25 August 2008

Is This It? Part 1

Hi there everyone. My name is Christopher Welch and I’m the writer (Thus in some ways the deranged bastard to blame for all this) of END. It dawned on me that as of yet I may be one of the only people that hasn’t contributed to this blog and that’s just sad since you know… writing’s my thing. Before I get started I think it only fair to warn you of a few things. First as a writer I tend to be a bit… oh why bother sugar coating it? I like to talk (Or in this case type) a lot! Hey, I’m a writer so what else do you expect? Also you’re going to probably find that I have the worst spelling of anyone that contributes to this here thing. I know as a writer I should blah, blah, blah but that’s a common misconception about writers just because we know how to write the words (And in my case write lots of them) doesn’t mean we know how to spell them. Sorry to you know destroy any remnants of respect you may have still held out for bards like me but such is life. Finally before we begin, you remember how I told you I like to talk a lot? Well you’re about to see that in full effect because what you’re about to read has got a bit of history to it. So if I haven’t scared you off already pull up a chair, grab your weight in coffee and let’s dig in shall we?

Is this it? That’s a question that I’ve been asking myself for a long time now. Heck since the moment I graduated high school it’s been a query perched on the tip of my tongue almost every morning when I wake up. Is this it?

You see I’ve had the advantage of knowing exactly what I’ve wanted to do with my life since I was 10 years old. Many people that know me well enough have heard this story so many times they can probably recite it better than I can so I’ll try to keep it quick. I was home from school sick with Strept Throat. Drugged up on antibiotics I was lounging in the trusty family recliner watching THE original STAR WARS for the hundredth time. The Death Star blew up Alderaan and I started thinking about how cool it would be to create worlds out of nothing more than my imagination and then blow them up again. Even at age 10 I realized this left with me two choices, become god or a writer. Lucky for humanity I chose the latter.

From that point forward and for the last 18 years I have done everything I can think of to make that dream a reality. Several months after that fateful day I wrote my first novel, it was of course STAR WARS, written front and back on 100 sheets of notebook paper and TERRIBLE but it gave me the bug and I haven’t put down a pen (or now a lap top) since.

Now I understand that this may all sound like useless, smaltsy back story but I assure you it’s not. Like every good writer (Which I like to think of myself as when I’m drunk and no one’s looking) I’m building to a point so keep your impatient pants on and let me continue.

Sometime around high school I realized that movies were where my true calling was and quickly began churning out screenplays. This continued after I graduated and brought me to the point where I wrote something tentatively titled HITTING THE FAN and led me to begin asking the question; is this it?

Knowing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and thinking at the time that college really couldn’t do much for me and high on youthful stupidity and Robert Rodriguez’s brilliant gorilla filmmaking manifesto REBEL WITHOUT A CREW, my friend and filmmaking partner Glenn Stitz and I decided we were going to go out and make a movie instead of sitting through school listening to people tell us how to make one.

The movie we decided to make was HITTING THE FAN and while I can look back on it now and realize it was terrible and thank God that it never got made, it not only became my life for over 2 years but also got WAY more attention than it rightly should have. For two dumb, punk kids fresh out of high school who had absolutely no idea what they were doing the project got a lot of attention, the kind of attention that to this day I can’t believe we got. Basically to sum it all up we had people that we’re so far above our meager station willing to look at it and support us that it literally makes no logical sense yet having lived through it I can assure you such people existed.

Either way as weeks turned into months, months into years and so on the project steam rolled ahead with startling fervency. In fact we were so close to shooting and the interest in the project was so high that I had completely convinced myself that this IS it. This is my big break, this is what I’ve wanted for so long and I get it right out high school, how lucky could one guy get?

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the whole thing didn’t end there. I mean if it had I’d like to think I’d be in a Hollywood penthouse sipping Champaign out of the skull of a dolphin, sitting on a stuffed panda, not hacking away at this on a cheap laptop, sitting in a used, wobbly recliner in a cluttered rented room.

While I could literally make a full length feature film out of what happened with HITTING THE FAN I won’t bore with you the details at the moment so just know that the wheels ended up coming WAY off and things ended really badly. As a result over 2 years worth of work went straight down the drain and I had no choice but to start over at square one.

Sadly this pattern repeated it itself (Although without the same amount of fervor and interest from other people) for at least 3 more projects and the better part of a decade of my life. In fact all of it got me to a point where coupled with many other outside factors in my personal life I simply stopped writing for the better part of a year if not longer.
It was around this time that God and some people very close to me both literally and figuratively slapped me upside my head and one night out of the blue I got this strange idea for a script that would eventually become JOSSINGTON FALLS. Boom, there went another couple years of my life and I assure you that was not a bad thing. Having been dejected so many times as various projects fell apart for various reasons my hope, excitement and drive were rekindled as I along with a brilliant group of artists began trying to bring JOSSINGTON FALLS to the big screen.
The first step of this process involved shooting 3 short films all the way back in November of 2006 (I think, honestly there’s been so much that’s gone on since then I’ve sort of lost track of time). It took another half a year at least to get the short films edited and completed and once again that question that’s plagued me my entire life resurfaced. Is this it?

The brilliant idea behind the short films (And I assure you it wasn’t mine) was to take excerpts from the script, adapt them into short films and then submit them to every studio and production company possible so that someone would see them, like them and then give us money to make JOSSINGTON FALLS into the feature film it was intended to be. Sadly after sending these shorts, along with the script and all kinds of other goodies to every single place we could find in the Hollywood Blue Book we came up goose egg. Believe me it wasn’t for lack of trying but as so many people have sadly already found out there’s a mind boggling catch-22 in this industry. No one will give you financing, or well pretty much anything until you’ve made a feature, thus proving that you can do so. How you are supposed to make this feature if no one gives you money I have no idea but such is the ass backwards, circular logic of Hollywood.

And so there I was once again, having written something that to this day I think is a pretty damn fine little screenplay, put all kinds of time, money and effort into letting Hollywood know about it and I had nothing to show for it. Is this it? I guess not was the pretty resounding answer I got back. If this were a television show, this is where the commercial break would be to add tension to the seemingly insurmountable conflict standing in the protagonist’s way, so ummm… drink more Coors Light. See now aren’t you all nice and tense?


GLENN said...

Dude I just found this blog. Pretty awesome brother!! Fill me in on the status of your film!!