The next big project – part 1

Its Saturday and I have work to do, but I wanted to take a moment to jot some thoughts down. Late last year, an idea came up regarding a “what if” scenario. It was a cool thought and Marguerite and I talk about it once in a while. She watches a lot of reality shows and after begging me to sit and watch an episode of Intervention, I conceded and sat and watched the predictable “Oh my father never loved me so I decided to do heroin”. Yes I have watched several episodes and they always start off with “He/She was a beautiful perfect baby” and it just went downhill from there. Anyway one case on the show was particularly interesting and it seemed to feed into my “what if” storyline and it kept playing in my head until I had to address it and explore where it was going. Of course I won’t give away the details as I always feel when I do, the idea gets taken from me and given to someone else so here I am staking my claim on my story. Don’t take it ( cue Steven from Braveheart “Its my island!” ).

I have decided to make this story real and my next thought was to figure out the canvas to showcase it to the world. Would it be a short film? Long form? The short film would work mainly because I have such a short attention span and I feel I can fit everything into a 5-10 minute experience. The story and arcs I have in mind would blow that time frame up and would make a good “feature” length film, but could I pull off something that gigantic? Probably not. I’d like to think so, but honestly my skills are not there yet. It left me thinking of another angle. My decision was to publish this story in 10 episodes of 10-15 minutes. Yes, a series. My vision was to film the 10 episodes, release them each week and end it…..or not. What if it became a huge success? What if people want a second season? A third? A movie based on the series? Of course these are all just fantasies, but out of dreams, reality is formed.

The story is very dark, has a sci-fi element to it, but not over the top. Its heavy on character interaction and discovery in a world that outsiders may not understand or see. They are outcasts because of who they are and their voices are muted among the populace. They are all broken. Some are clearly broken, some hide and only reveal glimpses of their cracks. Like all my favorite sci-fi shows, it has a mythology that reveals itself in bits and pieces, but one thing I want to avoid is that trap most shows run into that once the magic is revealed, the rest of the story goes no where. Lost was a great show when you had no idea what the “Others” were. Millennium was great before the Group was revealed and I won’t even get into the whole Battlestar Galactica ending. Of course the audience wants a payoff in the end, but there has to be a way to do that without giving away the tricks. You can love a magic show without knowing how the rabbit got in the hat. That will constantly be on my mind as I explore the arc of this story. I have a feeling I’m going to be disappointed in the movie Prometheus because ever since I saw Alien as a kid, I always wanted to know what the Space Jockey was. No matter how good the story is, I don’t think it will live up to what I imagined it to be. Its not the writers’ fault, its just they have 30 years of speculation and dreaming to live up to. I want to give people the pieces to play with in their own heads, but not enough to feel like a let down. That’s a lot of pressure and who knows if it can be done, but let me tell you that’s my goal as a story teller.

There are a few obstacles to overcome in this journey and perhaps I’m just fooling myself into thinking I can do it. First and foremost, I am one person. I have shot a couple music videos, a few short films, and some demo reels. I love the whole process, but passion can only take a person so far. There are many roles that need to be filled. I can fill some of them, but I don’t think this is something I can do on my own.

You can have the best gear in the world, but if you are not telling a story worth telling, you are just getting a really good shot of a piece of crap. I know this. I am not saying my last music video was crap, but I made it with no true direction and I feel like I could have done a much better job if I had planned out the story. I loved the song and idea behind it, but I couldn’t film what was in my head because it just was a flicker of an image here and there. I should have planned it better. I did the whole video on my own too, which made it hard. So, before I even commit to anything, I want to get the story down. I have notes jotted down and I’m putting up a board in my office to post my notes, ideas, pictures, shots, etc. I don’t subscribe to that whole “Secret” philosophy, but I tend to go over the same ideas over and over again and not really move past it, so if I can just get it out of a thought and into a physical form, perhaps I can start moving on to other pieces. I will also admit to this: I am no writer. There I said it. I have ideas, visions, but they are more of the 10,000 foot view of things. If I wrote a line of dialog, it would take the audience right out of the story and blow the whole thing. I can see it now:

Character 1: “Hey”
Character 2: “Oh hey, hows it going?”
Character 1: “Not bad”

I have decided to start a search for a writer. I do not have a ton of money, but I will throw down my own cash to find someone that can take all my ideas and spin a tale worthy of telling. I have a lot of the details worked out, directions of the characters, major plot points, but I don’t know how to fill in the details. I can’t imagine how dialog can take my story through, but that’s my problem. I believe in this story enough to invest my own money in this. If I can get the story I will continue. I won’t continue unless its done right. I want this to be major network caliber….on a shoe string budget.

Now, I know I can’t go and rent studios and locations so this thing is going to be all guerrilla style. Ill be using people’s homes, unpopulated areas, and fast shooting where people will be. Every time I have to drive somewhere, I make notes of places that would work for my idea. I also change the story based on the limitations I have. I have a story, but I have to compromise based on what I have available to me, which is very little. I will make sure the story will be able to be told with these constraints.

Finally ( at least as far as I have taken my thoughts ) I will have to get actors, and crew. Again, if the story is there, I will try and fund it myself. I’ve considered things like kickstarter, donations, fundraisers, etc. I think if I can get the story written out, I can consider these options. I guess I will just wait and see if I can get past the first stage.

So that is what has been occupying my mind the last month. Like I said, I should be working, but this project has been taking over all else. I still plan on shooting some short film stuff, mainly to get my skills better honed, but I feel like its all leading to this. I have no idea how its going to turn out, how to even move on, but want it to happen and willing to do what it takes to make it happen. I haven’t felt this strong about an idea before. Stay tuned or feel free to write out any suggestions in the comments.






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