Monday, May 25, 2009

In the Dark

So, there may or may not be some A-lister out there who is serious about being a part of this project.  I still don't know for sure.  Not that I haven't been trying hard to find out...

Last week, I gave the anonymous gift I received to a local Dolly afficionado. Monsieur P. is Dolly Parton's kindred spirit trapped in a furry, French-Canadian body. Not only does he worship her unique style and sensibility but he has an impressive collection of Dolly memorabilia of his own.  

After some close inspection and research, Monsieur P. pronounced that the gift in question LOOKS very much like one of the exclusive outfits Dolly Parton used to wear onstage in the 70's. But sadly he has no way to tell if it actually is the real deal.  

He added that while he can't give me a certificate of authenticity or anything, he would be more than happy to give the outfit a good home for now... That I could come visit anytime I wanted...

As far as actually reaching this ostensibly high-powered, hiding person who sent the package in the first place, I have sent a cautious reply to the email address I was given, but still have not had any news back. Not a peep. It's been three days. Okay, it is a long weekend down there, but still...!

Anyway, I'm left pacing around, wondering what to do next.  We're all reticent to blindly send the screenplay out into the vacuum of cyberspace - with no real way to follow it up. But at the same time, am I thumbing my nose at some incredible good fortune if I don't? 

Please, if you ARE the person who's contacted me with this mysterious package and proposal, please understand that I'm not being unresponsive or ungrateful or disrespectful, but I would just like a little more to go on before I leap...  A hint? A clue? Hell, I'll even settle for a message through the Ouija...!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Okay. I believe in serendipity just as much as anyone who believes in serendipity - and probably more than most people who don't. But what happened to me today would test even the strongest suspender of disbelief ...

I mean, could it just be coincidence that on this most auspicious, if innocuous, of days - i.e. The First Day of the Rest of This Film's Life - that I would receive a package postmarked Beverly Hills? Containing what looks like an authentic (and expensive!) item of Dolly Parton memorabilia? And a formal note (on thick stock) claiming the gift is from a leading Hollywood actor who's learned of my project "through the grapevine" and would very much like to read the script - but for "business reasons" wishes to remain "under the radar" for the time being...??!

I am standing here, alternating between "flabbergasted" and "a little creeped out".  I don't quite know what to make of this. Is it a hoax? If so, what would possibly be the point? And why send me what looks like a fairly rare and price-y gift if you're such a hot shot actor? Isn't it supposed to work the other way around? Aren't I supposed to woo YOU?

Then again, if it's not a hoax, who IS this person and what do they really want? And why? What have they heard about the project? And from who? Whom?

I have looked - believe me - I have scoured the package and its contents for any clues as to where and who this came from. There's nothing. It came in a generic brown cardboard box wrapped in brown butcher's paper on which a computer label is stuck right in the middle bearing my name and address. Nothing else. There's no return address anywhere - just a Beverly Hills postmark beside the pre-paid postage in the upper right hand corner.

Inside, the "gift" in question was carefully wrapped in white tissue paper and protected by those foam peanut things. The note is laser-printed on thick, creamy paper in a matching - but very blank - envelope.

All I have to go on is a gmail address - to which I am being requested to send the script - as well as this person's assurances that my project is of great interest to people who are in a position to help me get it made.


Will? Is that you?

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Late Spring Break

If I were on "Arrested Development" (a criminally underrated and prematurely defunct TV show) right now, I'd be screaming, "Spring Break! WAAAAOOOH!" while lifting up my top and flashing my Dolly Partons for the world to see.

Fear not - it's a very temporary insanity, but with the two landmark pitches now behind me, the May "two-four" weekend in full swing, I feel like a co-ed just finishing Final Exams. I have a touch of Spring Break Fever this weekend and I'm l-l-l-loving it...!

Tomorrow marks the first day of the rest of the film's life, and I will be back here then to properly launch it, but for now, for this brief moment, let's all just enjoy the sweet satisfaction of making it this far - no matter where "this" is, no matter how much more there is to go - we made it HERE!  And to that, I only have one thing to say:


Monday, May 11, 2009

Today Too!

One down, one to go.  

We pitched to the folks at Telefilm last Thursday.  And we're heading to SODEC to do the same thing this afternoon.  I haven't taken my Dolly shirt off all weekend. 

Hope it's a large boardroom. With lots of windows.

In all seriousness, I am slightly superstitious.  And since I am (so far) incapable of growing a play-off beard, I will be wearing the same outfit to defend the project at SODEC as I wore to Telefilm.  

Not that I know for sure if Dolly's image on my chest brought us any luck at last Thursday's pitch or not. We'll only find that out when Telefilm announces its decision sometime in June. But the vintage Dolly t-shirt at least made a hit with the analysts - all women - on the Telefilm jury. They all said they'd buy one for themselves - and the teenage girls they know. So, if ever this filmmaking thing doesn't pan out, I guess I could always take up t-shirt merchandizing...

But wait - what am I saying?  Knock on wood, throw salt, spit to the North three times - and hear this, Universe - until you tell me otherwise - IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, I am sticking with the filmmaker thing!

We good?

Oh, and P.S.: As of late last week, we have two Very Interesting People very interested in being in the film!!  Can't name any names just yet, but stay tuned...!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


... is IT.  

Pitching to Telefilm at 2:30 pm EDT.  

Wearing my vintage Dolly t-shirt from my good friend Kim and praying for eloquence.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Pitching, Spaghetti and Seeing What Sticks

Well, I'm back from directing adorable four year-olds in a pasta commercial. And I return just a little wiser and considerably more humbled than when I left. The power of a four year-old can never be underestimated. Especially when you - and the good folks who've hired you - want something very specific from that lovable little tyrant. 

Toddler's mood swings and ADD notwithstanding, I can't tell you how great it is to be back on a set. Period. I have been writing and "developing" for so long, I almost forgot how much I love shooting.  Commercials, documentaries, shorts, whatever.  The more variety the merrier, as far as I'm concerned.  I am a big believer in all forms of cinematic cross-training. 

Any shoot is a pretty visceral reminder that I am a director - first and foremost - and this particular one couldn't have come along at a more opportune time.... three and a half days before our Telefilm pitch to be specific.  Because it's recently come to my attention that I have spent a great amount of time writing (i.e. creating "impressions" on paper) this film, but now it's high time to shift gears and start thinking in terms of how to go about actually "realizing" those carefully crafted impressions into concrete pictures and actions.  

In the course of the Telefilm pitch this Thursday, I will no doubt have to defend certain story elements in the script, but I will also have to effectively communicate my director's vision of the film i.e. how all those little black and white letters I've laboured over all these years are actually going to translate on the silver screen.  


Barring any late-breaking news on the casting front (God, that would be great!), the bulk of our pitch will likely have to rest on the arguably elusive and highly subjective shoulders of what's rattling around in my head. So in the next few days, I have to find some way to muzzle or ditch my writer self altogether and let the director finally take over.  

Anyone up for taking the writer in me on a four-day bender?