May 9, 2009
It has been a few days…
On Monday we meet with a second casting director. She had some good ideas and was extremely colorful and fun to talk with. We have one more to meet with. This is a guy who is friends with Chris and Denise. Every person we have met with so far is a viable option so thank God for that.
I finished my third pass of the screenplay on Sunday night…well I finished what I wanted to tweak but did not finish a full read through. I hit a writers wall! I got to page 105 and could not get past it. I started feeling anxious and had to close the computer and call it a day! Not being a “writer” but more of a director who writes, I am super ready to get on with things. I can so clearly see the film in my head and know that cast will continue to shape the script so I am reluctant to continue tweaking indefinitely. The script is good. I filtered more India into the first act as the majority of the notes we got back were that the India parts are really compelling and strong but we don’t get there fast enough. Now we do. Page 2 is where we cut to India. It is an early idea I had to fracture the structure a bit and inter cut. I moved away from it for the first pass and came back to it for this one. We shall see on Wednesday how it reads.
We have a table read scheduled for Wednesday night at 7. We have some actors and some friends. Should be fun and really helpful to hear the story out loud for the first time.
I miss meeting and talking shop with Abe. He will be here tomorrow night. We are trying to squeeze in a scout for him and Gio [B camera] before the read…Janet says only one person has gotten back to her. I will check in again today to see where we stand with that.
On a home front note, Brutus [our new family dog] is happily taking over our home much tot he delight of my kids and wife! He really is a good dog [mini pincher]. A little back story – Brutus was a gift from Aaron to his girlfriend/fiancé Mandi 5 years ago. Now they have one kid and another on the way and decided it was just too much to have a dog. We had hosted Brutus a time or two and when my wife Shannon heard they were looking to place him…well the rest is history as they say.
Back to the film…Last night we had our biweekly prayer meeting. About 10 people showed up in support of the project. We spent an hour and a half discussing the project, I gave updates about our Mpower meeting and the casting situation etc and then prayed. It really was a great night. God is continuing to orchestrate His film in his way in his time. This was the first meeting I had been able to make and it was really a powerful time of prayer and thanksgiving.
Stephen [composer] stopped by yesterday as well. I have to say, music is one of my favorite aspects of film making. I write to music, I think the film through to music, I plan to music and it is always a great treat when Stephen comes by and says “I got something I been working on.” Like Christmas to me!! Anyway, he came by and played me an amazing piece of music called “dream sequence” even though it is not for that purpose in the film. Needless to say it was AMAZING. A Clint Mansell feel [I love his work], super moody and powerful. Very haunting. I loved it and am so grateful for someone like Stephen who has such a kind spirit, is great fun to hang with and is so incredibly talented and most of all he has such a heart for God. What more could you ask for. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next…”it’s a small world” anyone?
Back to my day job. Just wanted to give you guys an update of what else is happening as we continue building a film.
April 29, 2009
A good day all around.
First up was a meeting with Jessica, our social media guru. She brought us a handout! How cool. She walked us through Twitter, Facebook, updating our website, etc etc…all things grassroots. She is sweet, fun to be around and wonderfully adept at this kind of stuff… Stuff that I barely understand. We decided to start from scratch on the website. We will start building a new site on Monday. We decide to launch the Twitter and
Facebook – Not Today the Movie – sites. By the end of the day we have 60 friends on Facebook! Bravo Jessica.
Next up Brent and I drove down to Santa Monica for a meeting with Mpower Pictures heads Steve McEveety and John Shepherd. We had 2 people from separate sides trying to get us together for a little over a month now. Janet Robb, AnnaSophia’s mom and Denny Dansereau, who Brent met at our teaching pastor, Phil Hotsenpiller’s Bible study. Finally the meeting had come together. After a half hour delay, these guys are crazy busy, the meeting started a bit slow, no one really knowing what to expect. But once we sorted out who knew who and who suggested what – the why we were all there – we got down to business and I pitched them the story.
