It’s been an interesting run for me lately with novel writing, indie filmmaking, freelancing and raising hell. The raising hell part of this trifecta has toned way down over the years. You can only raise hell for so long before age slows you down a step or two. I had a good run and met colorful characters that sometimes find their way into what I write. Now I’m content with the occasional pub crawl with friends, gambling at the MGM Grand and a Saturday afternoon at the race track betting on the ponies drinking cold beer with a good crowd.
The rest of the time I’m either writing, working on getting an indie film going, or working as a freelance hired gun for corporate clients (bills never sleep). When you work as a freelancer you really never experience that coworker bond people develop. I guess the flip side is you never end up having to deal with a boss or coworker that you don’t get along with day after day.
A media freelancer is paid to deliver a specific project and you move on until they call you back to do another one. Right now I’ve found a nice groove working with California environmental firms and attorney clients to help sharpen their media message. But I know after each project is done I’m walking solo again.
There is also a lot of going your own way when it comes to indie filmmaking. I’ve met many interesting actors, other indie film producers, movie distributors and hardworking crew members, but only a very few of us have kept in touch. That’s just the nature of the movie business at the indie level.
I’m sure that’s why freelancing has been relatively easy for me to deal with. I’m used to working with people on a project and after the job is done we go our separate ways. There are cool times when you form a creative bond with someone and you work on future film projects.
The only place that I roam totally free is when it comes to creative writing. Writers get to create a world that did not exist before in a book, TV show, or movie. That’s pretty damn sweet.
Writing for me has always been where the creative big bang happens. When I start work on a screenplay I’m already thinking of camera direction and production notes. The finished script is not something I would submit to an agent, production company, or screenplay competition.
I’ve entered one screenplay contest in my life, did not win, but wanted to get coverage from an outside perspective. It was BlueCat Screenplay Competition. I got insightful coverage on what is now titled “Killing the Azul’s” (formerly Stash Spot). It was worth the entry fee for one GREAT comment that popped out reading the BlueCat Screenplay Competition coverage that lead to me doing a rewrite to “Killing the Azul’s.”
With independent film funding it’s always a crapshoot that you’ll be a winner at the table. This summer I’m going to start also writing screenplays that are a change in my style of dealing with knocking out a final script. I’m going to write movie scripts that have no budget in mind and start pitching them like I’m not directing or producing. Almost every script I’ve written is for an indie budget I think coproducer and film editor Tim Beachum and I can afford in-house to make or realistically raise through potential film investors we know.
Film financing for indie produced is getting scarce. It’s great to see innovative indie filmmakers turn to fan funding online via social networks and blogs to fuel their creative vision in indie cinema. I’ve been blown away at the great success some indie filmmakers have achieved getting money by using fan funding. It’s just not an approach for me as a movie producer. I’m not that outgoing of a personality.
I’m currently working with UK based indie filmmaker Wayne Daniells and visual artist Paul While on a horror movie called “Psoro” (Don’t Scratch It…It Will Tear You Apart!) that is using real SFX to pay homage to 80s and 90s gore. The creative part of the equation is covered between the three of us. We’re all on the same page on how to make “Psoro” one badass mental horror and gore trip for viewers. Indie filmmaking is an adrenaline rush based on never having the choice to throw money at a production problem to fix it. Wayne, Paul and I are not going to throw money away when there are creative ways to get past most problems that kill indie films.
You have to be creative behind the camera as a director, you have to be savvy as a producer and you have to be able to work your way through the movie distribution process like a champ. Right now we’re looking at a streamlined budget to deliver gruesome horror, an unforgettable lead role and create the next hot scream queen on camera. Casting indie films is tough sometimes, but actors can sense when a project is going to be good to be involved with. This is one is one of those.
When I’m awake I always need to write. I’ve been adapting a screenplay I had written called “Crazy Love Story” into a novel. Film financing was right there, but it disappeared with not so much as a kiss goodbye. Those are the breaks. I’ve had a hard time adjusting to writing for readers instead of for movie viewers.
