Well, after some time off, Rick and I took a really critical look at the outline, and we realized something. Something big. Like, it’s not anything what we really imagined it might be when we first started out.
We envisioned a dramedy in the veins of “Juno” or “Little Miss Sunshine,” and it turned into this sort of dark drama that was 180 degrees from the original mission. The protagonist lacked a character arc and the plotline was sort of flat. I was of the mind to just trash the whole thing and start on an entirely new project.
I’m sure most of you who have written features have found yourselves in this exact same spot. You thought you had a great idea or concept, but you found out that you couldn’t really build a story around it. So you have to make a gutsy call: Do you drop the project entirely and start on a new idea that has more legs, or do you try to perform emergency triage on the existing project and bring it back to life (realizing that you might be halfway through the triage and still need to declare the patient dead).
I was in the camp of throwing a grenade into the script and just putting it out of its misery. Rick, to his credit, tried to disarm me and help me see my way back from the abyss. We decided we would take the weekend to see where our thoughts might lead us.
Here was where I landed: The original idea was to have a script set essentially in one location, first, for budgeting reasons, and two, to allow the film to be shot quickly (also factoring in to budgeting). I wanted to go Richard Linklater “Slacker” and just get a minimalist movie made.
Why would we want to do that? Well, unless you’re a big-time scriptwriter, you’re not going to get a big budget film made. Your script’s not even going to be looked at by a production company. Even small to mid-level budget films are getting harder to make unless you already have a foot in the door. Indie films are typically the best option for an up and coming writer, but you have to be realistic in your expectations. It has to have a compelling story (to attract talent and financing), it has to be easy to make, and it needs to be right financially.
So, that’s a long way of saying, we have to go back to the drawing board on the outline. I think the original idea and setting was a good one, but we need to find the heart and humor in this storyline. Tomorrow, we’ll bring in the demolition experts in to blow everything up and start again.
Hang in there with us!