Life has its funny ways.
This is not going to be my favourite post ever, on the contrary I would imagine. But while things were really taking shape with SweetArts (my short film) I got an email on Saturday morning from my producer telling me that she was starting another job this Monday. Not the best way to start the weekend.
Yes it has been a bit quiet and I also sometimes wonder myself if this film ever gets made but things have started rolling again now. I had a production meeting yesterday and while we still haven’t found a Dan yet we are now also working on confirming locations. We also know that the shoot will take 4 days, which will probably be a part of the weekend and some working days. Finding Dan is probably going to be a nightmare (there is only one Bill Nighy in this world and he is way out of our league and also the busiest man on earth) but let’s see.
There are so many loose ends to this film at the moment that I just try to take it one day at the time and trust that my producer knows what she is doing. She does because she is good. I relax while thinking about how I want to shoot things and drink tea, lots of tea. While nibbling on a Jammie Dodger.
I’ll keep you posted.
Apart from the film, I am trying out Crowdspring because I want a decent logo for a business card and other purposes. Crowdspring works as follows: you pay them the money you want to spent, you set a time limit (next Monday is the expiry date for mine) and designers around the world can submit their design. I pick the one I like best, designer gets paid – simple. I like the idea of it, the fact that people around the world can submit their work.
Choosing one I like is more difficult than I thought though. Actually there aren’t many that I really like just yet (I am quite picky) so I hope some more suggestions will come in. If you want to give your opinion (please do, I could do with some second opinions) have a look at what has been submitted so far.
And the Chewinggum actually, well what can I say. Love is all around.
Oh, and Stephen Fry on Twitter will brighten your day if you like the man. He is currently in Africa filming Douglas Adams’ book Last Chance to See as a documentary. If you are on Twitter too, let me know, I would love to follow my readers. You can follow me here.
Just in case you thought I am going through this whole make-a-film-process with 2 fingers in my nose having nothing to worry about – it is not like that. It’s tough, it’s difficult, it’s hard work and some days I want to give up. Today is one of those days.
Did I write that my script was ready to shoot yesterday? I take that back.
No they are not really pink! But they have been read out aloud by two actors. It went well. Apart from some minor changes and a change to the opening scene, the script is ready for the shoot.
A script supervisor and a potential (not confirmed yet – but award winning!) DOP attended too. If this sounds like things are taken very seriously then I can only agree. That’s what happens when you are lucky enough to get a person like M to produce your film. Me – I am trying to just follow along while all those things are happening.
We are seriously working on getting a cast on board now, which is a bit of a challenge. Mostly because we are trying to get some people who are a bit known.
Next production meeting is tomorrow in Notting Hill. Yes there are a lot of meetings, but there is a lot to organize. There are a lot of balls in the air at the moment, and we hope that we can catch some of them so things start to fall into place. End October/Beginning of November shoot is still on. It’s a busy time.
After 4 hours in the Electric House I got send off with some home work and now I have the rest of the weekend off. Nice. The home work consists of compiling a list of festivals I am going to submit the film to. At this moment Cannes and the UK Raindance festival are the two major ones we have in mind but I will have to do some research. Yes M is taking all this very seriously, I better start to do that too.
Oh festivals by the way, here is how it works: you send your film, you pay them a fee (Cannes f.ex. was 75 Euros last year), they will look at your film, you cross your fingers and hope they decide it is good enough to be shown. So it has to be pretty good.
If you can’t stand reading about my short film you are going to have a tough time, it will probably be the most written about subject here, mostly because I want to document for my self how this all came about. If I don’t write it down now, I will forget how things went. So bear with me if you want to read about other things, November might be a good time to come back.
But: Things are really starting to happen now.
Apart from my next meeting with M on Saturday morning, I now also have a script readthrough appointment on Tuesday.
M has invited two professional actors over who are going to read the script out loud. There are two reasons why we need to do this:
- we need to time the script. We need to have a fair idea of how long the film is going to be.
- it will tell me as a writer if the dialogue I have written works, if it sounds right, if the sentences are natural to speak for an actor, all that kind of stuff. I will probably be cringing hearing my own script read back to me, but it will be a major learning experience. I will make notes of the actors’ comments and improve the script after that so it is in tip top shape for the shoot.
So that is all very exiting.
Just as exciting is that I have my first cast member confirmed! It’s for one of the minor roles but he is very experienced, he has done a lot of film and tv work and he is very, erhm, handsome! So all good news!
