(5/1/01 10:30:31 am)
| The Horrors of the Genre. :/|
A bit of a rant here, apologies to all.
I have been shopping around a script recently, trying to find a producer and, eventually, a financer. Much like in writing when one is trying to find an agent or a publisher, when a director is trying to get someone to finance her film, she has to have a previous work and the current script to show.
My reel (i.e. the film I use as a "demo" of my abilities) is a short film about a girl involved in the traditional music scene of her city. It's cute and sort of feel-good: lots of music and relationships. However, the script I am shopping is feature length, bronze-age and follows a fairly archtypial fairy tale format: a boy from one lifestyle falls for a girl from a very different lifestyle (in this case, the prince of a village falling for a wild girl of the forest) and tries to bring her to his side.
The looks I am getting from producers. Let me tell you. :P
They love my reel. They think it's cute and quirky and fun. But they barely get past the pitch of the script. As soon as I begin to explain that it isn't entirely realistic and is rooted a little more in mythology than in history, they bombard me with a thousand and one different film suggestions.
One producers told me that she wasn't sure the nudity would go over well with the kids.
I suspect part of my problem is that canadian studios are reluctant to put money into anything that hasn't an obvious wide appeal because they haven't the money to throw around and experiment with that the american studios do. But I'm feeling unfairly shut out...
... how should I be pitching an adult fairy tale? There isn't really an established genre for it yet, in film. I'm having trouble showing paralells to existing works, because they don't really exist. Even the producers who like and want to work with me on this project say I will be in a world of trouble getting financing, because it's a hard genre to sell. Where is the audience?
At this rate, it will be an online cookie drive to raise my production
Suggestions? Similar experiences with happy endings?
Charlotte (frustrated that a script that took me two years to wrtite might have to be pitched in favor of something more mainstream)
(5/1/01 11:52:50 am)
| Not that I'm an expert ...|
My knowledge about the world of film could be squeezed into that hazelnut shell that held the dresses shining as the sun and moon without wrinkling either ... but I do know how you feel. When I was applying to grad schools, I spent as much of my time putting the right "spin" onto my field of study as anything else. You could certainly mention the resuurgence of interest in films with fairy tale themes when presenting your case (there was a gentleman at the Princeton conference who did nothing but fairy tale retellings from the American perspective ... I can't remember his name, but the movie thread should have it). That thread will probably have some other things that you could use as points of familiarity ... The idea sounds fascinating ... Maybe you could catch their interest by familiarizing them with "Clan of the Cave Bear" (I may be killing the title) ... set in a similiar period, and wildly popular. Sorry for the disorganization of the post ... hope it helps somehow.
(5/2/01 6:18:25 am)
| myth and magic in film|
I just read in the NY Times that someone has created a miniseries based on The Mists of Avalon that will debut on a cable network (TNT) in July, starring Angelica Huston, Julianna Margolies, and Joan Allen. If that's successful, it might help your case. You'll at least be able to point to another costume drama mixing history and myth.
My guess is that the success or failure of The Lord of the Rings is also going to have an impact on how many films with fantasy elements get made in the next few years.... And I suspect that to most of the people you're pitching your screenplay too, there's not a lot of difference between myth and fantasy.
Helen, I have the same problem talking about my work to anyone outside the tiny fish pond of genre publishing. The two "f words" that define my life and work -- "fantasy" and "feminism" -- have both fallen into such disrepute. Sigh...
(5/2/01 6:59:34 am)
| Re: myth and magic in film|
What timing! Recently, I spoke w/an indy CN animator about getting financial support for indy films... If it applies, you could mention the presence of *canadian content* - apparently, these are two magic pitch words for canadian producers (not sure what the producers perceive as salient CN cultural markers though. Do the characters say 'eh'/'hein' alot? Is it always snowing a la 'Mon Oncle Antoine' :P).
Also, have you tried looking for advice from indy film groups? If you're in the toronto area, drop me an e-mail and I'll direct you over to a couple artist run groups that would be happy to help you.
(5/2/01 7:48:47 am)
| Re: myth and magic in film|
Last fall I read an article about a "rumor" that there's
to be this large strike among writers for film and television this
year, and that companies will be looking for scripts, indie companies
will fly, etc, etc. It has something to do with the guilds and contracts
and compensation, I believe. Does anyone know more about this? If
this is true, this may indeed be a great year for pitching your
script! Maybe even going after those larger companies.