Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hooters. Boobies Ta-tas. Knockers. Juggs. And We've (Maybe) Got 'Em!

So aren't we all glad Dave's back? I know I am! He actually finished his first pass at our first draft last night, solving some serious Gunmen issues. He mentioned in this blog that he was working on it, but after that, he discovered that we had a couple of dangling gunmen. Dude's who we'd introduced earlier in the flick, but never resolved later.

Apparently they were just wandering around in the yard while all hell broke loose inside the house. I kept suggesting we have a meteorite hit the yard, smiting them both, but he wasn't going for it. No.... Dave wanted to do it the "RIGHT" way. So... Dave did a great job of cleaning that up. God bless ya, Dave.

But that's not what I'm here to write about.

NAY! I'm here today to talk about Boobs. That's right. Good ol' fashioned, all-American, red-blooded Cans.

Last night he IM's me, with major, exciting news. Below is the actual exchange (I'm "SanPiero" and Dave is "bbs7ucco"):

bbs7ucco: dude. so like I'm chatting with Producer Guy, and they might shoot a version of the bathroom scene in the beginning when Connor and Linda are getting hot and heavy with Linda topless!

sanpiero: YEAH!?!?!?

sanpiero: for US market?

sanpiero: and europe?

bbs7ucco: yup. his Domestic distributors have been bugging him about adding a little skin (boobs only) into his pictures, there are some domestic buyers who won't touch it without that. he's never done that, especially since International specifically CAN'T have that kind of stuff.

sanpiero: nice

sanpiero: so they shoot it twice

sanpiero: I like it. Hey... wait a minute... how's he even know about that bathroom scene?

bbs7ucco: well he mentioned it as something to think about for any future films we write for him, and I said "You know, if you want, there's a scene in Siege that could easily be done to show some skin if you want.)

sanpiero: nice!

bbs7ucco: right. shoot it first with her in bra and panties, as it's written, then take the bra off and shoot it again.

sanpiero: excellent. SO... um... any idea when they'll shoot that?

bbs7ucco: what do you mean? They're still in early pre-pro. They haven't set any dates yet for anything.

sanpiero: right. But... you know... maybe a ballpark date? They'll be doing that down in Orlando, right? Like... 6 or 7 hours from here? Easy car ride.

bbs7ucco: no idea.

sanpiero: Ok. But probably in early January, huh? Do you think they'll use a body double, or will it really be the actress' boobs?

bbs7ucco: Dude... I have no idea.

sanpiero: I bet it'll be the real actress. Wow.

bbs7ucco: You're kind of creeping me out.

sanpiero: Actress boobies. Man, oh man.

bbs7ucco: Knock it off.

sanpiero: Are they going to get the actress we talked about? She seems like she'd have great boobs.

bbs7ucco: *** Error while sending IM: This user is currently not logged on

sanpiero: Dave?

bbs7ucco: *** Error while sending IM: This user is currently not logged on

sanpiero: Dang.

So there you have it. A major breakthru in our movie.

We can't actually *SAY* "tits," but we can have 'em.

Hooray for Hollywood!


Back in the Saddle (How many Gunmen does it take...)

Greetings one and.. well, one. (Our stats say that's about all the readership we get. So Hi! How're the kids?)

Speaking of Kids, I had one. A son. Griffin James Neilsen. The First. Yeah, I like that. Griffin James Neilsen I. Let him start his own dynasty if he wants. Sweet.

So I've been doing the whole "I've got a 2-week old and you don't" routine for a couple of weeks, combined with the "I've also got a 2 1/2-year old and you might" thing, it's kept me busy.

But Hollywood (or at least Orlando) calls, so I need to jump back in the saddle (mmm... leathery...) and see where we are.

As Charlie has mentioned, he has sent me what amounts to nothing less than a complete draft of our opus. I then went ahead and re-wrote the ending so it was less.. sucky. Now I'm currently going through the entire script, making it clean, pretty, and making sure it smells good.

And I'm counting Gunmen.

We have a lot of Evil Gunmen in the script. Our hero dispatches them periodically in inventive and original ways.. or by shooting them, depending on how creative we were feeling at the time. Thing is, we kinda lost track of how many there are and so forth, so right now, my main task is to go through and count them.

It goes a lot like this:

"OK, He sends three Gunmen into the room. One is killed. That means the other two live to be sent somewhere else."

"He kills three in this room. Where did they come from? Oh, one of them went in that other room. OK. That's one less we need."

"Where did this guy come from? Oh, a previous draft. He's this other guy now, yeah, got him. He dies in the next scene."

