Working on a long, long term project due to launch later this year has me thinking about various film projects stuck in development hell that have finally seen the light of day -er- distribution.
The new hotness that is Altered Carbon(on Netflix as of February 2nd) was adapted from a 2002 book. Several friends have already mentioned about the differences from the book (some bigger than others), but I only recently learned more about how long it’s been in development. Basically, it was optioned the same year it was published and, as with so many projects, found an outlet via Netflix’s mad rush to create content. If you’re not averse to Game of Thrones level sex and violence, it will definitely scratch your cyberpunk itch (and did I mention Max Headroom himself (Matt Frewer) makes an appearance?).
Also on Netflix as of last Fall, is Scott Frank’s western mini-series Godless. This project appears to have started in a similar form to Altered Carbon, albeit as an original feature film vs. an adaptation. In both cases, the creators found the feature film format wouldn’t hold the story and so they expanded things to fit a larger canvas. Scott Frank goes into the long process of bringing this project to some form of screen on a great episode of Scriptnotes from last year. If you enjoy westerns that comment on westerns, like Unforgiven, you’ll probably like this (if you want it to live up to its marketing as a woman-centric western, you’ll likely be disappointed).
Finally, on a note closer to home, the indie period horror/mystery Dinner with the Alchemist has VOD distribution as of yesterday. I know a bunch of the people both in front of and behind the camera. And even though indie filmmaking is invariably an entrepreneurial activity, there are plenty of ups and downs — and persistence plays a huge part. In this case, the screenwriter, inspired by historical documents, has been working to bring this story to the screen for over six years. The project was thundering into production, got halted, and started again. And you’ll notice from the IMDb page that it’s in one sense from 2016 — and yet they needed to keep working until now for online distribution.
So here’s to light at the end of the long journey — or I guess in the case of all three of these examples, dark tales.
Yes, this is still a “Motivation Monday” post. Stay with me.
If you haven’t stumbled across this series before, it’s a lovingly obsessive look at the craft and technique that goes into making movie magic done by some lovingly obsessive creative folk.
I first got to know about the series with their piece on Akira Kurosawa:
Another favorite is about the “Spielberg Oner.”
Even though I’ve been a cinematographer for only a few projects, I know how much work can go into making moves like these look so organic and effortless. That makes me love them all the more.
And it also motivates me to go out and make something extraordinary. If you’re a filmmaker, go on and watch a few yourself. See if it doesn’t inspire you to approach your next project with more verve.
But don’t forget to read through the postmortem. It shows what level of love and dedication it took to make what these “nutrient-rich” videos packed full of insight. And it explains why they decided to move on.
But the motivation remains. Kudos to Taylor and Tony — and I know I speak for many when I say I hope we see you online again sooner rather than later.
This weekend, I will be doing my 19th or 20th short film competition. I’m not sure on the number.
I’d like to say “everyone loses count after a dozen or so,” but it might also be because I’ve passed the big two-five (I say this purely to make 30-somethings uncomfortable). If you’re not aware of the 48 Hour Film Project or its sister competition, the Four Points Film Challenge (formerly the National Film Challenge), check out their website.
The films include some of my favorite timesdirecting as well as one of my all-time favorite “day player” appearances (if you see it, yes: I did that makeup). I’ve done just about all the different jobs one could do in cast and crew.
This year, I’ll be working with one of my “home teams” again, Tohubohu Productions. This will be their second 48 this year — they’re kind of addicted.
One of the nicest things about these weekend film competitions is that –good, bad, or ugly– you have a film at the end of 48 hours. So if you need a kick in the pants to get going and make a film: see when it’s coming to your part of the world (it happens on six continents).