Category Archives: Stories From Hollywood

Behind the scenes stories of making movies in and out of Hollywood. Independent film production company Brothers’ Ink Productions experiences and stories from the making of Reveille, Locker 13 and the writing of numerous screenplays and scripts.

Independent Film Prospectus – Crossing Walter – Comedy

 

For several years I’ve been asked how we go about funding our movies independently, and so a discussion usually follows regarding all that goes into development and pre-production of a film. Now, there’s a lot involved, and I have at times tried to breakdown the process for people and all of the work that goes into it. As a way to clarify further, I will be adding “no-frills” versions of documents we’ve developed over time to present to investors, production companies, and/or producers that helped us along the way. Several of these documents we’ve polished and updated, but for educational purposes for those interested in independent film production, I can share paired down samples of what we use for certain documents.

My next sample is a very basic, Movie Prospectus.

It’s for a movie that we are still very excited about, but have put on the back burner for now, so I don’t mind sharing this as an example. I hope you find this to be helpful:prospectus-title-page

Business and Product

     Company’s Business

Crossing Walter, LLC (herein also referred to as “CW, LLC” or “The Company”) is an Arizona-based company formed for the purpose of developing and producing a full-length feature film currently titled “Crossing Walter” (herein also referred to as “The Film”), a family comedy.  Brothers’ Ink Productions serves as the Member-Manager of The Company.

     Overview

We are seeking film production financing in the amount of $3,250,000 (three million two hundred fifty thousand US dollars) that includes the cost of pre-production, principal photography, and post-production for a theatrical and/or DVD release for the film.

$25,000 per Membership Interest, an aggregate of 130 Interests available for a total of $3,250,000 (three million two hundred fifty thousand US dollars) for the production. (PPM available upon request.)

This package has a high success potential due to the following reasons:

  • Recognizable TV actors, which makes the film more marketable, commercial and more attractive to a wider audience.
  • The Comedy genre is extremely attractive in the indie feature industry and sells well to foreign markets.
  • Brothers’ Ink is well established in the Phoenix Film market and will utilize their influence and reputation to recruit cast and crew for all stages of the production. This will create a buzz throughout the region and a sense of community for the film. The filmmakers and actors will in essence, market the film to all of their families and friends, building up an audience for the release of the film in the Phoenix market.
  • Brothers’ Ink has secured a letter of intent (LOI) for distribution…(Request to view LOI)

     The Product – Crossing Walter

Crossing Walter, LLC owns the option on the original screenplay, written by John Waldron, who is also on board as Executive Producer.

     Feature Film Logline

An average family man accidentally mistaken for a human trafficker gets deported the weekend of his daughter’s wedding.  With no money or possessions, he struggles to cross the border and make it back home in time to walk his daughter down the aisle.

     Synopsis

“Crossing Walter” is a film about Walter Wheeler, a compulsive tax accountant and over protective family man. His world is turned upside down when his daughter comes home for the weekend to announce that she is quitting college and getting married on Sunday.

At the advice of his hapless brother-in-law, Walter innocently picks up a few day laborers and gets mistaken as a human trafficker (coyote) and deported to Mexico. With no money or possessions, he struggles to cross the border and make it back home in time for the wedding.

Through the adventure, Walter finds a renewed strength with the love of his family and learns to let his children live their own lives.  “Crossing Walter” explores the themes of love, endurance, respect and commitment and that nothing is more important than family.

     Audience

  • Families
  • Couples

     Genre

  • Comedy
  • Family

     Comparative

  • Sideways
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Stranger Than Fiction
  • Garden State

     Business Strategy

 Brothers’ Ink, LLC’s business strategy is not predicated on luck. Given our knowledge of the film industry and the track record of our team, we are aware of the challenges and risks involved in moviemaking. We also know how to apply our professional experience in business affairs, creative affairs, development, production, and marketing to manage the inherent risks. We have a talented management team with business ownership backgrounds, film industry backgrounds, negotiating acumen, and storytelling abilities.

The film will be produced independently of a major motion picture studio. That is, it will be created and financed outside the major studios. However, Brothers’ Ink, LLC will seek leading distributors (including the distribution divisions of major studios) in the United States and abroad in order to obtain the widest possible distribution of the film and to maximize revenues.

The production cost of an average Hollywood film produced by a major studio continues to rise and now stands at over $60MM according to industry estimates. Each of the major studios has established units to produce pictures at lower budgets.

According to recent research from the Motion Picture Association of America, the average production costs for these subsidiaries and affiliated studios (companies such as Sony Pictures Classics, Fox Searchlight, New Line, and Miramax) is still high at $34MM. As a result, Hollywood has a strong incentive to work with independent producers who can deliver quality motion pictures that have wide audience appeal.

Brothers’ Ink, LLC plans to create a financially successful film without the burden of significant overhead charges, which in the case of major studios, have little to do with the production of the film. The Company will keep overhead to an absolute minimum and will devote our resources to delivering a quality film to the screen.

Brothers’ Ink, LLC will attempt to earn revenue and generate investor returns from the exploitation of the following film rights in the United States and worldwide:

  • Licensing the rights for theatrical exhibition
  • Foreign Distribution
  • DVD sales and rental
  • Pay-per-view
  • Television broadcasts (cable, free TV)
  • Other ancillary markets (including licensing and merchandising, etc.)

Obtaining an “acquisition deal” is a primary business objective. In this type of distribution arrangement, the independent producer raises production monies from investors, but distributor funds are not used to market and distribute the movie. The distribution agreement is usually entered into after the film is produced (i.e., the film is already “in the can”). This approach to film finance and distribution generally provides the producer and creative team with the most creative control and the investors greater profit participation.

In order to deliver the film on budget, the management of Brothers’ Ink, LLC plans to adhere to the highest standards of cost control and financing reporting. Key reasons for budget overruns on films are the lack of financial controls and the lack of overall project management. We will implement and maintain an accurate budget and related financial reports, a pre-production schedule, a shooting schedule and a post-production schedule. Tight internal procedures, the implementation of accounting policies in accordance with US GAAP, and outside review of financial statements by a CPA-certified auditor will ensure that the Company’s management and investors have an accurate fiscal assessment.

