19 October, 2005

Fortunate Meeting

Kennedy Goodkey - Writer DudeThere are actually a number of things worth mentioning…

A week ago yesterday I met with Neil Every regarding the script. Ouch. Well... good and bad. He generally loved the script, but I walked away with three pages of notes — most of which rang really true — of things he felt we could improve.

Gawd… we've done this how many times? I'm tired of rewriting this damned script.

We'll do it, but… augh!

If Neil's notes didn't feel right, it would be a different story. Much of what he had to say appeared to me to be symptoms of minute changes in various directions which have gradually dragged the script away from strengths it once had in order to serve other elements that needed to be buoyed up.

I guess it feels a bit like the wheels are spinning.

But in other news…

I scored a gig that technically speaking I have no business doing. It's only about 5 or 6 days of work, but I got a job on an indie-feature wearing a number of hats — in this case I was brought on as the B-Roll director/camera-operator, but it has morphed/blossomed into B-Roll/B-Cam/2nd Unit/1st A.D. (when the real 1st A.D. is unavailable)/and now possibly location scout. It's certainly the nature of Indie film, but the difference between this and anything else I've ever done is that there are some very real star-power (Canadian famous) in this one.

But the real story here is that the Senior Investment Analyst for Telefilm is one of the producers.

He knew who I was — he had been impressed by the eBay initiative. He gave me his card and wants to talk. Yoiks.
- Kennedy

23 September, 2005

Features First, left behind

Kennedy Goodkey - Writer DudeBlah.

Okay, we blew it. Sort of.

Craig is now off in Toronto for a few months, which makes things harder. We knew this was going to happen, but I don't think we quite appreciated its impact… but I suppose that is sort of shifting blame a bit too. I did just lose the better part of a month to rehearsing and performing a Fringe Festival Show.

Wendy and I met, night before last to get our Features First application back on track. Part way through the evening I admitted that for various reasons I feel like Features First is the wrong program for us. Part of that is a certain fear of someone trying to push us to make the film something that it was never intended to be, but that is going to be a reality no matter how we get this thing made. I feel like the Features First schedule (over 10 months) is contrary to what our intentions are — this film is going to happen in the spring, not a year hence. Having said that, the Features First program would be an awesome experience — I just don't think that this is the right project.

Further on in the meeting Wendy made a call to a professional acquaintance to ask about some budgeting information. From the one side of the conversation I heard I could grok a lot of info.
  1. Wendy was getting a lot of insight out of the discussion
  2. We weren't going to get the budget done right on time.
When she hung up that was exactly what she imparted. Yes, we could get the budget done on time, but not well — and certainly not for free, or even cheap. Ah the immortal equation: Speed, Quality, Cheap... pick two.

But we did get put onto something else... the CFC's Feature Film Project. Very similar to Features First in both application requirements and benefits, but even more suitable to our needs and with a deadline an extra two weeks away (a critical amount of time) AND with a second application date in January.

In the end this was kind of a no-brainer.
- Kennedy

28 August, 2005

Report from the ReelFast Frontlines

Kennedy Goodkey - Writer DudeThe ReelFast gala was last night.

I can't say I've ever enjoyed it more. The top ten films were actually the top twelve (five years running that there was a tie for the 10th place — me thinks they should put a process in place to deal with that), and not one of them offended me as a choice. There were two which I would not have picked as top ten, but neither upset my sensibilities.

I ran into Rob Neilson who was our editor for last year's project. He's doing quite interesting stuff around town these days. I know he's aching to direct a comedy. He apologised for not making it to our launch, but wanted to discuss the project. It didn't really happen last night, but we did discuss discussing it. I don't know what we'd do if he said he wanted to direct and could add some promise to it really happening. ‘…Cross that bridge when we come to it’, I guess.

Also got to thank Lori Triolo for the Cold Reading Series' donation to the project.

Her film made the top ten. Nice piece. Their location was our submission (our photograph was poorly used in the Audience Choice Award winner, and our food donation also made it into a top ten film).

Our auction winners have started contacting us. Tracey is going to handle the $$ business and then we'll take over from there.
- Kennedy

26 August, 2005

Is this it?

Kennedy Goodkey - Writer DudeWell, I'd hoped for better, but with only four hours left until the auctions are over, I'm betting we're pretty much looking at our final price. But our hits are pretty great.

Craig sent me an edit of the script yesterday, I just finished going over it. Lots of good food for thought. Certainly freshened my mind as far as the structure goes. I'm resisting two of his larger changes, but in so doing I've been forced to more carefully consider
  1. what the scenes in question accomplish in the movie
  2. if there aren't better solutions than either what existed or what he did.
In both cases I think we're on our way to a cleaner solution to the plot points involved.

