The climax in my latest story in the First World Universe involves a pivotal speech from President Colton. While it was a speech to cover a particular event in 2015 it also had to speak to certain moments in the film that reflect a bit of double messaging. These can be challenging to write as many bases need to be covered in a short period of time. Yesterday, I finally finished a draft of this speech so I can continue, and finish, the story.
To get motivated and energized to write these types of speeches there are two American Presidents I look to – President Kennedy and President Reagan. In addition to having great speechwriters, both these Presidents knew how to deliver a speech and captivate an audience. The goal of any President is to appeal to a wide audience not a narrow one. Kennedy is perhaps best remembered for “We choose to go to the Moon,” while with Reagan I remember the “Challenger Disaster” as I watched it on TV.
Now with this section of the script written, I should have a first draft completed in a couple of weeks. I do realize, however, that I’ve written a mini-series with this latest installment or probably two scripts. Whenever I set out to write a story, I aim to have the beginning and end already in mind. I let the rest sort itself out as the characters and moments almost start to write themselves. For me, I’d rather have more story than less when I reach the end.
By example I recently watched the 1979 version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that ran as a seven-part drama on BBC (315 min). I loved the depth of story. However, I also greatly enjoyed the 2011 film of the same name (127 min). For me so many contemporary films shortchange the audience in story and character development because they focus on special effects. One recent exception to this I feel was Dune. With an exceptional story that was beautifully photographed, I think it hit all the marks of a great film.
Authoring an original story is not easy. From the characters to world building, everything must be created. For me sometimes a new story just explodes on to the page (Justice Is Mind) while others take a bit of time to think out (First Signal). There’s no right or wrong process in the creation of an original story, but the craft should never be rushed; e.g. when I think of the number of times a new bit of dialogue came to mind after I let some copy sit for a couple of days. But speak to a hundred writers and you’ll get two hundred opinions on their process!
Last week First Signal’s participation in the film festival circuit concluded with our final official selection at the Mesa International Film Festival. With 29 official selections and 17 wins, I couldn’t be more pleased. When a filmmaker enters a film festival there is no guarantee of acceptance, never mind a win. To each and every film festival that believed in First Signal, I say thank you.
Throughout First Signal’s festival run I communicated with a variety of festival operators all over the world. The passion they bring to their festival is just as enthusiastic as we bring to our films. In a sea of competition between festivals and films, when we work together, we create a stronger industry. For it is the world of independent film that sustains the market on all sides of the camera.
With First Signal properly distributed through Indie Rights and marketing ongoing, efforts turn more fully to SOS United States and the completion of my latest story in the First World Universe. These past couple of weeks have been very kind to SOS. With the script winning Best Screenplay at the L A Live Film Festival and an official selection at the Austria International Film Festival, the story, forgive the pun, is sailing along nicely in the festival circuit.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been working on breaking down SOS for hopeful production next year. Having now produced two feature films (and a few shorts), with more experience comes more awareness. This can certainly be a double-edged sword. You instinctively know what’s needed to produce, but you want to bring a certain quality to the final product. In other words, stepping up my own game. Whenever I set out to produce a new project, I compete against myself. I simply ask, did I bring more to this project than the last. As long as I can answer that question with an affirmative yes, I feel that I’ve truly accomplished something.
I see so many in this industry rushing from one project to another without fully completing anything. Case in point the project I was involved in this past summer as an actor. Principal photography wasn’t even completed, and I was hearing about two other projects they were filming right away. When I asked what the distribution and marketing plans were for the project we were on, total deer in the headlights.
As for completing things, my new story in the First World Universe has truly turned into a universe of its own! With 52 speaking parts, it slightly exceeds Justice Is Mind and certainly many more than First Signal. The story primarily revolves round 10 characters with 5 of those being from First Signal.
However, as I come into the final pages of the story, this is where all the loose ends need to be tied up to some degree. While I have my 20+ odd pages of notes, I feel like I’m on final approach to landing and going over checklists. One thing not checked and a character or plot point, might not be resolved. I can’t speak for any of you reading this post, but how many of us have watched a film and then said to ourselves…whatever happened to?