"OK, there's supposed to be four here, but then they disappear. That can't be good."

And so on. A lot of Gunmen Revisionist History going on right now.

Next script.. nothing but puppies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

So close... and yet...

Wrapped up *my* pass at the final scenes of the movie over the weekend.

Basically it encompassed the final battle between our lead, and the lead villain. Epic battle of Tolstoy-esque proportions. It has it all... Kung-fu. Gun-fu. Hedge-clipper-fu. Chainsaw-fu. Lawn-fu. Land Rover-fu.

And not one, but two plot twists.

It was very exciting to actually write "FADE TO BLACK," hit save, and know that the first draft of the first draft was complete.

That is, until Dave takes it and performs Script-fu on it. THEN we'll actually be done with the first draft. First he has to find some time in his currently very full schedule of Paternity-fu to write.

And then the fun really begins.

We'll re-read it, and promptly shred the entire bloody thing to massage it into a decent SECOND DRAFT.

Once that's done, it'll be ready to go to Producer Man, at which point we'll get his notes, thrash it again, and crank out a THIRD DRAFT.

Once that's complete, back it goes. If we're lucky he'll be happy and share it with the MONEY and distribution types (I guess?), who'll probably have their notes, and we'll go in for the FOURTH DRAFT.

That settled, we'll pass it back. The actors will read it, and demand rewrites, necessitating the FIFTH DRAFT.

Hey... waitaminit.

This thing starts shooting in like 6 weeks, last I heard.

We'd better get hoppin'.

Heh. Dave'd better buy some NO-DOZE.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

The 17 Dirty Words... or Tell The International Market to Go Straight To... Er.... Heck. *sigh*

Once Dave and I started writing, we got into a pretty good groove.

Basically our process was broken into 6 steps:

1. Charlie writes a first pass at a scene. Sends it to Dave.

2. Dave prints the scene out, reads it carefully, composes some constructive feedback, and then lines his kitty litter box with it.

3. Dave completely re-writes what Charlie has written, maybe keeping one or two lines, so that Charlie doesn't feel completely worthless as both a human being and a writer.

4. Dave writes another scene on his own. Sends revisions + his new stuff back to Charlie.

5. Charlie sees the changes Dave made. Feels like an idiot for not having written it that well to begin with. Makes unnecessary tweaks to Dave's new scene out of spite.

6. Charlie drinks to fight back the rage and sorrow.

And like I said... its a process that's been working out well for us. Yes, us, and Mr. Jack Daniels.

But I digress. As usual.

Pretty early in the game, I noticed a consistent series of changes Dave was making to my writing. I'd craft a scene where a badass tough-guy would say something like:

"I'm going to rip off your head and sh*t down your throat..."

and Dave would edit it to:

"I'm gonna kill you!"

or I'd write...

"Someone cut off all the god**amn electricity!"

and it would come back as:

"Someone cut off the friggin' electricity!"

Frankly it was making me mental. I mean... bad guys curse. We all know they do. They say the "F" word, and the "s" word, and even "damn." Its a known fact. You show me a bad guy who isn't droppin' F-bombs every other word, and I'll show you a guy who's heart isn't in it.

So finally, I was like "Dave... What the fuc... er... heck, man?" (I wasn't sure if maybe it was a personal thing, and he'd given up swearing, what with a new kid coming and all)

"International market" was the reply.

Huh? They don't curse abroad?

He gave me a long-winded explaination about how in many of the foreign territories where this film will sell, cursing impacts the marketability. Asian sensibilities. Arabic sensibilities. Muslim sensibilities. Amish sensibilities. Scientologist sensibilities. Whatever.

So I tried cleaning things up. Basically went with Carlin's rule of the 7 Dirty Words. Continued writing. Sent drafts to Dave. And got back notes like...

"Uh... Charlie? There were two damns, a bitch, and an asshole in this draft."

"Hey dude... I don't judge the characters you make up..."

"No, I mean the cursing. You did it again. You can't say damn. Or bitch. Or asshole. Or even ass."

"What about arse? That's international."


"I can't even use curse words that they use on primetime television?"



"Definitely no. I'm pretty sure that's on Carlin's list to begin with."


"Yeah... you could probably say Penis."

"I'm not gonna write someone saying the word penis. At least not unless we're doing KINSEY II: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO."

Ironic, isn't it, that I can't use the word "sh*t," when its what Dave's cat is doing on the drafts I've sent over.

Up Next: How to write a guns-blazing, knives-flying, bodies-falling, shoot-em-up extravaganza... without blood.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Very short hiatus...