     The Industry

 Though the U.S. motion picture industry continues to be both profitable and financially stable, box office receipts, once the cornerstone of motion picture distribution, continue to become less and less important as emerging technologies both create new distribution methods and make those methods more accessible to independent filmmakers.

  • Filmed Entertainment
    • Strong box office receipts will fuel spending worldwide.
    • DVDs and digital distribution will continue to boost the home video market.

No other country’s film industry creates entertainment that is as well received as U.S. produced movies. In Europe, American films currently capture from 50%-90% of the box office.

The licensing of films for home Video/DVD and television (network and syndicated, pay cable, and basic cable) is now overtaking revenues derived from theatrical release. Nevertheless, the stronger the box office returns, the more money a film property will command in ancillary markets.

While the theatrical market has enjoyed steady growth, the home Video/DVD sector has been even more impressive, with digital distribution continuing a strong and steady growth worldwide.

The video IPOD, IPAD, IPHONE as well as online download and burn services create additional distribution methods for studios and independents alike. This bodes well for independent filmmakers who often find it easier to obtain home video distribution.

With robust industry conditions projected for the next five years the underlying fundamentals are in place to support independent film production and distribution.

     Independent Films

 The market for independently produced films in the U.S. has increased significantly in the last five years. The outstanding box office success of films like My Big Fat Greek Wedding ($368,744,044 Worldwide box office), Little Miss Sunshine ($99,121,298 Worldwide box office), and Napoleon Dynamite ($46,118,097 Worldwide box office) is well known. However, there is a well-established trend of independent films being embraced by ever-broader audience segments.

Above and beyond such record-setting results, there is a larger trend emerging at the box office. Independent films are no longer limited to niche or art house releases. Broad audiences across the country are now embracing independently produced films.

In part, this growth is being fueled by the continued expansion of theatres presenting independent films. “The proliferation of indie screens enables distributors to keep their films in cinemas longer, even if they aren’t breakout hits,” notes the business daily Crain’s New York Business.

     Distribution and Marketing

 When the film is completed, the Management team will explore the most financially optimal arrangement for Brothers’ Ink, LLC and its shareholders. This will include a domestic distribution deal with a major distribution Company, selling off of individual international territories and/or the combination of both. The intent of the management team is to structure a distribution deal that not only pays the Company monies up front but also ensures that the film will get the maximum exposure and marketing support by an established and well-known distributor. To this extent, the management team may accept distribution contracts that initially may not pay the most upfront for the picture but, at the discretion of the management team, presents the most viable opportunity to make revenues long-term.

As an example of the various opportunities that may be presented to the Company, a foreign distribution deal involves an advance against sales in all non-North American territories from a foreign sales Company. This advantage can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to several million dollars, depending on the perceived value of he film and the structure of the contract. The film sales Company will then sell rights to distribute the film territory-by-territory. The film receives monies over and above the advance after the advance and the foreign sales Company has recouped the distribution expenses. Generally a cap is established in the contract for all expenses of the film incurred by the sales Company. Additional revenues, if any, are split between the foreign sales Company and the producers of the film. The foreign sales Company will take a percentage of revenues from a low 15% to a high 40%, depending on the amount of the initial advance. All these points are negotiable and are dependent on the needs of the individual film.

Domestic distribution deals are similar, except that the distribution rights are sold to one distributor rather thank to multiple distributors in multiple territories. Generally, the domestic distributor will acquire all rights, i.e. theatrical, television, and home video, in order to maximize exposure and coordinate marketing and advertising.

Foreign and domestic theatrical distribution, as well as home Video/DVD, are the primary revenue streams for independent films. Additional revenue may be derived from television and ancillary markets. Success in these ancillary markets will usually depend on the quantity of success enjoyed by the picture during its theatrical exhibition.

Brothers’ Ink, LLC has developed several strategies to obtain distribution for the picture. First, we will leverage and further cultivate existing professional relationships in the entertainment business. We plan to develop direct connections to both studio distribution executives as well as to production companies with “studio output deals”. (Studio output deals allow certain high-profile production companies to utilize the global distribution arms of major studios.)

To gain access to an even broader set of distribution decision-makers, we will seek to create an aura of desirability for the film from the very beginning. We will generate publicity for the project in the pre-production phase and we will start creating “buzz” within the industry and the comedy fan community. This is accomplished by, among other tactics, communicating with industry trade magazines and providing updates to insider websites. This early level of awareness will help strengthen our position as we begin to brief executives at the major studios. However, based on the commercial potential of the film, studio executives will want to keep track of our progress. When the film is complete, we will enter it into festivals around the world. The festivals will enable us to expose the film to influential moviegoers and to gain press attention.

In addition, we will retain a sales agent to represent the film at major film markets including the American Film Market, which takes place each November in Santa Monica, CA and Cannes Film Festival, which takes place each May in France. Film Buyers from around the world gather at these markets seeking motion pictures for foreign and domestic distribution in theatrical, television and ancillary markets. All of these elements will help us to expose the film to influential moviegoers, to gain press attention, and help our film stand out from competitive films.

The film will be particularly appealing to distributors due to large audience appeal because of the family and comedy genres and the PG targeted rating. With a film that is well received on the festival circuit, which connects with a broad audience, we should be suitably positioned to obtain a distribution deal from a major distributor. We will seek distribution from companies that give the films a theatrical run, but that are also strong in DVD/Video distribution. While the film business is inherently risky, we are producing the film at a small enough budget that will enable us to generate a profit under a number of different scenarios.

 Production

Principle photography is planned for the Fall/Winter of 2016.  Pre-production has already begun.   The films will be shot entirely on location in Georgia.  For further information on the benefits of filming in Georgia, see ‘Georgia Motion Picture Tax Incentives’ on Page 13.

 Rights

Brothers’ Ink intends to negotiate all ancillary rights to Crossing Walter worldwide.  Ancillary rights include but are not limited to the following:  Network TV, Premium Cable TV, Syndicated TV, DVD rental and sales, Pay-Per-View TV, Posters, Soundtrack CDs, Toys, Soft Drinks, Games, etc.

All rights are currently with John Waldron and Brothers’ Ink Productions.  These rights are to be negotiated with each individual distribution territory worldwide.  We seek to retain all publishing rights.

