Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Short Film Saga, Part I

Shortly after my friends/partners and I made The New Guy, we started work on something much more ambitious. Our next project was going to be a 30-minute comedy. Not only was it a huge undertaking for us in terms of time (we were all still working "real" jobs to pay the bills), in terms of money (we were all far from independently wealthy), and especially in terms of sanity (my future wife got to see us all at our best and our worst), it was beyond anything we had ever tried to do ourselves -- or that we were certain we even could do.

The other day, I found the e-mail "journal" I'd kept during the shoot. It started with a letter to several friends, explaining why they would be hearing very little from me over the next few weeks:

[T]he real culprit is a short film that I wrote and am one of the producers on. That's really going to be sucking up my time over the next few weeks.

It's a 30-minute indie short -- a comedy about, yes, erotic hypnosis gone horribly (and hilariously) wrong...

I wrote the full-length version of it three years ago. It's basically been optioned twice, but nobody's been able to actually get the damn thing made. And I'm sick of waiting, so we're doing it on our own. We start shooting next weekend.

Want to know what a producer really does? HE KEEPS EVERYONE FRICKIN' SANE SO THAT THEY CAN DO THEIR FRICKIN' JOBS!!!

I swear, my catch-phrase over the last three weeks especially has become "This is not a problem." Want to know what my life is like right now? Go rent Living in Oblivion. (The only thing we're missing at the moment is the dwarf!)

I've got a director who doesn't realize how good he really is and now thinks he's bitten off more than he can chew. I've got a director of photography who thinks every other shot should be an artsy, back-of-the-actor's head kind of thing. I've got a make-up guy who just broke up with one of our actresses. And I've got a lead actor who wanted us to dump our lead actress because he didn't think she was hot enough for him to have an affair with (I'm serious), and who now doesn't want to be shot from certain angles, and who if he wasn't so damn good would be shown the door. ("Well, when I was on the set with De Niro, we did things differently."/"The only thing De Niro ever told you on that set was to get out of his way at the craft services table. Get a grip, man.")

I'm also having the time of my frickin' life...
I'll post more from memory lane as the week goes on.