Grinding It Out

Writing is a great activity. There are few things more rewarding than being able to express oneself creatively and then share it with others. Whatever the format, being able to put thoughts and ideas into written words requires skill and passion. It sometimes requires tenacity.

Cooper and I have been working on sharpening the script for MY SPIRITED SISTER. We’re planning to make a great film and turn it into a series. It’s going to take all of our skills and creativity. As those of you who write regularly know, sometimes, it flows like water. Everything is effortless and writing feels like the most natural thing in the world. But the opposite can also happen. Cooper and I experienced that today.

We’ve been incredibly busy with other tasks. We launched our Kickstarter campaign last week, and this week was spent prepping our three stars for their TV interview and then accompanying them to it. It tends to break up the flow of a project. Momentum is lost and time much be spent getting it back. That happened this morning. The first couple of hours were difficult and frustrating. We knew what we needed to do but weren’t quite sure how to do it. I had suggested we pack it in and try again another day, but fortunately, Cooper decided to persist.

It was a grind, but we kept at it and eventually broke through. We took things back to basics, making everything simple and specific and after several more hours, had the outline for our revised script. We’re very pleased with it and writing the revision will now be much easier.

This is an essential part of being a writer, having that ability to keep the faith and plug away through those difficult times. This is where having a partner is so beneficial. If I had been working alone, I honestly think I would have bailed. The mutual support from our partnership kept us both going. I have to say, I love collaborating, especially since I have the best partner there is. Bar none. I don’t know how I ever wrote alone and I never want to go back to it.

So, the campaign is working, the script is working, our leads are amazing. I’m tired, with hours of work ahead of me tonight, but I feel great.

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The TV Spot

This past Wednesday, Cooper and I shot our television appearance on WHC-TV in West Hartford, CT.  It’s a local public access station, but it will also be available on the internet on the station’s web site and it’s still publicity!  It was also a lot of fun.

During my stand up days, I did quite a bit of public access TV as well as a few interviews on the local news.  Thus, I was very comfortable with the interview.  Cooper’s only prior television work had been on soaps and not any talk show type situations, so she was a bit nervous.  She relaxed the second we started and handled it like the pro she is.  There was never a doubt in my mind that she would.

We got a nice full twenty minute spot, more than enough time to cover everything we wanted to.  We talked about our backgrounds in writing, and mine in stand up and hers in acting.  The story of how we met in our old screenwriting group and became partners came up and we also related our similar tastes in movies and how well we work together.

Then we talked about ISN’T ROMANTIC?, how much fun we had, what we learned and how it’s doing now.  They will add a clip from the film in the final edit.  We chose the scene in the kitchen where Diana confronts Danny about her despair over the lack of romance in their marriage.  It’s a good scene that gives a feel for the film without giving anything away.

We segued to MY SPIRITED SISTER by talking about how impressed with were with the work its three young stars did in their appearance in the opening scene of ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?   We wrapped up by talking about the story and our crowd funding campaign.

It went very well.  The host, the director and the crew were very nice and they did a great job, very professional.  The host is also an actor and I told him to send me a headshot and resume, I”m always on the lookout for talent.  After the show, Cooper and I talked to him about what it’s like to pursue a show business career.  He had many questions about New York versus LA.  I of course, am from New York and Cooper has lived in both cities so we were able to help him out.

The show is called A MOMENT WITH JON FRANCOIS.  It will air in July on Comcast Cable, just in time for the launch of our campaign.  I’ll post the web site link when it’s available for those who are curious.  We also booked our three stars to make an appearance on the show next month.  PR is so important and as I have stated, I’m going to do all I can in that vein.

After spending so much time preparing for and doing interviews, on Thursday, Cooper and I were able to get back to writing.  We’re finishing up our revisions to prepare the script for production.  So much to do to be ready for our October shooting start.  It will be here before we know it.  We are so excited!  Making a film is so much fun.

Revisions

As I related in my last post, Cooper and I sat with with our editor and DP, Matt to get his feedback on the script for MY SPIRITED SISTER. His comments proved helpful, but perhaps not in the way he anticipated.  Through his critique, we were able to get Matt’s interpretation and see where it differed from what we were trying to say.  He made some good suggestions but they did not all fit our story.  However, in seeing where we failed to clearly get the point across, we are now able to fix those problems and clarify the story we want to tell.

We began the process yesterday.  An excellent point that Matt made was that he felt the story peaked too soon and was kind of flat thereafter.  That lead to a brainstorming session in which we added depth to the storyline.  We are very excited by the direction in which we’ve taken it.  This script is a considerable improvement over ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? which was very good.

Being able to utilize feedback to improve a script while staying true to one’s vision is tricky yet essential.  Frankly, it is a strength I have always had and Cooper does it pretty well too.  It comes down to confidence in one’s own ability.  Having a partner helps greatly.  Mutual support is a nice thing to have.  I cannot wait to shoot this film.  It will represent a big step forward in our development as filmmakers.