Thursday, August 19, 2010

Break it down!

I'm Breaking down the script for Valley of Mist right now. It's a challenge! There are so many possible themes to be mined in this story and I want to make sure I focus on the right one, but still keep all the elements there that need to be there. I've been spending time every day this week reading the script over and over again trying to internalize the characters and discern what all is happening "beneath the surface" of this story.

This script break down is both easier and harder than break downs I've done in the past. Because I wrote it, I already have a pretty clear idea of how I see this movie tonally. I also have a good idea as to who the characters are, their backgrounds, their relationship to each other, etc. But, what I am finding to be more of a challenge is discerning their motivations, deep desires, and what it is in this movie that they're not saying to each other (the beneath the surface stuff). This is turning out to be a good exercise for me in that way. It's actually forcing me to look a little deeper into myself and why I wrote this script the way I did. And, somehow, as a consequence of that, I am beginning to let the story and the characters take on a life of their own, separate from me. So now the story is becoming something larger than just a cool idea I had in my head one day, but it is hopefully becoming something more transcendent.

I am doing all of this before I determine the visual style or storyboard the film, because the story, themes and character's relationship are going to strongly dictate how this film is shot.

We'll see! It's fun for me to externalize my thoughts like this. I'm an external processor so having a blog to let my stream of conscious flow onto from time to time is very helpful.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I know it sounds cliche, but I honestly do feel overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received, so far, for Valley of Mist. In five days, I have raised $500! It's a staggering thought that people believe in you enough to put their money towards something you want to make. It feels good! And not in a "I'm so great" way, but in a challenging way. I now know that there are people out there who want to see this film and want to see me make it. That challenges me to do a great job! If anybody who is reading this blog has donated, THANK YOU.

I have now made contact with Richard Applegate phd. He spent years researching the Samala language and wrote the Samala dictionary (their first and only dictionary). He is probably the most knowledgeable person on earth when it comes to the native language of the Chumash people. I am very excited to possibly have him translating the lines with me.

On a slightly separate note I just finished reading "Making Movies" by Sidney Lumet. It's been challenging me to think a lot about movies, and mainly, trusting my intuition when it comes to scripts. I've also been watching a lot of Judith Weston interviews and am about to order her book "The Film Director's Intuition." She also talks about trusting your instincts and intuition when it comes to directing a scene, or deciding how it will be executed. I have been hanging on to that feeling, that vision, that first attracted me to Valley of Mist. I've been realizing that I've had a tendency to sacrifice my vision, what I intuitively feel is right, from the early stages of production on the altar of practicality. On set conditions aren't ideal to get a shot, I'm afraid of looking silly for being really excited about something, or I'm just too plain lazy to spend the mental energy it would take to translate that picture, that emotion, I had in my head to the screen. What I am trying to do with this film is trust my intuition. I've done it before and never been disappointed. I need to hang on to this movie I have inside my mind and not let go of it. Because I know if I can make the movie that way, it'll be great.

Now I need to throw in a disclaimer (as much as people hate them). I love collaboration. It makes films better. Part of my vision for this film is to push everyone involved to treat their specific job as their own artistic expression. Hopefully, this film will come through as a collaboration of artists, who all believe in something. Who all believe in this movie.

Okay, I'm rambling now. Just thought I'd give an update: the main one being, $500 so far! I'll repeat myself and say it really is overwhelming.