Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Horse Designed by a Committee

Cover of "The Big Picture"Cover of The Big Picture

You'll look for that quote somewhere, and it's either a camel or a giraffe, depending on where you find it. The theory being that if several people got together in an attempt to design one thing, by the time you're finished, you'll have an entirely different thing.

It's very much the same with a movie. Writing a film starts out as a one man operation for the most part, unless you have a writing partner. Some writing partnerships work, and work really well. Some don't, but that's not what this is about.

After the script, or screenplay, is finished, that's when the fun or the madness begins, because it's never really finished, is it? :) Unless you're going to direct, produce, and exec produce as well, you're going to have to show your “completed” work to others for their approval, or more likely, disapproval. Anyone who's seen The Big Picture knows what I'm talking about, however, as that movie only really appealed to people within the Entertainment Industry, you probably haven't, so, I'll elaborate, reminding you that whenever I speak of the industry, I refer to, the business.

So, we'll bypass the part of the process involving your agent telling you that your script sucks, and go directly to the part where you've convinced him otherwise, and he's shopped it around, and actually done his job, and made a sale. Usually to a producer, hopefully that has a contract with a major studio to either make or distribute (preferably both) your movie.

But suddenly, it's not “your” movie anymore. It's theirs. They bought it, and for whatever reason, they want to make changes. Now of course, my thinking here is, if they wanted to make changes, why'd they buy it in the first place? Well, the quick answer is, they liked the concept, but not your execution. Translated: They haven't seen a movie like it in the last six months, so, they think it's original. The bonus here is, they even pay you to do it, since they are contractually obligated to do so, if and only if your agent has done his job properly.

Unbeknownst to you, or perhaps, knownst to you depending again on your contract, said producer has started the process of attaching talent. And quite possibly a director as well, and it's at this point, that your movie is truly no longer your movie, as it's now, the director's. And he may want to make even more changes. To which you'll acede, simply because well, you want to get your written by credit. Notice how we haven't even shot the thing yet. It's been said somewhere else that there are three different versions of a film, the one you write, the one you shoot, and the one you edit. There's also the one the audience sees, which makes four, actually. As the writer, I really only have a modicum of control over the first one. Others that are making quite possibly more money than myself, have control over the rest.

It is why in my necessary finite thinking of, write the movie, find the money, make the movie, that I sometimes don't get this part of the business. Yes, I do understand that the bottom line is and always will be what's important, however, as William Goldman once wrote, Nobody Knows Anything.

What does all this have to do with Watchmaker? We have an A list producer, and A list director, however, no A list talent currently attached. And, we wish to make this on for what is a low budget to the Hollywood types, $5 Million US. Oh, and as previously mentioned, we have Universal interested, as well as another production company willing to put up their pension fund, if we can get the loan guaranteed. We're dangerously close, people.

When I started this blog post oh, what, an hour ago, I was going to go in an entirely different direction, and yet, I still ended up at my basic conclusion, which is simply this: This movie will be made, despite its “controversial” topic. It's only a matter of when. My only fear is that we may end up with an entirely different film than what we started with.

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1 comment:

  1. Great post Mike! I enjoyed this read, and if you do end up with a different movie than planned sounds like there will be a second one in your future!

    Ann Evanston
    the Warrior is Within You