Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ways to alienate funders, No.1

In the run-up to our holiday last week, I had my head down trying to get a script written for 'Mum and Dad', the Microwave/Film London submisssion - ready for the week-long 'Microschool' I've got to attend along with the other shortlisted applicants the week after next. As well as trying to write 6 or 7 pages of script a day of full-on crazed perversion, I also had to deliver a redraft of 'Deliver Me' to Em-media Development Exec Paul Welsh -which he was keen for me to do before I finished the feature (despite the fact that, as I found out when I got back off holiday, he's away for a couple of weeks, so won't be able to give me feedback until after the Microschool...).

So, I made some time, wrote the draft and sent it off to Tina to send to Paul.

So far, so good.

Except that on returning and reading through the script earlier this week, prior to a meeting with Tina about production stuff, I noticed something that had previously slipped my attention.

In the redraft, I've added a scene at the end of the script - a scene set in the past of the lead character, Erin. It shows her at the age of 13, already a gifted spirtualist healer, in the back room of a church, with a man who is a church member and, supposedly a kind of guardian to her. He is having unprotected sex with her, and ends up being the father of Erin's mutant child, setting up the highly dysfunctional relationship which is at the heart of the film.

So, what did I name this hypocritical, manipulative child-abuser?
Paul, of course. The same name as the person who'd requested the rewrite...

Now, I didn't even notice this at the time, and it certainly wasn't a conscious thing - but I don't know if that makes it seem any better - it's just my subconscious that names a creepy abuser after a our development exec.

Oh well, I'm sure he'll be all right about it. I think it's quite funny in a way. Maybe he won't even notice...
Should make the notes I get back quite interesting though...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Always Be Submitting

I just got back from the Post Office after sending off my application for this round of Cinema Extreme – it’s a project called ‘Damaged’ (I know, sounds a bit like a bad Jeremy Irons film), “a blend of ghost story and emotional drama” kind of influenced by “Don’t Look Now”. I’d said to myself after previous experiences that I wouldn’t apply again, but then I started thinking that at least this time I’d have something new to show them and a couple of other things on my CV. Also, despite having a raft of other projects ‘in development’ there’s no guarantee any of them will happen, so I need to keep submitting (Always Be Submitting – the motto of the non established film maker –insert BDSM joke here …)

This will be something like the sixth project I’ve got that is either in the process of being developed or being submitted. Hopefully, after a certain point they’ll all reach some kind of critical mass and someone will explode a cluster bomb of money at me, although considering that most of them are specifically designed for low-budget schemes, probably more like a small balloon of endlessly deferred payments. Honestly, I feel like I’ve developed more work this year than in ages, but the same time I’m more skint than I’ve been in a long while. I don’t know how the fuck other people manage – do a lot of people have trust funds or are they independently wealthy? Do they have rich and supportive partners and families, because I can’t see how I can spend the time working as a filmmaker, and make money, at least not at the moment. Especially exasperating is the idea that as the filmmaker you should be expected to work the most and be paid the least – your wage is often counted as ‘unofficial contingency’. I don’t know how it’s supposed to work…

I’m probably just whining because my head’s a bit crazy the moment. I found out I’ve been put through into the final round of the Microwave scheme that is being run by Film London. It’s an ultra-low-budget (a one hundred thousand pounds ceiling) feature film scheme which I submitted a project for in June – in a bit of a rush because I only found out about it four weeks earlier. I put together a 15-page outline (plus treatment, directors notes etc.) for a horror called “Mum and Dad”. The other day I had a meeting with Film London, who told me that in order to go through to the next stage I would really need to have a full-length script. The next stage is a weeklong development school held in London in about five weeks time. Which gives me about five weeks (minus a week because I’m on holiday) to try and write the full script. I went to Em-media today to try and see whether they could fund the writing of the script, but ended up leaving even more confused. It would be better if I applied as acompany, rather than as an individual, so I would need to get a producer from the region, only that producer would then have to step aside so that I could get a producer from London, to actually produce the film. Part of me just feels like getting my head down and getting on with it, but another part of me (probably the financially responsible one) feels like I should at least try and get some money for the work I’m doing.

Maybe this is just the famine before the feast - I put the work in now and reap the benefits in the future. Either that, or I’ll be stacking shelves in Lidl by Christmas

The ghost of an edit

There always seems to be a point in an edit – not necessarily a moment, more like a slowly developing period of clarity – where the film you’re going to end up with appears to you, like a kind of ghost, and you get the chance to compare it, for the first time, with the film as it had originally lived in your head. This is usually the point where (if you’re me) a feeling of vague disappointment settles in. Not that what you’ve got is necessarily bad or wrong – is just the feeling that what was in your head has failed to make the transition onto screen. Sometimes this can even be a good thing – some idea you had and had to scrap because of time or feasibility or act of God – has actually transmogrified into something that works better. Other times, you can feel, nagging in the back of your mind that you’ve missed your chance.

This is more less the point I’ve reached with “Awake”. It’s kind of almost there, but some of the things that I’d hoped we’d got, don’t quite seem to be working and I’m having to invent ways of working round them. Sometimes this involves shooting something new, an insert that will help to tell the story better. Other times, I can just feel that there’s something missing. Maybe it’s music – I’ve got an idea of the kind of sounds that I want to use, I just need to have the time to record them (and rely on my friends for supplying them…). Anyway, I’m going to take some time off from the edit because I’ve got a load of other stuff on so maybe I’ll be able to come to it in a couple of weeks with some fresh eyes. In the meantime, here are some more stills.