For this wonderful quiz: Political quiz
I ended up being a 'Centrist' and the Pope...???? Which means I pretty much agree with both sides on some things, and disagree with them on others....that's the way I like it. And I'm a pope...yay!
I have to disagree with John August and his assessment that anyone who voted strongly agree with "People shouldn't be allowed to have children they can't provide for.". is saying they want more government proposed regulations... I meant it as common sense....they shouldn't be allowed to have children that they can't provide for...
Friday, September 30, 2005
For this wonderful quiz: Political quiz
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/30/2005 10:43:00 PM
Here's a partial update:
I find that if I'm left to my own devices, and don't have someone else in the house, I become an even bigger recluse than I normally am...plus I procrastinate more now than ever. I guess I used writing to escape criticism from Katie for 'doing nothing', so I would take out my anger in a more constructive manner, by writing. Now that I don't have that, I am languishing behind my preferred pace. In a month, I wrote 3 screenplays. Since then, none.
So it comes down to this: I need someone pushing me, questioning me, and making me mad, or I am just another dumb white man. I have a weird kind of muse thing going, apparently. I need supervision. If I don't have it, my mind suffers long lapses of nothingness.
On the docket:
Join me next time as I make a huge confession-I don't know how to do a rewrite.
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/30/2005 07:13:00 PM
Monday, September 26, 2005
Katie, my girlfriend has moved back to the homeland, NJ, and left me to fend for myself. Great! I miss her already. She does so much around here, and now I'm going to see just how much. Writing is going to have to take a backseat until I get up there at the end of October, what with getting a new job and all that crap. I have to work some real hours until then so we can be situated. Miss you Katie!
The thing is, I'm already feeling guilty about not writing, even though I've been slacking off anyway. Maybe I'll try and scribble ideas down and start them upon my return home. I think Hellfire is out of the question too. I don't have $30 to spare, I can't spare a square.
Looks like it's just me and my preproduction of Generator to tide me over.
Surely, I accept your condolences...
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/26/2005 12:12:00 AM
Saturday, September 24, 2005
I have been using the term ridiculi for years now...just because I liked how it sounded, and never heard anyone else say it. Ever. I do tend to make up my own vocabulary on the fly. Something just strikes my fancy, and I just throw it out there.
Imagine my surprise when I visited the Urban Dictionary, and found my word in there?! RIDICULI
How dare they! I am so brilliant, that I came up with this monstrosity of a word, and they've stolen it!
But seriously, if you ever wonder if your idea is the only one of that sort at any given time, at any place, forget it. We all talk, think and speak the freaking same. Nothings original. Which is a scary thought, since we're supposed to be creating story's.
It appears to me, it's all a race to see who can get their identical ideas out there first. Like this, for instance: POE
I was hard at work, thinking how I was going to write my Edgar Allan Poe bio pic. I was knee deep in my minds outline, ready to put pen to paper when I stumbled across this massacre. I love Poe, and really wanted to write about him. I thought, There can't be another soul out there doing a Poe script. The guys been dead for about 160 years...what are the odds someone would finally devise the perfect idea for a film? Well, there you have it. And what are the frigging odds it would be Sly Stallone? Ugh....
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/24/2005 09:31:00 PM
Friday, September 23, 2005
Stars' Communist Files Revealed
Late screen siren Marilyn Monroe was a suspected communist and tracked by the FBI. Newly-released documents reveal Monroe was just a number of stars the Federal Bureau of Investigation kept files on - including John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Louis Armstrong, Albert Einstein, Lucille Ball and Liberace. The Some Like It Hot actress was targeted after she applied for visa to visit Russia. She was then tracked meeting a communist group during a holiday to Mexico organized by Sinatra. Sinatra aroused suspicion because the FBI were tipped off he had attended sex parties with President John F. Kennedy. Lennon was added to the list when agents deduced he planned to disrupt the Republican National Convention in 1973, but struck him off because his drug habits rendered him incapable of being a revolutionary.
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/23/2005 11:13:00 PM
On September 23rd, 1973, somewhere around 4:30 am, I was born.
