I suppose the one
book that really did it for me was "Rebel without a Clue"
by Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez scraped together 6 grand, borrowed
some cheap-ass film equipment and shot a full-blown feature
in Mexico with (mostly) his friends. After reading this, I went,
"That did it! If HE can do it..so can I." I figure I already
have an advantage over him because I have a lot more production
experience than he had at the time, and I've already got some
decent equipment from my biz. It was interesting to see HOW
he got his film in the door at the major studios and how it
ballooned from there.
Another one was "Slacker"
(the book about his film) by Richard Linklater. He basically
went out and did the same in Austin, Texas. It was interesting
to note that once his production got under way, he felt a kind
of momentum that swept up the production and pushed it forward,
almost as if--once he launched it--it was out of his control.
I found some book
about the making of "Night of the Living Dead." It had
explained how George Romero was in demand as a local TV commercial
director, and that he was very apprehensive about directing
this film because it would take him away from his paying clients!
(What would George be thinking to himself at that final heart
monitor if he DIDN'T pursue this film?)
at Used Car Prices," by Rick Schmidt, suggested that you
borrow everything and try not to pay for anything (if you can
Slackers & Dykes", by John Pierson, was a great study on
how to market your film once it's in the can. It appears that
only half the battle is to complete the film. Getting it seen
(and paid for) is a whole separate ball of ballgame wax.
Took out all the
books on screenwriting from the public library. Here's what
you gotta know
Act 1: Put your
hero in a tree.
Act 2: Throw rocks
at your hero.
Act 3: Get your
hero out of the tree.
Another good line
was: "If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage!" OK, I'll
buy that. (Don't people pay good money to take courses on this
crap?) Oh yeah...everyone also seems to say, "Write what you
September 29, 1998
- Started version 1.0 of screenplay.
what I know. I know computers. I have been using them for a
living since I started my biz back in '92. Had an Amiga 2000
with a video Toaster card, started on a B&W Macintosh SE, upgraded
to a color Mac IIcx...been upgrading ever since.
I was on AOL long
before they let all those PC users on there. I can remember
telling people about AOL at the time. "You can CHAT with people
from around the world! There's these little message boxes that
appear with a message to you!" Most people looked at me and
went, "So?" As the technology matured, you had other ways to
communicate with people online, and not just through a text
only chat channel on AOL.
The Palace is Internet
software that allows you to have an avatar or picture represent
you within a virtual environment. From there, you can still
chat with people on a text basis, but you can do more with the
avatars, like change faces, expressions or even disrobe. Anyhoo...my
girlfriend Therese turned me on to the Palace when we first
met (through an AOL dating area). The thing I noticed about
chatting on the Internet or through avatars on The Palace was
that you could easily pretend to be someone else. I liked that...so
I figured I'd work that in somewhere in this script.
I've always been
a lousy pick-up artist when it comes to women. I've had some
weird experiences with the usual methods of meeting or approaching
women. So I figure I'll toss that in somehow; my previous plight
should be good for a laugh.
I've also met a bunch
of legit hacker-types/software pirates in my travels. They certainly
were an interesting lot. These guys really seemed to have total
control over the technology that seems to baffle the rest of
the world. I've met quite a few hackers who call themselves
"Count Zero" (from the Gibson book Neuromancer).
OK, so at this point
I'm leaning towards a boy-meets-girl story. The first rule in
indie film production is to make a horror film. (Apparently they
sell the easiest.) Screw it, I'm gonna write what I know. Comedy
is what I know. Side note: most of my girlfriends have regretted
this attribute of mine in the long run. I can't seem to view
the world in a "normal" way, let alone say romantic things with
a straight face.
All the boy-meets-girl
stories always seem to have the same slant. (Boy meets girl,
boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.) Wouldn't it be cool if
boy meets the perfect girl at the end, and if the audience KNEW
they were perfect for each other, you wouldn't even have to
be bothered going through the motions of watching them fall
in love. You'd just know!
This slant was sorta
done in the film "Next Stop Wonderland." When I saw that the
movie was leading up to this, I was kinda worried that I would
be seen as just redoing the same theme. (Which I'm sure has
been done before.) In "Next Stop Wonderland", it seems that
both characters are established first as being perfect for each
other...then through a coincidence, they finally meet. I hate
movie coincidences. I'm going to try to avoid using them.
15, 1998 - Finished full script (version 1.6, first draft)
Finished the first
draft. I used many things that I experienced from my 20's
when I was trying to date women while going out with a few
gangs of assorted friends. Real life events: a friend of mine
actually placed his hand on a woman's face in a bar. "Rob"
does this in the script. I only got one phone number from
a woman at a bar. (She knew me from high school, she wore
fishnets that night and she hung up on me when I told her
she was the first woman who ever gave me a phone number in
a bar.) I might've had a date with a transsexual I met through
the personals. (I'm not sure...I was too paranoid to ask.)
Here's how it looks:
Biks, the main character, will be played by me,
the director. John MacLeod
will be Biks' friend the computer nerd/system administrator/hacker
guy. John Horrigan will
play Todd, the obnoxious guy who gets all the outrageous lines.
Jim will be played by somebody: the average Joe who just works
in the office.
I like what I've
come up with for the Biks, John, and Todd as characters, but
feel that I could do something better with the Jim character.
(Mr. Joe Average.) It feels right to have 4 guys together,
especially when they are going out a club to pick up women.
(4 guys fill all the seats to a car, right?) I hate to "waste"
an actor on a role that is just "filler."
2, 1999 - Started version 2.0 (2nd draft)
Jim is changed
to Geoff. A friend of mine, Geoff
Briggs, wants in on this project. I've known him since
my Norwood cable days. I know I can rely on him to be there.
I'll give him the role of Jim, the "average" office guy. Wish
I could've put more "juice" in his character.
Now that I've gone
over the script and have started to flesh out a schedule in
my mind, I'm starting to have second thoughts about putting
myself in front of the camera, while trying to find competent
help behind the camera. It's an unbelievable amount of work
to pull this sort of thing off. I KNOW that I'll be wanting
to peer through the camera, fiddle with the lights and make
sure the sound is good. I have no idea who I'll be using for
the female roles, because I haven't really hung out with too
many female actors. This oughta be interesting: who I find
when the time comes.