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Thursday
May012014

"HEY, I WANNA GET BETTER"- Bleachers

“So now I’m standing on the overpass screaming at the cars ‘HEY, I WANNA GET BETTER’”
-Bleachers

My next (hopeful) feature film’s screenplay is complete.

Finally.

This thing is called “GREEN VALLEY CIRCLE”, and we had a ton of attention on it when I handed it over to Hollywood.

About 3 years ago.

Please allow to me explain. I had this idea, and my idea and my plan, was to not over do it. To make a wonderful little short film out of it. I was inspired by what Luke Matheny had done with his film “God of Love”. It was this wonderful little flick, it moved, it’s pacing was perfect, it was funny, had a great ending, it didn’t overstay it’s welcome. It was 20-25 minutes and that was it. Oh, he also won some little award for it, what was it called? Jelly of month club? Nah that’s not it. BJ’s “shopper of the month”? NO not that one either, I think it was called the Academy Award. So Luke’s tale is that simple, tell your story, if its 2 hours great, if it’s 20 minutes, that’s great too, and I agree, I love short films, I’ll watch short films, and yes, if you or your friends have one, I’ll watch that too. When I’m at film festivals, I love seeing them, I make a point to see them. So when I wrote GREEN VALLEY CIRCLE, here it is, it’s a solid idea, a funny idea, 25 pages BOOM, let’s get it going.

Then the tires screeched.

I’d handed off GVC (under it’s different name) to a few folks, all reactions were wonderful and gave me the warm and fuzzies. I got this thing off to Los Angeles, and I have a few opinions I care about out there, and one came back. “Love it, but 25 minutes of film? Who’s going to watch this, if you want grandmas and the masses to enjoy your idea, it better be a full length feature film”. That sentiment was echoed by a few fancy Hollywood agents too. Ok. No problem. It’s 25 pages. I just need to make it longer. So I did just that, in the last 18 months, I’d picked up sporadically (I’d been working on some other projects, keeping me from firing up the old laptop as much as I’d like/need to) and I just fattened it up. See where I wrote that joke on page 8? KABLAM NOW THERE ARE 2 JOKES ON PAGE 8.

Shame on me for taking this approach. I’d been in love with the 25 pager, and now I had to fatten it up and I was just throwing a little here, throwing a little there, just adding around a 25 page structure. I wasn’t happy with it. Why? Because 25 pages was a sprint. 100+pages is a marathon, I was trying to make a sprint a marathon length. I needed to get past my own ego (we all have ‘em friends and most times they get you into more trouble than not) throw out my fattened sprint version, blow it up, start from scratch. It hurt. I knew my 25 pager was nice, as I stood there watching it blow up. Time to be better than that.

Page 1. A blank page 1. No magic here yet. No 25 page crutch, just an evil white blank page staring back at me. First draft time again. Any first draft hurts. The key is biting your lip, holding your nose, and just get that story down. Plenty of time to re write and reshape, just get those words down. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself, Carr, just get those words down." I fired up a playlist of songs (listed above) that felt like “Green Valley Circle” for me and just started hammering it out. Write when you’re at your smartest, for me, I’m a morning guy, 6am-2pm is my prime idea time, after that I revert back to being my drooling-borderline- incoherent-babbling normal self. I took advantage when things were quiet, I took advantage of turning up that playlist loudly and little by little, this piece stopped being a 25 page idea, I changed the pacing, the structure, added some, took away some, and little by little, this story became bigger, a nice sweet feature length film, something I’m excited about, maybe even more excited than the 25 pager from 3 years ago that was getting calls and emails returned from Hollywood (you know your project is decent when you get return emails and calls, LA doesn’t normally do that unless your Tom Hanks and seriously, who wouldn’t return an email from Tom Hanks, that would be just a jerk move IT’S TOM HANKS)

So now I look at this stack of 90 plus pieces of paper. This is in the “pie cooling” phase. You leave it alone for a couple days, pick it up, take a bit, see how it tastes, what does it need? Does that need to be re written? Should that part go in? should that line be funnier? We’re getting close. Taking the time with it, then in the next couple of weeks, this thing goes out. I’ve already done my homework and got many actors aboard with the 25 page version, now we’ll need to catch a few more big fish, and then we’ll hopefully be ready to go. How does this thing get across the finish line? I don’t know. Worst case? We can still shoot this thing on no budget, but I think finally, the right people in LA are getting what they wanted from GREEN VALLEY CIRCLE, and after blowing the whole thing up and starting from scratch, I’m finally able to get what I want from this thing too.

Now that thing is close to LA bound…going right on to the next thing, strike while it’s hot, keep that momentum going my 3rd TV pilot in some sort of production phase this year, I get to write this one too, so it looks like I better go fire up the old lap top again, it feels like 2014 is just really getting going now.

Good luck with everything you all, hope this whole drooling-borderline- incoherent-babbling story encouraged you to go fire up a project or something that may have been sitting for a bit, pick it up, take a look at it. Maybe blow it up. Have some fun with it. See where it all goes...

Take care and be good,
Tim

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