I’ve spoken about Robotics almost endlessly during the two year span of this blog, I detailed the process of getting people to read it and then going through rewrites with producers and directors and yet I couldn’t show you it. It felt odd talking about the film when you, my dear reader, could not look at it.
That ends tonight…
Click play to watch.
I’d like to thank Jasper Bazuin and all at Alphabet Pictures for making this a reality and helping this Scotsman’s crazy idea he had in 2007 get on screen. I’d also like to thank Horace Cohen and Janna Fassaert for their brilliant performances which truly come across exactly as I’d have wanted. It’s crazy to think we’ve never met and yet you’ve done so much for me.
Please share this, tweet about it and generally shout from the rooftops. The festival run on Robotics isn’t quite finished yet either, it’ll play in Rome this September which is incredible news.
The first five minutes are down on paper (well, on computer file because I’m all modern like that). It’s a terrible read, the dialogue is clunky and my main witchfinder might as well have a handlebar moustache he twiddles considering how evil I’ve made him. Obviously if you’re going to be tieing up people to massive sticks in the ground before setting them alight then you might be of bad intent but it’s bordering on panto at the moment. I now need to get a scene by scene together with details of every segment and why it’s there. After that the process is fairly straight forward.
The only other piece of news yesterday came in the shape of Alphabet Pictures rejecting ‘The Salesman’s Gamble’. Sadly, after a couple of rewrites they cannot see a way of making it into something they would want to direct. I send a reply thanking them for the time they’ve spent on it already. I’ve worked with these people before. they got me to Cannes and they know what they’re doing so I’m not about to argue the bit with them. It’s certainly a knock but hardly a serious one. I move on.
Word comes back from Option 3 for The Salesman’s Gamble. The idea is sound but the tension is ruined because the audience will be well aware that Ian will lose out in the end. In effect, the build is rendered pointless because the only way the story can go is with Ian losing the coin toss and swapping places with the Old Man. In the current version Ian is down on his luck and just trying to get by in order to get some money together for his family. I’ve shown him completely messing up a first house call and then going to the house of an Old Man who offers him a coin toss in a winner take all situation. Whilst we never see Ian lose directly, the Old Man does manage to walk unaided down the path towards Ian’s car and drive away. Having thought about it it’s amazingly downbeat. Ian seems like an honest guy trying to make a living and I’m locking him in a house forever.
Rather than attempt to stack the odds evenly and make it seem like Ian could win and thought gripped me. What if Ian was a complete bastard? What if he was a man who saw nothing wrong with ripping people off by conning them out of every penny they had? What if we saw him not fail with the first house he goes to, instead taking them for everything almost without them knowing? Rather than an act of desperation the coin toss at the end would represent an incident of extreme overconfidence for him. It’s basically him getting what’s been a long time coming.
They say always write characters that the audience can relate to and they sympathise with. In this project though I might just have to down the darker route for a while.
Since sending off a rewrite of The Salesman’s Gamble to the three interested parties I have received no word back. The first option emailed back before the send out to say he liked the draft he’d seen and was interested in carrying forward. I was determined not to leap on the first offer, instead waiting to see what the other two had to say before making a rational decision. Now all three have vanished from the radar. Either everybody is busy or the rewrite has put them all off.
Perhaps a quick email to ask about progress is in order?
Half an hour is all it took to beat The Salesman’s Gamble into slightly better shape last night. A whole new scene added at the top with Ian failing to convince a first customer to buy anything and a clean up of the dialogue to give a much better reason as to why he would go for this coin flip deal and not just leave the house.
The newer version has been sent out to all three prospective collaborators over the last 24 hours. The one who had yet to get back to me did indeed respond to the email I sent asking if they still wanted to read a newer version, an apology was given for taking so long as she was on a shoot. It’s no big deal but I’ve had plenty of previous director and producers just never bother to get back in touch, hoping you ‘get the hint’.
At the moment it’s a happy thing to have three possibles.
You might remember around a month ago I was busy posting about how you’d be able to see ‘Robotics’ really soon, how it was going to be up online having finished its festival run as of March 11th. Finally after a year of waiting I would be able to show it off and you could all see what I’ve been talking about this last few months. You may also have noted that that didn’t materialise. There’s a good reason for it, allow me to explain.
Around that time the producer over in Holland messaged me to say that the film would be released for public viewing if the last festival on the list said they weren’t interested in showing it. If they said yes then they would be screening it in May this year meaning that the online release would be put back until at least the summer.
Last night, as I sat playing ‘Out There‘ on my tablet, a message came through on Facebook telling me of the festival’s decision regarding the film. I’m sorry to say I won’t be able to show it to you for the foreseeable future because it has to be elsewhere.
Basically, Robotics will be screened in the short film corner of The Cannes Film Festival 2014.
“You’ve got a tongue in your head, just ask” was the mantra my Mother always used to tell me. Usually this was in response to me telling her I fancied a girl in my class but was afraid of asking her out. I quickly came to the realisation that my Mother was not the best person to consult about my love life. But its her voice that still rings out in my mind when I start to wonder if the person who has asked for a script has read it or if they’ve actually looked over that treatment yet. Years ago I’d have politely sat aside and waited, often hearing nothing back. Now I’ll just directly ask if what they said was going to happen is actually happening.
For those new to the blog (I seem to have gained a fair few followers with the last couple of updates, I salute you all) Robotics is the short film I wrote which was made by a Dutch production company and screened in both Holland the the UK last year at festivals.
The thought crosses my mind yesterday about when exactly the one year lock out for Robotics, which prevents me from sharing the film online so that festivals can pick it up instead, actually expires? I had it in my mind as April as this was when the movie was finished last year but wasn’t exactly sure. I fired a quick Facebook message off to the director to enquire about events.
This evening I received my reply. The first part was a slight kick in the chops as it stated ‘no other festivals wanted to screen Robotics after its positive start’. Whilst it’s a come down from imagining your film blazing a trail across the film world astounding every person who lays eyes on it I suppose I should be glad it was made at all. It exists, it was made in the most brilliant fashion I could imagine and it escaped the confines of my notebook and computer to be its own thing. The next part held the most promise by saying ‘we’ll be opening Robotics up to public view in two weeks’.
In 14 days the dust sheets come off and I’ll finally be able to link to Robotics for online viewing. Everything I’ve babbled on about it shall at last have some kind of basis and you can pick it apart as much as you like.
14 days would make it March 11th, my 33rd birthday.
Now some news I’ve had to sit on for a while, mainly due to the fact they wanted to save all the surprises for their press launch. Then I had the whole issue of them having the feature films up on their site but not the shorts so I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to mention anything or not. Having asked it seems I’m good to go.
‘Robotics’ makes its UK debut at The Raindance Film Festival in London on September 26th this year (two weeks tomorrow). The place you’re looking for is Screen 4 in the Vue Cinema in Piccadilly and it’s part of a strand called ‘Twilight Tales’ which starts at 1pm. If you’re in the area at the time then do pop by, it’ll be glorious fun and games.
I’m still trying not to get too excited about it for worry that something, somewhere will occur and it won’t happen. When people I know asked about the film months ago I said I wouldn’t celebrate until it was up on screen and people were looking at it. These deals and arrangements are fragile, one slip could wreck them.
I can’t make it to the festival sadly but I shall raise a small glass to those who will be there when the screening happens. My idea has been brought to fruition by some wonderfully talented people who have placed a smile on the face of somebody who thought this writing game wasn’t going to be much good to him.
I’m not sure if I’ve given this link before but they’ve made a Facebook page for the short film I’ve written, currently being made in Holland. There are some lovely production stills up there right now. Have a look and give it a Like.