Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Finally, Something to Report

Hello all! Sorry that there was not post last week, but we didn't really have anything new to say.

I'm happy to report that we were able to write this week after not getting anything done last week. We worked on the same scene I mentioned in the previous post, and after getting our thoughts together we added a page to the scene. I think this is a huge step forward for this movie. This is an important scene, where the chemistry between the main character and the love interest needs to be established. The scene works pretty well, and it is funny which is always the main concern. Now we just need to work on the next scene which is even more important and will most likely be a lot harder. Hooray!

Also of note, we came up with a new mantra today. It was "It can always be changed later" but then we promptly changed that to "Everything is better with rum." I wish I got paid to write. Even better would be getting paid to write drunk. Oh well.

Some friends of the blog might like to know that I recently purchased a cheap video camera which I will be using to make some short films over the summer. Nothing high minded, just looking to have fun. If anyone would like to help, let me know. Especially if you have sound equipment that can record sound separately. The microphone on this thing is crappy.

That's all for now, folks. Get home safe.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Script Frenzy is done...

But we continue the writing of the script anyway. We didn't make it to the 100 pages required to win April's Script Frenzy Contest, but we did pretty well for only getting together only a few days this month. If nothing else, it got us to start writing the rough draft, and the pages we do have is a good start.

We had our first writing session in May this week, and it went fairly well considering life is popping up all over the place these days. Jessie had finals this week, and I'm preparing to move to cheaper lodgings, so I don't think it's too surprising that we didn't do a whole lot of writing.

Writing did take place, however, and it's a pivotal scene that we are working on right now. Our main character talks to our love interest for the first time. It's a fairly difficult scene to write because we have to make it clear that these people have chemistry and we need to make it seem natural that he would go out with her later that night. All in all a huge task, and I imagine this is one scene that will be rewritten many times, and I'll enjoy developing it over the coming months.

For those that want to keep track, even though it means little at this point, we wrote another page and a half, almost all of it dialogue. Food figures heavily into this scene, like it seems to in all of our scenes. I wonder if that means anything...

Now it's time to start moving. See you all next week.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Script Frenzy Update 5

It's late Wednesday night (early Thursday morning) so it must be time for an update.

I'm happy to say that some good writing took place this Tuesday. We did a little re-writing on the script to resolve some story problems which caused us to have a smaller page count. After this we actually added to the screenplay. Most of it was dialogue, which is good because this is going to be a dialogue heavy movie. The result is an overall gain of 1 page, bringing the total to 12 pages of written script.

Not enough good news you say? Something else we discussed this week was our title sequence. Now, we have what I think is a pretty good scene to put the titles over, but there is something that has always bothered me about it. I like the idea behind it, and I think it is fairly original, but I don't think it sets the right tone for the movie. Jessie and I had a talk about it, and I think we have something that will work even better. I am very excited to write the dialogue for this scene; I think it will be very funny.

And there's more to be excited about. Jessie and I (mostly Jessie) came up with an interesting and clever way to do some marketing for our movie. If done right, it will be incredibly subtle and be drawn out over a couple years. I don't want to say exactly what it is right now, but we will be revealing it to our loyal followers soon.

It's been quite awhile since I've had this much to talk about. I'm all tired from writing this much. Well, that and the lateness of the hour.

Goodnight all!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Script Frenzy Update 4

As promised, here is the weekly update on the status of our script.

Unfortunately, I have nothing new to report. Jessie and I have been unable to get together to write this week. Things have been very busy for Jessie, what with the school wrapping up and all.

Hopefully, we'll be able to get together in the next few days to write and I'll have a more interesting update afterwards.

Good night for now.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Script Frenzy Update 3

Here is the first follow up on my weekly updates. I almost didn't make it.

The page count for this week is, wait for it....

The same.

What? Yeah, we worked on the script this week, but we didn't have very much time. Mostly we took what we had written already and made it make sense. Which is important. Next time we will add to the script. Overall it's been very productive writing.

We did notice that there seems to be some sort of food in every scene though. It's like The Godfather, except without all the mob stuff.

That's it for now. See you next Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Script Frenzy Update 2

Two quick items for tonight.

First, I have finally gotten more of what's been written into script format and I've uploaded it to Script Frenzy. We have a grand total of, wait for it....