Interestingly enough, at around 12:30 am, on September 23rd, 1973, my Mother watched Rosemary's Baby and her water promptly broke. How's that for a sign?
I have my fathers eyes!
Now, if only I could have been named Damien....
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/23/2005 02:46:00 AM
Anyone enjoy Moonlighting? I just recently purchased seasons 1&2, and I love 'em. I used to watch it back when I was maybe 12-13. I thought Addison was hilarious then, and I think it now, too.
But one thing has me puzzled. What kind of kid was I, watching Moonlighting? It doesn't seem I was the target demographic. Come to think of it, I watched Cheers at that time to. Maybe it's the humor-both shows had the cocky/sarcastic male lead in Sam Malone and David Addison. Maybe it's the promise of relationship-and denial of said relationship- in both-Maddie and David, Sam and Diane? The game, if you will. But why the hell would that interest me when I was 12?
Dammit mom, you had to make me watch Luke and Laura on General Hospital, didn't you?! That must be it. Too much female supervision. Oh well. Maybe it just reflects my polished sense of humor? Yes, that's it.
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/23/2005 02:34:00 AM
Remember that post I wrote about how Katie caused me to get three tickets? No? Well, that doesn't matter, I guess. But here's the end result, and some would say expected result. Which is really a shame.
The only ticket that would put points on my license was the illegal U-turn. And I'll be damned, a state which is pretty much thunderdome in terms of driving rules decides to nab me for an illegal u-turn at the only spot in Winter Park/Orlando where an illegal u-turn exists. Drivers down here are completely reprehensible. But anyway, instead of taking the points, I paid less of a fine, and had to take a 4 hour online traffic course within 90 days of payment. Since I had three different tickets, and paid them at different times, I became confused. To make this long story shorter, I was late by 5 days.
So there I am today, at the Orange County Courthouse, waiting in a humid, urine soaked, room with three people helping 100. After 45 minutes, finally, the grumpy wench summons me to her cave. I show her my certificate for the successful completion of the most inane class ever recorded. She immediately blows it off. "You're late, and now you owe money." I giggle. Not the ha ha type of giggle. The "I may impact your semi-retarded smirk with my palm" variety. But I sit silently as she types my info into her Commodore 64. (seriously, with all these rip off fines, they can't buy new computers? Or how about buying actual employees? Arrrrg!)
She glances up at me, and says "That'll be 43.80." I look and ask politely, "Nothing can be done here? It was a mistake, and it's only 5 days later. I already payed $30 for this certificate." I am almost interrupted, almost, with "No sir. The state won't accept it. It's right here on the computer." I cackle a little more mean spirited this time. I say "Why do we need you? The computer does all the work." She grunts under her breath. I smirk like Ted Bundy at a freshman girl. "Will you be paying with cash or charge?" I respond, "No, and No." She says, "The process of license suspension will begin then." She hands me my meaningless certificate back. I walk out, ready to pummel my misfortune into someone's liver.
I am now down $50, and have 2 points on my license. And have to try for insurance in NJ. If you have never heard about NJ car insurance, let me tell you, it's the biggest swindle this side of ...I don't know, I don't fall for scams, but it's surely tops the list in the very very corrupt state of NJ.
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/23/2005 01:45:00 AM
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Hellfire is holding a short horror script contest, in which the top 4 are melded into a DVD film, ala Creepshow. They recommend 20 pages. I'm ready to rummage through my smaller ideas that I haven't fleshed out into full fledged screenplays yet and cram out an entry just before the deadline, which is the 30th, if I'm not mistaken.
Go enter now! (you should be writing anyway!)
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/22/2005 09:00:00 PM
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
I have a very uneventful Birthday coming up. My 32nd. I know, I can hear everyone going "He's 32? He acts like a child!". (I do consistently get carded, so there's a feather in my cap)Well, that's only half true. I am a big kid, no doubt about that. But I'm also not immature, in a juvenile sense. I've met some guys in their 40's who I actually feel embarrassed for, because they act like infants. So, I am not of that variety. I am a definite Gen. X'er, if that even exists. I don't do anything in the way of the generation before me. My parents, and all my friends parents were married by the time they were 23, at the latest. All had kids by their mid twenties, and thought they had careers. It appears to me, they had jobs. And while my Mother and I consistently fight about what begin an adult means, I can sum it up in one sentence-be happy with what you do. My entire family had miserable, some well paying, jobs. They taught me that you suck it up, do what you hate, simply to make ends meet. No thanks.
