Tag Archives: screenwriting

How Plan B turned into Plan A+

My bad! I haven’t posted here in way too long. But I have a really good reason…I’VE BEEN MAKING A MOVIE!

We are actually in the final stages of post production right now, and it’s turning out so much better than I ever could have imagined.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Plan B had its real start when I met Cedric Hill through Mandy.com. Cedric is a 15-year film veteran and an instructor at both the New York Film Academy and Rutgers University Newark. When Cedric first replied to my Mandy posting, I replied to him that I thought his background might be too extensive for my little project, but he asked to see the script anyway. A day later, he got back to me and asked if we could meet. Not next week or in a few months, as so many other respondents had suggested. The next day.

We met on a Saturday over lunch in Montclair, NJ. I explained my no-budget plan to him, and he didn’t seem to flinch. We discussed not only the script and how it came to be, but also film in general. He kind of dug deep into my soul, which was a little unnerving, but somehow I didn’t feel uncomfortable revealing so much about myself (I’ve come to understand that Cedric has a true gift when it comes to getting people to open up and to trust him, which is probably one of the qualities that makes him such a talented director).

As the meeting progressed, he said something to the effect of, “Okay, now let’s talk about what kind of money it will take to make this film.”

I was a bit taken aback, because I’d made it clear that this was to be a no-budget film.

“Well, I have about $800 left from a screenwriting prize,” I replied.

By this time, I was so excited about the progress we’d made over lunch, that my mind started racing, thinking about how to raise more money. Could I even think about asking people to contribute again after two failed crowdfunding attempts (I hadn’t received a cent of what had been raised because I hadn’t reached my lofty goals).

“Well,” I continued, “I was able to raise close to $5000 the last two times. With some work, I could probably convince my supporters to believe in me one more time.”

“That’s a good start,” he said. “And once we have something to show people, we can probably raise some more for post production. When were you planning to shoot?”

“Six weeks,” I said.

“Make it eight,” he responded. “Let’s hold auditions Tuesday. We start rehearsals Thursday.”

I became silent. He knew what I was thinking.

“Place the ad on Mandy. We’ll have plenty of responses.”

“So we’re going to make a movie,” I said as we walked out of the restaurant.

“Yes. We’re going to make a movie.”

(To be continued in future blog entries, and soon…I promise! In the meantime, take a look at this link of Cedric telling a story to The Secret Society Of Twisted Storytellers. It will give you insight as to who he is, why he works with such intensity and passion, and why it it’s so easy to open up to him and love him).

Plan B

Okay, so my second crowdfunding attempt didn’t go as expected.

Admittedly, I did spend a little time feeling bitter. The preliminary numbers indicated that I should have been successful had everyone who had promised their support come through. But they didn’t. Not by a long shot.

But such is life.

I still have a lot of faith in the project. If it weren’t a viable one, it’s unlikely that it would have received the awards it has. But this script is going on the shelf. For now, that is.

From the very beginning, my advisors at Seed & Spark (still the premier crowdfunding platform for independent film, in my opinion) stressed that I would have an uphill battle because, as a first-time filmmaker, I had nothing to show. It didn’t seem to matter that I’d put together an experienced production team, a seasoned lead actress and original music, or even that I have a host of screenwriting awards under my belt. People still need to see what I have done before they open their wallets.

Thus, as promised, I have come up with Plan B.

I have written a short script that I plan to shoot and edit myself. It is tentatively titled “Dongmei.”

Settings are simple. If necessary, I will sell my car to purchase or rent lighting, sound equipment and other gear. Shooting will be done on a first-generation Canon Rebel EOS, and editing will be done on Adobe Premiere Pro.

Principal photography will be in one location. Eight easily obtained locations will be used for super-quick, intercut flashbacks. Shooting will be done in and around Parsippany, NJ.

Running time will be about 20 minutes, and I plan to shoot in early summer. The whole shoot should take about five days (not necessarily consecutive).

The cast consists of two actors with speaking roles and a handful of actors with non-speaking roles for the quick flashbacks.

Volunteers are wanted for this no-budget film.

The female lead should be a Chinese woman, around 45, with no Chinese accent, but the ability to speak a few Chinese words (Cantonese or Mandarin).

The male lead should be around 35 (only his hands and arms will be seen).

Non-speaking cameo roles include:
• Two young thugs being beat up by a woman on a street corner.
• A young woman in her 20s witnessing the skirmish.
• A woman on a cell phone being attacked while sitting in a salon chair (any age).
• A Chinese girl around 7.
• A Chinese girl around 10.
• A Chinese girl around 16.
• A Chinese girl around 13.
• A gruff-looking Chinese nanny, around 45.
• A 35-year-old drunk father (lead male can double if necessary, as his face is never seen in lead role).
• A 35-year-old mother).
• 30-year-old skinny man (an uncle).
• A middle-aged overweight man (a john).
• A 46-year-old Chinese woman (an adult version of the 10 and 16-year-old.
The non-speaking cameos are very small, easily acted parts. All will get film credit.

Other volunteers are needed in virtually any capacity (sound, lighting, editing, sound editing, gofers, etc.). To volunteer, contact me at F1Promo@aol.com.

In the meantime, I have been approached by writer/director Caytha Jentis (“And Then Came Love” with Vanessa Williams and Eartha Kitt, “Bad Parents” with Janeane Garofolo and Cheri Oteri) to work with her as an associate producer on a new episodic comedy-drama pilot called “Now What?” We’re holding a kickoff fundraising event this Thursday evening, March 26, at The Slipper Room on New York’s lower east side. Feel free to join us! Admission is $20, and there will be a cash bar and some raucous entertainment. I will be posting more about the event on Facebook today. The project is an exciting one, and it will help me build professional credits that should benefit me on future projects.

So there you have it! Plan B, as promised. With Plan A only temporarily shelved!

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome!