Sunday, July 21, 2013

Turbulence Update or We will, we will rock you!

A lot has happened in a very short period of time. Namely this:

Director: I hate the title. Why can’t you come up with a better title? We really need to change the title! Have you changed the title yet?

Me: I actually quite like it.

Director: It sucks. It’s terrible. I hate it. Have you SEEN the Ray Liotta film of the same name?

Me: We’re not remaking that film.

Director: It makes it sound like the whole thing is set on a plane.

Me: Well, it starts on a plane…

Director: Yes, yes, I know. But does it end on a plane? Well, does it?

Me: It’s a thematic title. Our main character’s world is rocked. Get it… rocked. Like in turbulence (does shimmy action to demonstrate the point).

Director: Did I mention… I. HATE. IT?!!!!!!

Me: Do you want me to get the feedback sheets from the reading and tell you what the audience thought?

Director: We need a new title!

Me: Sixty one percent liked it. If this were a Federal election every single seat would be won by the Opposition. It’s a landslide!!!

Director: Oh, so now it’s set on a mountain, is it?

Okay, in fairness to Tim the conversation didn’t quite go like that and yes, for the record, the Ray Liotta film sucks.

However, in the space of one week, we now have producers on board and they will be taking the project to market as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival next week. How did this all happen?

Dissolve to flashback:

There I was sitting in a music room at Leederville TAFE having been browbeaten by Tim to attend a ScreenWest industry briefing… on FAQs and website navigation.

Me (Voice-over): Why am I sitting in a music room listening to people talk about FAQs? What even is an FAQ? I should look that up. I wonder if there’s a website?

A revamped funding initiative – Feature Navigator – was fast approaching and we were looking for a producer. Determined not to drink free booze and eat free food paid by our taxpayer’s money, Tim insisted we flee instead to deepest, darkest Oxford Street to discuss projects and strategy. A list of prospective producers was made, most of whom were drinking free booze and eating free food while I munched on my decidedly not free Chicken and Cashews at Hans CafĂ©.

Yes, for the purposes of this post, Tim is the villain while I will be your hero and amiable narrator. I expect I will pay for this is no small measure later in proceedings. Insert smiley emoticon J to denote humour and general plea for clemency.

The very next day (a Thursday) I had coffee with a previous collaborator Chris Richards-Scully to touch base and sound him out about Feature Navigator. Chris and his producing partner, Michael Facey (who I’ve also worked with), formed Archangel Pictures back in 2009.

Chris immediately expressed an interest in Turbulence so the discussion was twofold: Tim and I teaming up with Archangel Pictures to submit feature film projects for the Feature Navigator (FN) round; and the possibility of Archangel producing Turbulence.

Chris sounded out Michael; I spoke to Tim, and a meeting was set for Saturday lunchtime. Something kept nagging me about this day but everything was set. Then I remembered… it was my birthday!

The meeting took place (hey, I’m a professional) but Chris was unfortunately unable to attend. We agreed to discuss projects for FN and to send Michael and Chris the reading draft of Turbulence. The script was sent out later that day, early afternoon-ish, and I went off to get spoilt by mum’s home cooking.

I get a call the next day, not more than 24 hours later, and Chris and Michael have both read the script, love it, and want to option it!

Options and agreements and lawyers notes ensue. The following Thursday evening the four of us meet, clarifications are sought and made, and we reach an in principle agreement that Archangel Pictures will produce Turbulence and pitch it at market in Melbourne. The final paperwork is to be signed but this is a promising step. We also agree on the three projects we will submit for the FN round.

Everything is in place… except for this:

Producer: So, about this title…?

Me: Arrrrggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!