Monday, August 31, 2009

Hose 'Er

I just re-read my last week's post and all I can say is, "Someone turn a hose on that girl!" (i.e. me)

Holy Moley. Surely there's SOME summer left to be squeezed out of the not-quite-September sky. And as for laying waste to my papery loved-ones, well, let's just say, I'll take advantage of the time it takes me to sharpen my axe to consider any valid pleas for clemency...

In other news, I met Heidi Levitt, our US-based casting director face-to-face the other day.  Originally from Montreal, Heidi was up from L.A. for a family event and was able to meet with Barbara, Theresapedia and I for café au lait, toasted baguette and a jam-packed breakfast chat. 

The conversation travelled from Montreal's West Island, to Vancouver Island's West Coast, making stops in New York and New Orleans along the way. Learning that Heidi's first big casting gig was assisting on Alan Parker's, "Angel Heart" impressed us - as much because she'd been given such a big break so young, as because it conjured up images of a still shockingly normal-looking Mickey Rourke.

Anyway, the big news from south of the border is that there's some solid interest in our project at a high-profile management company (which, I will double-check if I can name at this time). Anyway, with their hefty roster of talented and respected artists, we are now looking at the possibility of casting one non-Canuck role there. That is, if we don't end up going All-Canadian, eh. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Even the most casual observer has probably noticed that our beloved and sadly truncated summer  is already on the wane - everything is just that much limper, dustier, and a whole lot sluggishier. 

As the cicadas whine relentlessly outside - and inside - my head, I find myself fully, physically inhabited by nature's invisible but palpable preparations for the Great Dying Off. The Cutting Back. 

Every living, beautiful thing that helps make summer the seductive season it is will soon be shedding, drying, dying - cutting itself back to the branches. The stem. The soil. The root. 

Like the natural world around me, I'm also preparing for a very drastic but necessary pruning. I know this - not just because I am also a little limp, a little dusty, and quite a lot sluggish - but because, like the natural world around me, I too am quietly preparing to kill my darlings.

After all, that is how nature - and writers for that matter - get back to the essence of whatever it is that had once been planted. Only by clearing away all the pretty stuff - all the frill and the fruit and the foliage - is it possible to return to the skeleton, the basic bare bones of original intention. The whole reason we both wanted to tell our stories in the first place. 

So in keeping with the very natural cycle of birth, growth, death and regeneration, I am now steeling myself to commit very necessary darlingicide.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to the Blueprint

I have to confess ... I've been in Vancouver all along. A certain brother of mine's surprise birthday party prevented me from openly discussing my left coast activities before now, but the party's been had and the cat's out of the bag, so now I can say publicly that Barbara and I both met the folks at Telefilm here in Vancouver last week. 

We are hoping that our bi-regional coproduction status will provide us the possibility of accessing some Western financing. Because the film is set in the prairies and is told from my prairie-born perspective, there is a distinctive Western Canadian flavour to the whole thing.  So although it will be a majority Quebec production, the film will be visibly identified as a prairie product - giving any Western investor big bang for their buck. We feel we had a good meeting with Bill and Vivianne, and left them with an appetite for the upcoming rewrite of the script.

Also, while we were out here, we had a chance to meet some of the Vancouver girls who had submitted their self-tapes for the role of Elizabeth.  Every single girl who has auditioned has shown us great work - we are so impressed with the calibre of talent right across the country. Again, though, the process is much like peeling an onion ... everything's evolving in conjunction with everything else, constantly showing new shapes and textures, revealing more and more of the core the deeper we go. 

There are still such big questions to ask - and answer - in my final pass of the script, so I've set my sights on an October deadline for the "polish".  As I write this blog, I am mentally preparing myself for some heavy creative soul-searching and intellectual gymnastics.

It's such a beautiful problem to have, frankly - needing to make this practically fully financed script as strong, tight and REAL as I can between now and October... 

But knowing that I'm really going to make this film is giving me a kind of kick in the cajones of my consciousness... For so long, the script was the selling tool - the way to entice perfect strangers to board my fantasy train.  But now it's something else entirely - now it's a blueprint for building an actual film. A film that will exist in the physical world - a film I will want to live with for the rest of my life. Seen that way, there may be a few too many staircases in the wrong places and possibly some unnecessary doors and entire floors on this blueprint. So, in I go...


Monday, August 10, 2009

Midnight Oil

I'm on a bit of a nocturnal schedule these days. As Theresapedia alluded to in the sidebar news, the extra time we've afforded ourselves in pre-pre-production is being used in part to make our good script even good-er. Having received a very lucid and soul-searching critique from script analyst extraordinaire, Valérie Beaugrand-Champagne, I am now in the throes of a fairly deep "polish". 

Unfortunately the mundane demands of the "real world" make it so that I need a day job to earn a living while I write. Thus, I write at night - and thus, this late-ish posting.  

Meanwhile though, much is brewing on all sorts of fronts...  We received confirmation that the Harold Greenberg Fund has come on board for a cool chunk of change. We are thrilled, of course. This is another important portion of what we need to meet our target budget. Further to that end, Barbara will soon be meeting with the fine folks at Telefilm West who may be interested in participating in our bi-regional co-production. Also, we're very excited that our project is one of only five Canadian productions-in-progress invited to participate at IFF - the International Financing Forum taking place during the Toronto International Film Festival - providing us with a very privileged opportunity to raise additional financing by way of international buyers. 

On the home front, we continue to be fed with increasingly exciting locations possibilities by both our scouts. We're seeing some very strong candidates for Elizabeth on the self-tapes Andrea has called for from around the country - and we'll be organizing callbacks for our Toronto girls while we're in town doing IFF. 

In short, humming right along... Sweet dreams. 

Monday, August 3, 2009

If It Works For NASA...

It should work for us. 

We've made the decision to push. And even though I am very sure it's for the best, there's a little mini-mourning to be done nonetheless. 

I know we all feel more comfortable and more confident that we'll be able to make an even better film by taking a little more time. Time for everything. From locations to cast to crew to cash to script. 

But there's still something to be said for the kind of heady, headlong momentum we had coming out of the starting blocks in June. As soon as that unbelievable news came that we had a huge part of our financing, we took the leap and put our faith in the flow of things that seemed to be telling us to make the most of the moment.

And that we most certainly did. 

While we may not be fully ready to shoot this summer, we still succeeded in laying the kind of solid foundation that will surely make the experience of making our film even better.  And with any luck, the finished film will follow that trend.

In the meantime, I'm adjusting to the slight drop of adrenaline levels in my system while keeping up a steady - and slightly saner - pace of building the launch pad for our film.

Blast off is now officially re-set for Spring 2010.