Bad Art by B: Star-crossed Lovers Series

Our Those People: A Love Story crowdfunding campaign was a success! I’m not supposed to be surprised, but, between you and me, I am a little bit. There were two solid weeks where it wasn’t looking promising…

But friends, family and fans came  through with cash in spectacular fashion, and now it’s time for me to pony up with my humble “incentive” offering: made-to-order depictions of movie scenes about lovers (preferably star-crossed, but I’m not going to quibble if they happened to live happily ever after).

Once my client chooses their movie (and scene, though some leave that up to me) my “artistic” process begins with a cannibalized element from another process: Each piece is drawn the flip side of a “repurposed” 3×5 index card  used to outline a movie script:

Back of Atonement

I pencil,  ink with a Sharpie and then erase the pencil. I use black and occasionally one contrast color. For digital delivery,  my husband takes a picture with an app that is supposed to keep art looking flat and not wonky.

My original plan was to work totally with stick figures, because it seemed easy and the idea of it made me laugh. This was my first attempt:

Romeo and Juliet

And this was the second: BrokebackWhile both pieces they look similarly rudimentary, you might notice that by my second attempt I had already drifted from stick figure to boxy outline, because it somehow felt easier.

My first real order was for our kind-hearted supporter, Nate, who requested Atonement. I realized I couldn’t bring myself to render the iconic image of the character in his black tuxedo only in outline, so I reached for the thicker sharpie: Atonement Framed

And somehow the thick Sharpie carried over into  Orly’s request for Annie Hall.

Annie Hall framed

A practiced artist knows how to control style and tone. I am not a practiced artist, so who knows how the next 18 drawings will turn out?  Not me!  But I assume that anyone who chose something called “Bad Art” will have appropriately low expectations, so, unlike almost everything else in my life at the moment, I am not stressed about this.  I look forward to finding out what my clients will choose, and giving it my best, “bad” shot!

Changing the World, a Little at a Time

Hands

For more than three years, I’ve been working as a co-writer (and reluctant (but proud!) producer) on a script about a black woman and an Iranian man who fall in love, how this affects their relationships with their families, communities, their feelings about religion and themselves.  THOSE PEOPLE: A Love Story is a light drama–a love story. It’s fun. But it also represents is something we take seriously — not just a movie cast with diverse actors (though we applaud that) and not just a “celebration” of diversity (although movies that do that are good too) but an actual exploration of diversity and its challenges today.

Today marks the last week of our campaign to raise development funds to lift this project off the ground. The amount we’re trying to raise is small by Hollywood standards, but it’s a lot for us – and we can do a lot with it!  We’re already working with a passionate producer who’s been working for free – we’d like pay her! And before reaching out to investors we’ll hire an experienced casting director to help find the perfect actors, and a lawyer to put together the legal end of things… You can see the details (and me, in a video!) at  https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/those-ppl-movie.

A couple things:

1)    Any amount you contribute is just a pledge—until we meet 80% of our $20,000 goal. If we don’t get $16,000 in pledges, we don’t take any money and your card will never be charged. If we do reach our goal, you’ll know that we have enough to push forward to the next step, and that your money won’t just float away. (As of this writing, we are $9000 away from that require 80%)

2)    We also really need people to FOLLOW our project on Seed and Spark. FOLLOWING IS FREE, but it helps us! Investors will look at our followers number to know that there are people who are interested in seeing our film, and, if we get to 500, Seed and Spark will guarantee us distribution! (As of this writing, we need about 350 people to meet this goal.)

A few more words about this project. Black and Persian. Strange combo, right? Sometimes love is strange! But we are happy with both sides of our interracial equation:

Even though they are loyal film-goers, black women are one of the most neglected  groups — both on screen and as an audience.

And time and again we hear our Iranian friends wishing to see their real lives reflected on screen — without a terrorist plot!

