There was a scene I omitted from my final draft of Welcome to Cydonia, and it involved my main character, Colton Price, suffering such a serious bout of depression that he actually attempts to send an S.O.S. message in a bottle. The bottle would then turn up in the hands of one of the Cydonians who would have a good laugh as well as his ass over a barrel, but I scrapped it on account of the lull in pace it would represent. I wanted WtC to move quickly. Because it was a more intimate piece, the plot needed to be super taunt and move forward at certain speed. In an earlier entry I mentioned that I was applying a “pushing” concept to the drafting of this screenplay. If we write quickly we are often pushed by our ideas instead of pulled by them, which hopefully translates into an exhilarating reading experience. I wanted a reader to feel like they were on a wave, and unwilling if not helpless to get off. Also, I didn’t outline very extensively. Once I sort of knew where it was going and had the opening, I jumped in with both feet. The Coen brothers were right when they said that, “if [the writer] doesn’t know where it’s going, neither will the audience.” And so far, feedback has been positive and of the ilk that suggests I managed to push them into the wave and guaranteed they’d stay on until the end. I’m pleased with that. Minor mission accomplished.
But now comes stage two of the life of the story where I dig out names of parties and individuals who might be interested in the concept and style, and send them a letter. So in a sense, I’m sending out my own S.O.S., and hopefully there won’t be the usual lull in pace that often accompanies this particular phase. I’ve not given up on my other works, but I made the decision that they were too ambitious from an unknown writer to use as bait for representation. I felt I needed to write something that an agent or interested buyer could wrap their head around in a brief sitting. I needed to give them something they could take a chance on that wouldn’t translate into possibly the biggest risk of their careers. And as previously stated, I wanted to keep them riveted as they waited for their laundry to dry or in between their deep tissue massage and tee-time. Hopefully, I’ve done that and I thank everyone who has taken the time to give it a read. You’re truly awesome.
So I dropped 14 bottles into that Cydonian Sea yesterday, along with a few carrier pigeons by way of online submission in hopes that someone, somewhere, finds it, opens it up, and likes what I’m selling. It was nice to have a link to a video pitch that could be found right here on my blog, along with a somewhat lengthier synopsis, and I have the Massify contest to thank for that. I also tried to show my work, including a paragraph that honestly explained why I singled out the intended recipient of the letter. Most of the reasons involved the work of clients they currently represented having similar tastes to mine, others involved me taking a stab at reps of talent who have been known to sign on a smaller film or literary property that may have something going for it. It’s very likely those will get returned or binned, as 99.9% of film companies and talents agents won’t touch unsolicited ideas with a thousand foot Saudi yacht. They do this to protect themselves from future lawsuits in the event their company or star is involved in material that may incorporate overly familiar elements to the unsolicited work. But every once and awhile someone takes a chance on someone if they present themselves as honest and professional, and I wanted to be there if my lucky number was called – even if I wasn’t a stripper with lots of professional writing experience and more than likely a real life agent with deep Hollywood connections.
Hollywood really does like a Cinderella story. Especially if she takes off her gown and a few suitors are swept under the carpet.
Regardless, I really think I overturned lots of stones this time around. And in many cases, one stone lead me to another which lead me to the one I really was looking for. Hey, when you live on an island and you write about an island and so often when seeking to get a foot in the door of the film industry you feel like you’re stranded on one, what else is there to do but turn stones and send bottles?
And of course, keep on writing.