Please excuse us while we take a very short (day or two) hiatus.

Dave and his lovely family have just welcomed a new addition to their fold (YAY NEILSENS!!), and I've been tending to a sick kid of my own.

Which greatly reduces blogging time... especially when we're working on the last scene of the script in what little time we have available.

yeah... up to the final scene of the (first draft) of the movie!! Woo woo!

Anyhow... give us a day or so, and we'll post another update. Maybe I'll tell the story of the Seven Dirty Words, and how its impacted our screenplay.


Monday, November 07, 2005

What's In A Name?

So for relatively obvious reasons, naming our film "Die Hard In A House" didn't really seem viable.

Not that we didn't consider it. I mean, given budgetary limitations, having the words "DIE HARD" in the title of the film seems pretty appealing to me, that's for sure. But you know how it goes... lawyers... expensive legal counsel... cease-and-desist letters from Twentieth Century Fox... blah blah blah.

So we needed a name. From Day 1, Dave and I were calling it "Safehouse." Seemed like a pretty solid title. One of those good "double meaning" kind of titles... (you know... "Face Off"). I could envision it on a box, sitting on the shelf at Blockbuster. Sounds action-y, but not mindless.

In addition, I'm told it was the title of a 90's era movie starring Patrick Stewart, which meant we had a decent chance of capturing that critical "Suckered Trekkie Who Didn't Look Closely Enough At The Box" demographic.

I'm pretty sure Producer Dude was digging it, too.

Which meant, of course, that the investors (aka THE MONEY) hated it. I'm still not 100% sure what the concern was, but I believe they felt it wasn't action oriented enough. Naturally, I would disagree, but hey... its their money, so who am I to bitch?

So we went back to the drawing board. We racked our brains. We quizzed friends and family. And then we put together a new list. Here are some of the alternate titles we came up with:

The War of 1812... S. Magnolia Avenue.
The Thrilla In The Villa
Warhouse (say it outloud to really appreciate it)
Extreme Home Takeover
The War Upstairs
Home Jeopardy
Condemned Property
Final Estate
House Under Fire
House On Fire
Under Siege
Home Front
Home Invasion
Line of Defense
Army of One
The Infiltrator
The Invaders
Personal Invasion
Against The Wall
Line in the Sand
Defending the Castle
McGuyver's Bitch
The Assault
Under Fire

So we submitted our list to Producer Dude, who edited out all the really crap ones, leaving him with a list of like... I dunno... three titles maybe? I hope "Home Invasion" was on that list. I really liked that title.

Anyhow... the MONEY carefully reviewed the list and gave us their choice:


Huh? I'm sure if you scrub that list above, you'll see that "Siege" is nowhere to be found. Dave tried his best with Producer Dude.

"Safehouse Siege?"

"No... just... Siege."

"Safehouse Under Siege?"


"McGuyver's Bitch Siege?"

"That's quite enough, Dave."

"Ok. Fine."

So... Siege it is.

I'll be utterly honest and say that I hated it at first, but its grown on me. Sure, it has questionable relevance to the movie itself, but it sounds pretty badass. In addition, it has the possibility of appealing to an even broader audience than "Safehouse" - specifically the enviable "Suckered Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, Annette Bening, or Tony Shaloub Fan Who Didn't Look Closely Enough At The Box" demographic.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Our Pitch

So I got Charlie on board. I'm on board. It was time to write.

See, here's the silly, silly thing. Producer Dude basically said "Will you write me a movie?" I said "Yes, we will." He said "OK. It shoots in January."

So plans are set in motion. Deals are being made. Money is being collected.

And we didn't even have an idea yet.

What we had were PARAMETERS.

1) One location.
2) Action.
3) No special effects.
4) Don't suck.

That last one is more a guideline than a rule.

There are other rules, based on the markets Producer Dude can sell to (Helllll-oooooo South Korea!) but when push comes to shove, what you see is what you get.

So. One location. 90 minutes. Exciting. Fast-moving. Adrenaline-pumping. One location.

Anyone know if "No Exit" is available to be adapted? What, not exciting enough?

Charlie and I put our two heads together and came up with a bunch of really cool ideas. Then we dropped them all because they took place in, like, LOTS of locations. Silly us. Then we had some more ideas and they.. they also needed a couple of locations. This wasn't going very well.

Eventually, of course, we found an idea. And what was really great was that Producer Dude actually liked it. Which is good, becuase he'd already bought it. More or less.

Is it a work of art? Uhm... no... Will it make for a fun movie that you can enjoy while eating popcorn? (Do they eat popcorn in South Korea?) Yes.

