Creating a new screenplay from scratch is a process. While I have the latest installment of the “First World Universe” in title, logline and ending, coming up with a beginning and letting the characters “talk” to me while I create their world is not easy. But as I just passed the page 15 mark, the story is starting to nicely unfold.
This story takes place a year after the events in First Signal and a year before the events in First Launch. What I’m already seeing in the story is just how interwoven all these characters are in society. Although President Colton and General Reager are larger than life figures, their respective humanity comes through to understand why they do what they do. Likewise, we will see what truly drives this reporter. It’s not just to get a story. Then we see how an alien presence on Earth just actually does integrate itself among the population.
From a production point of view, this story will be larger than First Signal but smaller in scope than First Launch (which truly does require a multi-million-dollar budget). I’m writing this particular story with the aim of producing it myself. It will mean securing the right locations for believability and impact but having been down this route with two features and other projects I know it’s doable.
What’s exciting from a writing perspective, because I’ve seen certain of these characters come to life in First Signal, it does make it easier to write them as their motivations have largely already been seen. But then there are always those areas of character that have yet to be explored and discovered. I’m molding the Reporter character from a few real-life reporters I have known personally. One is obsessed at getting the story and will literally call and knock on every door to get it. Another is more methodical. To achieve their goal, each step is well thought out, researched and investigated. Finally, there is the one that is looking for fame—hopefully with a strong set of ethics as a guiding hand.
After so many years of work the “First World Universe” is no longer a dream, it’s a reality with the launch of First Signal this past March. As First Signal continues its distribution and marketing plan, another story unfolds.
“These, whatever they are, started at the G-7 last year. Her daily intelligence meetings are well documented along with other state matters. But these blocks of time just aren’t explained.” Kate Cloverton, The Washington Herald
The shot list is complete and a preliminary schedule was worked out yesterday. It now goes to the actors, crew and the location partners for review. From what starts as a one person exercise writing a screenplay (I use Final Draft) now turns into project management. I can at least add another checkmark on my task list. But make no mistake, just because I checked off an item doesn’t mean that it’s completed.
One thing I realized years ago when I was publishing magazines was the importance of organization. In those early days being late meant paying heavy fees. In this industry it means that something doesn’t or can’t be filmed. Case in point the Air Force uniforms that we need. Do I buy them or rent them? While I have pricing for a purchase, I’m waiting to hear from the costume company. One thing I learned from producing Justice Is Mind is advanced planning when it comes to costumes.
In Justice Is Mind one of the actors had to be outfitted as an SS officer. I ordered the uniform from a Chinese company and it was shipped well in advance of our shoot dates. Although tracking showed that it arrived in the United States I still hadn’t received it yet. Finally, I talked to customs and got the “opinionated” custom agent on the phone who asked why I needed such an outfit. After I directed some choice words to him and cited certain regulations, the uniform arrived in time for our shoot.
While I look back at the scheduling for the number of events and films I’ve produced over the years, I realized I’m starting to develop an interesting inventory of wardrobe and props. I still have the original Nehru styled jackets worn in First World along with the briefing file the Prime Minster shows the President. It might not be bad to add Air Force uniforms to the collection.
In closing, NASA announced this week that the Mars rover Opportunity ended after a 15 year mission. When we consider the science this rover discovered over its decade plus mission, it truly paved the way for new “opportunities” as plans for an eventual manned mission to Mars come to fruition. For an original mission that wasn’t supposed to last more than 90 days, it is a testament in time, patience, research and excellence to all those in NASA that worked on this project.
Its stories like Opportunity that remind me of the day I first looked through a telescope and saw our neighbors in the solar system.