Thursday, May 24, 2007

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

So, my head is spinning. Okay, not quite spinning, but there is blurred vision.

I’ve been going back to school. No, no classroom or teacher involved. Just me doing crazy research on what I would need to make this short film the best it can be.

I spent a few hours yesterday with How To Make Your Movie: An Interactive Film School software. Pretty informative. I’ve also dusted off my copy of The Complete Film Production Handbook. As my short will be using real actors (and not just a bunch of friends and family who owe me a favor or two... though, I wish I could), as well as locations that I don’t have personal access or connections to, I am seriously thinking about forming an LLC. Since I already formed a nonprofit a few years ago, I’m pretty familiar with creating a business plan, filing articles of incorporation, forming a board of directors, etc... But, nonetheless, all of this is still a bit scary.

The more I think about the short film, the more excited and scared I get. I know the work and hours it takes to get this started and then to see it to completion. Doing a short film for a class assignment is one thing, doing one completely on my own is a whole ‘nother “thang”.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The strange thing about all of this is that I’m having fun. It’s weird, but the researching, scouting, planning and pulling out my dreds is giving me a high that I don’t want to give up.

I’m on my way to being a filmmaker.

Did I mention I’m scared shitless?

Did I say, It Is What It Is?

Here’s an LA Times article. To explain what I felt after reading it would take a lifetime, and still not show the emotions trapped deep inside of me.

This world - it is what it is, and I am what I am. Somehow, we have to meet in the middle. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless. I’ll keep on moving - always forward, always forward.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Taking the Plunge...

...into my short film.

So I’ve decided to stop talking about it and just plain do it. I guess I’m officially in pre-production for my short film.

I’m scared as hell, but extremely excited at the same time. It’s been over a year since I completed my first short film. It was a class assignment that called for no dialogue, but I had so much fun and I learned tons working with a crew of just four people.

I’m still gathering a crew for this project, as well as securing actors (I’ll just need two, and it seems like I might already have one - oh, and some extras). I’ll be scouting a few locations that I have in mind. The script is based on a piece that I’d written for one of my theatre classes back at NYU. The good thing was that it was performed by actors on stage and, afterwards, my classmates and other actors asked questions and provided feedback. The feedback will serve as the first set of notes going into the rewrite. It looks like I’ll be able to use the same actor who performed in the original piece; he is extremely familiar with the backstory.

Did I mention I’m excited?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Getting Notes

I am mentally challenged when it comes to receiving notes.

While my brain tells me that I should just keep my mouth shut, listen and meditate, my heart tells me it’s my freaking script and I’ll defend it like my life depended on it.

Well, this bipolar reaction to receiving notes is stressful as hell.
The really, really, really odd thing is that I actually implement notes into my subsequent drafts and have no problem acknowledging when someone’s notes have made the story stronger.

Then why, oh, why can’t I take constructive criticism (or what we writers call notes)? Because of that last word - criticism.

Oh, well, they say knowing is half the battle. But I don’t want to fight.

I’ve also learned that giving notes is an art form. Okay, maybe not an art form, but not everyone is good at it. Learning to distinguish good notes from shitty ones takes a bit of practice, as well. I firmly believe that there are no useless notes; even the worst can serve as a learning experience, even if it’s just building up your tolerance for complete idiots.

The biggest thing I’ve recently learned is that notes are only good when you are ready to receive it. I don’t mean when the script is at its best, or when you have fine selected those you trust, but when you, yourself are open and ready to fully open your mind to what needs to be done to bring your script to the next level.

Even the best notes given at a time when one’s not open will fall on deaf ears.

So the point? Knowing who you are is the most important step in the writing process. Understanding your own motives, intricacies, and misbehavior can make this crazy, rollercoaster process a bit more easy to swallow and stay the course.

Rewrite Central

All writing is rewriting. Who said this? I believe it’s true, but I also believe that all writing is writing.


I recently sat down and read a script I’d written about two years ago. An action-thriller; the protagonist an African-American woman who kicks butt. The thing was, I just couldn’t read it - I mean, I was tweaking as I read, thinking about which character to kill off completely and what scenes might be added to put this baby in overdrive.

Sure, I had opened the script to read it and get ready for a possible rewrite, but as I sat there reading, I started writing, going over scenes and changes in my head. It wasn’t planned. I didn’t sit down and write out an outline (which I will be doing shortly).

I write. I tell stories. Sometimes the same stories over and over with different casts in different circumstances. I invent worlds and sometimes destroy them. I manipulate. I conspire. I build up. I tear down.

Writing is writing. Forget the catch-prashes, the gurus. Forget about the right way and the wrong way. Just follow your mind, heart and soul and do that thing you love.

Writing is writing.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My New Tattoo

So, I've been wanting a tattoo for about three years now. But, I'm a wuss... until now.