Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Wonderful Stroke of Luck

70 Backers. Over $6,000 raised. A huge responce on Facebook and Twitter. Nothing but positivity, well wishes, good vibes, support and belief in this project from start to finish. Unfortunately, financially, it wasn't enough, and we did not meet our goal. So, I'm sad to say, One Day in December will not be happening. But, as the Dali Lama said, "Remember that sometimes not getting what you want can be a wonderful stroke of luck."

And I'm seeing it as that, luck, and a chance to seize the opportunity, the time, the energy, momentum, the support system we've built and everything I've learned about these characters and this story, and go for the big one - 10 Days in December! Our feature film. 
10 Days in December - Starts Now!
The plan always was to go for the feature, and I had started writing it, but we decided, giving our schedule and time frame right now, that a short proof-of-concept would be more manageable, and aid us in the long run. But it wasn't to be. Now, we could try again in the new year. I've had the experience before, with Derelict, where coming up to Christmas people are just more careful with their money, and I relaunched in March and the campaign was successful the second time round. But I don't want to put anymore time and energy into a short, when the real goal is, and always has been, the feature film.

That's not to say the short would have been, or was, a waste of time. I learned a great deal about the story by doing this. I learned how to write it, which I was struggling with in the original draft. I also gathered a fantastic central cast, which I will now grow, there are many more characters in the feature that did not appear in this version. I'm looking forward to casting the Mother and the Brother, I already have some ideas of who I would like to cast. 

We've also built a community around the film, the 70 bakers, all the people on Facebook and Twitter who liked, shared and retweeted, there was a hugely positive reaction. Now with an army of supporters, we can move forward on solid ground, with an audience and community already growing around the film! And I can't wait for you guys to see this film, One Day was special, for sure, but 10 Days is 10 times more special! There's so much more the story, the characters and indeed Ireland. More musical moments too. And much more family and friends, which are such a large part of the story.

We're starting now, there isn't going to be a break. I'm not taking time off till the new year, because there simply isn't time. I want to shoot this film, and shoot it as soon as possible. Today is Day One on 10 Days in December, and I'm hoping everyone who has been with us so far will stick with us for the big one. It's going to be a much larger undertaking, it will require a bigger cast, crew, budget and more time. Which means, we'll all be coming back to Ireland for a month or more at some point in the not too distant future.

I may not crowdfund this time, I don't know yet, I'll need a lot more money than we asked for on the short, and it takes so much time and effort that I find it actually takes away from the time needed for the film itself. I had hoped to do more script work, storyboarding and pre-production on One Day than I got to do because I was so preoccupied with the Kickstarter campaign. I don't want that to happen again. So even if I do a campaign, it will be much further away from the shoot than this was.

Meantime, please stick with us for 10 Days in December. Things will be quiet for a while, but I'll ticking away in the background working on the script. I might do some work on I Am Ireland in the meantime, which hasn't gone away, just needs a new approach I think. But for now, the main project and goal in 10 Days in December, and I'll be working on that from here on out. I'm excited about it, this is the one we've been waiting for, it's going to be great!

So again, thank you to everyone who got behind One Day in December, for you financial support and for you moral support, it was extremely encouraging, especially having been away from making films for so long. I wondered if there was a point in going back, if anyone would care, but you've shown me you do and you care about this story. I can't wait to show it to you.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Once Upon a Day

We’re coming to the end of our Kickstarter campaign, and we still have a long way to go. It’s a bit like realising you have to get to the peak of the mountain today, when you thought you had a month. Let me tell you a bit about this project. Let me go back to the start for a second - I’ve wanted to make films since I was a small child, I always credit Back to the Future with making me want to make films, and I think it was, it was the first time I expressed the desire to “Do that!” whatever “That” was, because I wasn’t sure at age 9. But I had a love of movies well before that. I was already watching movies daily, I would wake up at 6am every Saturday and watch whatever movie my parents had rented the night before, before my brother and sister woke, because they were too young to watch whatever it was. Honestly, I was too young, but I got it, and I think my parents saw that, so they let me watch a lot of stuff most parents wouldn’t. I saw Robocop when it came out, I would have been 10, I saw American Werewolf in London at age 11, I saw every Arnie and Van Damme movie that came out (my brother Noel and I loved kickboxing movies!)

