Directions – which direction to go? Stay the course, go to the left, go to the right, turn all the way around? It is not a new question but one that I often ask myself throughout any given year and especially when I wake up every morning hoping and then working all day (and usually into the night) toward making it the day I finally get it to the next level which would include anything that gets me closer to the greenlight and the funds I need for going into production – not to mention finally be able to pay myself so I can pay my own bills! Everything is hoping and banking on making the right connections and I try hard to come up with anything to make this be the day it all happens, it all comes to reality, the next level – just as I described in the previous blog post “Can Opportunity Be Created?” – which is my life, my everything is connected together – my career, my company, my film, my dreams, my hopes and passions will make the right turn, the correct course direction to get it to the next level. I can’t wait until I can start pre-production, then on to principal photography, post, and marketing, the theatres and then to the next project! I love the work and making it happen and I am sure I will also like getting paid! It’s hard to work so hard for 15 years without any financial support or resources! And especially over the past 5-7 years when it has all been within reach of getting it to the next level with finally becoming legit with the company and/or film getting the necessary funding – the almighty dollar, but every attempt – some with great promise – fails to make it happen.
Sure there is a lot of satisfaction when completing certain steps – the screenplay, the short story, the business formation, the business plan, investment memorandum, etc., or attend a function that has the promise of the right connections for investors or Hollywood players & makers that could propel all of this to the next level! But man, I feel like I have been on this verge, the edge, the starting line, with everything prepared and all my ducks in a row for waaaaaaay tooooooo longgggggg! Family and friends are probably so tired of hearing me say that I am almost there! I am sure most have written me off as completely crazy! How can anyone keep going, time after time of being rejected and failing to “make it happen” as he said he is? And frankly, I have no idea how I keep going! But I must – too much invested, too many promises to other people with a disAbility that I am going to make this change in Hollywood images of those with a disAbility happen, maybe it’s my love of filmmaking, my passion for storytelling on film, my promise to myself when I got a second chance and life – whatever the reason or reasons, I keep going. And who knows – today may be that day that I wake up wishing for every day for the past few years!
So maybe it is time to change the positions of some of the ducks! Keep them all in a row but maybe move the one in the center to the left, the left one to the right, the right one to the center…and the guy in the rear (sorry a flashback to an old Johnny Cash song I remember listening to as a child! I think the guy in the rear is a Methodist!) Anyway hear some mix ups, changes that I have been thinking of, beginning with “London Time”.
I have had a couple of storylines, plots, murder investigations that I have thought of for Detective London, Marci Waters, and Detective Richmond to work on – as sequels more or less. But more recently I have been questioning whether the first story line in “London Time” is right for the first one – dealing with an antagonist who is a fired film studio executive who returns to his corporate empire in Dallas, starts up a non profit business as a front to control all entertainment media reports, where some of the entertainment reporters have been dealt with harshly, even murdered for not cooperating and reporting and making reviews of certain films the way he has said so he can blackmail not only the studio that fired him but all of the studios – majors and the major indies – might be a hard pitch sell to “London Time” to film industry executives?!
A Local Police Officer!
The first sequel story and possible alternate to the first “London Time” story line is about a couple of murders that London, Marci, and Richmond investigate. Both have ties to questionable individuals and groups with terrorist connections. One of them has family heritage in the Middle East and the other does not and is in fact very American by way of several generations. As they further their investigations it appears that a terrorist cell has formed there in Dallas and these two murders happened because they did not comply with the cell leaderships’ requests – very important requests that appear to be link to the cell’s planned actions which are unclear but may be linked to the U.S. President’s upcoming visit. But when London and the team present this information to the Secret Service they are turned away and joked at with insufficient evidence. London takes it to the F.B.I., C.I.A., Homeland Security, National Security all give the same responses with the assurance that they know how to protect the President and the country – they do it for a living all the time and can do without a local police detective. London, Marci and Richmond all know there is a lot more to this plot and terrorist cell and therefore continue with their investigation. They get in some risky situations and just before the cell are able to complete their assassination plan, London, Marci and Richmond save the day and the life of the President!
The second sequel or possible alternate story line for the first “London Time” actually is talked about a little in the opening scene of the current screenplay. But if it becomes the alternate story line then the dialogue would change that little bit in the opening scene and expand into the plot where two teenage girls are found murdered. London, Marci, and Richmond investigate to find it leads them to a human trafficking and sex slave ring that extends to several other major U.S. cities and international countries. The story goes behind the scenes of these criminals operation, manipulating their captives, marketing them as sex slaves, and London, Marci, and Richmond’s pursuit getting those responsible to end the operation and save those they have kidnapped. I saw a documentary on cable about this about a year ago and was appalled. Not only in the kidnapping and their operation but at the number of people who are kidnapped, unexplainable reports as missing persons – who are more likely to end up here in a human trafficking and sex slave operation than as a victim of a serial murderer as most movies and television programs depict. It happens much more often than is reported in the news and something that I feel should have more attention.
So should the “London Time” story go right, left, or stay on course? I like it the way it is – it is original as you cannot point to another movie with a similar story line, like you could with the terrorists’ assassination plot, but I still like these sequel/alternate stories and there is a possibility that they all get made as sequels – if the first one is really good! So which one is most likely to be the best one? Hmmmm?