 Merchandising

We are looking for partnerships with major advertising like Pepsi, Apple Computer, and Dominos Pizza to help with creating merchandising for the films to possibly include a music soundtrack, toys, clothing, special promotions, posters, games, books, etc.  The merchandising rights will be negotiated as needed.

Licensing

Concurrently, we will negotiate television licensing, cable, DVD/Video and all other ancillary rights Worldwide.

Net Profit

Net Profits will be distributed after all expenses and fees are met and will be paid as follows:

  • 90% to the investors, 10% to Brothers’ Ink Productions, until 150% of initial capital investment is reached;

For a profit projection, see Figure 3.5 under ‘Revenue Forecasting and Projections’ on page 15.

Casting

We are committed to including at least two (2) “A” list actors that will attract studio distribution and/or audience interest.

Potential Cast:

WALTER:

  • Paul Giamatti
  • Jeff Daniels
  • Bill Engval

DeWAYNE:

  • Bruce Campbell
  • John Tuturro
  • Jim Belushi

PATRICIA:

  • Holly Hunter
  • Frances McDormand
  • Bonnie Hunt

GUY:

  • M.C. Gainey
  • Larry the Cable Guy

FAST FACTS

     Rating

  • 78 of the films in the top 100 grossing films of all time (Worldwide) are rated PG or PG-13.
  • 22 of the films in the top 25 grossing films of all time (Worldwide) are rated PG or PG-13. Out of the other 3, two are G and 1 is R.
  • All 10 of the top 10 grossing films of all time (Worldwide) are PG or PG-13.

     Genre

  • Over 50% of all the films on the one hundred top grossing films of all time (Worldwide) would fall under the Family or Comedy Genres.
  • Out of the 18 films entering the top 25 (Worldwide) since 2000, 13 of them are Family or Comedy.
  • So far in 2007, 8 of the top 10 grossing films (Domestic) are Family or Comedy.BrosInk Logo (1)

     Executive Summary

      Brothers’ Ink Productions

In 2003, Donovan Montierth, Adam Montierth and Jason Walters created Brothers’ Ink Productions. They released their first 35mm short film, “Reveille” to audiences in 2004 and have since produced or partnered with other production companies to produce over 15 short films based on Brothers’ Ink scripts.

The company has participated in over 40 film festivals across the country, won over 20 awards for their films and screenplays, and sold and optioned several screenplays. Many of the films have aired on TV and most recently, Brothers’ Ink Productions signed a contract with the Department of Defense for them to play “Reveille” on the American Forces Network and the Pentagon Channel throughout 2007. Brothers’ Ink Productions won a Rocky Mountain Emmy® Award for “Reveille” on October 6th, 2007.

Brothers’ Ink Productions added Nick Stahr, Neil Mather, John Waldron and Adam Devaney as Creative Directors in November 2008. This enabled Brothers’ Ink Productions to increase production and in 2008 they produced 6 short films and went into development on 3 feature films.

Brothers’ Ink Productions is an award-winning production company focused on creating commercial films that are high in quality at conservative budgets.  Brothers’ Ink recently finished their first feature film called Locker 13 starring Golden Globe Winner Ricky Schroder, Rick Hoffman, Jon Gries, Jon Polito, Curtis Armstrong, Krista Allen, Tatyana Ali and lensed by Academy Award Winner Russell Carpenter.

Member Managers

John Waldron

     Executive Producer, Brothers’ Ink Productions

John Waldron is a professional stand-up comedian, comedy writer and producer. He produced and co-hosted “Morning Coffee”, an AM radio morning show on KFHX 1620 AM, produced and co-hosted “Happy Hour”, a drive-time comedy talk show on NBC radio, and has written comedy for KDKB’s “Tim and Mark Show”, “The Howard Stern Show”, and several local radio programs.

He has trained with David Razowsky of Second City, Tony Vicich of The Tempe Improv, and performed with the likes of Jeff Altman, Charles Fleischer, Franklin Ajaye, and Steve Bluestein. He has hosted several television programs, including “Arizona Express”, “Arizona Book-Nook”, and “Live!…on tape!”, a short-lived but hilarious comedy talk-show in the Phoenix Market. He has Directed, Produced, and Acted in several Brothers’ Ink films, including “American Big Game”, “Dirty Laundry”, “Relocation”, and “Neighborwood”.

Donovan Montierth

     Executive Producer, Brothers’ Ink Productions

 Donovan has written, sold and optioned several screenplays, including adapting two novels from popular thriller authors into scripts. Donovan was also included as an Honorable Mention in the Best American Mystery Stories 2007, edited by Carl Hiaasen, for a short story called, “Capacity to Kill” which is published in the Thuglit Anthology Hardcore Hardboiled by Kensington Press. Donovan won an Emmy Award along with his brother Adam for writing, directing and producing Reveille, which was shown on the Pentagon Channel and all over the world on the American Forces Network.

Adam Montierth

     Executive Producer, Brothers’ Ink Productions

 For many years, Adam has specialized in directing, writing and producing a plethora of programs in classic and new media. He specializes in providing a cinematic storytelling experience for advertisers/brand marketers that want to reach their audience in a new and effective way. Some highlights include a 30 minute interview with New York Best Selling Author J.A. Jance, a viral public service announcement for battered women, a10-minute short film about military veterans that was viewed over 6 million times on Google and the release of an informative children’s book called, “Dream” that included a book tour where he spoke to elementary schools throughout Arizona about the importance making your dreams come true.

