ON LOCATION: ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO
I’m blogging for the first time on the road. A director who I co-wrote a feature with and I road tripped from Los Angeles to Roswell, New Mexico as guests of the Film Festival. We are going to also use the time to scout the amazing locations here for our upcoming Sci-fi romantic comedy feature “Area 54.”
Today Today was the first day of the Film Festival and Cosimc-con and the event was in full swing. I even got to hangout with R2-D2 and a Stormtrooper from the 501 Regiment.
We were giving demos of the Panasonic AG-3DP1 3-D camera that we brought and the crowds were very excited with the technology. We had the camera set so an attendee could see themselves in the 3-D monitor using the special polarized glasses and they could pose with the monster Flea that we brought down with us.
The giant Flea worked overtime all day to highlight the 3-D experience with the attendees. The motion capture team came down in their truck with us to to give demonstrations of their virtual motion capture studio.
Bright and early this morning we have been asked to be on the panel of filmmakers to judge the finalist films in the Roswell Film Festival shootout. The short film scripts were entered from around the world and only four were chosen to receive a budget and shoot their entire production and post it over a five day period.
Some films were even editing up to the deadline. We picked the winners this morning and attended the big gala red carpet event where they handed out the trophies and the award money to the winners. I personally got to choose the “Best Screenwriting” award. We were in the audience during the ceremony and we had to stand up when they introduced us.
We’ve met very generous people here and the entire town is hungry for production and wants to help with our film in any way possible. We were able to location scout for a full day and have found the wonderful old City Hall building that we can use for the exterior for the museum in our film. The old downtown area buildings have not been touched since the 1950s and we plan to use the Main Street there for a few key scenes.
The Mescalero Dunes about 25 miles outside of town were particularly interesting and we plan to shoot the climactic ending of the movie there. There are 610 acres of towering dunes with some over 90 feet high.
“Bottomless lakes” were also a fantastic location.
It was also the 66th anniversary of the “Roswell Incident” — Conspiracy theorists have claimed that U.S. military had captured a crashed alien aircraft outside Roswell in July 1947, but authorities insisted that the incident merely involved the recovery of debris from a top secret surveillance balloon.
We’re already doing another pass on the screenplay with the new insights from being on location and incorporating what we discovered from having our boots on the ground. And a bit of good news to push the project forward, we just received positive words back from a very well-known TV/film actor who loved the screenplay and our production package, and he wants to star in our movie.
Check out my earlier post “The Creative Power of the Multi-Hypenate” where I discuss the ability of a screenwriters to expand their creative control over projects by becoming a screenwriter/producer, screenwriter/director, or screenwriter/director and producer. I’m a producer on this film as well as being the co-screenwriter. The location scouting with the director is a fantastic opportunity to flex my producer abilities and help find the actual locations we created in the script. I love being able to work with the director on the larger mission of producing the script into a movie. Going forward, I will negotiate being a producer on every project that I write. A screenwriter has a more realistic chance to negotiate a producer credit on a lower budgeted film than a blockbuster and it’s an important way to build up your credits as a multi-hypenate screenwriter.
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