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Production Notes: How the Project was Started

We’re going to detail throughout our posts some of what went on as we wrote the script for the movie; basically, a behind the scenes of the production and the writing process. We’ll call these Production Notes. These types of posts will have a little touch of rambling, since they’re personal experiences. This post is the perfect example, so enjoy, if that’s your thing.

What better place to start than when I was hired…


Some very early concept art of Ethan. © 2011 Gina Fote

I was looking for a job at the time, just having arrived in Florida around the summertime in 2010. I was using all the normal avenues at my disposal: applying blindly to companies I was interested in, looking around for any help wanted signs, and scouring the internet for job postings.

One of the places I checked daily was Craigslist. Near the end of summer, I stumbled upon a post by Laura Blair-Blackwelder (the producer of the movie), stating that she had a concept for a movie, wanted to get her production company off the ground, and was looking for writers and artists familiar with the three act movie structure to work pro bono on a script until financing could be secured.

This job I found intriguing. I mean, I still needed a paying job, but I thought the opportunity to write a movie script was something I couldn’t pass up; I never considered that I would ever even look at a movie script, let alone work on one. It was something new and interesting, outside my scope, that would at least be worth experiencing, even if it didn’t pay out in the end. I had no idea what a three act movie structure was, but after about 5 minutes of googling, I realized it was nothing more than a fancy phrase for basic story structure.

So I contacted her and we set up a meeting at a little hipster coffee shop called The Globe. I didn’t know it was a coffee shop at the time; I actually wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know if I was dealing with an individual or a company. I felt like it was just going to be one or two people (it did end up being just Laura and her husband, Adam) but I dressed as if I was going to a company job interview, because I wasn’t absolutely sure. So, as I’m sure you can tell, I was little out of place in this hole-in-the-wall coffee shop, and I was slightly overdressed on top of that…

But it didn’t matter much. I gave Laura a sample of my writing (a short story I had written a while back), which she read very briefly before nodding in approval. That doesn’t mean she didn’t think it was the most amazing thing ever and stopped reading out of sheer ecstasy, only able to make the slightest sign of approval without falling unconscious. I’ll admit: that’s still a possibility. Just one of those things you go to the grave never knowing.

But she also may not have had much of a choice: I was the only writer to answer her job posting. She wondered if I would do the writing myself. That, I wasn’t so sure of: a lot of work for one man with no pay.

She said she would help, as well as bring a friend on. I said I could bring my brother on as well if she’d like. I explained that we work well together, and like all brothers, are willing to combat each other’s ideas and beliefs with such public ferocity that most strangers can only blush at such a faux pas. This charming concept pleased her and she agreed. Or was, like, eh, whatever.

I pulled my brother in with the same spiel I used to convince myself: it’s a chance of a lifetime to do something you wouldn’t normally consider. Who cares if you don’t get paid; let’s at least experience the effort! Hook…Line…etc.

After we met up with Laura again (as well as the artists she brought on: Erica Rivera and Gina Fote) and signed some initial contracts on the rights of the final script and possible future pay, we set up our first writer’s meeting around September, which we used to familiarize ourselves with the story concept and to construct an outline.

Our next post in this production series will detail how and where we met to work and the difficulties therein.

- Chris

15 notes

  1. imaginative-flourish posted this