Let me start by saying that I have been in a lot of pitch meetings with a lot of studio guys – little and big – and Mr. McEveety and Mr. Shepherd stand out as two of the nicest guys of any weight in the business, that I have ever sat down with. Brent opened with some “why we went to India” and “how we got involved” stories and then I pitched them the idea and showed some renderings and a few of Abe’s photos. They had some good questions. I had answers. We talked for 45 minutes. They wondered aloud if we could make this film for it’s budget. I told them how we intended to do that. They listened politely, finally asking why we needed them or what we wanted from them. I guess whatever I said made sense. I said anything they had to offer would be amazing. If they wanted to get involved we would welcome their expertise and years of experience, if they could offer advice, suggestions etc. Then I said that they are “the real deal” and we could use their guidance and input. The real deal? Did I just say that, I remember thinking. Oh my word. Silly for sure but, I meant it. These guys make real movies with real money and have been consistently successful. Anyway, they smiled and agreed to read the script! Awesome! Now, as usual, everything hinges on the script…it always does. We said we would send it over this evening and with that we all shook hands, thanked them for being so gracious with their time and then headed back to the OC. Of course when we got alone we marveled at how God has continually blessed this project. We have been able to meet such great people. It has been an amazing journey and it hasn’t even really started yet.
All in all a great meeting and, should God smile and they like the script, we will surely be meeting with them again. If not, then we got to meet some hugely successful yet wonderfully humble guys that are in fact “the real deal.”
On the way home Brent and I discuss, when not talking to our respective wives, who both happen to be dealing with domestic issues today, our meetings for tomorrow. A possible first AD and a possible casting director. Both positions are needed asap. Brent has talked to both people on the phone. He feels good about them both which makes me anxious to meet them as well.
Then, after dinner, I steal away to my computer to finish the last set of notes and to chat with Abe [DP] about the OC locations scout next Wednesday before the table read, and to Gio [B camera/jib] as well. Both are excited and can make it next week. Abe has more script questions. He is ingesting the script like it is is his life’s blood and I could not be happier. His thoughts get deeper and deeper each time we meet. He is way into the subtext and the internal motivations of my characters and their words. His insight is really exciting to see. He is truly peeling back the layers of each of the main characters, revealing their ticks.
Chris and Denise conference call up first tomorrow, then meeting with first AD guy and then casting director woman. Well actually first up is Thursday McDonalds with Garrett, then I will sneak in a mountain bike ride with Dan then my meetings and a full work day.
I gotta go finish those script changes so we can get Not Today out to Mpower.
April 16, 2009
it has been a while since we last communicated. Here is an update for everyone kind enough to follow the film. Well, we finally finished draft 2 of the script. An official first draft in my mind:) as the first document came in at a whopping 181 pages!! That is an absurd amount of pages to ask people to muddle through but we did ask and got back a lot of great notes. The final screenplay is tracking at 130 pages. Still a tad long [as far as page count goes] but, it feels good and is a good fast read so that is where we will live for now. Chris and Denise love the script. Yahoo!! They are comfortable taking it out to a few studios this week so please be in prayer for that. Writing is my least favorite activity in the film making process…there is nothing more daunting to me than sitting down in front of a computer with an idea and a blank page… so I an thrilled to be finished [for now] with that particular task! Whew, it is making me start to sweat even thinking about it:). I am grateful and humbled to have been God’s hands in this process…he was clearly present every time I sat down to write.
Now it is on to the business of gathering the crew. We [me, Brent, Chris and Denise] skyped with a great guy named Christian who is in New Orleans at the moment, last week [Thursday]. He is a potential UPM/Line Producer that comes highly recommended. After our chat I can see why. He read and liked the script [ a great place to start!!]and he seemed to get what we are looking for as far the type of production, the limited budget, the “beg, borrow, steal” or for us the “Pray, borrow and beg” approach to making this film happen as well as the style of shoot that I am envisioning. He has a good amount of low budget experience that makes him an ideal candidate for us. Again pray for that situation as we go out to him with an offer. Abe is off on another project but, sent me 6 dvd discs of pictures with “looks” for me to study. We are still trying to refine and narrow down what we want the film to look like. He loves the script and is really excited to make this film. Please pray for him and his family as well.
