August is always a bit of a slack month when nothing really happens because everyone’s on holiday. Which is fine and I try to spend that time to work on something of my own or to at least clear a bit of the backlog and get back on top.
Sadly, this year I’ve just picked idly at a treatment (and have been doing so for months) without really managing to get very far. It’s not that it’s a bad idea or something I’m not interested in, quite the contrary – I love the idea and can’t wait to get cracking on the script; it’s just … I don’t know. I keep poking at the odd line of the treatment endlessly and listlessly; but hey, it’s not problem because the producer’s not in any rush and I haven’t really got anything massively pressing to do.
The only problem with August being so slack is everyone comes back in September, refreshed, revitalised and ready to take on the world.
Why’s that a problem?
Because suddenly everyone wants a script and they want it right now, god damn it!
Friday I had a great meeting with a potential director for a project which has been bubbling away in the background for a while. It’s one of those hardy perennials which constantly threatens to bloom but so far hasn’t quite managed it. Its day will come, but until then it just ticks along as the producer pushes it inexorably closer to production.
One possibly massive leap forward is the potential new director who may or may not join the project depending on work load and schedules and a bit of revision on the script. He’s a guy who’s made a few well received films and would be very, very good for the project … but he (rightly) has issues with the script. Whereas he loves the characters and the dialogue and the general feel of the story, he feels the plot needs a few more twists and a good deal of clarification.
Part of the clarification problem is to remove the exposition needed to explain the events which happen just before the film starts. Part of the reason these elements aren’t already there was budgetary, but since this director also wants to significantly up the budget, then that’s no longer a problem. Bring on the hordes of war antelopes and the flying moon fish!
It was one of those meetings I really enjoy where the three of us (producer, director and writer) just throw ideas at each other as we try to make the script better. I left with a head full of ideas and the nagging feeling I should have made more notes and drawn less monkeys; but never mind. I’ve got a really good feeling about this as I head home.
Whilst I’m still in the car, mulling things over, the phone rings. It’s another producer with some great news: his partners love the synopsis I wrote and want to make the film. The money’s there, they just need the script – shooting starts in January. When can I start the script?
Um … fuck.
So now I’ve gone from fiddling aimlessly with one pain in the arse treatment to having to fit in a complete page one re-write and a new script (which will also mean another treatment) AND the pain in the arse treatment which will then doubtlessly instantly be needed as a script.
Don’t get me wrong, these are nice problems to have. Everyone wants to give me money and make films; but do they all have to do it at once? Suddenly the carefree whimsy of August explodes into an intensely well scheduled September where every hour is mapped out and every day has a quota to be fulfilled.
And yes, I love it.
Being busy is great and I produce much better and higher quality work when someone sets a deadline. So I’m looking forward to it and whatever lack of sleep September brings. Bring it on, bring it all on! First things first, where’s that fucking treatment?
Oh, there it is … hmm … right … I wonder what’s on telly?