Maybe the best direction at this point is to push another story altogether. Instead of Detective London, I could pitch “Forever Yours” another feature length screenplay that stars a paraplegic computer entrepreneur who is in love with a woman but is afraid of condemning her to a life of having to take care of a paraplegic but has to learn that is not a decision he can make – that is her decision and if he doesn’t want to live his life alone he better let her decide for herself! In the course of that story he meets her parents for the first time and they have no idea he is a paraplegic in a wheelchair – until he shows up! Sort of like “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”!
Or I could develop one of another dozen stories I have written as short stories or descriptions that I plan to adapt into feature length screenplays. I would love to do “Sunrise Surf”, or “Downsizing” which is a contemporary telling of the “Beauty and the Beast” story with the Beast being a very success business man who is a paraplegic running his empire from his mansion and a bit of a recluse. It is mainly because people do not like him and only deal with him on necessity for work. Until a Beauty comes along to try and regain her father’s job that was lost in a planned lay-off in which he did to avoid paying a large retirement pension – and just like in the original story he agrees to consider it if she will stay the weekend with him there in his home where it is discovered that he became a beast to be around because of how he had been treated when he first became a paraplegic which was also his motivation to become the hugely successful businessman. So becoming a paraplegic for him has been both a blessing and a curse! But she teaches him how to be himself around others regardless of what they think, and learn to love life with all of its challenges and advantages!
There are several other stories that can be found on the website – I love storytelling and I love seeing that story be told on the screen even more! Unfortunately I do not have time to write right now or for that matter for the past 5 years or so – due to the NEED of making the business work, get closer to the “turning point” in American cinema, make my career sustain me and my monthly bills! I am so tired of not knowing how I am going to pay for all my monthly bills every month and there is nothing extravagant, just basics, phone, electric, etc.. But I have felt I was so close to that the next level toward greenlighting my project(s) as if it was going to happen within days – but this is both a thought and feeling that I have had for the past several days, weeks, months, for the past at least 4 years thanks to the preparation, the work, the materials I have created and are ready for the opportunity which is what I have felt is right around the corner! Even in creating the opportunity (again see the previous blog entry!) But every time I come up empty, but as the saying goes “failure is nothing more than a stepping stone to success”…right? It’s hard living this way for so long, but I have to think it is so and I have to remain focused on the course – that is why I keep trying, different directions, angles, and “creating opportunities” to get the right people on board to further our progress toward raising the funds to go into production and fulfill my Mission! Making a change in American cinema forever!
“London Time” is pitched as a modern day, 21st century “Ironside” but NOT a remake of “Ironside”. I hate remakes of movies or television shows. I feel like it is nothing but an obvious display of no creativity – if you cannot make an original and decide to do a remake it is like stealing the original and that is cheap and it sucks. And my Detective London is not a fat man solving crimes primarily while only sitting in his wheelchair using only his brilliant mind, being pushed around from crime scene and squad room in his wheelchair and driven around in a cargo van by a token black man character. Yet still my biggest fear is that some jackass suddenly comes up with the idea that it would be great to remake “Ironside”
before I produce “London Time” with a real honest 21st century homicide detective who happens to also be a paraplegic! This nightmare of a remake of “Ironside” is for two reasons – first is Hollywood will still screw up the portrayal and representation – as they usually do – at the very least by disrespecting the disAbility and those who live with a disAbility by casting a freaking able bodied actor. Second, is that if this remake is made before my film, then it will look as if I am trying to copy the “Ironside” success or that “London Time” is a follower instead of a leader like I know it is! Steal my thunder and make me look like a typical Hollywood copycat! WRONG! I am a leader, an innovator, and this is much more than just a movie or television series! This is an authentic representation – with an authentic voice, vision, performance that will empower people with a disAbility all over America and the world! If it is done as I outlined in both creative material content and marketing strategies as detailed in my business plans!
So I have been thinking that the only way to avoid this – as they often said in western movies – they would “cut them off at the pass” and I think I can do that by either buying the rights to remake “Ironside” and sit on those rights mostly so nobody else remakes it and crushes my “London Time” film and potential franchise – or I approach the current rights owner of “Ironside” and I offer to remake it for them! I know it sounds crazy but I can bring the authentic element and insist that we also hire an actor who is a paraplegic to portray him – give him an updated image – much like they are proposing and producing for the Fall of 2010 of “The Rockford Files”
and “Hawaii Five-O”
This way I can better assure that Hollywood doesn’t disrespect those of us with a disAbility. I would probably still have to scrap “London Time” at least for a while but I would still be able to do one of my many other films! Well, since we all know my money situation is – I have none – option one, buying the rights is pretty much out the window – so I either take a chance and keep the course of getting “London Time” produced – in either its current form or in one of the other story lines described above, or approach NBC/Universal about partnering with them to remake “Ironside”! I hate the idea of remakes but how do I avoid my work being trampled and discarded as a copycat – or one that someone produced to try and ride the coat tails of a remade “Ironside”? What direction is best?