Revenue Models

SELECTED INDEPENDENT FILMS COMEDY GENRE
(Millions of Dollars)
ESTIMATED BOX DVD TOTAL
BUDGET OFFICE RENTALS REVENUE
Napoleon Dynamite $400,000 $46,541,000 $43,800,000 $89,941,000
Little Miss Sunshine $8,000,000 $99,041,006 $46,320,000 $137,361,006
Sideways $16,000,000 $109,336,065 $37,700,000 $131,036,065
Garden State $2,500,000 $35,825,316 $19,800,000 $53,125,316
Being John Malkovich $13,000,000 $22,863,596 $28,300,000 $38,163,596
My Big Fat Greek Wedding $5,000,000 $241,400,000 $65,100,000 $301,500,000
Calendar Girls $10,000,000 $96,543,000 $28,300,000 $114,843,000
Thank You For Smoking $6,500,000 $39,232,211 $27,310,000 $60,042,211
About Schmidt $30,000,000 $105,834,556 $51,000,000 $126,834,556
Muriel’s Wedding $3,000,000 $57,500,000 unknown $54,500,000
(Note:  Domestic DVD/Video Only.) Sources:  Box Office Mojo.com, The-Movie-Times.com, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes.com
SELECTED STUDIO FILMS WITHIN THE COMEDY GENRE
(Millions of Dollars)
ESTIMATED BOX DVD TOTAL
BUDGET OFFICE RENTALS REVENUE
Stranger Than Fiction $38,000,000 $53,227,000 $35,690,000 $50,917,000
Are We There Yet? $32,000,000 $97,919,147 $44,010,000 $109,929,147
Nacho Libre $35,000,000 $99,253,544 $34,290,000 $98,543,544
Adaptation $19,000,000 $32,801,173 $48,800,000 $62,601,173
The Family Man $60,000,000 $124,745,083 $86,900,000 $151,645,083
The Family Stone $18,000,000 $92,283,851 $42,970,000 $117,253,851
The Upside of Anger $12,000,000 $28,198,143 $44,500,000 $60,698,143
A Good Year $35,000,000 $40,679,283 $15,730,000 $21,409,283
RV $50,000,000 $87,528,173 $41,740,000 $79,268,173
Must Love Dogs $30,000,000 $58,405,313 $36,190,000 $64,595,313
(Note:  Domestic DVD/Video Only.) Sources:  Box Office Mojo.com, The-Movie-Times.com, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes.com

Expected Budget:

SUMMARY OF ESTIMATED PRODUCTION COSTS ESTIMATE
Acct # Description Page #  Total
1100 Story and Other Rights 2        77,927
1200 Producer 3      183,300
1300 Director 4      117,970
1400 Cast 5      388,764
1500 Travel and Living 6      208,125
1600 Miscellaneous 6        59,689
1900 Fringe Benefits 6      133,672
TOTAL ABOVE-THE-LINE    1,169,447
2000 Production Staff 7      117,333
2100 Extra Talent 8      211,400
2200 Art Direction 9      146,880
2300 Set Construction 10        20,050
2400 Set Striking 10          6,240
2500 Set Operations 11      173,280
2700 Set Dressing 13        39,072
2800 Property 14        43,040
2900 Men’s Wardrobe 15        43,200
3000 Women’s Wardrobe 16        29,200
3100 Makeup and Hairdressing 17        36,360
3200 Electrical, Rigging, and Operations 18        66,884
3300 Camera Operations 19        69,782
3400 Sound Operations 20        42,952
3500 Transportation 21        79,720
3600 Location 22        88,824
3700 Production Film and Lab 23        12,000
4000 Second Unit 25        45,000
  4900 Fringe Benefits 26      112,591
TOTAL PRODUCTION PERIOD    1,383,808
5000 Editing 27      378,000
5100 Music 28        90,000
5200 Post Production Sound 29          9,324
5400 Main and End Titles 31        17,500
TOTAL EDITING PERIOD      494,824
6500 Publicity 32        25,000
6700 Insurance 33          7,300
6800 General Overhead 34          5,700
7500 Fees, Charges, and Misc. 34          8,000
TOTAL OTHER CHARGES        46,000
TOTAL ABOVE-THE-LINE    1,169,447
TOTAL BELOW-THE-LINE    1,924,632
ABOVE AND BELOW-THE-LINE    3,094,079
Contingency      154,704
GRAND TOTAL    3,248,783

Revenue Forecasting and Projections:

In regards to utilizing private financing instead of having a major studio produce the film, “Crossing Walter” has two distribution options; 1) Negative Pick-Up1 or 2) Distribution Only2.  Relative to the direct expenses of the comparative Family Comedies listed above, below is a breakdown of revenue, expenses and a potential return for “Crossing Walter”.

1In film production, a negative pickup is a contract entered into by an independent producer and a movie studio wherein the studio agrees to purchase the movie from the producer at a given date and for a fixed sum. Depending on whether the studio pays part or all of the cost of the film, the studio will receive the domestic, international, DVD and/or TV rights to the film, with net profits split between the producer and the studio.  (source: Wikepedia.org)

2In film production, a distribution only deal is a contract entered into between an independent producer and a movie studio wherein the studio agrees to advertise, market and distribute the film.  The studio will recoup Direct Distribution Expenses prior to the disbursement of net profits.

Description Negative Pick-up  Distribution Only
US Theatrical Gross Box Office  $  15,000,000  $    15,000,000
US Gross DVD Sales & Rental  $  17,931,051  $    17,931,051
US Gross Network, Premium Cable & Syndicated TV  $    7,500,000  $     7,500,000
International Theatrical Gross Box Office  $  22,500,000  $    22,500,000
International Gross DVD Sales & Rental  $  26,896,577  $    26,896,577
Int’l. Gross Network, Premium Cable & Syndicated TV  $  10,800,000  $    10,800,000
Cumulative Gross Receipts (SUB-TOTAL)  $ 100,627,628  $  100,627,628
Direct Distribution Expenses  $  77,064,191  $    71,234,140
Negative Cost (BUDGET)  $    5,000,000  $     5,000,000
Talent Residuals  $    3,000,000  $     3,000,000
Producer’s Gross Receipts  $  18,297,624  $    24,190,675
Talent Participation (if any, @ 7%)  $    1,280,834  $     1,693,347
Producer’s Net Receipts  $  17,016,790  $    22,497,328
Studio’s Share  $    8,508,395  $                 –
Producer’s Share (NET PROFIT)  $    8,508,395  $    22,497,328
Investor’s Share  $    7,629,198  $    21,538,894
Investor ROI 153% 431%

Brothers’ Ink Productions is looking for funding or Production Partner for the feature film with an expected budget of $3.25 Million. For Script, Prospectus, Executive Summary, PPM, Budget or more info:

Please contact John Waldron at CrossingWalter@Brothers-ink.com.

