What we’re up to for the next two months…

On November 21, 2012 by PMD-For-Hire

So the second draft of the screenplay is now complete and there’s a small respite before we delve headlong into the third version. Juliane has explicitly instructed me to stay far away from the draft for the next five days to refresh my perspective…so rather than gnash my teeth and bite my knuckles in mimicry of post-script, post-creative withdrawal symptoms, I thought I’d pound out a few lines to keep our constituency up-to-date in terms of what we’ve got going on for the next couple of months. And, to pay due homage to my incurable word fetish…

Yes, I suppose this is kind of an “internal memo” between our actors, crew, and ourselves, but there are some interesting bits in there for those of you who have been following our moves and shakes over all this time. There are quite a bit of juicy audience engagement stuff in the lines that follow.

I’ll be talking about the following things in this update:

** the script.
** Webisode 3.
** casting.
** location scouting.
** the feature script.
** fundraising.

Okay, moving right along…


Version 2 is now officially in the bag (the can? the box?). Juliane and I worked very hard to not only hit all of the emotional notes and high-low swoons, but to also to slide in under deadline, which for us — read on — now stands at December 12th, shooting date for Webisode 3, the so-called “trailer.” I had a blast going through the experience of the write, even though there were more than my fair share of ups and downs with it, in terms of finding just the right language to make it sing. The key — as I’ve learned — when writing dialogue is to love all your characters equally. It may seem like “Screenwriting 101,” and perhaps even trite to repeat here for this film audience, but there’s something redeemable in all of your characters, antagonists and protagonists alike. Not all heroes are pure and good through-and-through. Not all villains are beyond redemption, and all this must emerge in your writing. Our characters, Axel (the Viceroy), Kai (Maya’s boyfriend), Maya herself, our protagonist, Leviticus (the wise sage), Shotty (Maya’s best friend), and Hele (Maya’s Peace Enforcer colleague), all have their role to play in this story, but they also all have lives of their own off the page which is the responsibility of both the actors to knuckle down on and the writer’s to give enough expansion room for. I know that sentence is a bit clunky, but read it again and you’ll see why it makes total sense.

I had fun with the second draft. A lot.

First draft was a bit more fluid because I know — as did Juliane — that much of it was going to get sliced out in v2.0. I think I chopped more than fifty pages (!!!) of extraneous dialogue and fatty exposition which had zero place by the second draft, and I suspect another ten pages will go the way of the dodo come v3.0, which is going to get REALLY fun because that’s where the workshopping comes about. We get to sit with the actors for a table read. We get to compare lines. Chop out extraneous words. Add in others. And basically hone, hone, hone something which essentially began as a story in my head (Jíri Sulč’s Astonishing 2010 Directive from We Are the New Bohemians: The Post Communist-Collection) and now exists in several drafts on a page…that experience alone is — woah! — heady. The next few weeks is going to be sensational. I can’t wait to work with the actors — the true and genuine joy of this craft, when actors actually VOICE your lines. It’s all surreal, but lovely. I’m vibrating. Honest.


We are going to camera on December 12th on the third of our pre-release webisodes and will be shooting — IY”H — on ARRI’s Alexa camera for near-cinematic quality. This particular Webisode will likely comprise a scene taken verbatim out of the screenplay — in fact, it will more closely resemble our trailer — and we’re presently engaged in the scouting sessions for that and casting the (slang alert!) puppy. The webisode — of all the ones we’ve shot thus far — will most closely resemble our story world, and we’re getting closer and closer to the real deal with each passing day. In fact, we’re (gay British word alert!) super-chuffed about that possibility. Other indies — not necessarily our target audience — will know what we’re talking about.


The casting sessions are also proving to be a tremendously rewarding experience. Getting to meet and know our actors well — and getting the chance to explain to them the underpinnings of what we’re trying to do, the tender meat of it all — in terms of setting, period, narrative, history, and intentions — is also worthy of its own post. The thing I can tell you at this stage is: it’s going to be the MOST international cast I’ve dealt with, EVER. Berlin in the year 2020 (dating back from 1991) is extremely diverse, isolated, and accents have morphed into something not readily discernible to even expert ears. There’s a long time for the actors to get into their characters as well, and it’ll be a joy to bear witness to this process. The esprit de corps of this team has been killer. If I told you what some of our actors have done for us in terms of “going the distance,” you’d be shocked and surprised. Dedication is solid.


During the past two weeks, Directress Juliane “BOOM BOOM” Block has been scouring the Berlin, near-Berlin, and outer-Berlin environs for suitable locations to set up our camera. She’s gone to Berlin’s bowels, Berlin’s armpits, its head, and its toes, even sifting through her roster of old interiors/exteriors to possibly rehash certain locations for The Inner District. You know us to be inveterate chroniclers and documenters of our craft, so you can expect mood boards, Pinterest boards, and other things that showcase what we’ve been up to for the past two weeks. Proof, baby, proof. Berlin is a trove of suitably gorgeous visuals and most of the locations are cost-free to shoot. The ones that aren’t involve varying degrees of “shoot now, ask for forgiveness later” bullshit and the ones which are expressly verboten can still be used with careful consideration to hide as many of its identifying markers as possible. Bottom line, our dialogues and portrayals are going to rock the house…but there will be more than our fair share of viewers who will watch our film strictly to get an eyeful of the visuals. The dialogues will be like the icing on their visual cake.


And then comes March 2013, when we officially crossover into principal photography. In all this preparation for pre-release webisodes, trailers, casting, location scouting, and — moreover — crowdfunding (the subject of our next bullet point), no one has mentioned a thing about the full-on feature. Jayzus! Yes, that’s what we’re all waiting for and plans for that go into high-gear before the Xmas Break and the advent of the New Year. We’re rounding out things like:

** extras.
** craft service (an area I’m particularly knowledgeable about and one for which I’m being hired, at least according to Juliane’s latest group e-mailing).
** audience engagement and PMDing.
** festival appearances.
** sponsorship opportunities beyond the pre-release webisodes (of course, I’ll have a post about that closer to term, but please contact info@tallsmallproductions.com for ways to creatively leverage your advertising budget).

And finally, there’s the issue of CROWDFUNDING, which we’ll be revisiting again as our cash needs become more pressing, and as part of a much-bigger — scheduled — budgetary push, but stand-by. We don’t want to trouble you with that just yet.

Just a few words from our camp to keep our stakeholders in the loop and everyone locked and loaded to this very logical equation…looking forward to the rest of this month for the chance to write more extensively about the process of getting closer to camera and all the exciting developments surrounding that.

Who wants in?

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