Archive for paul yoo

Lessons Learned in L.A.

Posted in Greenspoke, screenwriting, Shriekfest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2008 by Tom McIntire

My recent trip to Shriekfest was supposed to be about networking with other filmmakers, producers and potential investors. While I did do some networking (and gnoshing) with fellow filmmakers Paul Yoo, William Lu and David Shin, I felt like a fish out of water at the two Shriekfest screenings I attended. After some reflection, I’ve come to these conclusions to make my next outing more productive:

  1. Plan ahead – what are you trying to accomplish on this trip? Have you done your research and legwork to make sure you connect with the people who can help you?
  2. Be prepared – a variation on #1. Do you have your pitch ready? If you have 2 minutes of a producer’s time, will your glorious script grab their attention or will they wish you luck and move on?
  3. Choose the right festivals – if a festival is focused on a specific genre – do you work in that genre? Are you enthusiastic about it? When you watch the films at a particular festival, how would you feel about your work in juxtaposition to the other films you are seeing?
  4. Be open to speaking to people who may not be in a position to help now. I’ve learned so much from other people who are also starting out. We’re dealing with the same issues – commiserate, encourage and stay in touch. When you have a time when you are feeling a little overwhelmed or discouraged, these are the people who can help you understand that it is not you it is just the way this highly competitive business works.
  5. Be honest with yourself about your work – if you are having trouble explaining a script to someone else, is there a problem with the script? We get close to the work we do and can turn a blind eye to glaring problems in the concept or execution. A great story should be easy for you to pitch enthusiastically.
  6. Have fun – you don’t do this for the money – at least not yet anyway. Enjoy the cast of characters you meet from writers to actors to producers to directors to film lovers.
  7. Celebrate your own victories – finishing a script is a major accomplishment. So many people out there are talking about being a writer or a filmmaker. Sitting down and DOING the work to get there is something to be proud of.

A Weird Weird Day in LA

Posted in Greenspoke, Shriekfest with tags , , , , , on October 3, 2008 by Tom McIntire

I came to Los Angeles to attend the Shriekfest Horror and Sci Fi Film Festival. My short sci fi script, Greenspoke, is a semi-finalist in the short screenplay competition. Even though I didn’t make it to the finals, I thought this would be a good opportunity to meet some other filmmakers and possible agents who can help me get my two feature length scripts produced. Last night was the opening night party. Those of you who know me know I am not exactly a party animal – two drinks and I’m asleep. I never got the chance to test that reaction last night.

My good friend and collaborator Paul Yoo agreed to be my wing man, but he had to work late. I misread the start time of the party – for some reason I thought it kicked off at 9:30 but it actually started at 7. Once I realized that, I checked the bus schedule and found that I could pretty easily zip down there by bus. Paul could meet me there, I’d have a chance to meet festival director Denise Gossett and still have plenty of time to catch up with Paul as we stepped over drunken filmmakers.

The bus is supposed to run every 15-20 minutes at that time of night. I was out there for quite a while, with a couple of dozen other people. There was an actor reviewing a script, a crack head screaming at someone for looking at him, a drunk middle aged woman who stepped out into Santa Monica Blvd traffic (she made it across) but mostly blue collar people who looked like they had just gotten off work. We all piled into the already full bus. I made my way to the back only to realize that I couldn’t see the street signs and the driver wasn’t calling the streets off, so I worked my way back to the front so I could see. Got off at Fairfax as the directions stated, walked around looking for the address or the name of the club. Walked alot. Saw a place it might have been but the address was wrong. I asked a guy at the French Quarter if he had heard of the club. Nope. This was one of those moments when getting an iPhone actually seemed to make sense. Looked for a phone book. No luck. Figured I’d head back to the hotel and check my info, and Paul could meet me there after he finished work. Then we could head over together.

I had to walk a couple of blocks to get the bus going back from West Hollywood to my hotel. The stop was in front of the Studs theater and across from The Pleasure Chest. A car slowed down as the driver looked at me – was he puzzled that I was waiting for a bus? Looking for a good time? Did I look like his long lost prison cellmate? Don’t know. Don’t care – thankfully he kept driving. After what seemed like an eternity, the bus finally arrived, again packed to the gills. At each stop, more people crammed into the bus. A gentleman stood beside me and started to make small talk, then proceeded to tell me what he had just seen at the sex club he was at and started asking me what I liked to do. I laughed at first, which was unfortunate because it seemed to encourage him. Finally I told him he was making me uncomfortable, which got to the gay, bi or straight question. I told him I was straight even though I am in a 19 year relationship with a man. Seemed easier, except then he started on how crazy some of the women are in LA, and well, you get the idea. Paul saved me for a few moments with a phone call – we arranged to meet at my hotel lobby and try to find this club. My bus buddy got off the bus shortly thereafter, making another pitch in my ear on his way out.

Paul’s smarty pants phone couldn’t find the club either. I checked the address on the festival site – I did have the numbers slightly off but I would have walked right past it. We decided to go to the hotel bar, which we didn’t know was hosting a USC stand-up comedian event. We sat in the back and talked films and acting and work while the comedians worked their magic on their alum buddies. When the bar closed we went up to the lobby and talked more. It was a good day that didn’t go as planned.

Greenspoke starts shooting on 8/23

Posted in Greenspoke with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2008 by Tom McIntire

It’s been a busy few weeks. I’ve neglected the blog since we got back from Toronto. My former employer has decided that we need to see other people, so I’m looking for Web or video editing jobs in Seattle or telecommuting – let me know if you have any leads.

Our next short, Greenspoke, what my producer Will Chase calls an eco-terror sci-fi thriller, is chugging along. We have a great cast in place, a 9-shooting day schedule (all on weekends), HD equipment lined up thanks to our line producer Lucien Flynn, a crew forming magically, and my good friends and collaborators Michael Lorefice and Paul Yoo sharing dp duties.

Starting a new project is always an anxious moment for me. Will it suck? Will we have good weather when we need it? Do I have the right insurance? Will we be able to get the right locations? Will has been helping ease some of this anxiety because he is handling alot of the things I used to do myself. But there is still the nagging worry that all these people are counting on me, the writer and director, to put something together that we will all be proud of. I also know that we’ve been down this path before and it is a fascinating (if nerve-wracking) trip.

Seeing actors bring your words to life is one of the most thrilling moments for a writer. Seeing something fresh and unexpected from the actors’ interpretations keeps you thinking of other ways to tell the story, and other stories that evolve from your original idea. Getting the right mood with an overall connectedness of the disparate pieces is a wonderful puzzle to solve as a director. Skilled artists and technicians get the lighting right, makeup artists create amazing illusions, video teams create and refine their piece with alternate angles and truly moving pictures as dollies whiz the camera about, production teams create schedules that flow and allow for the expected unexpected issues. Long way of saying it is an organic, collaborative labor of love.