 

Lloyd Bridges

 

Not only did Lloyd father two very fine actors, he was also one of the most interesting actors in his own right. Lloyd Bridges was a very versatile actor being very successful in just about every genre over the years. He had a successful TV show Sea Hunt in the late 1950’s for 155 episodes. Bridges returned to television a year later in this ambitious 30-minute series, designed to showcase his range and depth as an actor. For The Lloyd Bridges Show, he played journalist Adam Shepherd, who would research a story, and then imagine himself as the protagonist, and the episode would thrust him into a new character in a new situation every week. TV Producer Aaron Spelling came up with the concept, and Lloyd Bridges, later said the show really should have been called “The Aaron Spelling Show”. Bridges said Spelling was a genius. It was a family affair, however, as Jeff Bridges appeared in three episodes, and Beau was in two. Lloyd’s daughter Cindy was also in an episode.airplane-lloyd-bridges

Now, as a child of the 80’s he came to my attention in Airplane, from the Zucker brothers (and Jim Abrahams). This is by far the best of the parody movies, that seemed to flood the movies in the 70’s and 80’s from Mel Brooks and the Zucker brothers. Most of his movies before these featured him in very serious roles, but here he found a new audience as he was extremely funny in these movies. Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker chose actors such as Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, and Leslie Nielsen because of their reputation for playing no-nonsense characters. Until this film, these actors had not done comedy, so their “straight-arrow” personas and line delivery made the satire in the movie all the more poignant and funny. Bridges was initially reluctant to take his role in the movie, but his sons, Jeff and Beau, persuaded him to do it. Lloyd Bridges as Steve McCroskey spoofs his role as airport manager Jim Conrad in the TV series San Francisco International Airport (1970).hot-shots-part-deux-lloyd-bridges

Because of the success of this movie, Bridges would be cast in another parody series; Hot Shots! (1991), and Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993), written and directed by Jim Abrahams.  He wasn’t the original actor hired for his role however, as he replaced George C. Scott, when he had to decline the project. Hot Shots! parodies the scene in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) in which Susie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer) sits atop on a piano and sings “Makin’ Whoopee”. That film starred Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges as the title characters, Jack and Frank Baker. In the sequel, Hot Shots! Part Deux Jim Abrahams originally wanted Marlon Brando instead of Lloyd Bridges to play The President. Later in 1993, Charlie Sheen, who played the lead in this series, would go on to play Aramis in The Three Musketeers (1993). Interestingly, that role was previously played by Lloyd Bridges in The Fifth Musketeer (1979), which also featured José Ferrer as Athos. Miguel Ferrer, his son, also appears in this Hot Shots! Part Deux.bridges-lloyd-jeff-beau

Animatic, Effective Pitch and Pre-Vis Tool

 

Traditional techniques for pre-production on anything intended to be filmed, such as a potential TV show or movie is simply to have a script or treatment of it. Nowadays, that’s just not enough to get people to see your vision behind a project and get excited about your potential production. In some cases, the project has to have more documentation, maybe a show bible if it’s a TV show or drawings for a movie. It’s the paintings of Ralph McQuarrie that got 20th Century Fox excited about Star Wars in 1976, for example.original concept for star wars

An effective modern tool for pre-visualization is the animatic. This usually is done for pre-production on a film as a way to perfect the sequence in an inexpensive medium, rather than on real footage that can be very expensive to edit into a working piece of film.  Storyboarding usually comes first as a visual tool.  The storyboarding stage may be followed by simplified mock-ups called “animatics” to give a better idea of how the scene will look and feel with motion and timing. At its simplest, an animatic is a series of still images edited together and displayed in sequence with rough dialogue (i.e., scratch vocals) and/or rough soundtrack added to the sequence of still images (usually taken from a storyboard, for example this one below from the Towering Inferno — I show more in a blog post for Towering Inferno here) to test whether the sound and images are working effectively together.Towering inferno storyboard

Now, that’s where pre-production uses the tool, but recently the tool has become very handy as a “pitch” tool.  If a writer wants to show a network, studio or production company the merits of their story, they could create a trailer, or pitch video as a way to get them excited about the script’s potential. Amazon Studios is one of the few studios who uses the new techniques very effectively. We wrote a version of a story a few years ago called, Zombies Vs. Gladiators that we were very proud of. It’s an action packed Zombie origin story set in the rise of the Roman Empire (click here to see the screenplay). Here is a simple animatic test we made to visualize a part of a storyboard we were working on for the script.

We also did a teaser trailer for the script which we liked very much and seemed to get the most favorable views and reviews from the readers and studio personnel that saw it, but it eventually was passed on and they never pursued it further. Here’s that if you would like to see it:

Over the years, we’ve also developed a lot of pre-vis videos and documents for a feature film we are still actively pursuing based on our Emmy- award winning short film Reveille, called Capture the Flag. We have information about that on our “In Development” page. We have a poster mock-up for example. But since the film is still being pitched actively, I can’t show you a lot of those materials (unless you’re an executive or producer then contact us on the contact us page and I will let you see more). But I can show you two small clips of animatics that we developed as a few more examples how the animatic tool can be effective in creating a simple visual, that once added with the proper music and dialogue by professional actors can be effective in getting people to read your script or bible. Now with that said, all levels of the pitch should be strong…good writing and strong follow through on a query letter, treatment, show bible, script, storyboard, animatic, trailer, and verbal pitch, is still crucial in order to be picked up.

David Huddleston, Star of Reveille, Locker 13 RIP

We met David when we were casting for our short film tribute to American vets, Reveille. We had originally cast Gordon Jump from WKRP in Cincinnati, but he had to drop out due to Pulmonary Fibrosis, which he eventually died of. We were very sad about Gordon, but was pleased when we got a hold of David over the phone. He was willing to consider the role on short notice and asked that we fax over the 3 page script. He told us initially that he would get back to us within the week, but called us back immediately after 5 minutes and accepted the role because he loved the script. reveille david huddleston james mceachin

You see, David is an American Air Force Veteran. So the film had a special place in his heart…and I think it shows on screen. He became the heart of the film. See for yourself, if you haven’t had a chance to view the film:  David Huddleston in Reveille, Veteran Film TributeReveille