I have much respect for authors that complete fiction books that can grab readers with a great story. I’ve been networking on Twitter lately and came across an exceptional author Eden Baylee. I related to what is posted on her blog:
“Eden writes erotica, provocative stories incorporating all her favorite things: travel; culture; and sex. Sometimes there’s romance, sometimes not. Sometimes there’s a happy ending, sometimes not.”
That is such a honest and realistic approach to writing from Eden Baylee that I was inspired to press on with working to adapt the “Crazy Love Story” screenplay into a novel. What really impressed about author Eden Baylee is that she is not afraid to tell stories with erotic themes that don’t always have happy endings (none of the movies I make or write do either, so far). Her book cover for “fall into winter” was a bold visual that earned my respect.
I’m a fan of erotica and produced “Fantasy Striptease Private Shows” that has six beautifully filmed vignettes that blur the line between reality and fantasy. In my opinion it is tasteful erotic cinema. I wanted to put a modern twist on vintage pin-up beauties.
But now I was working on a novel and that was completely different for producing a film. I had to back to look at “Crazy Love Story” with a fresh point of view on the story I wanted to share with readers.
There were creative elements that I left out of the “Crazy Lover Story” screenplay because of independent film budget limits. I’m finding my stride as far as formatting a novel goes compared to a screenplay. I think I’m also starting grab hold of my own voice as an aspiring novelist. I do get frustrated that I’m not taking like a fish to water writing a novel as much as I am to screenwriting and indie filmmaking. It’s like I’m new to raising hell again with writing a story for readers that really entertains them page by page.
When I wrote the nonfiction book “The First Movie is the Toughest” I put in real information on how to write, produce, direct and sell your movie to distributors. But I also made sure that it was entertaining by telling some of the stories that I experienced. I’ve been told by readers that it was refreshing I spoke to them and not at them. It was like we were friends hanging out talking about all areas of making movie. I appreciated those emails and comments.
With novel writing, indie filmmaking, freelancing and raising hell they’re always going to be lessons that you experience along the way. There are lessons I’ve learned I didn’t want to learn, but it is all part of paying your dues for walking down a creative road to make a living. Right now I’m having a great time seeing what other passionate creative souls are creating from novels to movies.
Indie filmmaking is unpredictable for me at this point, which is not a bad thing we you can go with the flow. Tim Beachum comes to me with a very powerful idea for a movie that he wants me to write titled “Convergent Evolution.” The story is about a very strong woman that has to make decisions no person should have to make. We have a micro-budget in place that is coming out of our pockets to shoot the movie in a week. The backdrop is West Virginia.
I’m fleshing out the movie script based off ideas we bounced around, and then boom! Tim hits me with an entirely different approach on how “Convergent Evolution” should be put together. He made a solid business contact during a meeting on book publishing and distribution with an author that has a best-selling self-distributed book.
Tim networks shaking hands and I don’t. His logic and business plan for the novel and movie he put together was outstanding. “Convergent Evolution” is going to be a book first and then we are going to shoot the movie. I’m game because I love to write and make entertainment. It doesn’t matter which order it happens in.
What I continue to learn in life is that walking down the creative road and putting your work out there will teach you hard lessons and great lessons each step. I used to not pay much attention to what other independent filmmakers and self-distributed authors were making. That was dumb of me. I was too focused on what I was doing. I’ve changed my tune these last few years and feel I’ve become better at what I do.
I visit people’s blogs, try to support their work as much as I can if I like it as a reader or viewer and really pay attention to what their creative voice is saying. Having my eyes and ears open to other writers and indie filmmakers has exposed me to some terrific entertainment I would have missed. This is indie filmmaker Sid Kali typing FADE OUT
Categories: Indie Film Production, Screenwriting Tags: author Eden Baylee, best-selling self-distributed book, BlueCat Screenplay Competition, casting indie films, Convergent Evolution, crazy love story, Eden writes erotica, erotic cinema, fall into winter, Fantasy Striptease Private Shows, film editor Tim Beachum, gruesome horror, independent film funding, indie filmmaker Sid Kali, indie filmmaking, media freelancer, movie distributors, novel writing, potential film investors, problems that kill indie films, psoro, raising hell, real SFX, screenplay contest, stories with erotic themes, UK filmmaker Wayne Daniells, visual artist Paul While