After sending out the latest rewrite of Love in the Time of Monsters this morning, I counted just how many drafts of this movie I've written beginning with the very first one completed on October 18, 2005:
I had originally guessed that I'd done around 10, even though it's felt like 1,000. But 15! That's over a dozen! It's over a baker's dozen even.
The question now is, is this number good news or bad? Can't really tell you for sure at this point in my career as a Hollywood douchebag - I mean, screenwriter. One could argue that I'm a bad writer and the story has sucked from the beginning, necessitating years of changes. In my insecuranoia I imagine Matt and Andy have known this all along, and been doling out constructive criticism over the years in manageable doses knowing that over time I would eventually wind up with something passable.
On the other hand, I'd like to think that we took our sweet time to really polish this story into a perfect gem, dense with laughs, tears, and scares, with multiple character threads forming graceful arcs and resolving in powerful denouements. We know the characters, monsters, locations, and action setpieces inside and out, we wrote a script for a million-dollar budget and we wrote one for a thousand dollar budget. We rearranged pathos, retconned ethos, and got our logos tighter than a [something something vulgar].
Like I said in my last post, we've got a lot of work ahead of us. That being said, in my opinion it's the perfect time to look back at just how far we've come. Thusly, today, I bring to you the short film that serves as my original inspiration for Love in the Time of Monsters!
Here is Desert Monster Chronicles Episode 7: Cyborg Pirate Assassin!Desert Monster Chronicles Episode 7: Cyborg Pirate Assassin! was created for AIVF-Tucson's "Three Minute Thriller" Halloween contest in 200goddamn3! It took 2 weeks to write and prep, 6 hours to shoot, and 2 weeks to edit and sound design, and it couldn't have been made without the help of some good friends! Not only did it win 3rd prize at the contest but it aired for what seemed like forever on the Tucson local public access channel late at night.
Fun Fact: Playing Big Kahuna up there is Jorge Luis Urbina, the official DP of Love in the Time of Monsters. The decision to move him behind the camera was made when we all decided he was too handsome.
DMCE7:CPA! was also made in response to my senior project at the University of Arizona being denied the greenlight. I had written the zombie-caveman story, The Dead Link, for the BFA Media Arts program but alas it was deemed too rapey and killey with not enough understandable dialogue. So, DMCE7:CPA! became where I channeled all that filmmaking energy, and thank God for it because it has lead us to LitToM.
Because this was a personal filmmaking project and not under the ever-watchful gaze of the University, I had no authority dictating my actions. I was free to film-make in an unrestricted, anarchic fashion that I think taught me more than any thousand-dollar classes could. Likewise, I learned what you can't just wing.
I'd like to consider it also as a trial run for developing my voice in the comedy-horror genre that I do so hope to one day make a name in. In DMCE7:CPA! (I never get tired of typing that) you can see elements of goofy language, sudden extreme gore, and melodramatic cheese that Love in the Time of Monsters will also exhibit (although with almost a decade's worth of refining). What do you think? Could it be a new, fun voice to bring to the genre? Or do you get sick of the ADHD-esque goof spew pretty quick?
DMCE7:CPA! has its faults - oh yes, I know this. I was just a kid when I made it, the schedule was tight, the sun was in my eyes, etc. However, I'm confident that Love in the Time of Monsters will come out a superbillion times better than it not only due to the years of experience I've had since then, but because of "Captain" Matt Jackson. He appreciates what I'm doing but has the intelligence to filter out the idiocy. He's the Spock to my Kirk, the Lenny to my George.
Before the end of the year we'll definitely see just how the industry and viewing audience receives our surreal and fun feature film. I know I'll be psyched until then - if the world does end in 2012, at least we'll go out excited!
Oh, and should Matt and Andy one day wind up dead with "16" carved into their foreheads then you know how many rewrites it takes for a screenwriter to snap.
(Just kidding, guys!)
(sure ... kidding ...)