11 Pages!!!!

As you can see we are well on our way. Wish us luck in getting to a significant number of pages.

The second item for tonight. This post is is coming on a Wednesday night. Expect a new post ever Wednesday night from now on. I will be making sure that I will post something every Wednesday from now on. There will be joint posts and posts from Jessie if she's ever not busy enough, but at least one every week from me or your money back.

That's all for this post. Until next week...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Script Frenzy Update 1

We had our first session for writing the actual screenplay tonight. It went really well and we got a lot done for people with no attention sp... look, a penny.

What I've come to tell you is that I just finished formatting tonight's work into screenplay format and we have just over 4 pages. That means we just need to do what we did tonight 25 more times and we're free. Since this will never happen, you should just congratulate us for getting beyond the blank page and writing something down. All in all though, it was fun.

Another page count update will follow as soon as we have new pages.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Script Frenzy

100 pages in 30 days! Jason and I are going to participate in Script Frenzy this month. Script Frenzy is an international writing event that challenges people to write a 100-page script (whether screenplay, TV show, graphic novel, etc.) in 30 days. There aren't any prizes (except for certificates for the people who succeed), but there's a community of writers to reach out to for support and a bunch of other resources. Check out the website!

I have an extremely busy month, and Jason is currently looking for a new job and place to live, so it's going to be a challenge to find the time, but I think it will be really good motivation.  We got together last night to fill in a few of the holes we still had in the plot. There are still a few spots we think we might need some fleshing out, but we decided that we're ready to write. Writing the screenplay for the scenes we already have figured out will help us solidify the characters and the feel of the film and will hopefully help us fill in those holes. 

Wish us luck! We'll keep you updated.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Communication Failure

Don't worry! I promise Jason and I are communicating just fine.

I'm worried that I'm having trouble explaining to people how awesome our movie is going to be. Whenever we tell people we're writing a movie, they ask us something along the lines of, "What's it about?" I have trouble deciding how to answer this question. "It's a romantic comedy about indie 20-somethings living in Boulder. And there are poly people!" doesn't really do it justice.

I'm not sure how much of our humor actually translates to other people, either. We certainly make other people laugh in daily life, but we make ourselves laugh even more. I've tried explaining a couple of the funny scenes we've come up with to various acquaintances, and they often don't get it. Perhaps I'm doing a bad job of explaining. I think a lot of our humor relies on visual cues. Also, we know the characters, so situational humor makes sense to us when it doesn't to people who don't know the whole story. I anticipate that I'll get better with practice at helping people understand that we're writing something entertaining. And maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Right now, one of the things Jason and I have been talking about is a logline for the movie. How do you describe a complex, psychological plot in two sentences without making it sound incredibly boring?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Storm After The Calm

It's been quite awhile, so gather around for the news.

Craziness has been the overall motif of my life lately. Wicked Faire was awesome, and I am definitely looking forward to going back and eventually shooting a movie there. We were having too much fun to get much writing done while we were there, though, and it's such an amazing event that it was hard to get back into the swing of "real life" afterwards. Add to that new relationships and the fact that I was laid off from my job, and it's easy to see why it has been so long since you've heard anything from us.

I am happy to say that we have been working on the story though, and we are getting ever closer to having the first complete scene list. It seems that some good connections have been made and our little screenplay is going to get every chance to actually get turned into a movie. I have been working on preparing materials for pitching the story to people. In fact, I am going to pitch to my family first, that way I can get some good feedback and who knows, maybe they'll invest.

Something else I am working on at the moment is setting up our LLC. This way we can start setting up investments and work on getting our names out there. We will also have a company name to register the script under, that way our personal assets are untouchable if anyone decides they want to sue us for any stupid reason.

I should have a logline finished by the end of the day. The logline is the short description you read in papers or magazines. Usually about two sentences long. Also, I have every hope that a treatment will be finished soon. When it is, we will be able to start showing it to investors, and hopefully get someone to pay us to write the movie (it's a bit crazy, but I can dream can't I?).

That's all the news I have right now. Expect a big joint post sometime in the near future.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Working Hard, or Hardly Working?

Gather round boys and girls, we have a much-needed update.

