Shortly after SOS United States won Best Screenplay at the Washington Film Festival, I was notified that the script was nominated for another Best Screenplay award at the LA Live Film Festival. Since I entered SOS United States into the film festival circuit, I have been very pleased with the results to date—14 official sections with 4 nominations and 6 wins. My weekly pitching also yielded a production company interested in reading the script. With a standard release form signed, SOS United States is now being reviewed.
While I remain optimistic for production to begin soon, the reality is that it just takes time to get a project off the ground—especially when you’re looking for investment. When you consider that some very notable films have been in “development hell” for years, you wonder how any film gets produced! I had no idea that the Dallas Buyers Club was written in 1992 and finally released in 2013. Patience is certainly key!
When I think about it, Justice Is Mind sailed along pretty quickly. From short film version to feature was two years. However, from script to screen, First Signal took four years. With First Signal, although we had limited locations in the story, they had to be right. Thus, an extended search. In addition, there were casting and schedule adjustments that also caused some delays. But in the end, the project was completed and released.
Part of First Signal’s release is the continued marketing I employ for the film. In addition to regular social media and pitching for new opportunities, I’m always looking for some interesting angle to capitalize on. Last week I posted a video to First Signal’s IMDb listing titled The UAP Revelation. Created in June for our YouTube channel to coincide with the announcement of the UFO report from the Director of National Intelligence to Congress, the idea was to cross promote the UAP video moment in First Signal with the same moment that was being discussed in the mainstream media.
This weekend I completed up to page 61 of my latest story in the “First World Universe.” With my final pages outlined, I’m hoping for a first draft by the end of October. In all my years of screenwriting I don’t think I’ve ever written a political thriller as complicated and involved as this one. We shall see how it’s received when I start sending it out for reviews and commentary.
As for commentary, a special shout out to Dan and Missy Eaton for producing another successful Military History Expo! From the Civil War through WWII, over 200 living historians (reenactors), three battle reenactments and special guests, brought history to life over this two-day event. It was great to see that nearly 1,000 people attended the festivities. Their expo is a wonderful event to not only learn about military history, but to see it come to life.
In regard to some First Signal trivia, the field you see in the film was the location of the Military History Expo when they produced it in Orange, MA. If you look at the still below, you can see the WWI & WWII trenches that were created for the expo. It was a fitting location for First Signal as part of the story goes back to WWII.
This past week I completed the first act of my latest screenplay in the First World Universe. With a logline, “A reporter’s discovery of a secret meeting between three world leaders could spell the end of life as we know it with the revelation of an alien power on Earth,” I know move on to the construction of the second act.
With the first 30 pages of the screenplay completed, it’s the second act for me that’s the most interesting to write. In this act it’s all the crisscrossing of the characters, plots, sub-plots and all the other machinations that I believe build out a compelling story. As I did with Justice Is Mind and First Signal, I’m writing this story with the aim of producing it myself (with perhaps one other partner). The challenge is to ensure the production has solid visual scope while being mindful of the current economics in the independent film world. I believe the key is simply to look for innovation along the way.
Speaking of innovation, a couple of weeks ago I was approached by a filmmaker to play a German solider in a World War II short film. With my interest in the subject matter, and as it was a local film, I joined the production.
The moment I arrived to set I knew authenticity was going to be spot on when I noticed military reenactors were present. I’ve posted before about this subject. These are generally history enthusiasts, with a good number being members of the armed services, which come together to “reenact” history. The authenticity in uniforms, equipment, knowledge and enthusiasm makes for a rewarding experience. I think of the productions I was involved in, where I donned a uniform and there were no experts on set to properly guide and direct the actors. Those were really lost opportunities.
Yesterday, I learned about battle tactics, how to carry, load and fire a weapon along with command structures. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the blanks being used, anyone coming across this skirmish between the German Wehrmacht and United States Army would have thought they stepped back in time. With a few more weekends of “shooting” all of us are looking forward to seeing the final product.
Here in New England, this is the season for reenactor events. Last weekend the American Heritage Museum (where we shot the actor interviews for First Signal) hosted the Military History Through the Ages event. Exhibitions and displays ranged from the Roman Empire all way through the Vietnam War. A variety of battle reenactments rounded out the weekend event. The museum and reenactors always do a terrific job in bringing historical events to life. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend their next event Battle for the Airfield, October 9 – 10.