In one case, I think he over-cut in order to fix a problem (and actually failed to cut a portion that was even more of an issue in the same problem); in the other, I think he cut where he should have been adding (and not much adding at that). He came up with a few other changes which generally were positive and if anything inspired me to think outside of what we'd already established. Hopefully this draft will round out in a few days.

Craig is leaving for Toronto soon (Sept 1st). Kind of scary. Just as we need to kick out the jams on our NSI application.
- Kennedy

24 August, 2005

More and more…!!! BRICKWALL!!!

Kennedy Goodkey - Writer DudeWell, we got featured in a front page article in the Vancouver Sun business section on Monday, and our price on the Executive Producer credit went up by 400%. That's the good way of saying it. The other way is to say that it went up by almost $400. But the publicity remains positive and we haven't lost any money, which is even better. Still two days to go.

We got notification that Playback magazine will be featuring us on the 29th. Not soon enough to benefit the auction, but still good press to use.

Big couple of days.

The screenings for ReelFast were yesterday and the day before. I used Monday to do a bunch of networking. That went well.

Last night there wasn't much networking left to do, I'd pretty much worked the room. But it was the screening of my ReelFast directing début — as flawed as it was. The audience gave it a big round of applause when it was done, and reacted positively throughout. The three shots that I expected to get good responses, did, which makes me think I do have a sense of what people like and don't like. And the applause afterwards shows me that our effort was seen — even though the realization fell shy. Lots of good comments afterwards.

Phil Mahoney came to me last night with a CD and DVD demo-reel combo. He asked if we had a composer for The Beast yet — cool acknowledgement. I feel a bit like last night that, despite the short-comings of the my entry, I have been legitimized as a film-maker. It wasn't all last night, but last night was where my peers got to say 'hey, we respect you.'

Yesterday I met with Neil Every during the day. We had a good chat. He's offered to do coverage on The Beast — which is great. It'd be awesome if we could get more from him beyond that, but we'll wait and see. His feed-back yesterday alone was awesome. Raised some big questions for Craig and I to consider.

We also discussed Features First, which we are planning to apply for (despite the fact that it'll change our shooting schedule). He is planning to go for it too. Speaking of Features First, I also ran into Justin McGregor last night who is in the middle of the program right now. He agreed to let me pick his mind for a beer to four.
— Kennedy

20 August, 2005

A Quiet Saturday

Kennedy Goodkey - Writer DudeCraig and Wendy and I had an early start today. Woke at 6am for a 7am meeting.

We are a bit in "what now?" mode.

We're a bit confused by the response on eBay. Lots of hits as far as we're concerned, but the price is growing pretty slowly. On one level we know that the heavy hitters aren't even going to get involved when the price is this low — certainly not until the end. Why would they come and inflate the price now? But it's unsettling. The price still grows, but it has yet to pay for the launch… not that the launch was about much more than getting some attention — which it succeeded in doing. But with all this attention, why is there such cautious bidding? You'd think that average joe would be thinking "Wow! I could buy a chance to advertise in a movie for a pittance!" I dunno. We've got attention — that's the bottom line.

We really met to discuss additional funding possibilities. We have to work towards getting other money. Pure and simple. And we can't drop the ball when we've got this momentum going.

In the interviews so far we keep getting asked the same question. I hate having to dodge it. "What is your budget?" The real answer is, the budget is whatever we get, but we can't fucking SAY that — well, I just did, but I mean we can't say that in a newspaper article! And when we meet with investors we need to have a detailed budget. We've had a number of doors open along those lines and we can't go in and screw our credibility by not knowing what we're asking for. We were under such pressure to get the launch up and the auction well done that we dropped all other tasks.

We've got to get this done and fast. Craig is going to do a budget this weekend, but that's a weak solution. We need to get someone who knows their stuff to do it up and fast.

Not liking this very much. I dreamed that there was a bit of a break here. What a knob I was. At least the phone isn't ringing... a quiet Saturday... is that really a good thing?
- Kennedy

19 August, 2005

More Media

Kennedy Goodkey - Writer DudeThe Toronto Sun featured us today.

Hitting a paper in a major city other than Vancouver is a major vindication.

The bids are still low, but the hits on the auctions are growing fast. I can't begin to assess what this means. At least all three auctions have bids now.

Hopefully this blog and our trailer will be linked to our site soon.

Apparently Playback Magazine is going to call for an interview today, too. No doubt we have succeeded on some level when it comes to getting people's attention.