Did we report that we changed the title of the film? Not sure but, clearly you see it on the top of this web site:). Reason being is that we thought OWYH was a bit on the nose and “Not Today” was always on the short list for a title if we decided to make a change. We discussed it a bit, I was already feeling like we might want to make a change when Chris and Denise suggested the same. Brent echoed their concerns, so we made the change.
Also Brent had the first NT pray meeting last Monday night. About 20 people showed up and prayed for almost an hour and half about and for the film, the crew, the cast etc…what an amazing thing it is to see God working.
Next we start to line up a dream cast and see what happens. Thanks for keeping track of us and continuing to pray for myself, Brent, Chris, Denise, the church, the rest of the crew as people start to fall into place, OM, Abe [dp], Stephen [composer – whose music you are listening to right now on the site:)], Don [potential co-composer], Dave [sound guy] Christian [interviewed for UPM/LP] etc… as we move down this road. God Bless and thanks again for supporting “Not Today.”
March 5, 2009
A Day of Extremes
We slept night before last in a place called the acer hotel [I think] and it was full of mosquitoes, and when I say full that is what I mean. You could actually see them and had to try to dodge them while walking to your room! We got up and then went a super nice hotel for lunch before heading to the red light district in the evening. Van has spent so much time trying to rescue these poor girls and really wants us to get some footage while we are here to help his cause. It is interesting driving down street after street where young girls are waiting and, in some cases, actually soliciting men. We try to capture this only to have them see the camera and retreat back inside their little dungeon rooms. Knowing now what a spotter and the protection look like, it is getting easier to spot the packs of young boys whose sole purpose is to protect the traffickers investments. To keep help at bay. We drive around for what seems like hours, two vehicles. All the westerners and Sebastian [OM media guy] in one land cruiser [ or something like that] and the two police men [one active and one retired], our host here in Mumbai [ a woman named Bama, like Obama with out the O we are told] in the other. This set up strikes me as a bit odd as we stand out like a sore thumb…after a night of reflection I am wondering if that wasn’t their plan! Let us take the staring and maybe deflect some of the attention. We are looking for a particular woman who Bama has worked with but who says she can’t stop being a prostitute. Bama and Van really want us to interview her. We are happy to…if only we can find her. We finally stop driving. The two men will go into the alleys and try to make contact. They return and say we can take one camera in and see what happens. This sounds a bit foreboding to me. Brent suggests Sebastian go as he is, after all, the Indian amoung us and would stand out less than any of us westerners but, Van has other ideas and says I need to go! I, for a brief second, wonder how I drew the short stick as this is undercover work and seems dangerous but, I think that only for a second. The next second I am out in the streets and alleys trying to hide my HVX 200 under my shirt with little success and being told to make sure that I stay between the two policemen, “no matter what.” We wander trying to find something to shoot. Nothing. No one wants to talk to us. Back to the car we go. I am left to wait while they go try another alley. They come back and say that they were told it could get dangerous if we try to shoot anywhere here as the girls are working and their handlers will not like us videoing them. Van says we can come back tomorrow in the daylight and shoot interviews. So we head out of the red light district. Our next stop is equally ominous to me, the TAJ hotel where back in November [I think] terrorist took control of the place. They refer to that incident as India’s 9.11. The beautiful hotel on the Indian ocean is still boarded up and clearly shows the scars of the battle the police had to take it back. All in all, another full day in India.
March 4, 2009
In a super cool old run down hotel in Calcutta.
