New Year, New Update

The beginning of the year is a great time to look back on the previous year and, also, look forward to what’s coming up; so let’s start with where we are on the project. 

The last time I gave an update, I had just started to collaborate with the second writer on the story I had been writing.  I recently received the third draft of the treatment she wrote based on my outline and script pages and I have to say it is looking really good.  Can I dare say I’m getting really excited about this story?  Okay, I admit it, I am.  I’m really starting to fall in love with this story, which is important because a producer stays with a project for many, many years…far longer than anyone else who works on a film project.  

Structure had been the biggest problem with the story.  I threw everything and the kitchen sink into the story and I really needed another eye to pare it down for me.  The writer did a fabulous job doing just that.  The structure now works and the story flows very nicely.  Some of her choices surprised me, but for the most part they worked.  All my notes have been mostly about minor changes.  The big stuff works.  The writer also threw in a lot of her own ideas, which made the story even better.  I’ve got to say it’s awesome to get a story to the point where most of it is working instead of not working.  It feels great!

So now the treatment is on hold for a couple of weeks while I finish writing the reference guide.  What’s that?  Well, it’s probably not a term you’ll ever see in a screenwriting book, but I decided that because there is so much history and pseudoscience behind this project, I better get all the information into one place instead of the emails that have flown back and forth.  We’re probably going to be needing to consult the guide as we develop the script and movie.  So what kind of information will be in the guide?  It will include (and this is not a complete list): 

  • A bit of the real science that the pseudoscience is based on
  • The pseudoscience and how it works
  • Character bios
  • Organization bios
  • The mythology used by the story
  • The history used by the story
  • A short synopsis
  • A log line

That’s just to start with.  I may be adding more information later if needed.  So, as you can see, I’m going to be very busy writing for the next couple of weeks.  The goal is to get most of the reference guide done before I send the treatment to the story analyst.  I see the reference guide as a document that may continue to grow and evolve as the project develops; and that’s fine.  The important thing is to have a single source for all the story information so that those involved with the project have the information they need to do their jobs.  As I complete sections I’ll be sending them to the writer for review and comment; and we’ll be comparing the information to the treatment to see if we need to do any tweaking.

After we’ve gotten the treatment as good as we can get it, I’ll be sending it on for story analysis.  The story analyst will be my last check to make sure we didn’t miss anything.  Depending on what kind of feedback we get, the treatment will either need some revising (hopefully minor) or it will be ready to send on to the cast.

I’m hoping that the cast loves it as much as I do.  If so, I’ll instruct the writer to begin writing the script.  If not (and I hate to even think of this scenario happening), I’m back at square one.  I’m hoping that the cast will love the treatment enough to give me LOIs (Letters of Intent), because then I’ll be able to start looking for money, get the PR going that we will need for a successful movie, and put a qualified crew together while the writer is writing the screenplay.  If I have to wait until the script is finished before I get LOIs, it will push all of that back even further.  Frankly, I’d rather see things start to move sooner than later, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

I want to thank all of you so much for your support.  So many of you have been around since the beginning of this project and have waited patiently through this maddingly slow process of script development.  My hope is to make your wait well worth it with a quality movie featuring our beloved cast that you will find entertaining and enjoyable.  I want this movie to be something that all of us—cast, crew, and fans—can be proud of.

Lion’s Den

Let’s start out the new year with a little-known Vincent Ventresca project.  When I first came across this project, I thought it was the trailer for a movie, but I found out from producer Jack Sollecito that it is actually a trailer for a TV pilot.  The story is based on Jack’s experiences growing up in a boy’s Catholic military academy.  Jack was kind enough to let me read the script as well as the query and cast bios.  

Vince plays the lead role.  His character, Daniel Cesta, is a freelance writer who returns back to his old school to teach history and English for a month.  His motives, however, are another matter.  Daniel, still bitter from his experiences at the school, is there to dig up dirt and write an expose on the harsh mental and emotional abuses that the boys are subjected to.  Others at the school learn of Daniel’s true agenda and accuse him of being selfish and juvenile.  In their minds Daniel really never learned anything in the time he was a student there.  Slowly Daniel’s attitude begins to change and he begins to think more about helping the boys rather than just his own selfish goal.  He decides to accept an extended teaching position that had been offered to him at the school.

I found the script to be well written and the subject matter to be unlike anything else I’ve ever seen covered in a TV show.  This is the kind of show that I could see a cable channel picking up since they are usually more willing to take on unusual subjects and premises than the networks.  Jack tells me that he’s had some good response from industry people that have read the script, so time will tell whether this project ever becomes a TV series.

Here’s the trailer to the pilot…