Friday, October 2, 2009

A slow week

"Being a studio head is a great job but a horrible life.  Being an independent producer is a horrible job but a great life."
                           - Bill Mechanic, former studio head and indie producer

 Well, one of those weeks, and now by Friday, very little to show any progress,  a couple of calls, but nothing that can add to the budget. I'm playing the waiting game, waiting for emails and maybe a few phone calls. Besides several lunches and dinners for the birthday boy, it's been a lacklustre week.  One I won't waste time remembering.

Very little accomplished. 

It's at times like this that I'm glad I have something to fall back on, my writing. It's harder for Shirley, she directs and right now she's in San Francisco finishing a film she started early in September. It's a labor of love project, and she throws herself into it, even designing an LED light to fight around her camera lens. But for the last week, before she left, it was frustrating playing the waiting game for Travel Day news. 

I've been thru this countless times, waiting for "that" phone call, when the producer says those magic words.  We've got the money". But then again, I can fall back on my writing. Because that's the greatest thing about being a screenwriter, you don't have to have a job to write.  Sure, it's great to be paid to write, but writers can always write a spec, a screenplay that I decide to write on my own with the hopes of selling it. 

I usually have about a dozen ideas circling around my head at any given time and if I find myself surfing the web or staring at the ceiling, I go look at my catalog of ideas and start writing something. 

I have 24 or 25 spec scripts "on the shelf".  All of them are makeable (at least in my mind), among them a comedy about three women getting even with a stock market billionaire,  a screenplay about a guy who thinks he sees a woman abducted and begins to follow the suspect,and a screenplay that some say is my best, about an Irish hitman sent to kill a union leader but instead gets involved with two women with a strong connection, they are Siamese Twins.

I also have a screenplay that competes for the other good one that's miles apart, called Emperor of Mars, and which has been near production at least 5 times.  That's 5 times I was waiting for "the call". The last one is actually still active, won't expire until January.  This time a Canadian company was attempting to get it made but they didn't seem to really try that hard, as their main revenue comes from service jobs, where a US company gives them the money and they offer the crew and tax credits.  It's easier than trying to fund a movie on their own.  Remember what I said about producers who have a day job.  

You're never the priority.

We still don't have the money. Promises have been made for a little bit, possibilities have been made for big parts of the $900,000, but right now only $25,000 has been confirmed and that's doubtful.  Of course it means little as nothing happens until all of the money is in place and under the guardianship of a mutally agreed-upon trustee.  Usually a bank. 

One of my friends with inside connections to a network suggested I write a 4-page outline for a series based on a Native Indian doctor (I do this knowingly that none of you would "borrow" the idea, right?) So I played with it a few days and found some potential. 

Next week I have to begin to prepare for AFM (American Film Market) by designing some postcards that I can hand out as I can't afford a pretty model in a bikini to do that, although maybe pretty models in bikinis probably aren't all that expensive in this town. 

The market is in early November, but it's already October.  Maybe I might call Hank, who does presales, maybe I don't need to go to AFM and humble myself with the rest of the Willy Lomans. But I go there knowing that I do have a craft, however artistic it may be, that provides me with a taste of honesty.  And somehow I keep moving forward, a bad week is over, the next week is better already.

After all, I'm living my dream, right? And I have a responsibility...

"I have so much faith in you" 
            - Shirley