We've been hard at work on the movie, taking time out of busy schedules to write for no money. So we can't really say it's been paying off, but we're enjoying ourselves. We have pretty much half of the movie written in treatment form, and we have a good idea of what happens in the rest of it. For those that don't know, a treatment is the movie written out in story form and is usually 3-4 pages for a feature-length script. So we have a long way to go for the 120 pages of a typical screenplay, but we're making steady progress. Once we figured out the major character Jason mentioned in his last post, the entire first act fell into place. That meant we had to reconsider most of the third act, but it's going to be a lot better than we originally planned.

One thing that became clear about the third act is that we want it to culminate at Jeff Mach's Wicked Winter Renaissance Faire. Wicked Faire has been described in many ways. Jessie likes to say that it is "teh awesome," and that it is a con at which people from many overlapping subcultures get together for fun and profit. At Wicked Faire one is likely to run into rennies, trekkies, Star Wars nerds, comic book geeks, cosplayers, goths, gamers, steampunkers, erotic hypnotists, zydrate addicts, and kinky people. It's a 16+ event and there's an 18+ room for various adults-only wares and performers. We're going to be at this year's Faire in Whippany, NJ from Feb. 20-22 doing "research" for the movie. We promise to work hard and not have any fun.

Also, there's going to be a shadowcasting of Repo! The Genetic Opera, and the co-creator/co-star/artist Terrance Zdunich will be there signing autographs, selling zydrate, and hopefully coming to our party! *Fangirl moment*

Anyway, back to the movie. One of the scenes we recently wrote for the second act provides an un-clumsy place to explain a lot about polyamory and how it works for real people (even though our characters are figments of our imaginations, they're still real to us!).

That's it for now, kids. Back to the salt mines. Maybe we'll see you at Wicked Faire!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Sometimes a character will surprise you.

We have been planning our characters out for about two months now. We had them pretty well figured out. All of a sudden, one of the characters didn't feel right. I didn't even realize it was happening until it had already happened. It hit me like a ton of brick-shaped character development. All of a sudden, things made sense, and I didn't even realize that they made no sense. Because this character suddenly changed, we've had to change our time line a bit. I think the changes worked in a big way, but time will be the true judge.

One of the best things about this minor overhaul to our script is how we (Jessie and I) were completely in sync. I realized that we needed a change about halfway through Saturday. I felt from the beginning that there was going to be an argument over this. I prepared myself for the argument, came up with every reason I could to justify changing something we had worked on for two months. Finally we were able to get together and talk about the script and I was prepared for a knock down drag out. After all of this, Jessie listened to what I had to say and agreed. She had been feeling that there was something off about that character as well. I've never felt like I was on such a similar wavelength with a writing partner. I'm looking forward to all the work that needs to be done.

Really, It's All About the Money

First of all, pardon my inconsistency with writing on a regular basis. I'm a student as well as a nursing assistant, and my schedule can be a little crazy. Jason and I have also decided that, although this blog is important, we won't have anything to write about if we spend our precious time on the blog instead of actually writing the movie.

I probably won't always write on the same topics as Jason, but I think writing about why we want to make movies, and this movie specifically, is a good topic for the beginning of a blog about a movie.

My desire isn't as straightforward as Jason's. Like I said in my last post, I've been writing and making up stories since I was a young child. I never really thought seriously about writing a screenplay; I always fancied myself as a novelist or a poetess. However, I've always been interested in the performance arts. I took dance classes from ages 4 to 18, I took piano lessons after school, and played cello and sang in school. As a little girl, I had a trunk full of costume pieces and my friends and I would make up a story, dress up in improvised costumes and put on a show. Theater has always appealed to me. I also frickin' love movies.

I used to be a literature major. The study of literature involves a lot of looking at the devices the author uses and what messages they convey. Not only do I find this really fun and interesting, I'm also pretty good at it. Film allows for even more interpretation. Not only does one get to look at the words, the plot, the characters and the themes, but one can also examine the cinematography, the blocking, the production design, the lighting, etc., etc.

This not only appeals to me as a watcher of movies, but also as a writer. Having that many more tools to work with potentially makes the process of depicting a story richer and perhaps even more meaningful. I say this with complete and total respect for novelists and poets; I love those forms of writing as well, of course. Verse and prose allow for layers of meaning in different forms (metaphor, imagery, even meter and rhyme), and film does as well.

