Saturday, May 28, 2011

How Much Happy Is Too Much Happy?

I blog therefore, I am? That would seem to be the case for some people but, clearly, not for me.

I usually like to treat myself to movie in the theater when I complete and submit a screenplay, a way of closing the door on a particular phase of work. I finished a screenplay (another documentary) last week and I am going to finish one next week and I don’t anticipate going to a movie. Maybe there just isn’t anything out there that I really want to see or maybe it is something else...

Six years, countless different casts, several different crews, a Philly production company, an L.A. production company, the Philly production company once more and something like 15 drafts later, I have re-written “Aftermath” again.

As, I wrote in a previous entry, filmmaking is a team sport and the screenplay, while critically important to the success of the film, is only one element of the collaborative process. Unless I am producing and directing (and maybe even acting) in the film, it is not enough for me to be happy with the screenplay: everyone else involved with the film has to like it too.

So, this new draft is tighter, while longer, than the last draft, the six characters are a lot richer and, from the perspective of a one-time, former would be actor, each member of the cast now gets even more “spotlight” time.

Yet, throughout all of these drafts over the years, one thing has remained the same: the end. Just as I have never been completely happy with the name “Aftermath”, I have also been a little shaky about the end. The guy who wants to produce and direct it now has been on me for awhile to do something about the ending and I finally have done it, made a big, dramatic change that was, in many ways, really painful for me to write and will certainly be painful for the audience to see but, I have to say, as these things go, I think I am happy with it.

As mentioned before, it doesn’t matter how happy I am with the screenplays I write, I have to make the people who are actually shooting the film happy. If the producer-director likes the changes I made to “Aftermath”, the film is likely to be shot this summer. In that case, I would treat myself to a movie ...... “Super 8” looks good.

If that is not the case, if they don’t like it, then what? Do I continue to bend over backwards to make other people happy or do I take the whole thing back to the beginning, back to 2005, when there was an “I” in “team” and it was me and the only person I had to please was myself?