Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Making a Movie

I’ve achieved a few dreams as far as my writing goes.  I’ve been published, I’ve won awards, and I’ve achieved bestseller status.  I make my living through my heart’s desire.  Life is pretty sweet.

The thing about succeeding with your dreams is that there is always something new to strive for.  We humans are a fascinating bunch in that respect.  No sooner have we accomplished one closely-held goal when something else to work towards presents itself.

I’m no different.  Now that I have reached success with novels, my attention these days turns to scriptwriting.  In all honesty, that’s been a goal of mine for some time.  I wrote a screenplay titled Blackbeard back in 2000.  I’ve written more scripts since then.  I’ve long wanted to break into the movie biz.

I’ve gotten encouraging signs when it comes to my scripts, especially where Blackbeard is concerned.  That particular work has landed in the top ten percent of the Nicholls Fellowship Awards (a yearly screenplay competition brought to you by the folks of the Academy Awards).  It also was a quarter-finalist in the American Screenwriters Association competition.  Critiques from producers and the like have praised it up and down.  So why hasn’t it sold?  Because I’m an unknown writer and this would be a monster-budget film.  You can’t do a seafaring period piece on a shoestring.  We’re talking tens of millions of dollars – possibly more – to make this picture.  Hollywood rarely makes that kind of investment in an unproven writer. 

I’ve written other things, scripts with more sensible budgets in mind.  More glowing critiques have been issued, and a few producers and directors have nibbled here and there.  Unfortunately, they always seem to be looking for something specific, and my stories, thus far, have not been quite the right fit. 

However, I am going to see one of my scripts made into a movie.  That is a given, because I have decided that if I must, I am going to do it myself. 

This is not as far-fetched as it might seem on the surface.  I am currently working on a script for a crime thriller that I feel will appeal to a vast audience.  Once it is done, I will shop it around for a year to see if anyone wants to make it.  If not, then I will take matters into my own hands and executive produce this puppy myself. 

I know a lot of people in the production game who I can wrangle into doing the work.  I also have connections to local actors.  This area is considering getting more in the movie game, especially after Will Farrell recently showed up to shoot some scenes locally.  The Golden Isles could be the next Wilmington, North Carolina, which has a thriving movie production presence.  If I wave enough money around, I could even get a name actor to star in this. 

Ah, but there’s the glitch:  money.  It takes money to make these things.  Even if I keep costs down to a few tens of thousands of dollars, that’s still tens of thousands of dollars. 

Like anything else, there are ways to raise the funds.  Programs like Kickstarter allow people to raise money through donations for their projects.  I’ll be looking into that with perks promised to donors (like production credits, extra parts, etc).  Then there is the opportunity for product placement.  Businesses can pay to have their products/services/storefronts show up in a movie.  They can also donate items needed for sets.  There are all sorts of ways to raise money and make a good movie on the cheap. 

Yep, one way or another, I am going to add ‘produced screenwriter’ to my resume.  Stay tuned to see how this all pans out.

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