Sunday, April 13, 2008
Scripting "Mister Rogers & Me" -- Twice
It's been Groundhog Day for the last month; every weekend is the same.
I walk to the deli across the street and order a cracked pepper turkey on a roll with mustard, mayo, vinegar, lettuce, tomato, and onions. I grab a 16 ounce Coca-Cola out of the cooler, a bag of Baked Lays from the display, pay for everything, and walk home.
Back home, I microwave the sandwich for forty-five seconds, set my laptop up on the dining room table, and get to work on the doc...
Today, I finished. Sort of.
The script is done! Both of 'em.
The first is the rough cut sketch version. It consists of voice over, interview transcription, plus some video direction ("VID: Driving In NYC"). Entire sections, though, are summed up in single phrases -- like "Pittsburgh Children Museum Tour" or "Smithsonian MOS." It comes to about 15,000 words, or twenty-five pages.
The other is a condensed version for IFP's Independent Film Week. The Independent Film Week is an annual confab of indie studios, distributors, and festival bookers. Everyone we've talked to (which at this point is pretty much Paul and Chris) suggested we screen at least a work in progress there before getting into the festival game. The deadline is May 2, which, given our rate of progress, is way too soon for the full rough cut.
Fortunately for us, IFP is all about new filmmakers, so they'll except even a few rough scenes for potential admission (bearing in mind that they accept only the top 15% of submissions). The condensed script, then, is basically the open (which is in pretty good shape), the close (which is written, and not too complicated), with two segments in between: Bo Lozoff (which Chris has flirted with but not tackled; Bo's vociferous and super deep) and Davy Rothbart (which Chris has already rough cut).
I have to read a few VOs tomorrow night, then I'm handing the whole thing off to Chris. He edits twelve hours a day, and is a husband and father of two, so we've been having one heckuva' time squeezing in "Mister Rogers & Me" edits. But the clock's tickin'...
It's been a long road, and I know that we've only just begun. Two quotes are currently pulling me through.
I found this one in a blog post I wrote about a Tribeca Film Festival panel I attended some years ago. Steven Gaghan was talking with Sydney Pollack about a project that had languished in pre-production for three years. Pollack said, "Don’t worry about it, kid. Any project that means anything takes nine years to get made. Nine years. You’re only a third of the way there."
The other was in today's New York Times about actress Helent Hunt's directorial debut, "Then She Found Me." "I was particularly defeated," she said, "So I asked someone, 'Whose movies get made?' He said, 'It’s the people who don’t give up.'"
As it currently stands, the film's prologue is a quote from another one of my heroes, Bono.
"The true life of a believer is one of a hazardous uphill pilgrimage where you uncover slowly the illumination for your next step."
And I'm ready for the next step.