I told my grandparents that I won't do anything I don't at least have an interest in. And I mean it. I quit my construction job of 7 years because it wasn't for me, and I knew it wasn't, for 7 years. And while my family tosses the word 'bum' or the more hip 'slacker ' around to describe me,(or is that paranoia?) I laugh in their face. I have no children. No car payment. No mortgage. No marriage. (much to Katie's chagrin) In other words, no big responsibilities that can tie me down to any place I may be residing at any specific time. I am responsible only for me. If I fail with writing, I won't be unhappy. I will die knowing I did everything I wanted, not what has been dictated to me.
Sure, I can hear the eyes roll. "Who does this punk think he is?" Well, that's sort of the answer, I am a punk in some regards. (Definition? A young person, especially a member of a rebellious counterculture group.) That is me. I make movies, write, Or Die Trying. Cheers to all you trailblazers and trendsetters!
So here we are, fast approaching my 32nd year, and I suddenly feel very happy about it.
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/20/2005 02:19:00 PM
Monday, September 19, 2005
I must have the Summer burn out. I just don't have the fire to blog right now. I have my move coming up in a month or so, plus I'm intermittently doing my Generator Storyboards. Plus trying to find a new script to begin so that I won't be a miserable prick anymore.
So, since I am the laziest man alive right now, I will ask a question: On a desert island,(with a generator, tv and DVD player) you are allowed 5 DVDs. What do you bring, and why?
Mine are as follows:
1. The Breakfast Club-Rarely has a movie left me feeling so satisfied, for so long. I first watched this movie on VHS in about '87. I was enthralled with the hilarious back and forth dialogue, which was more intelligent than usual 'teen film' fare. The interaction of the characters was great. Some say they were stereotypical characters, but that was the point in the beginning of the film. By the end, they are all the same-lost teen agers. And it holds up very well for me, still being one of my favorite films.
2. The Shining-This is a must watch for me. It moves at a snails pace, and I love it. The camera slowly reveals things were not sure we're ready for. The music grates on the frayed end of each nerve, adding to the building tension. And we have an Oscar worthy performance from Nicholson. The scene with the bartender alone makes this disc worthy of inclusion.
3. Divorce, Italian Style-I have yet to see a dark comedy meet the standard of this one. It is hysterical, and plain awful. One of the funniest movies I have ever seen.
4. Pulp Fiction-I almost went with True Romance, but this is the pinnacle movie in QT's career thus far. I enjoy quoting it the most too. Any movie that has a line: "Oh shit, I shot Marvin in the face" is alright in my book.
5. Casino-It was tough for me to pick a Scorsese film and not take one of the three elite-Taxi Driver, Raging Bull or Goodfellas. But I find Casino more enjoyable, although a step down from those overall. I just think it's endlessly watchable. Faults and all.
Honorable mentions: High Fidelity, Deep Red, Clerks, Boogie Nights, Fright Night, April Fools Day, Magnolia, Fight Club, Mulholland Drive, The Game.
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/19/2005 12:23:00 AM
Friday, September 16, 2005
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Q: Justify why this is blue? A: Because there's a blue gel over the light!>>>
That's one of the last things I remember saying in film school. We had a fairly useless lighting lab. It was all technique, and no creativity, as usual. It could be argued that's all film school students are tech geeks sans any creativity whatsoever, but I don't think so. The problem lies with the instructors. They don't allow for creativity to bleed into their tried and true formulas.
I have had many an argument about the lighting I like to showcase in my films. I don't feel I need to justify every light shown on screen. The dogma says differently. They tell you, every light must obviously come from something on screen, or off screen, but the viewer must subconsciously say, "Oh, that soft light is coming from the street lamp just off screen". Me, being a huge fan of Lynch and Argento, vehemently deny this rule. It has a place, yes. But I feel if I want to bathe my film in red light, I should be able to do so. It's a stylistic choice. I like surreal images. I enjoy that disorienting feeling I first got when I watched Suspiria, or The Lost Highway. I don't believe it takes people out of the film, I believe it transplants them further into a dream like state. They become fully immersed in their perceived surroundings. Of course, if the movie blows, the lighting will be ripped apart. But if the movie sucks, it sucks. Period. So what's the difference?