I was at a play opening yesterday and practically everyone I knew there had heard of it and declared it as a ‘genius idea’. Well, it's only a genius idea if it works.
- Kennedy

17 August, 2005

The Day After…

Kennedy Goodkey - Writer DudeLast night, after a harried six weeks of planning, we launched Provost Pictures and went public with our original Publicity and Funding strategy.

The attendance at the event was both less than we'd hoped, but better than we'd feared. I'm guessing there were 75 people there over the course of the evening… although I doubt anyone actually did a head count.

I was exhausted before we opened the doors, but I managed to push through the evening. But when I got home I think I fell asleep in mid-sentence when talking to Eden.

I am still pretty scattered — it was a long haul up to yesterday and the event was preceded by the 48 hour film-competition, which I had committed to before we set a date for the launch. Hopefully I'll ‘reel it in’ (pardon the pun) in the next few days. So apologies for the dis-jointed nature of this post.

The short version is:
  • Provost Pictures is a company formed in order to film a feature length film entitled The Beast of Bottomless Lake which I began writing with my friend Keith in about 1998. It was originally titled The Nightmare Beast of Blood Lake: A Scientific Overview and has had almost as many titles as drafts.
  • Keith and I brought another collaborator on board in 2000. Craig March. Craig and I had been in an independent film together called Sons of Cohen (don't bother trying to find it) and he and Keith had long been looking for a chance to work together.
  • In the late spring of 2001, just as we were getting a bunch of attention on the screenplay — during “National Bike Month” of all things — Keith was killed in a bicycle accident.
  • Needless to say this wasn't good for the project or us, and despite our best intentions the film got un-officially shelved.
  • Eventually Craig and I got back to the script and with the help of a story editor - Mark Leiren-Young - we finished a nice tight version of the script which eventually was read at the Final Draught Reading Series.
  • The Final Draught reading was a BIG success. It was one of Final Draught's best attended evenings. And the seemingly endless laughter was truly vindicating. God how I wish Keith could have been there to see it. Janet, Keith's wife had it videoed for posterity.
Fast Forward to about six weeks ago…
  • I read something — I can't even recall what now — in a newspaper about the latest stupid thing that someone had put up for auction on eBay… I think it was 'Run-away Bride Toast'… and it had sold for some embarrassingly high price. Just criminal. I thought to myself, I'd like to get a piece of that action, but it also occurred to me that there had to be a law of diminishing returns applied to it and that the fad of selling stupid stuff on eBay was bound to come to a crashing halt soon. I asked myself 'how could someone find a new and refreshing twist on the idea?' It struck me that the answer lay in finding something equally 'out-of-the-box' yet significantly more pragmatic than toast.
  • I was riding my bike home from Eden’s when it struck me: The film… how many times had Craig and I tried to get money for the damned thing? We'd been so close several times, but it always fell through. I knew I had my answer.
  • I called Craig the moment I walked in the door. I knew that it was only a matter of time before someone else tried it.
  • Craig brought Wendy on board, and we formed Provost Pictures in honour of Keith.
It was a LOT of work to get to last night. I already mentioned my ReelFast project, and I was also committed to doing a show in the Fringe Festival based on one of my favourite books, Cosmic Banditos (an authorized adaptation, no less) — which is not to mention that I also somehow had to do all this work and keep my lovely girlfriend as my girlfriend (somehow I managed to pull that off).

ReelFast was ludicrously exhausting. I've done the contest four times before. Never has it been such hard work — but we only have ourselves to blame, we decided to shoot the entire thing one frame at a time with still cameras as stop-motion. But I digress…

Awake doing the contest for 48 hours, then a short night's rest, followed by two days of prep for the Launch.

The launch was a lot of fun.

We showed a trailer that Craig shot two weeks ago (and I edited in the week before ReelFast). And then announced our crazy scheme. When we announced the feature auction the room went crazy — a huge cheer. You could BUY Executive Producer Credit on our film. We'd clearly captured something.

Once we were done I was handed a number of beers (No wonder I fell asleep in mid-sentence — sorry Eden, I love you.) and finally got to relax.

I lost track of the number of people I chatted with over the next 90 minutes, but there was a lot of excitement in the room. A lot of sentiment along the lines of “Wow. What a great idea! How come on one has ever done that before?”

Today, we've had a number of media interview requests; the interest in our product placement has begun — we've had to answer questions of bidders already — and in the time I've been writing this post, the bids on our Executive Producer Credit has gone up by 10 bids. The money is still pretty low, but we're already getting to the point of breaking even on the launch — which at least means we're not losing anything.

I'm curious if this is just the beginning… when word starts to spread…

Of course that was always part of the plan.
— Kennedy