Plus, you know, it's fun. Jason and I have gotten a lot of work done on our story, but it's enjoyable work, even when we disagree about something. I anticipate that the rest of the process will be just as fun (and probably more).

Not to mention the potential for fame and fortune.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Hello again, dear reader. Jason here, broadcasting from my desk at work.

I have a topic today, one supplied by my good friend and writing partner. "Why do I want to make a movie." When it was first brought up I felt that I was back in English class writing a prepared essay. I've never really thought about why I want to make a movie. Sure, I have the obligatory prepared answers:

"I want to tell stories."

"I love to entertain people."

"I want to create."

I tell people these answers all the time, and they have the added bonus of being reasonable and true. But none of them truly answer the question. I could do all of those things without making a movie, and I would probably be easier off. I'm not sure I even understood the question or the answer until today. Or maybe I've always known the answer but not been able to put it into words.

I've been thinking about what to write on this topic since Jessie brought it up to me. I thought I could talk about how my parents took me to movies in the theater throughout my childhood. I could talk about how magical movies are to me, how they draw me in, how they take me away. All this is true, but none of it is the real reason.

So why, why would I force myself into an industry that I have virtually no chance of succeeding in? Why would I put myself into a position where I might have to put myself into a huge debt that which I would probably still be paying off 20 years from now? Why would I want to kill myself over a product that needs a miracle just to be completed, let alone get picked up for distribution, and then another miracle before I will even see a dime? Why, for the love of God, would I do this?

Becuase I need to.

What the Hell is This All About Anyway?

A movie, duh! You ask stupid questions.

Oh, you want details? Well then, stay tuned, dear reader, we're about to tell you. And with a minimal amount of comma errors!

We hesitate to call our movie a romantic comedy, but that is essentially what it is. The typical romcom is unrealistic crap. We want our movie to reflect our experiences with romance, relationships, and sex. The script will represent the ways we and our friends discuss these topics and the types of humor we use (from the banal to the esoteric). Generally romantic comedies don't reflect the diversity of the people we know, nor do they include alternative forms of relationships. This movie will have poly characters, kinky characters, queers, geeks, goths, atheists and agnostics (maybe a Uni), activists, hippies, vegetarians, and Methodists! And many more!

Most films, even independent ones, only show the socially accepted forms of relationships. This film will embrace the plethora of ways people interact with and love each other. For instance, our main character and his love interest are heterosexual and monogamous, but his best friend is bisexual and polyamorous. Polyamory is a concept we would like to see be better represented in movies, so we're taking the initiative. Most movies that deal with the idea of non-monogamous relationships depict those relationships as short-lived, or ill-conceived and the people who participate in them as amoral or confused. We know this to be untrue. Our poly characters have issues (they're human, after all), but polyamory isn't one of them.

That's enough about the broader ideas, let's get down to the nitty-gritty. At the core, our story is about two twenty-somethings who fall in love, but when the honeymoon period is over, they realize that they need to figure out their own problems before they can have a healthy relationship. The movie is about their relationship, but even more so, it is about them learning to be comfortable with themselves.

Our characters live in Boulder and Denver, and that's where we'd like to shoot the film. We love Boulder, and we'd like to show our viewers why. It's important to us to depict Boulder authentically: the places locals actually frequent, the mountains, and the people.

Oh my god, we're dying of fatigue. More later.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'll Try Not to Sing Out of Key

Hi all, this is Jessie.

I'm not sure what to write here, so I'll continue on the thread Jason started: why write with a partner?

I used to write all the time. I wrote in a diary every day as a little girl. Poetry seemed to spill out of me as a teenager. I started plenty of short stories, most of which I never finished. I think it was because I wanted to write a novel, but didn't have the focus or time to complete a project.

I don't want to wax too personal here, but I feel it's important to mention that I have bipolar disorder. Most of the ways it's affected my life aren't important to this project. However, it has had an effect on my writing, so I'll mention this bit. When I'm hypomanic (i.e. I only go a little crazy, not full-blown psychotic), it's very easy for me to write creatively. I write a lot, and well. However, when I was diagnosed and put on lithium, my creative drive seemed to leave me. Lithium was horrible for me and I was put on different medication that's not so famous for killing people's creativity. However, it seems that when I stopped writing a lot, I got out of the habit. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to come up with anything worth reading ever again.

