Always fun to have a movie airing on television…
October 4, 2012 § Leave a comment
SYFY Network has aired my film SEA SNAKES again in February and the last time was part of last year’s “31 Days of Halloween” on day eight. It’s a film I wrote on assignment also known by it’s 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD release title SILENT VENOM. It’s a fun, submarine action thriller about a deadly cargo of vicious mutated snakes that get loose from their container on board of a U.S. submarine and threaten the crew. It stars Luke Perry, Krista Allen, Louis Mandylor, and Academy Award acting nominee Tom Berenger. I can trace two of these actors to my own six degrees of separation trivia: I played Luke Perry in a 90210 parody sketch that I did with my old live sketch comedy troupe The Amazing Onionheads, and Krista Allen co-starred in the Baywatch Hawaii series with a good friend of mine. Fun stuff and shows it’s a small business.
If you haven’t experienced it yet, being able to watch your own movies on TV is something to behold. It makes up for all the hard work on your journey as a screenwriter. You know first hand the dedication and hard work it took to secure the writing job, doing the many rewrites, helping with the on set rewrites, and now you get to experience the result of everyone’s hard work and creativity. Is the end product perfect? Nothing is perfect. You have to let go of any regrets and just enjoy the fruits of your labor and accept the good with the bad.
When you write a screenplay on assignment you must please the producer first—he or she is your boss. But as the great writer/director Billy Wilder said, “There is no guaranteeing the audience’s reaction.” That’s for sure. When I read the online reviews it’s hard at times, but I have to take it as all part of the process. Many of the reviews are harsh, but viewers don’t understand the process a writer goes through when screenwriting on assignment.
There are no excuses once something is on the screen, but a screenwriter is at the mercy of so many alterations and directions. At times there are budget constraints and you need to possess the ability to write under a strict mandate about a limited budget. You always must do your best to tell a good story within the scope of the project. It’s obviously not a huge Hollywood blockbuster with a hundred-million dollar budget, and you do what you can. On a lower-budgeted film you wonder how it might have turned out if they had five times the budget? As the great writer/director Preston Sturges said, “You can’t go around to theatres handing out cards saying, ‘It isn’t my fault.’ You go onto the next one.” Yes, you move on to the next one—and you’re blessed if there is a next one. If the film is financially successful for the producer or investors, you’ll have another chance to work for them again.
Sure, some reviews thought the film should be campier with more laughs, but they didn’t realize the mandate from the producers was for a straight ahead action film. It’s a genre film and I had several constraints to follow while writing it. Trust me, I know it’s not Citizen Kane, but just a fun popcorn film with two hours not to be taken seriously.
The best part, besides having the film produced and getting paid, it was distributed worldwide on DVD to seventeen countries and airs overseas on television constantly. This is good as the residuals are a nice by-product.
These are the moments we aspire to experience as writers — to be paid, credited, and have others around the world see the finished product. In fact, millions of viewers during the première airing. Again, you always work hard to craft the best script possible under the circumstances and then let others take over to create something bigger — the real movie.
I still never take my journey for granted because I know the work I’ve done and sacrifices to get here. The distribution aspect of the screenwriter’s journey is always a kick and every time I make it out of the trenches and gain some real ground, I hold my new position with renewed vigor. It motivates me to work even harder to move forward again with humility, patience and a renewed sense of direction for the next screenplay.
It’s not groundbreaking cinema for sure—and it’s not meant to be.
Check out “My Movie Trivia” page for more fun trivia details about my films.
“It is no small feat to get a movie made, on any subject, on any screen.” — JJ Abrams
“Just do the best you can every time. And if you’re going to stay in the movies, and you like movies—and I love them—you’d better love them a lot, because it’s going to take all of your time. If you want to be in the movies, it’s going to break your heart.”—Richard Brooks
“When you start a movie script, it’s like entering a dark room: You may find your way around all right, but you also may fall over a piece of furniture and break your neck. Some of us can see a little better than others in the dark, but there is no guaranteeing the audience’s reaction.”—Billy Wilder
Did you just complete your latest screenplay and need in-depth consultation? Check out my screenplay consultation services. Click on the icon below for the link to my website and more information. You never get a second chance to make a first great impression with your script. Why not get it into the best shape possible before you unleash it upon Hollywood?
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