and use his agent relationships to package the movie. Great! He now needs to run the project past his business partner. More waiting...

I speak with the casting director - he's read and likes the script. He'd like to come on board and help us with the packaging process. Things are looking good!

Of course the waiting never ends. I sent an offer out to a MAJOR US star through my lawyer in the US. I'm waiting back on that. Will be interesting to see if the talent agent responds and and if my script ever darkens said mega actor's Beverly Hills doors. I'm told they have to forward the script if there is an offer attached, (albeit subject to finance), so let's see. At least I feel that the script can hold its own now.

That's it for now.

Good night and good luck :-) See Chronicles 16