Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wonder Boy

Today we lost a great director, a great storyteller. I'm deeply saddened by the loss of Curis Hanson, he was one of my favourite directors. It was 1997, October, a cold wet rainy evening and I went to see LA Confidential. I wasn't sure what to expect, this was pre-internet days remember, my phone called people, that was it. I discovered three things that night: 1. A Masterpiece, 2. One of my favourite movies, and 3. A director named Curtis Hanson.

Without realising I had already seen a couple of his films, and they'd stood out to me, his two previous actually, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and The River Wild. But LA Confidential was something else. Then came Wonder Boys, an absolutely delightful film, a surprise from start to finish, and a film I just fell in love with. 

(Career Best Performances all round)

Performing a hat-trick, 8-Mile came next. I don't have to say much about it. A Rocky Rap movie with Eminem. It worked perfectly and his ability to tell a story, effect emotion and be energetic was masterful.

Then came In Her Shoe, I think a largely forgetten movie, or fobbed off as a chik-flick, it is so much more than that. It tells the story of the complicated relathioship between two sisters and their mother, with pitch perfect performances from Toni Collete, Cameron Diaz and Shirely McClaine. It's old, simple, calssic Hollywood storytelling.

I have yet to see his last three films, Lucky YouToo Big to Fail and Chasin Mavericks. And I haven't seen his earlier work. But that just means I have many more gems to discover, and I can't wait to discover them. I hope you will too.

Curtis Hanson, and directors like him, are the reason I want to make films. When I see their movies I am inspired and invigourated, I'm filled with the joy of being told a great story by a great storyteller. And there's no better feeling.

We are all storytellers, the whole human race are storytellers, we crave to be told a great story, which is why film is so essential. And today we lost one of our greatest storytellers.

RIP Mr. Hanson.
Thank you for your films.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Shaking The Dust Off

I haven't been blogging much of late. It's all been on social media, as we work on our Seed & Spark campaign for a 10 Days in December proof-of-concept. We've hit the campaign trail again, this time we're looking for $3000 so we can shoot one scene from the script.

Why a proof of concept? Well, who has the time to read a full script anymore?! No one, that's who. But they might watch a really well made, beautiful looking, 2 minute scene from a film. The kind of thing that would make them want to see more, read the script and get behind our project.

So we're going back to Ireland in December for a family holiday. It will be the first time in over 3 years since we have been back. We can't wait. So we decided while we were there we would try to do this and start camera's rolling on a project we've been thinking about for 8 years, and working on for a year and a half!

The campaign is going great, we are one/third of the way through and already two/thirds funded! And the great thing about Seed & Spark is that if you get to 80%, you get a green light and can collect all the contributions given so far. Of course, we are still aiming for 100%, which I believe we'll get to.

I don't want to count my chickens, but if we go over there will be a couple of extra things we can do. First will be to but more money into the teaser, this might mean a better camera, more lights, more time! If we go further over, we are thinking about a table read, gathering the actors together around a table with a script and taping a first reading of the script.

This would also be hugely beneficial, I've done it with all my scripts, even the unproduced ones. It gets the actors familiar with the work, with each other, it helps me see what's working and what's not, where things can be trimmed, or where things need more time. It would of course cost, getting everyone into the same room, renting a room, printing scripts, feeding people etc. So we'd probably have to get to $4000 to be able to afford that. But again, I'm not counting chickens! It be great if we could, but the main focus is the proof-of-concept.

It's been great working on this again. We got the script finished a few months back, and then sent it out to industry professionals. The reaction was positive, with constructive criticism, a lot of which we took on board. But it did knock us off track somewhat. We began to look at turning the script into a much bigger project. Something I do believe can work, and would be great, but it just took the wind out of our sails. It was not the project we set out to do.

We tried to jump right on it, but I Maryann wasn't into it, and every time I sat down to work on it I felt the energy drain from my body. We stopped working on it. I became very discouraged. Then one night I watched 'Swingers', one of my favourite indie films. I hadn't seen it in years. But it brought something back to me, the ethos of doing something small, personal and sticking to a vision, no matter what anyone else says. Something I always tell myself to remember, but often find myself swayed from, trusting my own instincts.

I decided we would make the film we set out to make.  The one whose vision was clear in my head. As soon as I did all that energy came back. I thought about doing the proof-of-concept and getting back to the script, as it was, but making it better.

So, that's where we are, in a much better place, resolute in our direction and sure of what we want this project to be. It is our story and will be our most personal film to date. So we want it to be ours, and not be swayed or pushed in one direction or another because it might be more "by the book" or "Marketable". And I can feel that's going to be the challenge as we go forward. We're taking a risk with this one, it might not work, it might be the last chance I get to make a film, but it's our story and we want to be true to it, it's the only way we can make it.

So, have a look at the campaign, watch the video, read the story, check out the incentives, get behind us, join us, follow, share like, RT! We're going to get this film made and we can't wait to show you.