Here it is. Our pitch.

Die Hard in a house.

It's actually a bit more complicated than that, but I don't want to give anything away and deprive our Reader the joy of discovering the plot twists when he/she has it shipped to them from overseas so they can watch it.

So. Die Hard in a house. Without the budget. Or Bruce Willis.

There are those who will say that Bruce himself already made Die Hard in a house.

It was called Hostage.

Didn't see it.

I gotta go write now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Every Batman Needs a Robin

So you've met my esteemed writing partner Dave...

My aplogies. Hopefully he hasn't offended you already. He will, though. Give it time.

I'm Charlie Flint. As Dave pointed out, he approached me a few weeks ago to partner with him on the creation of this magnum opus. Gone With The Wind. The Ten Commandments. Raging Bull. And now our little flick. Sure, they had massive budgets, and big stars, and... well... more than one location... but we've got... well... we've got chutzpah. Yeah. That's right. I said it. Chutzpah.

Chutzpah and Dave Neilsen, screenwriter with a produced flick!

But back to me. Me. Me. Me. As Dave noted, I am a previously unsuccessful screenwriter (insomuch as one judges success by sales). Dave and I have actually written together before, and if anyone out there is interested in a fun little sci-fi flick about cops, political intrigue, time travel, and the Masons (yes... the Masons), have we got a deal for you. I've written a few other things, both alone and with partners, all of which sits in a box, locked up, at the local U-STOR-IT. The one notable exception being a treatment for a TV series, which a partner and I created in 2000 and optioned to Pearson (aka Freemantle) Television, the guys who produce American Idol. It sat in a box in their U-STOR-IT in Santa Monica until the option expired and it shriveled up and died on the proverbial vine. But... hey!... it sold!

Yeah. My writing career was such a hit that I recently moved from LA to Atlanta, GA, and am working as a project manager for a big dot-com by day and collaborating with Dave on the movie at night.

Anyhow... so the prospect of actually seeing something I've written end up on screen is very exciting. I've really been enjoying the collaborative process with Dave, and hope its working for him, too. After all, I already have ideas for installments #2 and #3 of the epic trilogy this film will launch...

Sorry... just a point of clarification. When I said "end up on screen" in the previous paragraph, what I actually mean is *TV* screen, assuming I can get an import of the flick on DVD from Uzbekistan, where it'll actually be released.

Introductions out of the way, I'm looking forward to helping tell the story of our story. Its got heartache. Intrigue. Danger. Fistfights. Lovemaking. And that's just the screenwriting process.

*ahem* Where was I?

Oh yeah... looking forward to it.

Once More Unto the Breech

Hi. My name is David Neilsen, and I write movies.

Lots of people write movies, actually, so I'm nothing special. What sets me apart from most is that I've had a movie made. One. It's called The Eliminator, and you should order it on Netflix, buy it from Amazon.com, or rent it from Blockbuster.

Not because it's any good mind you. But because I wrote it, and it got made. And theoretically I get some sort of backend three decades down the line.

I have a friend, a young man named Charlie Flint who you will all come to like a lot more than you like me. He also writes movies. However, unless I'm totally wrong about this, he's never had one made.

But that's going to change.

It all starts when my contacts came rumbling to me about the desire to make another film. My friend the Producer (I'll call him "Producer Dude" for now) called me up.

"David. I need another script. All the scripts I have are horrible."

"Producer Dude, you have, like, three more of my scripts sitting around."

"As I said, all the ones I have are horrible. I need a new one that I can shoot very quickly. It should be exciting, filled with action, explosions, crazy stunts, great visuals, leave room for a sequel, and take place in one location."


"Still there?"

"...Let me get back to you."

Now normally, I'd jump on this all my own and craft a masterpiece in e-flat and that's that. But not this time. This time I realized that a) I didn't want to go through this alone, b) I had a good friend who would be awesome to work with again, and c) my wife was having a baby in a couple months. C, of course, meant that I wasn't going to have the time I'd normally have to spit this script out. All things pointed to me roping in my friend to write this with me. So I gave him a call. (or rather, an IM.)

"Hi Charlie. Want to write a movie for Producer Dude with me?"

"Will we get paid?"


"A lot?"


"Will it get made?"


"Doesn't he have, like, three other scripts of yours sitting on the shelf?"

"Don't go there."

"Cool. I'm in."

So there you go. The die was cast. I contacted Producer Dude and said we were game. We'd write his movie. It would be exciting. Filled with action. All that stuff. And it'd be done lickity-split.

Now all we needed was a story...