If I'm filming a comedy, then perhaps the rule applies. I doubt my lighting style would work for any movies that are comedic in tone. But I know that. That's not the point. I feel the lighting is another tool filmmakers can use to draw people into the story, and I think it's under utilized because Directors are so worried about "How can I justify this blue light?". I think of films as an escape. Why can't I make my spot more unconventional, more surreal, for tourists?
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/15/2005 08:45:00 AM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Just updated my links to show Mr. Rogers aka Kung Fu Monkey, is now under Pros/Resources, where he should of been many months ago. I hadn't really noticed until a few days ago. So, Mr Rogers, I have rectified the situation that I'm sure you never knew existed, or probably didn't care about anyway.
But I like your blog, so there you go...
And no, I am not kissing ass. I only link to blogs I like, hence my low link count. There are thousands of others I spit on, but that's neither here nor there...
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/14/2005 10:04:00 PM
I'll admit it-the storyboarding is kicking my ass right now. I just feel like I'm getting nowhere. I'm at page 20 in the script, and have, like 60 storyboards already. Ugh! But now I'll calm myself, and pass along this: It is undeniably cool to be drawing out your own movie, page by page. I close my eyes, picture the scene, then sketch what I imagine.(well, try to...my skills are dead...as dead) It's kind of nice to flip through and take a gander at every shot in my film, just like I intended them. And in the end, it's going to make my work a breeze. "Shot 21 E! Lets go!". I glance down at shot 21-E, and I'll be damned, there it is, camera angle and everything. Then I go and shoot it. "Next!"
Of course, it'll be harder than that. But the fact is, if you're going to make your own movie, you have to make it as easy as possible-on yourself. Just running the camera and directing is going to be work enough. I may even have to do the lighting, which, to be honest, I really am not a fan of. I'm good at it, and understand the typical three light set-up(which I will not be using), I know all about HMI's, and I even know what barn doors are, and their function. But I tell you one thing-it's much to analytical, tedious, and time consuming for me to have to worry about. So I would love to find a lighting dude to help me out. (hint hint) I plan on getting an FXs guy, and maybe a composer, though I'd like to do the music myself. I have this dream of bass guitar and double bass drums for my entire soundtrack. It sounds awesome in my head. Probably sounds awful to everyone else. But hey, you can't understand it until you hear it, so back off! Auteur at work! ..... So....where was I?
Ah, yes, making things easier on yourself/myself. Add to all the above the fact that I'm asking these 'actors' to work for virtually nothing but maybe a meal (and beer!), and you see what we're dealing with here. The shit can hit the fan at any moment. The shoot I'm looking at will be over a few months time. It will also be overnight shoots. Perhaps 10pm-4am, with initial setup starting at 830pm. Put two and two together, and it equals problems. Actor one can't show up tonight? "Night's over! Everyone go home! I'll see you 7 days from today! Please, nobody cut their hair, shave or suddenly put on 10 pounds!" And that's why I have to delegate as many positions as possible. We're talking a 3 year voyage if I have to do it all. Just having people around me to take on responsibilities that I would prefer to do myself, but obviously can't, will help me get this film done in time for Fall '06, and the horror movie film fests.
And isn't making a film all we really want to accomplish, directly, or indirectly, anyway? Once you do that, the sky's the limit as far as I'm concerned. I even have another film I want to do immediately after Generator. So basically, my next 3 years, I want to film two features, back to back, and see what comes of them. Then, I'll judge the fallout, and decide if I'm worthy to move to the City Of Angels. I'll still be relatively young in three years. Plus, what if I accomplish more with Generator than I expect? (Who am I fooling? I know it'll be great..and I'm not just saying that) What if it finds distribution? Straight to DVD? Wins a prize at a film festival? Any of these situations can change my outlook for the better. Which is why I'm doing it. I don't expect an Oscar.(For Generator, that is*) I expect to make a kick ass genre film. And I think that's a fair expectation.