Yes, sorry Daniel. It has been quiet here for a while. This is mostly to blame on my writer’s block which I think is caused by me waiting for the results of my bearaBill operation. I haven’t heard anything yet, which is a good thing. But the waiting kind of drains my energy and creativity and I am mentally exhausted. I have never slept this many hours before.
Today however, something sparked me into action: I have finally found a production manager for SweetArts. YAY! Not only is she very experienced, she is also the nicest person and she is really cool too! She is slightly older than I am and I feel so very lucky to have her on board.
I had spoken to her in the beginning in August, but my schedule seemed to clash with hers which is why it ended there. She suddenly called me last week to ask me how things went, we talked again, and she said that she loved the script and the project so much that she is going to squeeze it into her calendar. A shoot in October is now more than likely to happen.
I have spoken to a lot of experienced producers/production managers the last couple of weeks. It amazes me how interested (feature film) experienced people are in short films. I was about to settle for paying one to do the work and they don’t come cheap, but I just wanted to move on. And I also really want to pay the woman who I recruited now, but she doesn’t want any money – much better to put the money in making the film better – is what she said. See – she is such a great and generous person!
I need to start pick up things like casting, and finding the last 2 locations again soon. I will try to see what I can do before my holiday, but if all goes well I will have a good rest in Ireland and will come back ready to go and make it really happen.
If there is something I learn in this process – it is to be patient. I am so not patient by nature, but I am glad I waited for the right production manager to come along.
Oh, what is Daniel Craig doing up there you wonder? Nothing in particular. It’s just something nice to look at, and if you want to see more new stills from the upcoming Quantum of Solace, then here you go.
In between everything, I have actually written 5 pages of brand new (feature length) script. There is no chance that I will finish this script anytime soon, but the beginning is there.
My mind is thinking about the story a lot, there are a couple of options and I am trying to figure out the best one. I think it will be more rom and less com this time, even though there will certainly be things to laugh about. I actually look forward to return to my writing in a cafe life style. Billy Mac(book) hasn’t been out for a while so he is eager to get back out there too.
Next week I hope to have a break through on the search for Producer/Production manager mission for SweetArts. I don’t dare to count on anything for certain because I have seen too many people come and quickly go again, but something tells me that this might be the real deal. Maybe I am just ignorant, or maybe with a little luck, it falls into place.
If that is the case, I need to get back to focusing on casting. I watched the audition tapes again, and there are certainly a couple of women I can see as June. But I am not too sure I have spotted Dan amongst the men yet.
And look at the above snap shots: it is very likely that this is going to be the location for the art school. The pictures are not very clear, but there are easels (they are leaning against the wall folded together on this photo), brushes, paint and all kind of other art school stuff around in this place. And seeing as it is in fact a place where they teach art, it seems perfect to me. It is also pretty spacious so enough room for a camera crew. So I think that location nut is cracked. That leaves a bookshop and a park to sort out still.
This weekend I have been invited over to wonderful Devon by my good friend. I look forward to some fresh air, the sea, excellent company and to meet her two lovely dogs.
Enjoy the weekend wherever you are.
I have long struggled taking this decision. I was jumping between the following two options:
No! No! No! Don’t be bloody ridiculous. Are you insane? Don’t do it. He will think you are stupid. It’s just not done. You can’t do things like that. Do-no-do-it. No! Don’t!! You will be doomed forever and he will never ever want to hear from you again.
OK. What have I got to lose? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life thinking: why did I not at least give it a try? What is the worst that can happen? That I don’t hear anything in return? Or that I get an angry letter from his agent telling me to bugger off, or saying “How dare you! Who do you think you are?”. Would that weigh up against the fact that I then don’t have to wonder about it the rest of my life?
Thoughts like these have played ping-pong in my head for a long time. I think the thing that eventually made me make my decision was the fact that all the people I have met the last couple of weeks, the very experienced producers (who are used to reading scripts) and the casting director: they all loved the script. It gave me confidence.
So last week I decided to risk it. I sat down, wrote a letter and posted it. Today I got the answer from his agent, and this is what it literally said – *he* would *love* to read the script. Shall I repeat that – *HE* WOULD *LOVE* TO READ THE SCRIPT! No I don’t quite believe it either.
Now *HE* is also a very busy man, so it surely won’t get any further than him reading the script. But bloody hell – *he* (the best actor in the world) is going to read my script!
