The Modern Toss Diary: Entry 2
Entry 2: The Script and Oh My None Existent God I Need A Crew!
After laying down the dates for Modern Toss, I suddenly thought, ‘shit, better get that script written’. This increased to 11 when I watched this: http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/star-wars-episode-1-the-phantom-menace/
A week off work later, I’d written just over half of a pretty decent stab at a final version. Annoyed at a life that involved returning to a fairly putrid hair netted hat and a rota that had me working an entire set-up alone, I decided to be the most irritable human being in history, opting to demonstrate this by swearing at my assistant manager before she could even pronounce the ‘g’ in ‘good morning’. Five minutes later, I was informed I was not going to be on my lonesome, and I had in fact been given the next three shifts as paid holiday.
Perspective thus gained; I spent the rest of the shift in a mire of guilt, renewed love for my assistant manager and devising a timetable that would allow me to watch the second and third season of The Wire while also finishing Modern Toss.
Pausing my attempt to create the world’s greatest playlist on my Ipod (1105 tracks so far and counting), I spent the rest of the week writing and writing and writing. I always write everything by hand, then type that up, so every draft effectively becomes two drafts. It yields some decent results but my none-existent god it takes a lot out of you. By the Wednesday I’d reached a dimension of writers block I didn’t know existed, not only could I not think of anything to write, it actually hurt attempting to. It felt like my brain was at the mercy of an octopus armed with 8 high powered whisks and a grudge. I took a break encompassing friends who know about intelligent things like fatal familial suicide (a disease so cool it’s made it into the script) and cheese based comedy. I didn’t lift a pen Thursday, saw Tom, set up for a new short (Present), and saw David Fincher does The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, accompanied by a master poker player whose five minutes of fame can be viewed here …………………………………………………………… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvKM5EkdA6w&context=C371ba1dADOEgsToPDskIPrLQQFq3dS8_59ZeLGHsE
For once, not doing the work I’m supposed to, actually helped, I hit a buzz and late Sunday night I finished putting the individual scenes into a full draft. Somehow it fitted the intended run time, and all that was left was to then read the whole thing in one go for the dreaded proof read.
‘Holy shit’, thought I, ‘this is really really good, I like this, no I love this, it’s the best thing I’ve written, and I’ve written some good stuff!’
The final version of Modern Toss is pretty much unrecognisable from the original three hundred page disaster, but it works. The main reason, I think, is, having watched lots of films, made a few and read some screenplays, I’ve started to understand things like story structure and characterisation. On a low budget film like this, it’s always going to end up being about strong characters and interesting story telling, and Toss hits that.
Filled with a self-congratulatory warm glow, I proudly emailed the script out to almost every film related person I’ve come into contact with, friends, potential crew, actors, Tom. Universally, they all agreed not to respond. Eventually, I got a day late one o’clock in the morning text from Tom, stating he’d read Modern Toss, commenting on a change I’d made he felt worked, and that he loved it.
Hang on, he loved it? Tom has never ever, in the entire time I’ve known him, said he loved anything. He’s liked a few things, laughed at a lot of things, and even admitted he didn’t hate everyone in the world once, but never, ever, has he admitted to loving anything. The best praise I’d known him give a script before was ‘Yup, it works’. I had to investigate further. Turned out, he really loved it and actually laughed out loud reading it. Rule of thumb, If Tom Hinksman loves your screenplay, it’s good, very good. Then actors like Grace Fisher liked it too, and Toss crossed from a good film to read, to a good film to make. I went to bed that night feeling like a modern day pharaoh.
And woke up in a panic, realising we knew nothing about anything and we needed to get a crew together. Getting a crew together would be a lot easier if I knew what a crew really did, another rule of thumb, when in doubt,contactBierton, Nicola Bierton. She’s worked at pretty much every film job I can name and is one of those people on a film set who actually seems to know what everyone is supposed to be doing. Chelsey Burdon gets name dropped as another wonder like that, but she’s emigrated somewhere or other, or gone to London to make it big as a journalist, or died, one of those three.
Miss Bierton didn’t disappoint, within four texts she’d agreed to come on as AD for just expenses, alerted me to a #shudder# networking event #end shudder# taking place soon. An event I probably should (but equally probably won’t) go to, suggested building interest in the project and told me about a shade of blue called Midnight Bay. That’s one role down. Next, finding a producer and more importantly; finding out what a producer does.
First though, we filmed Present, it’s the most serious film I’ve done in terms of tone, and I wanted to try a roaming, handheld camera style which I’m not sure has come off, this may be another Tom Hinksman saves, editing job. There are the usual sound issues as well, so it’s a good chance to get some sound editing practice. We used two pretty impressive actors Maddison Tinsley and Kyle Williams. They even did read-throughs and arranged their own rehearsals before we filmed. They’ve both agreed to act as readers during auditions, which will help a lot.
Next the hunt for a producer…………
Written By Sam ‘He mostly writes at night, mostly’ McKinstrie