After all, if the movie sucks, what's the worst thing that can happen? Nothing. I made a feature film. It was hard work, but I learned a ton about myself, and the film process. The positives far outweigh the negatives, no matter how you slice it. It's the best bet in this "odds are slim to none" career choice.
The Atlanta Falcons got lucky. I hate them more than the Cowboys now. You would have thought they won the Super Bowl the way they were jumping around and gloating after the game. And the coach is the biggest buffoon in the game today. And I lost my fantasy game...so there!
I tried to watch New York, New York, and I got to tell you, I am not into it at all. Firstly, it's a takeoff on those old musicals. Not a big fan. Secondly, It's over 2 1/2 hours long. Nope, can't do it. I watched 45 minutes, then it dawned on me-these characters and the dialogue could be straight from a 50's gangster movie. Which would have been cool, except that it's not. I understand what Scorsese was attempting- lets put these hard core, slimy characters in a sweet, sincere looking musical, and lets see what happens. The answer, unfortunately, is nothing. I will watch the entire thing with the Scorsese commentary, which I think is fine in this situation, though previously, in my film geek obsessive ways, I would never watch a film for the first time with the commentary on. I think being a film geek means I should watch the film first. But you know what? I am in no mood to watch it otherwise, so this is the best I can do. Okay?...Okay?! (Walks away, dejected and feeling embarrassed that I couldn't get through one of my idols films...I'm a hack...)
Finally today, to answer all those anti-blogger blogs popping up in the ultimate irony, I will respond to two of their most frequent attacks.
#1-Bloggers are the ultimate narcissists, and are so self serving it is enough to make one ill.
Yes, I am a narcissist. Every writer is a self depreciating narcissist. It's not an enviable way to live, frankly. What a brilliant observation, though I find it funny that by blogging about their hatred for blogs, they are being the ultimate narcissists.
#2- Bloggers think every minute detail of their life is interesting, and therefore blather on about it to anyone who will read it, giving them the feel of importance.
Of course my life is interesting. Look at all my visitors! Yay for me! Wow, am I that transparent? Yes! And purposely so! It is a blog! Much like a diary, except for the public, so of course I think it's interesting, it's about me! I make no promise of enlightenment, or knowing where the golden ark resides(well, I do know, but...), but I do tell you what I think...it's not as if I'm selling a product. I am just venting, in a way. What's the harm?
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/14/2005 02:12:00 PM
Monday, September 12, 2005
I haven't been posting much, obviously. I have football season on my mind, plus that Producer supposedly wants to have a sit down..(do people really use Mafia terminology now?). I have no idea what they really want, but, as I said, they appear to be truthful in who they are. But still...
I'm going to send out AFD2 in a last ditch effort to get any information for myself. The main problem, as I see it is not knowing if Mancuso has already received it. But fuck it, I'm sending it anyway.
Generator storyboards are about 1/3 finished. I get so frustrated with my hideous drawing skills. I know I can resort to stick figures, since they're for personal use anyway, but for some reason, I'm taking it as a challenge, so I get way to detailed, then my stomach churns when I see I can't do it. Hence the length of time it's taken for only 1/3. I have to just suck it up and admit, I cannot draw a picture. There, I said it. Hopefully, I can get past this 'wanting to be the best at everything even to myself' mentality that seems to be prevalent with everything I do. Which leads us into...
(If you have no interest in the NFL, or fantasy football, skip the next paragraph as it will seem even more geeky than it really is)
Fantasy football. I picked Javon Walker of the Packers as my number one wide receiver. He tore his knee up yesterday, in the first game of the year. He's done. Now this is two seasons a great player of mine has been injured on opening day. So I'm scrambling to make a deal, but the owners all know this, and of course try to rip me off in my desperation. So fuck 'em. I'm not dealing anyone. Meanwhile, I need Dunn of Atlanta to outscore Westbrook of Philly tonight. Even though I'm an Eagles fan. Great, isn't it? Here's hoping the scenario plays like this: Dunn has a great game, but Mcnabb of Philly carries the Eagles on his back and they win rather handily. Westbrook has a good game, but he doesn't touch the ball enough to do real damage. Yeah, like that will happen.
