It’s hard to believe where the time goes. While it sometimes seems like we filmed First Signal this past summer, it was actually two summers ago with the film being released this past March. With marketing continuing to support our VOD and other efforts, the obvious question is…what’s the next producing project.
Earlier this week SOS United States won Best Screenplay at the Washington Film Festival. This marked our 13th official selection. With nine of these festivals honoring the script with awards, I couldn’t be more pleased with the reception the story is receiving on the festival circuit. It certainly helps to be able to mention these accolades when I’m pitching the project to producers.
Yesterday I hit the halfway mark on my latest screenplay in the First World Universe. With my goal of completing the story by November with the idea of producing it myself, this just may be my next production. This particular story is most certainly a political thriller that just happens to sit in the sci-fi genre. With the creation of a new character titled Kate Cloverton, who is a reporter for a Washington DC newspaper, this story will see the return of several characters from First Signal.
There is, however, one thing I’ll be patiently waiting for over the next couple of months—the first sales reports of First Signal’s VOD release. While the release and marketing strategy worked as planned, there is one factor that is largely out of my control—copyright infringement.
No sooner was First Signal released and it appeared all over YouTube and certain offshore websites. Thankfully, as long as you can prove ownership, it’s very easy to issue a takedown notice and have a film removed from YouTube. However, offshore websites, are literally another world that consists of a labyrinth of site ownership, foreign law, etc. etc. In the end, I just have to hope that piracy didn’t overrun profits for a negative return.
Last weekend we finished filming that WWII short I mentioned in my last blog. It’s nice to meet new actors and crew on these projects as I’m always thinking ahead to when I produce my next film. I can say, without reservation, that if I ever need to film a WWII scene, I’ll use reenactors for authenticity. When we arrived at our final location last Saturday, waiting for us were three WWII vehicles and a motorcycle. The level of detail was spot on. It will be interesting to see what the final product looks like.
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.