Making a Movie… A journal Starts

ver the next couple of months, I plan to be in pre-production and production on my project. Its the story of the rescue of 10 women who were kidnaped in Germany during the initial stages of the Iraq war, sent to Iraq and held for ransom. What made this story was that it was a lone US Soldier who went AWOL to save his pregnant wife and he ended up saving 8 of them. But for political reasons during the time of Jessica Lynch, Pat Tillman and an election, two governments tried to hide the event and court martial this soldier.

I thought it might be interesting for me, as well as film lovers, to journal the exploits of this project. Ill try to do this as much as I can, and perhaps you can get a glimpse into the process of how a movie gets made.

Last month we officially secured our side of the financing. I wont give details, but we put a chunk of money into an account, combining investments from a few different people including our company. There is a financing group that loves our project and has verbally committed to bankrolling the picture assuming that they can verify our funds. So they get their stuff together to put up the rest of the money and green-light the movie. That has happened Of course, we all agreed on all the terms and the contracts and all that, and that took some time, but we,re moving along.

Ironically, there’s another company that is showing the same interest. I met with these guys a couple months ago, and they said they were in, but they didn’t get back to me with anything official. The group from the above paragraph came in out of the blue, so I hit the ground running with them. Its bizarre that I might actually get to a place where I’m turning money down.

Here’s how this current group came about, A producer from Fox, whose been trying to get some projects set up heard the story through a family member who has been in Hollywood casting movies since the 70″s. We became buddies through our discussions about each others projects, and he’s always tried to get it in the hands of various people, but nothing has come of it. We don’t have a deal or anything, hes just been doing what he can on the side. Anyhow, a few months ago his aunt was in a small town in Missouri and struck up a conversation with a stranger, who told her about all the developments that were taking place in this town. For some reason, he mentioned a movie studio and gave his aunt a brochure. His aunt then passed it on to my buddy, who decided to contact this production facility for the heck of it.

He cold-called them and said basically, I know you guys are a production facility and arent investors, but Ive got a cool project that should be shot in the southwest, and I’m wondering if you know of any money guys who are shooting some films at your place. The guy gave him contact info for some guys, he got a hold of them, sent them the script, and voila..they loved it, one of the producers grew up near where the story took place, and they wanted to make it. They believe it can be developed into an Oscar. High praise indeed but that is far off.

Unless these guys are liars or stupid, neither of which appears to be the case, they’ve got the money and are on board. All they needed was proof from us that we can guarantee some funds as well. That was done.

Funny how God works, assuming He cares about my career and the movie business and actually has a hand in all this. Of course, I know He cares about my career, but sometimes I think we think Hes devoting more time to our vain pursuits than he actually is. Either way, I’ll take it and give Him credit for anything good that happens.

So right now I’m preparing to make this movie as everything gets in order. I need to get the script in great shape before its sent to actors, so I’m doing some last minute adjustments.

One common note I’m getting from a few people is that there’s a problem in the first act. This story is about a man who goes from being a Highly decorated soldier in his unit to a man who turns into Bruce Willis in Die HARD. The thrust of the story is in the change he has to brings to himself and dealing with people in this depressed, backwards, deep mountain region, but we also need to take some time to show how he transformed. Not an easy task, because I have to do it in 20-25 pages so we get to the meat of the story quick enough.

Our trick is to try to show what would lead him to be desperate to make such a big change in his life. That’s easy to talk about. He was sad, depressed,angry. He felt like his govt was going to let his wife die because it was an election. He was meant to be there, but that’s not easy to portray on screen. We’ve got plenty of moments and incidents in the script that cause him to be frustrated and angry about how insane and violent the Iraq region is, but we need moments of inner turmoil for him as well; private moments that show how dark he had to become and down he is.

If he failed or was captured, he knew not only would his wife would die, he would be killed also. So that’s what I’m working on right now, trying to find those moments that are cinematic.

The good news is the majority of people really like the script a lot. But its always easier when someone doesn’t like something you’ve done but they can’t give good reasons why. That said, I think its more important to seek out people who disagree with you or don’t like something you’re creating than to surround yourself with unconditionally supportive people. Id rather hear bad things now, while I can still correct them, then read them in the paper from a critic after the movies out. So we will see.

1. An idea
Who has it? Could be a writer a director or someone like you!

2. The pitch
A studio has to be convinced that the film is worth making. Someone has to talk them in to it. To get the idea across it will normally be developed into a summary of how the film will go.

3. The studio
They put together the team to make the movie. Once a director has been picked they find actors, and the studio also finds the money. Sometimes a studio needs to find investors to raise enough cash.

4. Production
The location scouts must find the places to film the movie, then it’s ready to be made. It is not filmed in the order you see it on screen. The director has a storyboard and what they film first depends on which actors and locations are available.

5. Post-production
The raw filming (called rushes) is edited in this stage. The music is added and sometimes actors re-record lines that weren’t clear enough.

Editing is mostly done on computers. In the past, film was actually cut into bits and stuck back together – movie people still say an edited film has been ‘cut’.

6. Release
The film is sent out to cinemas ready for you to see it.

All right That’s enough for now


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