Now, when we finished the film we showed it in a special screening just for David and James McEachin, who plays the Army Veteran. They both were incredible touched by the end result and later each of them told us that the film was one of the proudest moments they ever had as actors. We are extremely proud of that, and of them. They were the perfect representation to our tribute. James McEachin was also an American Army Veteran in real life and he spent the next 7 years playing the Old Army Soldier at patriotic events across the country in front of thousands of people.
James McEachinBruce Dellis and David HuddlestonWhen we produced our 1st feature film, we had the opportunity to work with David again for Locker 13, a supernatural thriller anthology.  He played Floyd Marley, the leader of the Benevolent Byzantine Order of the Nobles of the Enigmatic Oracle, at a shady local lodge. He was great in the film and really stands out in the segment. Curtis Armstrong, from such movies as Revenge of the Nerds and Better Off Dead, jumped at the chance to work with him and played the role of Clifford. He had loved the actor since he was young and always wanted to work with him. He recently said in a tweet, “ . I once did a movie just so I could work with him. One of those actors who steals everything they’re in. Great actor.”

curtis armstrong locker 13

We couldn’t agree with you more, Curtis. David, you will be missed. We enjoyed every minute we shared with you.
David Huddleston

Eat My Dust, Grand Theft Auto

 

Ron Howard was already a household name when he went to work as a teenager for producer Roger Corman. Roger Corman is famous for knowing how to turn a good idea into a very low budget movie. He concentrated on action, sci-fi and horror aspects and many times mixed them whenever he could. He also had a bargain for actors that worked, “…act in one movie and I’ll let you direct one.” He did this with budding actor-turned-director Ron Howard and both of them got boosts in their careers and we got 2 of the craziest car chase movies ever to be made; Eat My Dust (1976) and Grand Theft Auto (1977).Grand Theft Auto

Charles B. Griffith, the screenwriter, came up with the title of the film when the crew were shooting the car chase at the sand dunes. The crew got covered with sand and dirt so much that Griffith turned to Roger Corman and said “We ought to call this picture ‘Eat My Dust'”. The original title for this film was “The Car.” The movie took 4 weeks to shoot. Ron Howard did all of his scenes in 10 days. A body double drove the car for the rest of the filming. The film was shot for only $300,000. Much of what makes this movie good can be attributed to Charles B. Griffith imaginative script and to the fantastic stunts in the film. Griffith was paid a paltry sum for his work with Roger Corman, but over time became a legend for independent filmmakers. Quentin Tarantino dedicated his film Deathproof (2007) to Griffith, whom he referred to as one of his main influences and called “the father of redneck cinema”. He also is often cited as the father of American black comedy, due to his screenplays for A Bucket of Blood (1959), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and Death Race 2000 (1975).Eat My Dust

Eat My Dust did well at the box office, so Roger Corman gave Ron Howard double the money to direct the next car crash spectacular, Grand Theft Auto, which was still a very low budget for movies, even back then.  Ron Howard asked Roger Corman to hire more extras for the crowd scene at the end of the film. Corman said no because he did not want to go over budget. They also had a very short schedule on this film, for example, the demolition derby sequence was done in a single day. This film also has the added historical value of being the only film that Ron Howard directs and acts in at the same time. He moved permanently behind the camera soon after and never really went back. This film started his wonderful career as a director and went on to make over $15 million at the box office, not including what it did on TV, Video or DVD. A big hit all around for Roger Corman.Grand Theft Auto2

Watch Howard Ashman Direct Jodie Benson in Disney’s The Little Mermaid

 

This clip is a treasure in that it really shows how Howard Ashman was able to pull the most amazing performance from Jodie Benson who plays Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid for the song “Part of Your World”.

You’ll see what a really great director can do to enhance what an Actor brings to a particular moment in time. “Part of Your World” has always been my favorite song of any Disney musical and I especially love how the song has such an intimate way about it when Ariel seems so conversational and almost whispers in spots. Now I know how they got to such a wonderful place with that song and it seems like so much work went into something that everyone takes for granted as something that just feels so right — almost a perfect little moment in time.Howard Ashman

It’s sad to me that this wonderful musical director and writer was taken way too soon at only 40 years old due to AIDS. He partnered up with Alan Menken and created Little Shop of Horrors and then went on to write songs for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin before dying way too young. You can see in this clip how talented he was and how passionate about the music he was. It’s easy to see here where his talent would have lead him. Ashman was nominated for 3 Tony’s and won 2 Grammys, 2 Golden Globes and 2 Oscars for the music of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast in his short time.

Alan Menken (music) and Howard Ashman (lyrics) accept their Oscars for Best Original Song for "Under the Sea," from the film THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989). Behind them are presenters Paula Abdul and Dudley Moore. Credit: Long Photography / ©A.M.P.A.S.
Alan Menken (music) and Howard Ashman (lyrics) accept their Oscars for Best Original Song for “Under the Sea,” from the film THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989). Behind them are presenters Paula Abdul and Dudley Moore.
Credit: Long Photography / ©A.M.P.A.S.

In 1988, while working on The Little Mermaid, Ashman pitched to Disney the idea of an animated musical adaptation of Aladdin. After he wrote a group of songs with Menken and a film treatment, a screenplay was written by Linda Woolverton, who had worked on Beauty and the Beast. Then directors John Musker and Ron Clements joined the production. The story underwent many changes and some elements of the original treatment were dropped. Out of the 16 songs written for Aladdin, three of Howard’s songs ended up in the finished film, which was released after his death.aladdin

Ashman became a driving force during the early years of the Disney Renaissance. He would hold story meetings and said the animation and musical styles were made for each other which is why Disney needed to continue making musical movies. During early production of Aladdin, Ashman and Menken were approached to help turn Beauty and the Beast into a musical, as it started out being a straight animated movie, with no musical numbers. It was at this time that his health began to decline due to his illness. Regardless, he completed lyrical work on Beauty and the Beast before succumbing to AIDS. The film was released mere months after his death and includes this dedication, “To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful.” beauty and the beast

With all of his films, he was involved in casting actors with strong musical theater and acting backgrounds. He was responsible for the casting of Jodie Benson, up until then a Broadway actress. Not to diminish what Jodie brings to the performance, she is simply wonderful. She was the perfect choice for Ariel. Ashman and Benson worked together first on Broadway when he cast and directed her in the musical “Smile”, with music written by Marvin Hamlisch. Ironically enough, in that play she sang one of the songs written by Ashman, called “Disneyland”. Smile is considered a “lost” musical because no official cast recording was ever made. However, there does exist a demo CD by Broadway Original cast for Samuel French Publishing.little mermaid and jodie bensonjodie benson