When I imagine this film made, I think of someone browsing through her Netflix options, and having the options of seeing a story about someone who looks like her… and I think of other people having the option of choosing to watch a movie that helps them understand the lives of people who might look different from them. That’s how the world changes, little by little. A march, a story, a song… a film,

We want to make a piece of art that moves the needle on the dial just a little. If you’d like support of that, a little or a lot, here’s how:

You can CHECK OUT our Seed & Spark site, watch our VIDEO,  and read about our TEAM.

If you like what you see, you can SHARE this post with anyone you know who might be interested.

You can FOLLOW us for FREE simply by clicking the BLUE FOLLOW BUTTON on the right. (They’ll make you log in, either with Facebook or an email. Sorry for the pain. We recommend using those 60 seconds to meditate on the positive intention you’re putting into the world!

You can CONTRIBUTE by clicking the GREEN CONTRIBUTE BUTTON.  Don’t feel bad if you’re not a big spender — no amount is too small!  (Actually, there’s a $1 minimum, but $1 is not too small — it brings us $1 closer to our goal!)

The countdown is on. I’ll check back in on April 21 —  6 days and 8 hours from now — with the final results.

 

 

Representation!

So, here’s a little news on the professional front.  I’ve got representation now! A little more than a year ago, I received an email from a college classmate, introducing me to his manager and suggesting that we might enjoy working together. I had some work ready to go, so I sent the manager some samples which he liked and thought maybe he could do something with. He suggested that we spend time working together to see 1) How we worked together creatively and personally/professionally, 2) If I could continue producing work, 3) If he could get my material read (and what the response was), and 4) If we could get me more representation in the form of an agent.

Early on, I think most aspiring writers have a vision of being “discovered,” by someone who “falls in love,” with their writing. Clearly, this scenario was a bit less romantic. After taking a moment to calibrate, I was grateful for this. There’s a certain rush that comes when people LOVE you immediately, and say you are brilliant, and “you’re going places, kid.” But I’ve now had some Hollywood relationships that began with enthusiasm and fanfare end with no fanfare at all. As the saying goes “If you let yourself  get swept off your feet, you’ll probably land on your ass*.” So, this probationary arrangement was not unappealing to me.  I figured it would keep me from getting complacent and keep us both working to impress the other.

For about the next six months we tested the waters.  I was very happy with both his notes and his work ethic. Creatively he was insightful but not too pushy, and I liked how he was responsive, detail-oriented, and didn’t over-promise. We discussed formalizing our relationship based on that, but there was an issue that we were having a hard time getting readers to respond to the work we sent out. And by respond, I don’t mean emotionally respond–I mean even glance at the material and take the time to say no. This is not surprising, because feature scripts, especially from new writers are a hard sell**. But, it was a point of concern.

Then, I tried my hand at writing a television pilot.  This time, when my manager sent it to three people, amazingly, all three people responded. They didn’t all respond with “yes, tell me more about the series,” but they all read it and responded (and one of them said, “yes, tell me more about the series.”) This seemed like some movement in the right direction, and gave my manager the confidence to show the pilot to agents and a couple of agencies. One of them was interested, and I went in and met with them. Before our second meeting with the agency, the manager and I signed a contract.

So, for this moment, I have a “team,” consisting of both and agent and manager. They cannot work miracles, and they will not be champions of everything I write. But for certain projects that they feel have marketplace potential, they can amplify my visibility…to convince more people to read a script, and arrange some meetings with people at companies who have a track record of getting things made. That, for me, is a huge step forward.

So, YAY, representation!!

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*Actually, this is not “a saying,” I think I just made it up. It’s pretty good, though, right?

**Some depressing but informative articles about selling spec feature scripts.

The Odds of Selling a Spec Screenplay (2011)

What are your real chances of success? (2012)

What Screenwriters Can Learn from Hollywood’s Dismal Spec Market (April, 2016)

2016 Spec Script Sales to date (October, 2016)