My Mother introduced me to classics, like Casablanca, It’s A Wonderful Life, Harvey, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and so much more, from a young age. My Dad would let me stay up late to watch the likes of Jaws, Dirty Harry, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and this was all before I was a teenager. It instilled a love for movies and great storytelling in me. It became an obsession and a passion and began to feel like a vocation. I became a filmmaker and a writer, even before I made a film or wrote a script. It was in me, part of me, soaked through every fibre and became what I was made of. I love movies and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.

I’ve been lucky enough to have made some independent films, through the help and goodwill of family, friends and indeed kind strangers, who perhaps share my passion. I’ve never broken through, become commercially successful or been able to make a living from it, but the passion for it has never wained. And although the dream has narrowed in scope over the years, when I was 9 I wanted to be the next Speilberg, now with a family and responsibilities, chasing the dream is not a full-time pursuit anymore, when I left Ireland I left that behind. But I’m happy with being able to write when I can and if I’m lucky, make a small indie film every couple of years. So I’m probably not going to make that many films in my life, which means the ones I do make have to mean something, they have to be important to me. One Day in December is the first film I will make in this new mindset, and this story means more to me than any other story I’ve ever written.

I’ve told the story many times over the last few week, but this is the story of my own life, albeit one day in my life, but a very important day, the day I knew I was in love with my wife. Life was never the same after that. My world got turned upside down. All the rules got thrown out the window and it became about being together. Once we figured that out, our adventure truly began and hasn’t stop since. Everyday is something new. So, I’ve always felt it was a story worth telling, and I’ve been thinking about making it as a film for a long time. The full story is of course that entire vacation, which will be told in 10 Days in December later one, but for now, we want to tell the story of this one day. 

We have a fantastic cast, I’m so excited to be working with all of these guys. Lead by Grace Fitzgerald and Graeme Coughlan, who, by the way, have been a delight to work with already, they’ve been so involved and behind this project it’s really incredible, they are so devoted and passionate about a project. I think they have a real chemistry together and having met with them (online) I think that chemistry is really going to translate to the screen, and I can’t wait for you to see it. 

The film falls in the same vein as Linklater's Before trilogy, it’s a day with a couple as they walk around, get to know each other and fall in love. The difference being, that this is a true story, and that it’s going to be told by me, in my own unique style. It has a very Irish flavour to it, it is grounded in Irish culture, and small town Ireland. I like to get characters talking, I like the small things in everyday life, random moments aside from the plot, I like my characters to meander, wander off topic, discover and encounter things. I think it reveals a lot about them as people, plus it adds depth to their surroundings. For me environment is as much a part of the story as the characters themselves, in informs so much. 

I want to create something special, something beautiful, I don’t want to rush it or cut corners, it’s too important for that. It should be the best film I’ve ever done or there’s no point making it. I’ve gathered a great cast, I’m gathering a great crew. I’m taking my time with it. But we need support to get it made. The Kickstarter campaign is entering it’s final week, and we still have the majority of the budget to get. Is it possible to raise over $30,000 in one week?! I believe so. It’s just a matter of get the word out, finding people who believe me when I say I believe in this film and I’m going to make it great.

It also begs the question, what happens if we don’t reach out goal? Will the project die? - No. Is the simple answer to that. There is a plan-b. And if we don’t reach our goal I’ll announce plan-b. We won’t let the film go away, we’ve been thinking about it and planning it for too long. There are always road blokes in the making of any film, and there are always ways round. This is just the beginning of the journey. We have a long way to go, and we’re prepared for the journey.