(I won’t mention his name here, but people knowing me just a little, know who *he* is)
Oh and one more thing: there will 24 actors coming for audition tomorrow. 24!! I just checked a few of them and these are people that have been in things like Dr. Who and James Bond movies. I think I am going to pack my bag and run away now, this is becoming way too scary! Scaring the willies out of me this is!
There are a couple of reasons for this:
- I can’t find a producer just yet. I don’t want to make this film without being properly prepared. And I simply need a producer who can help me with budgets, contracts, release forms, locations and things like that. I don’t want to make the film without someone like that because it will turn into a mess.
- Also I have some holiday planned in September so the best thing really is to move the shoot to October. That way I can take some extra time to prepare. I am putting quite some money into this, and it would be a shame to rush it for no apparent reason.
- Maybe moving it away from the summer holiday will improve my chances of finding a good producer too.
- And as a last – I need to do what Ewan McGregor did, which is having some moles removed. It’s planned for the 20th of August, it’s a minor procedure and I try not to worry about it too much, but I would lie if I said that it is not spinning around in my head. I am not too worried about the procedure itself, even though I am not looking forward to it, but am slightly worried about the potential badness of them. Let’s see how it goes.
Back to the film.
Up is Down is that great moment of revelation in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. What? You haven’t seen that film? What are you doing here, go watch it, go, go, go!!
But Up is Down is also very appropriate when it comes to making a film. Some days you are up, and the day after you can be so very down. I have decided to write about the both of them, just so you don’t get the impression that things are easy. They are not. Today is such a down day.
I had a very good talk with the casting director yesterday. He was very friendly, understood that I wasn’t that experienced yet, and generally he was just nice to talk to. He is off finding actors now, and with a little luck, we will have auditions on Saturday.
It seems simply impossible to find a producer/production manager. I have had talks with 4-5 of them now, they are all nice, they all like the script, but when it comes to it, they decide not to come on board. I can’t quite grasp what it is that goes wrong every time, but I am getting pretty desperate about it. I can’t do the film if I can’t find a producer/production manager. Simple.
I have put in another ad, have asked the people I know if they know anyone and now I just have to wait and see if something will come out of that.
I am close to giving up today, but let’s see if it also works the other way around, as in Down is Up.
I know that this is starting to look a bit like the diary of a film maker. Well it’s important for me to write up this process. One year from now I want to be able to read back what an insane time this has been and how things went. So the coming time the focus of this blog will be on the making of SweetArts.
The other thing is that I won’t have any time for anything else in my life for a while. Here are some random notes and thoughts again:
Bob called me while I was drinking a juice in the Caffe Nero in Hammersmith. I walked out and tried to spot him. He told me to walk towards the tube station. I walked and looked. He was in his car he said. I scanned the area. Lots of cars around Hammersmith. I saw a man with sunglasses in an MG convertible with open roof. Funky car I thought. I scanned further while talking to Bob. I didn’t see him. I had a closer look at the MG. Really nice car. I looked at the man inside it. He was on the phone. A closer look revealed that his lip sync with the man I was talking to was near perfect. Wait a minute …
“Do you happen to sit in a funky MG?” I asked Bob.
“Yes!” he said with a friendly British voice.
“I am on my way to you now!” I said.
A split second I thought – am I actually going to step into a car with a man I don’t really know? Bob seemed reliable, and a car like this with an open roof, I could always climb out. I jumped in. We drove off, the wind trying to blow the worries out of my head.
And that’s when I met Bob.
Here is your regular short film production update. And really, I can’t quite believe all this is happening either.
If there is one thing I learn it’s that nothing is as unpredictable as the process of making a short film. It might be back on track again now, and I am again aiming for a shoot at the end of August. If all goes well, I am going to take a week off there and shoot it five days in a row.
But seeing the nature of this project, tomorrow things might look completely different again.
For those not knowing anything about the film:
Dan (50’s) is an award winning romantic novelist, an expert on romance – in books.
Being a master with written words – Dan loves corresponding with June (50’s).
Until the day where June invites him over for tea.
Having a severe stutter, Dan has refused dating women for what seems like a life time.
Will he lose June or is a Jammie Dodger going to save the day?
The very good
First a recommendation: WALL-E. Go see it. It’s a 10/10 film. It’s clever, funny, very actual, and it’s a roboromcom! Wall-E is such a cool character that I took the bus from the cinema to Hamley’s and brought him home with me. See how much a film can say without any dialogue. Great for both children and grown ups. Go see it! Go! Go! Go!
The maybe good
On the short film front – Sunday was a day of location hunting.