We spent all night last night on the train going from Vishakhapatnam to Calcutta! It was the most amazing trip ever!! I feel like me and Abe are in film location heaven! Everywhere we look we can see the film unfolding before our eyes. The train is broken down into several cars/classes. We are in AC train [air conditioning] with a berth of 4 wall mounted “beds”. They are so comfortable and the rocking of the train makes it easy for me to sleep. I rest for an hour or so as the heat and crazy driving mixed with horrible air quality make me feel weak and dizzy…that and the lack of a good solid meal for a while! Anyway, after an hour or so I get up and wander with Abe. We walk for what seems like an hour going from car to car, everyone is so nice and inquisitive. We met a dance instructor who is headed to Berkley California later this year as well as assorted other occupants. We go from AC to open air to hanging out from an open door videoing the rails and city flying past! It is like a scene from a movie!:) We walk past the kitchen…it is probably 90 degrees out side but it still feels like a blast furnace when we walk past the open burners waiting for pots. We wander past four young guys crammed in the top bunk of the three high car watching ROCKY. The music is so identifiable. They smile that we know this film. We continue walking until we run into a security guard who questions us about our authority to shoot on the train. We are able to communicate with him only with the help of an “interpreter” [a guy in a top bunk who can clearly see that we have no idea what this guy is talking about] it turns out we need some type of permit to shoot on the train. He is super nice and we all agree we will put the cameras away…until, while heading back, we pass by a guy sleeping next to the open train door…it is just too good for Abe not to shoot!
We finally get back to our car and settle in for the night. A wonderful place to sleep! Brent is not happy here as he is too long for the bunks. They fit me fine. It is not my fault he is too tall for India!
Up at 4:30. We are in Calcutta. The train station is amazing. Another spectacular location. We have drivers and all our bags and head off to the hotel. The drive gets my brain going…it is going to be so much easier to write this second pass of the script having now seen 75 % of the locations we will be shooting! The end of a wonderful exciting day filled with new experiences. Bravo for the train ride!!
We will be picked up shortly to head onto Calcutta to see a slum and to try to find the location where in the story, Ezekiel and Bhupinder have a good lead on his daughter, Kamlesh but, when they arrive they are told the girl they came for [his daughter?] has died. It is a big scene that needs to deliver huge emotional impact. I want to find the perfect place… My goal is to put the actors IN these places. I want them to react not just act. They need to feel what this would actually be like. I want to make it as real for them as possible. So far so good, I think. This place – INDIA – really does stay with you…
March 2, 2009
So yesterday, was another spectacular scouting day! Spent breakfast with Abe and Matthew. Our senior pastor is such a great guy with an amazing heart for this country and it’s people. After the graduation night before last we “slept in,” [even still, I went to bed at 1am and was wide awake at 5am] so we arranged for a driver at 11 who didn’t show till 2:30 ish! This is India:) but once he did we picked up our guardian angel guide and headed to a police station to scout a scene that is not even written yet! Of course the station was amazing. Vas walked right up to the police man on duty, took his ancient rifle with a giant bayonet that looked colonial to us and was most certainly British, right out of the poor young man’s hands and started showing us how they salute with a rifle and how they stand guard. The poor kid seemed confused but remained respectful and let Vas do his thing. Clearly this guy is “someone” here – which reminds me, at our second location Charminar a little kid was following me around and when Vas walked away he told me that Vas was in the newspapers! Without even knowing it we are in the presence of a celebrity here. Fun shoot. Crazy crowds…people cars and horns mixed with music drown the senses. Then we went back to Vas house to meet his family. He was waiting to receive an official wedding invite. It was really neat, the family showed up and formally handed Vas and his wife the invite with a special hand shake. Vas explained that it is a huge honor to be invited to this man’s son’s wedding. We ended the day at Charminar shooting tons of photos and video references then eat at the Marriott buffet then back to the green park for bed! Another amazing day of finishing perfect locations. God is truly blessing this project.