(End football talk)
I have the Martin Scorsese collection on DVD, the one with Raging Bull. It also includes New York, New York. It's the only Scorsese film I have yet to see, and I'm almost afraid to since everyone says it's his only misfire. I don't want that to taint my favorite Director. I'll let you know what I think as I watch it tonight after my Eagles whip up on Atlanta...again.
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/12/2005 02:06:00 PM
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I have mucho ideas flooding my head, and am not sure which to run with. On the one hand, I really want to write this kick ass western that I've been thinking about for months. On the other, I have this really great idea for a thriller, and it would be my most accessible screenplay yet. It definitely has the mainstream appeal. Plus, I really enjoy doing the research for it. Then I have a gaggle of screenplays in purgatory, awaiting their fate. I've written at a record pace for the past few months, with 4 screenplays spewing out of me. Which means at some point I have to engage them again with the dreaded rewrites. So, I have a lot of picking and choosing to do.
Sidenote: I really wanted to write my Zombie comedy, but shelved it when I heard about Shaun Of The Dead. Maybe I'll pick it up again.
Hope everyone had a nice Labor Day. I know I had enough burgers in Fort Myers to bust a gut. And enough bug bites to cause me to consider an acid bath.
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/06/2005 01:36:00 PM
Friday, September 02, 2005
In the 80's, I went through a huge horror movie kick. I loved them all. In the mid 80's, April Fool's Day was released. And it completely polarized the horror community. (In fact, go to any horror film forum, and bring up AFD, and see the varied response you get.) I loved it. It was funny, and refreshing. The acting was good, and I didn't want to kill any of the characters off, which is unusual for a slasher flick. Normally, I hate every character in the movie, and root for the killer. Not so this time. Bif was damn funny...
So almost two years ago, after watching my brand spanking new AFD dvd, I was thinking about the plot heavily, as I often do after viewing a film. I jumped in the shower, and like a shot of adrenaline, the idea of the sequel came to me. I had never even thought of a sequel, or of writing it, because really, what's the point? I don't own the characters, and I've been told countless times "you can't sell a sequel"But I would not be denied. I had to write it, if only for me. The only way to describe the feeling is if you discovered Plutonium by accident, and wanted to tell everyone about it. I was in my own personal jubilee zone. The only time in my life such a zone existed, me being a morose, depressed personality and all.
Cut to six months later, and I have a polished first draft. So I'm cruising the net late one night, when I decide to look up Deborah Foreman, star of AFD, Valley Girl, My chauffeur and many other '80s flicks I have a great fondness for. She has an email for her new business, and I shoot a nice fan letter over to her, also stating I've written a sequel, and would she give it a gander. I think I wrote, "If it is garbage, and I have wasted your time, feel free to lambast me on you website", and I left my contact info.
So I go to sleep, thinking nothing of it. I wake up and check my email, and to my amazement, she has responded. I nervously stare at the title of the email, which reads RE:April Fool's Day 2. I stare for five minutes, wondering how bleak the response will be. I click on it quick, like ripping a band aid off an infected cut. And she proceeds to tell me she is very interested, and to send it to her. And if she doesn't like it, she will "Lambast me to everyone and anyone she knows". I stare at my screen which has her address on it. Then I look at my script. Well, needless to say, I had a new third act I was working on, and I was only at page 68. I responded to her that I would send it shortly, as I had to write another 25-30 pages. (How's that for honesty?) She says fine, and I'm off.
