Comments on watching and making films.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Midway Park - The Beginning

I sent a letter out to a handful of local filmmakers I know, asking for help to create a new project while PHX is being finished. I didn't do a very good job of chronicling PHX, at least not publicly, so I want to do a better job with this project, tentatively titled Midway Park. I'm hoping that this letter will mark the real beginning of a real project that will follow up PHX -

This past week I had a Twitter exchange with Joe Swanberg. For those of you that don't know who Joe is, he is an indie filmmaker that has made about ten features since 2005 and also a couple of shorts. He announced on Twitter that he had yet another film coming out that was going to premier at AFI Fest, to which I tweeted back to him - "How do you find the time/money to be so consistently releasing stuff?". His reply was "Treat it like your 9-5 job and put the films on credit cards. Avoid industry bullshit and wastes of time". 

PHX has been under the knife, so to speak, for the last year, but it is coming VERY close to being finished. Unfortunately, though, there isn't much I can do, as the jobs that are left to be done are for other people (the final cut needs to be finished, the sound mixed, the color graded, etc), so, in the mean time, instead of sitting on my hands, I have decided to take one of the more simple ideas that has been kicking around in my head for a long time, and make it.

The last two years, for me, have been absent of a lot of joy, first because of the general experience I had making PHX, and second, because of the fact that I felt pressured by outside forces (mainly my parents) to not make anything until PHX was finished. The only problem with that is, PHX is out of my hands. As I said before, the  work that needs to be done on it is now in the realm of other individuals, whose talents are best suited for the job at hand. So I need to busy myself doing the things that I can best do, which is making something.

Midway Park is the name of this new project. It is the story of a soon to be college graduate, who returns to his small town after three and a half years away, to find that someone with a grudge is making it their mission to take revenge on him. It is inspired by the classic western High Noon, and is a story about how, sometimes, doing the right thing can, potentially, cost you your life. I have just finished the outline of it, and will now begin to work on translating that outline to a script.

In order to bring this from the pages of my notebook to the screen, though, I'm going to need help, and that is why I'm emailing you today. This is not me asking for money. This is me asking for your help. As many of you know, it takes a lot of manpower to put something like this together, and I am hoping to not make a lot of the same mistakes I did onPHX. Here are some of my more immediate needs, if you can help, or know anyone that can - 

Producer - I need a Producer. I didn't have one on PHX, and it would have saved me an INFINITE amount of hassle. If you, or anyone you know would like to step in and help to pull together the logistics end of this project, I need that help.

Script - I am going to begin translating the outline I have been working on into a script. One thing that has always been helpful to me is to have people who can read the script, and give me feedback. Is it realistic? Does it seem natural? Do the scenes make sense? Are they necessary? I have a reason to write down everything I do, but that doesn't mean it works. Having some additional eyes on it is always good.

Actors - I'm going to need actors, and, to be honest with you, I don't know anyone who acts in Nashville that is of the age that I'm looking for. The main characters are all in their early twenties, so, these are mainly kids that aren't even out of college yet. If you know of any actors that age, or know of any acting groups that have people that age, let me know. I would REALLY like to start looking into this as soon as possible, as I would like more time to work with the actors than I had on PHX.

Locations - Location-wise, things are pretty simple, but there's kind of a caveat. I want to shoot everything in East Nashville/Madison, so that it genuinely looks like a small town. Any locations that would be outside of this area (in real life), have to look like they belong in this area. That being said, we're looking at two houses, one a bit larger, preferably older, that the main characters family resides in. The other being something smaller, something that could be passed off as a "newer" couples home, in other words a first or starter home. We're also looking for a dorm room, the exterior of a University (which we could probably just steal from Vanderbilt or Lipscomb), a Police station, a Gun store, and a baseball field (preferably connected to a larger park or school). Their may be additional locations to follow, depending on how the script goes.

That's it for right now. I want to keep this train going. I don't want to walk into a festival with PHX and have someone ask me "What's next?" and my response is scratching my head. If I can walk into that situation and say "Well, we're about to shoot (or have already shot) another film" it's going to be huge. One thing I've learned from Joe is this - You have to keep that ball rolling. Don't stop. Always be moving towards the next project. That's what I'm trying to do, but, as all of you know, no one makes a film by themselves (well, some people do, but they're not very good). If you can help in any way, shape, or form, I would really appreciate it, and you know I am here to help you, as well.

We went to school to make stuff. Let's make stuff.

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