It has been a fun, crazy hectic and exciting summer as I live, breath and dream Raspberry Magic. My producer and I have been working our butts off, meeting with many potential investors and getting our business plans into the hands of as many people as possible. It has been an incredible experience, because with every meeting, I feel like I learn something new, especially on the business end. Our business plan, like our script, evolves as we meet with investors and add more and more details. People ask us questions, we ponder them, then edit/change our plan accordingly and expand our process. I think many potential investors are impressed that we've thought through so many aspects of our production, but there is always room to add more. We've especially had a lot of new insight into different distribution models. Most filmmakers want the big pickup by a major studio, but that doesn't always happen. We've been learning more about service deals, where the filmmakers raise some PR money up front and then forge partnerships based having done their own PR. There are some really interesting opps. in this area as the distribution arena of indie film continues to grow/change. We are tackling all angles in terms of thinking about the distribution and how we're going to get this film out.
My producer Megha and I drove an hour and a half east of here to gather some footage for a little teaser reel we're putting together. It's not a trailer, but more of a short piece that gives a feel for the tone of the movie. It was so hot that day, I really thought we were going to pass out. It also didn't help that we had a number of car woes, including my car heating up and hers breaking down on the way to my house. But all in all, we got some great photos of raspberries. I felt a bit harried the whole time b/c there was so much to think about, but it was good to get out and actually shoot something after being so focused on re-writes. I used the Panasonic DVX 100A, which is really an amazing camera. The 24p quality is awesome, and I love all the little things, like being able to use a 1/8 and 1/64 ND filter. If I shot more often, I would def. run out and purchase that little camera, it's sweet!
When I was young, I was very interested in theater and took several drama classes. In college, I took a class called "Performance of Black Literature." The class was super intense, because it required a lot of time with rehearsals, and it was just tough because I am a bit shy about performing in front of people. Then, I stopped taking acting classes, and was much more focused on the technical aspects of filmmaking, especially with my writing. But lately, as I start talking to actors and moving ahead with Raspberry Magic, I decided that an acting class would be very helpful. I took an introductory course at the Larry Moss Studio. Basically, we didn't have to act, but the teacher did a lot of exercises to help us reach deeper into our emotions, and use those emotions for inciting memory. I was very impressed with the teacher, Michelle Danner, as her philosophies of filmmaking, acting and just life were inspiring. She dissected the performances of several great actors, as well, which was so helpful for me. I learned so much in one weekend. I honestly feel that acting classes can sometimes be more helpful for writers than writing classes. Though I was shy and sometimes awkward about doing the exercises (everyone around me got really into it, to the point where people were crying!), I can def. use these techniques when I'm developing new characters, and fleshing out dialog. She also showed us several ways that actors can create emotional intention with a scene. Michelle was very specific about using verbs that are really descriptive to define intention and create the different beats in a scene. I loved how she also discussed creative choices, and how actors can really pump up their performances with small things. I am thrilled at having taken the classes, and really feel like I've stepped up my game!
Even though we're about a year away from shooting the movie, it's pretty exciting to actually make things that have abstract for so long tangible. For example, last week, I met with a talented husband-wife duo who is very interested in acting in the movie. They've read the script and really like it. What was so cool for me was to hear their interpretations of the characters and bring their own unique take on people who've been existent only on paper for the past few years. This is one aspect of screenwriting I love; it's a living breathing and changing sort of art form where each collaborator gets to bring his/her artistic bent to the table. While I certainly have a vision of how I want the movie look and feel, I also love giving other artists a chance to create. Likewise, we are shooting a short promo for the film, and I've been talking to a DP friend of mine. He's been great in suggesting locations, cameras and the likes. It's pretty cool, again, to make something that's on the page a reality! Now we actually have to go out and shoot it!