I finish it in two days, and overnight it. I shoot her an email just to tell her to expect it, and I sleep like a rock. The next afternoon, I open up my email, which has her response resting in wait. The title? Blank. Nada. A bucket of ice water pours over my shoulders, and I am experiencing some slight nausea. I open the email, which is very short and succinct. I scan it first, not really reading the words, and realize it's all of maybe ten words. I look away, knowing that I have been rejected, just like Diane Pizzo did in the eighth grade. With a smile. (Damn her!) Then I actually read it, and it says, "Jason, I loved it. Call me. 555.555.5555" (the number was further down, so I didn't notice it while scanning) After breaking down onto the floor with weakness in the knees, I begin my pacing, back and forth. Little known fact about me(unless you've met me): Speaking with people for the first time is like torture for me. I stammer, I look anywhere but their eyes, I mumble, and I say some of the dumbest things this side of Mike Tyson. But I get the nerve, and finally, 4 hours later I dial the phone...and promptly hang up, because no, I am not ready. Let me get a beer first.
Finally, I do call. And she answers. I stammer a little, finally blurting out, so you liked it, huh? She doesn't even have my name yet, but I have decided to skip ahead, evidently. She gives me the enthusiastic greeting, and we proceed to have a half hour discussion about my script. She tells me her worries with it, and she tells me some things she thought were the funniest lines of dialogue she's ever read. We talk about how I would direct it. About how we would get financing, and if I knew anyone. I tell her my ideas, and she tells me hers, like a few different ending ideas. It is by far the most exhilarating conversation I have ever had. By the end, she offers me a letter of intent to star, which I grudgingly accept. I now have my star. She gives me a few of her old contacts, and we hang up, sure this is leading somewhere. And it is.
Later in the week, through her contacts, I get my first manager, who loves the script. He agrees it has some work to be done on it, but says he'll track down Frank Mancuso Jr., who produced the first, to see if he would give it a read. We must go through him, then Paramount, because one or the other owns the characters. And Mancuso is in tight there. All of this happened in three months time, all because I had the bright idea of sending an email to a person who I thought would never respond.
So, where does it stand now? Damn if I know. I learned the hard way we, 'aspiring screenwriters that is, think in terms of real time, and managers, agents and producers think in terms of film time. And film time is much slower. Last I heard, the script hadn't reached Mancuso yet, but my manager still had a big interest in doing so, and said if he didn't believe in the script, he wouldn't track down anyone. When he hears something, then I will too. And that is that. I wait like the thousands of other hopefuls, hoping against all that is sane that my script will get read by the one person who can do something with it. But I have faith. I was in this position before, and that one person gave me all I have in regards to the screenplay going through the proper channels, so who's to say what will happen next? All I know is, I was just some punk just moved to FL from Jersey, didn't have a pot to piss in, and I took a gamble on something I believed in. Has it paid off? Just from the experience, in a way, yes.
So what's the elongated moral to this story? Write something you believe in. Don't write that high concept Rom/Com because that's what sells, unless you want to. Take some chances. Email and cell phones are impressive technologies, and they open all kinds of contact options, as does the internet. I cannot stress enough how useful the internet is. I have the contact numbers for all kinds of producers and agents, all for free. It takes a little creativity to get, like signing up to Variety or Imdb pro during a free trial offer, or something along those lines, but it is worth it.
Another great...and I mean great idea is to find actors who were once well known, and maybe haven't been making films for awhile. Watch their old movies. See if they can fit a role in your script. After all, they don't forget how to act. Next, get their contact info. Many of them have personal emails to contact them directly. Never underestimate what contacts former working actors still have. Now, I'm not talking a Burt Reynolds old time star, but someone like Judd Nelson, or that guy from Gremlins. How about Andrew McCarthy? Shit, take a look at the old horror movie staples, such as Allison Steele. I have sent emails to each of these actors, and all responded. These are actors who will be approachable, and open to reading your script. And they may hold the key to your success. They may not want to act anymore, and that's fine, but you'll find you actually get somewhere with these folks, instead of getting the run around constantly. Make sure you're complimentary, and mention some of their notable performances as your favorites. But not the role they're known for(Like The Breakfast Club). One of their second tier movies is more impressive.
Because of Deborah Foreman, my script was sent to George Clooney(Section Eight Productions), Bruce Campbell, Dean Devlin, Frank Mancuso and Anthony Hickox(?). I don't know if they even read it, but it was sent to them. And really, that's the first step, isn't it?
Now, go write a story you love, and look up James Farentino! Actually, I think I will look up James Farentino....
Posted by Jason D'Amico at 9/02/2005 12:43:00 AM