Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Scribble Scribble Scribble

So, now I’m trying my hand at writing too. The story is set about 30 years in the future and revolves around one evening when the first human scientists return from Mars and celebrate their mission's success at a grand gala event - only to discover that they have also brought an alien monster back to earth. 

Mwah ha haaa!

Time to order all those creepy films I don’t like – The Astronaut’s Wife and Red Planet and whatever else…

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Creative Hydra

Matt’s idea was smashed a while ago, but we have picked up the pieces.

We just listened to a whole list of the reasons it couldn’t be done – largely outdoor locations, child cast, vast set dressing, action, marketing a children’s film…

More info on our company blog.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Fazed & Dazed

So, all of us have been reading so many scripts that we now rate our dreams out of ten.

It’s not hard to get a response from hundreds of aspiring writers on mandy.com or over facebook, but it turns out there’s a reason most of these scripts are available to us. They are, ahem, not very impressive

We have been asking for just a synopsis initially, until something grabs our interest, but even so.

We’ve signed NDA agreements with paranoid writers, we’ve courted people who look promising based on their website pitches, we’ve approached generous literary agents and asked for the unread scripts on their shelves, we’ve milked our friends and previous colleagues…

To be fair, we have actually read some pretty great pieces. Not so great that we could use them to raise a few million, but with promising strengths. The problem is that we’re really looking for something very very specific:

A budget under a million, playing to our directors strengths, in a marketable genre, already completed and available without a steep writer’s fee.

For a moment there, we got so desperate we even considered Grampas Gay Vacation. It sure had a marketable title.

Now we have decided to slow this process down a little, as much as that’s a sad thing and I’m a little worried about momentum, it may be for the best. We’ve chatted to the directors and they have agreed that even their untrained writing skills could match our script shortlist.

So now we’re writing our own screenplays. A feature for each director – a children’s film for Matt and a psychological thriller for Ben.


Sunday, 15 November 2009

Cards on the Table

It’s been quite a tough task for the directors to write alongside their full time jobs and it seems this new approach may be delaying us more than ever before.

Luckily, there are signs of hope – Matt has an emerging plot outline which looks like it should be a lot of fun. He’s perpetually inspired by the films of the 80s, so there’s a definite element of The Goonies in the script. Kids on an adventure – and the characters are very cute, but I have moments of brief heart palpitation when I think of the budget we will need to build a futuristic town, even a rural one, even with CG and not very far in the future…but plans shall be made!

Meanwhile, Ben has been offered help from one of our new colleagues at the office – he’s a business development guy with an imagination that burns through pop culture 24 hours a day! And he’s decided to try his hand at a heist/horror, which turns out to be quite a nifty mix of genres. I’m looking forward to seeing the first draft of that one.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Feature Film Recipe

We know what to do. We already have:

3 producers (very excited)
2 directors (multi-skilled)
1 limited company (trusted)

We need:

1 genius screenplay

…and some seasoning.

Unfortunately, the key ingredient is missing. So here we are, searching for a story and a good writer or two.

The Journey Begins

A week ago, I sat down with two friends in a pub in Soho (London) and introduced them to each other. They are both young producers and the three of us naturally started talking about how to fund a feature film.

Andrew, a charming fellow South African, introduced us with great enthusiasm to The Dentist Method.

This was something he had heard about where you call up all the dentists you can find and persuade them to invest in your movie, mainly for the pleasure of doing something fun. Apparently dentists have both high levels of personal wealth and the highest suicide rate.

At first we laughed and ordered another pint, but soon we were inspired by this simple solution to all the funding drama and we began to ask each other – why not? What are we waiting for? 

So we resolved to form a team and get a feature off the ground. We also decided immediately that we are not aiming for the next BAFTA award winning project – our movie just has to be made, from idea to return on investment.

That is the challenge.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

"Who" am I?

As if that question was easy to answer.

My name is Thembisa CochraneI am now a producer at a company called Devilishly Handsome Productions (DHP). I opened this diary when we had just decided to embark on a wonderful journey – our first feature film.

Some of the characters you may come across:

Andrew Faure
(producer on several features, some with me)
Zuza Fabiszak (media finance advisor and producer on our features)
Matthew Esterhuizen (director of House Rules and colleague at DHP)
Benjamin Collins (colleague at DHP and exec producer for all projects under that company)

“What” is this diary all about?

It's a professional hazard - I like stories.

And as a human being, I like sharing. So I opened a diary to share my experiences and hear stories from other filmmakers out there and maybe gain some insight from people who have nothing to do with film, but have figured out a thing or two anyway and are kind enough to let me know.

"Why" is the hardest question to answer.

I am certainly a dreamer, but I like to think some dreams (without the monsters) can be achieved. Producing or directing or writing a feature film has always been one of my dreams. Some people say “dream big” - I say “dream broad”.