Tomorrow marks the first REAL for reals it’s really happening pre-production meeting for my short script BLUE BUNNY. So, yes, it’s all happening.
In a way, it feels like it already happened. When I received an email from screenplay competition director Brook Ellen West that my short script BLUE BUNNY had taken first place at the Destiny City Film Festival, it was already more than I had dreamed of or hoped for when I wrote the script. This was one of those scripts that truly fell from the sky. Quite literally, I couldn’t sleep one night, and these characters started talking to me. And I’m so glad they did. Because once they started talking to me, they didn’t stop. Then Tacoma-based director Rick Walters got hold of the piece; hand-picked by the festival to direct a professional reading of the script, he assembled a tour-de-force cast. At that point, the characters were truly talking to me. Through these incredible artists. Audience members approached me after the reading to tell me that these actors had brought them to tears. During a staged READING? This speaks to the talent that was on that stage.
I think one of the successes of BLUE BUNNY is the fact that I instantly fell in love with the main character as I wrote. Shane. This embittered, entitled ex-con lead is an anti-hero, the kind that makes me just want to give him something between a hug and a good shake. And maybe a slap across the face to wake him up. And hopefully, that’s (metaphorically) what he gets by the end of the script. He’s so flawed, he’s so in need of understanding. Which is something we can all relate to. Brook Ellen West put it perfectly when she introduced the reading with the question “Is there anything lonelier than feeling misunderstood?” I think not. Shane maximizes that angst, the poor-me feeling of ‘no one gets what I’ve been through.’ At the same time, Shane can’t just expect redemption. He can’t just assume understanding is his. He’s been held responsible for something awful. But, without any spoiler alerts, how much of that responsibility has he actually accepted or assumed?
Last week, award-winning DP and Director James Winters joined BLUE BUNNY director Rick Walters and me for some hot dogs at Tacoma’s The Red Hot and by the end of the meeting we were toasting to collaboration. I’m honored that these talented folks are willing to hitch their stars to my wagon in bringing this project to life.
Tomorrow we begin breaking down the script. I’ve been brought on as Production Designer, partially due to my past experience in Set Decorating in feature films in LA and, probably, partially due to my repeated “please, please, please can I be Production Designer?!” I’m bringing my famous soy chorizo sloppy joes to the meeting. It seems like the right thing to do.
Stay tuned for the next installment! I’m about to get way more savvy about things like fundraising and, of course, temporary tattoos…I’m not sure the actor playing Shane wants to get all method-ey with the prison tattoos that factor in the story.
Here’s a shot just after the reading – what a moment. I’m looking forward to many more.
(credit for those top three beautiful photos goes to Ben Slavens who photographed the Destiny City Film Festival and who I hear shoots some pretty mean video too)