Zoe Saldana Takes Over The World

 

If you don’t know the name, you will definitely know the face, soon to become the number 1 actress in total box office revenues of all time. Earlier this year, Scarlett Johansson was announced as the 1 actress in total box office revenues…but with the films that Zoe Saldana has lined up in the next few years, she could definitely be the one to take Scarlett’s place at the top. Scarlett has had a fantastic year with the release of The Jungle Book and Captain Marvel: Civil War, but Zoe has some pretty hefty releases of her own, especially over the next 6 years.zoe saldana avatar

Lifetime gross for Scarlett’s films hit over $330 Billion Dollars at the box office this year, and it will still be rising as she is at her peak right now.  Zoe Saldana is currently at $214 Billion Dollars at the box office this year so far with Star Trek Beyond having released over the weekend and with Live By Night with Ben Affleck and Scott Eastwood and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 being released next year and Avatar 2, 3 and 4 to be released every 2 years starting in 2018. If the Avatar films do as much as expected then Zoe will very much be in contention, even with the 2 upcoming Avengers Infinity War movies to come for Scarlett. It will be a very interesting race to watch.zoe saldana guardians of the galaxy

Zoe Saldana has racked up a very impressive list of roles in a very short period of time. Her pinnacle year was 2009 when she released Star Trek and Avatar. The thing I think I like best about her is that she plays very strong and intelligent women. She’s no-pushover in any of her movies. I also think it’s amazing that she has managed to have a family and a great career at the same time.  She gave birth to twins (yeah!) in 2014 with her husband Marco Perego. She recently said of directors that created strong female characters, “I’ve learned this about men who write good roles for women – there’s a very beautiful sentimentality to them. Their exteriors are sugarcoated with this manly presence, but deep on the inside, there’s also this [fragility]. During the shortness of my career, I’ve managed to work with Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, and now Jim Cameron- all directors who are known for having strong female protagonists. They don’t feel diminished by it as men; they can tap into the complexities of how woman really are.”Zoe-Saldana-Uhura-Star-Trek-Beyond-Movie

She has shown an interest in getting behind the camera and directing in the future.  She said, (on expanding her career to become a film director), ” It is more satisfying. You are more of a participant in the conception. I like having control. I think I have the capability. I am a storyteller and an artist and I love what I do. So I want to be part of it more and not just show up and say my lines.” Maybe after all the big movies coming up are gone and she starts her second career as a director, we’ll be talking about her amazing directing, but for now we are pleased to have her in front of the camera, entertaining us!

TV Series Bible – Zombie Law

 

Adam and I have been trying for about a year to get a 30 minute comedy TV Show pilot picked up with no luck, so I thought I would post our TV Show Bible for the series here in one of our posts to show our process. I hope it can be of some use to someone, at the very least be interesting to someone who may be curious to see how we approach these things.

We have very little connections in Network and Cable TV, so have been hitting mostly brick walls, but if you’re reading this and can see it as a Series AND have connections with anyone in TV, contact us, we’d love to get this into the proper hands:

Boston SkylineEXT. OFFICES OF WYNN JUSTICE – ESTABLISHING

Superimposed, “One Week Earlier”.

Sign outside of a busy downtown city street building reads, “Wynn Justice Law”. The street is bustling with PEOPLE in suits and dresses, rushing to work.

A ZOMBIE slowly ambles into view in the midst of the madness. He slowly tries to grab and bite people, but he’s way too slow. People rush by, push him out of the way and move faster. No one is worried or taking the Zombie serious.

The Zombie population is ignored, and now commonplace.

A HOMELESS MAN sits against the wall of the building, next to him is a Zombie, also sitting against the wall. A WELLDRESSED WOMAN walks by and throws a dollar bill down on the sidewalk in front of the Zombie.

She then notices that she threw it in front of the Zombie, so she picks it up and then looks at the Homeless man and throws the bill in his lap. He nods a thanks.

EDWIN WYNN TALKING HEAD

EDWIN WINN (50’s) wears a tweed sports coat and plaid bow tie.

EDWIN WYNN

To say we were floundering would have been an understatement. In the current climate of Zombie Infestation, we just couldn’t find cases in our current practice area. It was getting desperate. We simply had to start thinking outside of the box, or risk the chance of bleeding to death.

He watches as a zombie ambles by and looks at the camera again.

EDWIN WYNN (CONT’D)

Literally.

THE PITCH

Series Logline:  The zombie apocalypse has come and now living in a world filled with zombies is the new normal. Zombie Law is the law firm of Edwin Wynn and Calvin Justice, with the help of their Investigator Laurel Hunt, they represent zombies in all kinds of lawsuits.

Pilot Logline:   In the current climate of the restless undead, struggling attorney’s Calvin and Edwin, with the help of bounty hunter Laurel, have to find new clients quick or face bankruptcy. Their first client, a zombie weatherman in a wrongful termination suit.

In a World Filled with Zombies…It’s Time to Fight…

…For Their Right to Proper Representation.

                                                      ~ Calvin Justice, Esq.

THE SHOW

The primary structure is a one-camera sitcom (Modern Family, The Office) type comedy that at times has a documentary feel where the characters talk to the camera.

In Zombie Law, the commentary is setup almost like video depositions in a case, scattered throughout each episode.

The feeling is a mix of supernatural, comedy, the law and the mundane.

The ideal would be Boston Legal during the zombie apocalypse or simply Office Space with zombies.

Sitcoms like The Addams Family or The Munsters could be accurate, but set within the modern business world not hidden behind the family’s sole residence.

Another good example would be to recreate the original Ghostbusters esthetic and tightly compact it within a sitcom format.Zombies hit the streets

STORYLINES

Each episode features a single case or lawsuit as the “A” story and then a “B” story that continues the season one arc and “C” storyline usually consisting of some kind of rift or resolution to the 3 main characters.

