Friday, September 15, 2006

Chronicles 33 - Is it worth it?

Last week I met up with a producer who had given me a biographical drama script to read along with some other source material. He also sent me a previous draft of the script by the same writer. After reading the material I came to the conclusion that neither of the 2 drafts worked and I explained why along with my 'take' on the project. We met in London and he told me that he totally agreed with my view i.e. that this project needs a page one rewrite.

The conclusion of the meeting was that he wants me to write the script and asked me what I had in mind fee-wise or should we say partial fee-wise, (most of it would be deferred). Having chatted to a couple of writer friends about this and having investigated the recommended Writer's Guild UK minimum fees I had a pretty good idea of what would get me out of bed. It may very well be much more than he imagined but at the end of the day I have to weigh up:

1) Will the film get made? Mmmh ... Jury's out on this one since the company has no previous credits and we are talking partially period drama here - not an easy sell and not cheap to make.

2) Most indie-movies never get made or takes AGES to set up so will an unproduced script, (that I wouldn't own) not based on my own ideas get me any further as a screenwriter?

3) Since the project is based on a true story and most of it is period then it will involve research on my part which is time consuming.

So the question boils down to - am I passionate enough about this project to do it for nothing? Quite frankly, no, I'm not. Would I do it for the right price? Sure. I do like the project and would enjoy delving into a new genre but I know the amount of work will not be insubstantial so it's a crapshoot. It could be a golden opportunity or dead-end alley and if it is the latter at least I can say 'it was the first time I got paid for it'. I'll talk with the producer in the next few days so that chapter will either come to an end or I'll end up pretty busy over the next few months.

In the meantime I had two sessions with my co-creator on the animation project. In the space of 2 days we've come up with the main character profiles and the overall structure of the feature. All I need to do now is knock out the treatment and if the prod. co. likes it we'll move forward with an option and they will start commissioning artwork. The good news here is that my co-creator impressed them with his published fantasy art book so now they would also like him to create the animation visuals. Once the artwork and possibly short character animations are in place then it will become part of a pitch package to attract investors.

The short film is gearing up to shoot on October 14th and the producers are doing a great job of securing the locations - one of them being this massive housing estate in London. Looks like we've got the permission to shoot there which is great since it is perfect for the film. The next thing to work on is the web page to see if we can get a 'Snakes On A Plane' viral marketing thing going on.

Some downer news just so that you don't get the impression that my writing-producing life is just a bed of roses. ;-) Unfortunately my director never managed to meet with the big casting director last week in LA. Both their schedules were so tight that the meetings kept on getting cancelled and it just didn't work out at the end of the day. So, the consolation prize is a round of phone meetings next week. Good news is that the casting director seems to still be very interested in going further with the project and wrote me an email saying how sorry she was that the meet didn't work out. The other casting directors either passed on the project or made it clear from the beginning that they wouldn't work on a deferred fee basis. It may be the same with this casting director. I guess I will know soon enough.

I was also hoping to get a friend of mine on board to do the art direction on the short film. She would have been perfect for the project and she really wanted to be involved but she couldn't because of family commitments. C'est La Vie.

This week I'm meeting with my actor friends to discuss the next step in the play we're developing. The main aim now is to get the theatre booked so we have a date to aim for late next year which means that I need to knock out a synopsis.

At the moment I have 6 projects in various stages of development and some of them have or may have deadlines attached to them so I hope that will be enough to get me 'on my butt' and start writing. Sometimes I feel like a passive protagonist. It's as if I need external deadlines and inciting incidents to motivate me to write. Of course, without the day job, I would also have fear of hunger and eviction as an additional motivator but I haven't reached those dizzy heights yet. ;-)

Hopefully next week I will be reporting on my blistering progress at the keyboard ... :-)

Ciao for now
See Chronicles 32