2010, both personally and professionally, has been an amazing year. Huge opportunities came my way, many of which have yet to fully pay off. I thought I would take a moment to break it down for you.
That is, the "me" side of the professional success. For the last couple years, I've often measured my how well I did each year with how much I got done creatively, factoring in scripts written, videos shot, etc. I always felt lousy, like I was falling behind, when I didn't have two scripts written and completed per year, when I hadn't shot anything for a while. But sometimes that's okay. Regardless, 2010 was a very busy year for me on my road to writing and directing and I've laid it out below:
Tim and the Space Cadets - Superhero Music Video
Though it was shot in October of 2009, I didn't finished editing and coloring 'Superhero' until the new year and it wasn't released until February. All in all, it was a lot of fun to work on and turned into a very successful video. You can watch it below:
Mateo - 'Get To Know Me' Music Video
Again, though it was originally shot in 2009, the music video for the single 'Get To Know Me' by Mateo wasn't released until 2010. A combination of live footage shot as part of his "Live at Swing House" DVD and personal tour footage shot by Mateo himself, the video I directed and edited, has gained massive traction, especially after VEVO picked it up on their YouTube channel, giving it nearly 400,000 views so far.
Feature Comedy Screenplay
Many of you following this blog remember that the first half of the year was all about this new script that Travis and I were working on. Since we started working on it after I started writing this blog, I wanted to give you a glimpse into the process of writing a screenplay from the beginning while collaborating with producers. Then, around May, I stopped writing about it. Why? Well, after about nine months of work, and three drafts of the script, the producer thought it best to part ways. I won't go into details about our response (let's just say we disagreed as to where the lack of quality was really coming from) but we ultimately stopped working on the script and found ourselves directionless. We had just spent nine months working on the project, had nothing to show for it expect a 75% of the way there 3rd Draft and didn't know what to do next.
The one thing we realized though (and this something I'm going to post about soon) was how much that situation sucked and how much we didn't want to go through it again. We had worked with an amazing producer on Glory Days (Blitzed) who really understood how to make a script better and found that not be to the case on this project. I think had Travis and I been given the opportunity to do what we wanted to, even as just a foundation, the script would have been a much bigger success.
We're still deciding what to do with the script but may sell it back to the original producer. We'll keep you updated. But this situation did lead us to a bigger project this year, one I'll talk about in a minute.
Blitzed (formerly Glory Days)
Well, after two years of fits and starts we finally settled on the fall to go out wide. Much of the time was spent trying to get a star attached, which in this town, in this climate, was just not a possibility, despite the conditions. Pretty much everyone who read it, loved it (so they tell us) but of course, no takers.
So, we decided to go out to the town with in the fall, but first we had to change the name. Why? Well, at this point, a number of people had read the script and more than likely, coverage was written about it. Because of that, it was probably in companies submissions systems. If someone at an agency gets a script, they'll often check to see if it's already been submitted and if coverage was written, thus saving themselves from reading a script they don't have to. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)
Change the name and you force people to read it again. :-) But seriously, it gives it a sense of freshness. You don't want readers saying "Wait, haven't I read this one?" and then skipping it. Our producer put together a list of people to take it, which included major studios and prod co's with studio deals. And we sent it out. Without agency support (I am not repped) we could only do much. Suffice to say that a number of the places have read it and while they didn't want to buy it they are interested in meeting with us. Others, we're still waiting to hear from.
Odds are, we won't sell it, at least, not now. It's a tough market out there, even for a script that we feel is as good as Blitzed.
The let down of not selling Blitzed combined with the disappointing experience on the other script threw Travis and I into a funk. Faced with "What's next?" we weren't really sure. But there was a project we had kept coming back to and had finally cracked the story.
Faced with having spent enormous amounts of time and creative energy on scripts and having nothing to show for it (after all, what is a script but a blueprint for a film) Travis and I decided it was time to something that would satisfy us creatively and leave us saying "We did it." And that was to write and producer Dig a short film we had been developing for the last couple years.
Personally, I was also ready to direct something. I hadn't directed a narrative in a long time, almost five years and was itching to do something. I don't really need to go into it, as I've covered and will keep covering it's progress but working on this project has been an amazing experience and we're only halfway done. We still haven't even started editing yet, something I hope to begin this week.
Dig has certainly been a highlight of 2010 and I'm sure Travis would agree. The greatest part, I feel, has been the fact that we created something, from beginning to end. It's not languishing in any one phase (like a screenplay) but it's real. We had great actors in it, great talent behind the camera and we now have something to show for it.
This has forced Travis and I to really sit and discuss what it is we want to do and what we want out of this career. This is a topic I'll cover in another post soon but the experience we went through on Dig certainly opened our eyes to new opportunities and made us wary of some of the more traditional routes out there that just don't seem open to newbies anymore.
Dare to Pass
An equally important reason for why 2010 ended up being such a great year was my employment and involvement with Anthony E. Zuiker's production company Dare to Pass. As the creator of CSI, Anthony is responsible for the biggest, most successful franchise in television history. The opportunity to work for him (and, after almost a year and change of being unemployed, to be PAID to do it) was a dream come true.
One of the biggest opportunities came with my involvement, from initial development (though mostly as a notetaker) all the way through release, with Dark Prophecy: A Level 26 Thriller,the follow up to Anthony's first Digi-novel, Level 26: Dark Origins.
In addition to helping develop the book, I also co-produced the cyber-bridges. During production, I got to operate the B-camera and once we moved into post I served as the Editor on the project. It was the first time I edited such a significant project and it was a huge amount of fun. Getting the chance to sit down and go through cuts with Anthony, to improve on scenes and have Anthony love it, and to not only see a project like this through to release (getting the chance to work very closely with composer Bill Brown, sound mixer Aaron Levy and color correctionist James Cohan) but to also be trusted to do so, was a huge "win" for me this year.
This and Dig were definitely the highlights of my year and it opened significant doors to new responsibilities and opportunities within Dare to Pass. On the Friday before break, Anthony promoted me to Creative Direct of Digital Media to help oversee the digital side of the company, including the third Digi-novel, iPad app development and more.
Needless to say, with all that happening in 2010, I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store.