Then I met Jason. Anyone who knows him knows that he talks about movies incessantly. Soon after I met him, he started carrying around a composition notebook in which he was writing his movie. I thought it was cool that he was committed to a project and actually working on it. I sincerely hoped he would be able to write his film and get it made. I really had no aspirations to be included in the project till he asked me to help him write. Apparently he couldn't get anything he wrote in that notebook to come together into something cohesive.

Having a writing partner makes the process a lot less daunting and more enjoyable for me. I don't have to come up with every plot point, every character flaw, every theme on my own. I don't have to second guess every idea I have and every line I write because he does it for me. We bounce ideas off each other and they get better the more we bounce them. Since we're such good friends, I can tell him when his ideas suck and vice versa (though the former happens much more often). We're both clever people, and I think we're more clever together.

I'm very glad Jason asked me to help with his untitled movie project. It means a lot to me that he thinks highly enough of me to let me in on it. It feels good to be writing again.

Friday, January 23, 2009

On the Difficulty of Shared Vision

Hello Peoples, Jason here.

I was recently asked about the difficulty of writing with a partner. I would like to address this briefly. Why this, you might ask? Because I'm at work (read: bored) and I really need distraction.

People, by which I mean amateur writers like us, have told me they don't think they would be able to write with a partner and give up their vision. I don't think that I give up any of my vision writing with people. I think they help me refine what I want to say. Sure we argue, but we usually end up agreeing. I don't see it as compromise. I see it as finding the best possible story.

I will say the difficulty comes in trying to express what I see in my head in a way that she can understand. Nothing is more difficult for me when it comes to writing. Sometimes I wish I could speak in images. But then they would probably be in the wrong format and I would have to render the image into the proper format and that would take awhile and by then I could've just come up with the right words.

Enough of that nonsense, back to the topic at hand. I find that I need a partner in order to get anything done. Otherwise, my thoughts just jumble in my head like... so many... things... that jumble. Damn, epic fail right there. If I could just write in jpeg this would be easier.

Off topic again. Fuck. My mind wanders something fierce.

So, I'm curious if anyone writing out there, whatever you're writing, is unable to write with a partner. Are you just unable to function in that way? Or perhaps you do write with a partner, how does it work for you? Do you have any suggestions? Yes, I'm fishing for comments.

Shit, the boss is coming. Gotta go.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

To Vaguely Go Where Others Have Gone Before...

We are Jessie and Jason and this is about the process of making our first movie. Welcome to our hell blog.

We are two overworked and underpaid twenty-somethings from Boulder, CO. Jason is obsessed with movies. Seriously, he needs to get over it. Maybe making one will help. Jessie is obsessed with industrial hemp. Jason is getting tired of hearing about it. She has been known to write a thing or two. Jason can't hold a pen. WIth Jason's movie geekiness and Jessie's pen-holding skills combined, they should be able to put something not-shitty together.

Here's the story so far, kids:

We've been working for almost two months on the preliminary stages of the screenplay. This means we don't have any script yet, but we have a vague roadmap of where we want to go. We think. Maybe. We know there are characters. And a plot. Kind of. It's all a little foggy.

Right now the movie is about 40 pages of green scribbling in Jessie's Moleskine and several poorly formatted text documents on Jason's computer. When we start talking about index cards, you'll know we mean business.

The general story is laid out, now we need to nail down the specifics. We are getting to know the main characters pretty well. Now that they have lives of their own, maybe they can write the screenplay for us. They're still not ready to meet the outside world, but we will introduce them in good time.

Some scenes have revealed themselves easily (like strippers) while others have taken a lot of coaxing (like nuns). Arguments have broken out, but there's been a surprising lack of fisticuffs so far. We have been known to swat each other on the arm, though. We are so mature.

We have thought about casting a smidgen, but we agree that it's little more than pipe dreams at this point. If we do get this cast, though, it will be bitchin'.

That's all we have for now. Jessie has been kept up long enough, and we both have "real" jobs to get to in the morning.

Signing off,
the Management