A new concept that, literally, came from a dream. I woke up remembering a dream where I felt I was watching a movie happen in front of me. I was dumbfounded at the twist and couldn’t stop thinking about it as I got ready for work. Then, like so many dreams, 90% had vanished before I finished brushing my teeth.
I worked to recapture what I felt was the essence of my experience in a synopsis, then, all excited, sent it around to some movie making friends. I was bubbling over with the imagery and visuals still swimming in my head and was absolutely convinced it would get Oscars.
By the end of the week, though, I became convinced it was never going to be made, never seen. Talk about an emotional roller coaster! Because the concept wouldn’t let me rest, I turned my synopsis into a short story. Short stories often make excellent starting points for scripts, since novels are usually way too complex to adequately capture in 90-120 minutes on screen. But my short story was very short indeed, not even 5K words (a typical screenplay is 20-25K words). I had said all I wanted to say, exactly the way I wanted to say it, and the best I estimated was around 20 pages for the script. With scripts (more or less) running at 1 minute of finished product per page of script, that was way less than what’s necessary for a feature. Discussing the concept with my peers, I became convinced there was no way to extend it to feature-length without compromising my original vision. And there is no money in shorts. At all. No matter what the production values or who the cast and crew is.
There it most likely would have lay. Until early last week when I found out about an organization that would fund shorts. Up to $40K, which I felt would be more than enough to get my vision captured the way I wanted. So I quickly sat down and converted my short story into a script (made easy because I wrote it to be easy) and wound up with 21.5 pages, very close to my original estimate. I contacted some cast and crew to find out if they were up for being part of the project (the application wants to know who else is involved) and began to work on a budget. The deadline is the end of this month, so this week. I’m pretty happy with what I have. The question is: do the contest organizers agree.
Now, though, even if this organization isn’t impressed, I may be motivated to seek out others and see if they’ll be. Making quality movies is expensive and I’ve exhausted my wife’s willingness to spend our own money, so this might be what it takes to get enough experience to convince people to back me for the features I’ve been working on.
Or not, but at least it has me excited for a while. Their decision doesn’t come until the end of the year, though, so time enough to forget about it and move on to other projects.