Hello, my dear Viscerati!
Firstly, allow me to apologise for being so rubbish at blogging. Here I was, ready to get all Peter Jackson and document my every move during pre-production… and then, like that, six weeks just tumbled off the clock. Which is exceedingly indicative of my life, really.
Hey, what do ya know? I really AM blogging my process.
So, as you can guess, I've been hunkered down writing: Developing the micro-budget script, redrafting MENTOR, reviewing HYDE for Pez (aka Cinema Viscera's other engine room, Ms Perri Cummings) to redraft. And so it goes.
But something's been bugging me. I'm generally really good at coming up with titles. As you can probably guess from, well, every film I've made or proposed as writer/director, I've a particular love for pithy, catchy one-word titles that both tease and encompass everything I want to say with the film...
…and do you think I've been able to think of one for the micro-budget flick? Nothing. Nada. Bupkis. I've been referring to it as "The New Thing" or #microbudgetdebut, which, cryptic as they are, aren't great film titles.
This struggle to dream up a title led to the heart of my problem: I've had issues with my micro-budget screenplay idea. Story points really stuck out at me, some of it felt really lame, and it was only until a couple of story meetings with Pez that really brought home what I needed to change. I really needed to drill down to what I wanted to say. What kind of dynamic we were going for with our leads. Did I really want to make a blind date movie? While I wanted an element of the internet and social media's impact of how we meet new significant others, not really. So things had to change.
Namely, some of the stuff I told you in my last blog. Jon is now Tim. Becky and the newly christened Tim are now estranged siblings and, while he's still a "slacker" in the Gen-X sense, he' s also a stand-up comic. His social media meltdown is now an onstage meltdown that goes viral -- so it still hooks into our central conceit, of social media being a cocoon for some and an inferno for others. Becky's pretty much the same -- a reclusive features writer for lifestyle and pop culture websites who hasn't left her house in years -- but she's not actively looking for a date any more. Tim's life pretty much collapses after his meltdown, and the only place he's left to go is the city apartment that his parents left to him and his sister when they died. Of course, he arrives to find that Becky has been living there for years, unbeknownst to him. He's been following her on Facebook and thinks she's living la vida loca -- he's as fooled as everyone else.
No, I'm not telling you anything else. You'll have to see the movie.
But it has also proved to me that there's no point being precious about your story, even when you're a little humbled by sharing the concept with others, only to change it all up. Evolution is good, natural and keeps it all getting better.
Oh, wait, I'm forgetting something.
After that story breakthrough, something funny happened. I found a title. It was one I'd thought over before, but it didn't ring my bell… but it kept recurring to me, and took on greater weight, as to what it meant for my characters, for Generation X, to a generation living their lives through the dopamine hit-driven prism of social media...
I'll leave the interpretation to you. But we kinda like it, and I hope you do, too.
And I started writing the script yesterday. I want to try a lot of different things on this film -- making a feature film ourselves, from inception to ancilliary -- and one thing I've always wanted to do is just shotgun a draft. Bang it out in two or three weeks, Corman-style. As we'll be extensively rehearsing with our actors and seeking their input on their characters' development and dialogue, it actually benefits me to not be precious with my screenplay, so if I can't practice shotgunning this script, then when? BUFFERING will be fast, cheap and in control.
Can't wait to show you more in the new year. In the meantime, I'll report back about HYDE and MENTOR's progress, and perhaps we'll have some video treats in store between now and Christmas. Until then…
Viva la cinema,
What fresh hell is this?
A semi-regular blog exploring films, popular culture, current or future projects and (more often) year-end wrap-up and opinions from CINEMA VISCERA's co-chief, Paul Anthony Nelson.