Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Dark Zone: Movie Update

I might have mentioned in passing that a script Reaves and I wrote some time back–The Dark Zone–has been optioned. It's a caper movie that serendipitously came out of some research I was doing regarding caverns and cave systems in the U.S., and we ran with it.

We deliberately wrote it tight, and without a lot of EFX, so it could be shot low-budget. If you find a producer with access to big bucks, it's easier to tech stuff up from low. Not as easy to go the other way if the effects are integral to the story. 

As these things go, experience has taught me that the initial rush of enthusiasm–Oh, boy, oh, boy, they are gonna make my movie!–needs to be seasoned with a large sprinkling of reality. The business of Hollywood is more about the deal than the movie, and there is a long journey twixt writing a script and seeing it realized on the silver screen.

Many, many screenplays have been written, relatively few make it to your local theaters, direct-to-video, or cable. I can't recall the ratio, but it's probably something like this: For every thousand scripts that are written and submitted, a hundred get optioned; for every hundred that get optioned, ten make it past turnaround; for every ten that make it past turnaround, maybe three get made; of those three, one or two might actually get released. The old joke is, in Hollywood, if you stop ten people on the street and ask them how their script is going? They will all tell you ...

The main problems can all be boiled down to one word: Money.

If you have enough money to throw at your problems, you can make any movie you want. If you don't, not so much.

You can make a pretty good low-budget picture if you have enough drive and talent and luck. There are well-known examples that cost peanuts but went gold, and you never know. People win the lottery, too.

So in this case, the producer/director, Phillip Darlington, has some chops–he's been in the Biz for a while, done some stunt stuff, acting, and knows his way around a camera, since he is a professional photographer. He's also a diver and a caver, both of which are elements of the script, so that is a big plus. He knows caves and underwater, he can make that real.

Doesn't have a lot of money. But he does have enthusiasm, and he has put together a trailer using actors and stunt folk and some well-shot but not-expensive footage to try and convince investors to put up money. 

He's got a real chance, I think. I've seen the rough cut of the trailer, and it looks terrific. Once that is cleaned up and ADR'ed and all, he will be using it to generate interest. There will be web pages and social media and fund raising online and like that. There's already a placeholder Facebook page, here.

There are a lot of folks outside LaLaLand who would like to be in the movie biz, even if only to be able to tell their friends, Hey, I helped get this movie made, check it out! Maybe Phillip can connect with them. 

It won't be easy, given my experience, nor will he be looking at a James Cameron budget in any event. I've sold options on my stuff a dozen times and nobody has yet been able to invite me to a world premiere. (Just as many Bothans died, so have many hopes on the boulevards of broken dreams down in sunny SoCal.) 

I can't show you the trailer yet, but it will be polished and made public in the not-too-distant future, and when it is, I'll put up links hither and yon. Stay tuned. 

To paraphrase Flatnose Curry talking to Butch Cassidy: "We're rootin' for you, Phillip ..."

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