25 August 2008

Is This It? Part 5

I wish I could say that plucky reserve or sheer pig headedness got me through this but that would be a lie. For all intents and purposes I had reached the end of my rope from a creative standpoint. I had stopped working on a script I loved and had been mucking around with this for at least 2 months now and I felt no better about it than when I began.

Whenever I work on a script I invariably hit more than a few obstacles but also invariably inspiration doesn’t take too long to strike and I get an idea for a scene or a character or heck even a line and normally that’s all it takes and the rest of the script grows out of that. After toiling over this script for months and trying to wrap my head around it in every way I possibly could I began to realize that I simply was not inspired. There wasn’t a single ounce of inspiration in me to write this script. It soon became evident to my sister that this was the case and try as we might things reached a boiling point.

A now very fateful meeting took place at The Marketplace in Tustin on a wooden bench outside of the California Pizza Kitchen. It was there that we spent the better part of 2 hours talking not only about our professional relationship. Try as we might we saw ourselves moving away from each other creatively, an idea that deeply hurt us both and one that was being amplified by my ability to churn out a workable script. At this meeting a lot of things were aired, tears were spilled and at least some small modicum of resolution was reached on certain issues. Unfortunately one of those wasn’t the script and as I drove away that night my heart was heavy as I realized that our partnership in more ways than one might be coming to an end. Then it hit me. That thing I had been looking for, hoping for, praying for all this time… INSPIRATION! One idea hit me then another, then another, then another and before I was halfway home I knew what I had to write, I knew what it had to be about and how it had to be done. Excited and giddy I called Megan, made sure that we were square and cool on an emotional level and then blabbed to her about how I had finally figured it out. Megan, God bless her listened to it and then laughingly reminded me that this is the way it always worked and that while she hadn’t necessarily intended to she had just flicked me in the back of the head and wallah it made me write better.

That’s the happy ending, at least the one that exists right now. I went home that night and started churning out pages and within about 2 weeks time had the script done and turned into my sister. Unlike the other times she loved it and in a very rare instance only recommended two or three VERY minor changes. It had taken months of headache, heartache, frustration, perspiration and so much more but we finally had a script that we thought we could make not only quickly and cheaply, but well.

I know that this is a very long post about something that may seem almost inconsequential but at least to me I assure you it’s not. I can say with utmost certainty that END is the best thing I’ve ever written. I have never been prouder of anything I’ve ever signed my name to and likewise nothing I’ve ever written has ever gotten the sort of glowing response that this script has. People have raved about it to me, they’ve told me how they’ve missed bus stops because they were so engrossed in reading it and most importantly so many very talented, very generous people have sacrificed so much of themselves to make sure it gets made.

This post is about what it took to write this beast that we’re now trying to corral. In the past it goes something like I get an idea, I play around with it, I bounce a few ideas off people, and it clicks, I write it, the end. That wasn’t the case this time around. The sole reason this script and eventually this movie exists is because of Megan. It was her vision and determination that brought us to the idea of undertaking such a grand task and it was our relationship and history together not only as creative partners but as brothers and sisters that made me realize the only way you could make a “zombie movie without zombies” work is if you made it about relationships. It was that angst filled conversation that night on that wooden bench that gave me the idea for Matt and Molly, it gave me the inspiration for the nature of their relationship and the way these characters and that relationship could affect the lives and the world around them, even if that world was coming to an end.

Megan told me to challenge myself, she demanded I grow as a writer and branch into new, undiscovered areas. With much kicking and screaming I did just that and I couldn’t be prouder of what I and as a whole we’ve accomplished so far. As I’ve mentioned countless times throughout this I’ve been asking myself the same question for years. Is this is it? Is this rinky-dink little zombie movie (That has no zombie’s) the thing that will get us noticed? Is this the thing that will get accepted into film festivals, noticed by studios? Is it the thing that will finally give me that foot in the door that I’ve been trying to get for so long now? Is this it? I’ll tell you after all this time I’ve grown wise enough to say I honestly don’t know, but it’s got a better shot than anything I’ve ever been involved with and one way or another it’s already been a hell of a ride and I have no intention of disembarking anytime soon. Is this it? You’ll just have to stay tuned and see.