Okay, so despite the howling winds, torrential rains, and at least one cat box emergency, I had a fairly productive weekend. I worked over my script like it was my fat-bellied, marine recruit and I its spit-spraying, drill sergeant. It’s remarkable how much useless gunk gets stuck between the teeth of a first draft. You really need to go back and dig it out with whatever miracle of modern technology you have at your disposal. I was fortunate to have a bright and untiring talent on the other end of an email or ten to point out several inconsistencies and uncrossable chasms of logic so that helped tremendously. I’ve learned, however, to be very careful about polishing my work too much as I can inadvertently clean out some of the personality that may have found its way in. The same does not go for my teeth, by the way, so you can quit backing up. Clowns.
I suppose the biggest change to the story is the title. I’d had a love-hate relationship with Shh… since I first came up with it, and while it was fun, different and significant to the story itself, it’s also a pain to explain over the phone, annoying to write in a sentence, and a little insubstantial on a title page. So I’ve changed it to the title you see up there in my little movie poster mock-up. Interesting story behind that, actually. I came across a very cool website that was holding a horror film pitch contest and the winner got their film produced by After Dark Films and included in Horrorfest 2008’s “8 Films to Die For”. You even get a chance to audition for a part, and on-site voting would determine who made it right down to the final casting. Cool idea, I have to say. So I submitted a logline, a synopsis and the two requirements left were poster and pitch video. I’ve yet to make the video and am still not exactly sure I’m going to go through with it as this particular entry is rather left of center for what they’ve done in the past, but it was a cool little exercise to help me visualize my story a bit more.
So I figured I’d share. What do you think? Welcome to Cydonia is certainly more traditional sounding, which at this start-up stage of my non-career can be a good thing. I hadn’t really thought of changing it yet until I had this poster challenge thrown at me, so as I ran around google images borrowing shamelessly from anyone and anything I could find that might represent the story, it just seemed to fit better. I was shooting for a European flavor circa 1975-1980 and slapped something together. I think I just about captured the fun but twisted tone of the piece, so for now I guess I’ll keep it…unless I get a bunch of comments telling me I’m being really lame. Which is cool, too.
I saw a terrific little film last night by one of my favorite European directors, Alejandro Amenabar. It was his sophisticated directing genius that gave his 2001 smart as hell ghost story The Others, starring Nicole Kidman, the style it needed to win a ton of awards, including a Goya – Spain’s equivalent of an Oscar – yet without a single word of Spanish in it. Open Your Eyes (1997), his modestly budgeted, science-fiction/horror tale showcased the imagination and talent for directing actors that would eventually put him in touch with Kidman and it is very easy to see why she signed on with little or no Hollywood fanfare to speak of. She won an Oscar that same year for her role in that clueless mess Moulin Rouge! but if you ask me and a whole lot of Spanish people, I’d say they got her best film confused. Meh. Qué saben ellos?
Anyway, check out Open Your Eyes if you don’t mind subtitles and love to have your mind seriously blown by intelligent filmmaking and arguably the greatest overlooked plot twist of the last decade of sci-fi cinema. I also enjoyed watching the copious amounts of dialog, as Welcome to Cydonia™ has lots of it and at times I was afraid I was coming off like a Mr. Wordy McBlowhard.
And on that note…