“A” STORYzombie_01A completely compact case or lawsuit, within each episode. IE: the pilot episode is a wrongful termination lawsuit of a zombie weatherman from KRQ News Station Channel 13.  Wynn-Justice Law is on the verge of bankruptcy and takes the case as their first in a long line of representing the new populace of zombies in the city.  They change their name to Zombie Law.zombie_outfits_03

Some examples of other lawsuits throughout the season can be:

"Love Hurts" -- Pictured: Luis Guzmán (Jesse Sallander). Christa must put aside her personal feelings for Grace and work with her to treat Brody, (Cameron Boyce), a patient who claims to have been abused at a camp for troubled teens. Also, Grace is surprised when Campbell asks her out, on CODE BLACK, Wednesday, Feb. 17 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • Family Law – A marriage counselor files for divorce citing irreconcilable differences because her husband is a slob and an unrepentant cheater and she’s dead. No longer…til’ death do they part.
  • Personal Injury – A post-life insurance adjuster files for workman’s comp when his employer sends him to a construction site where he gets his arm severed in a wood chipper. In the end, his job costs him an arm and a leg.
  • Tax Evasion – Zombie Law represents a Living Impaired Man who gets sued by the US Government when he stops paying taxes, just because he’s dead. Two things are no longer for certain; death and taxes.
  • Breach of Contract – A dead mailman wants to sue his life insurance company for not providing him the full death benefit to himself when he died. Their argument is simply that he is not the beneficiary, not that he’s not dead, but since his wife is also a zombie, they don’t feel the need to pay her either.
  • Letter of Eviction – A tenant tries to fight a letter of eviction from the management company of the apartment building he’s “living” in. They argue that he can’t really be “living” in the apartment since he’s dead.

CALVIN JUSTICE

Where do you suggest he move?

APARTMENT MANAGER

The cemetery?

SEASON ONE “B” STORY

The “B” storyline is that a major pharmaceuticals company (MOREAUCORP) is the one responsible for the zombie outbreak and Zombie Law has several clashes with the company in and out of court throughout the season.

It gets to be an all-out war, when Moreaucorp creates a new kind of zombie, a faster-stronger Berserker Zombie that threatens the whole world.

There are two main bad guys in the leadership at Moreaucorp.

Moreaucorp.Island of Dr Moreau

The name by the way is a hint to the real identity of the CEO (the secret shadow figure) who is the heir of the famous…DR. MOREAU. The H.G. Wells fictional protagonist in The Island of Dr. Moreau where Dr. Moreau was found to have been creating human-like hybrid animal beings, is the CEO, Edward Prendic.

His main LABORATORY SCIENTIST turns out to be THE FLY.The Fly Scientist

Throughout the series, the scientist will slowly pull in SCIENTIFIC ABORATIONS into the world Ala ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU.the fly returns

This way, we can also bring in other classic monsters that are science or organic based like:

  • The 50ft WOMAN
  • The SHRINKING MAN
  • CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
  • SWAMP THING
  • THEM
  • THE BLOB
  • LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.Little Shop of Horrors

(These could all be variations or our versions of these things.) Think about all the campy 1950’s drive-in feature creatures.

Not only is the CEO a secret shadow figure that gets revealed during the season, he also turns out to be a well-regarded State SENATOR, that eventually runs for President of the United States against the…

ZOMBIE PRESIDENT.Zombie Obama

Here’s more on that:

POLITICAL ATMOSPHERE:

The atmosphere behind the zombie apocalypse is the political commentary. Politics keeps coming up in several episodes that go along with the rising tide of zombie supporters for zombie rights.  It’s a metaphor for rights groups throughout history.  Later on in the season, the President of the United States gets bitten and becomes a zombie and Zombie Law is brought in to argue the diminished capacity of the President in front of House of Representatives and again in a trial at the Senate and whether or not he’s capable of doing the job of the executive office. This ultimately comes full circle as Zombie Law fights from episode 1 all the way through the series for zombie RIGHTS.

“C” STORY

The 3rd story thread usually consisting of some kind of rift or resolution to the 3 MAIN CHARACTERS; Calvin is in love with Laurel, Laurel hates Edwin, Edwin creates chaos for Calvin…etc.  Here is a specific example:

  • Calvin’s ex-fiancée, that spurned him at the altar, comes looking for him. She’s recently dead and wants restitution from Moreaucorp for accidentally creating the zombie that bit her. She’s realized a lot of regrets since dying, the main one being Calvin. This causes confusion and complications with him and with Laurel, whose jealousy makes her realize that she may have deeper feelings for Calvin.ZL Anna Zach

LAUREL HUNT TALKING HEAD

LAUREL HUNT

I’ve known Cal for most of my life, I’ve never seen him this low before.

She looks behind her to see if Cal may be around listening.

LAUREL HUNT (CONT’D)

And I’ve seen him get stood up at the altar. That was embarrassing. Pathetic really. But this was a new low. Even for him.

CHARACTERS

CALVIN JUSTICE

Calvin (30’s) is a bleeding heart without a paycheck, a conservative idealistic do-gooder.Cast of Zombie Law 3

Mona looks solemnly at Edwin and then to Cal. Cal knows when to speak and when to listen.

MONA

I have been here a long time. We’ve been thru a lot together. Edwin, Cal, you’re excellent lawyers… But you suck at running a business!

Edwin looks hurt, but Cal looks like that’s just about right.

MONA (CONT’D)

Cal, you’re a bleeding heart and you take every sad story that comes along. Many of them pro bono.

CAL

I do not.

MONA

My car broke down this morning. Can I borrow some money to get it fixed?

Mona holds her hand out.

CAL

(Taking his wallet out.) Oh, I didn’t know that. I only have…

Mona spreads her arms out for validation. Cal realizes and puts his wallet away.

CAL (CONT’D)

That was just mean.zachary-levi-heroes-reborn-star

He doesn’t like that he got roped into going into practice with Edwin years before, simply because Edwin thought their names together made for “great marketing”.

CALVIN JUSTICE

You only partnered with me because of my last name.

EDWIN WYNN

I don’t deny, Wynn-Justice Law, it’s a good marketing gimmick, but we’re good together.

CALVIN JUSTICE

We’re bankrupt, Ed.

He does, however, embrace the idea of helping the zombies.  He’s an activist with a cause!

ZL zachary-levi-psa-slice

EDWIN WYNN

Edwin Wynn is a brainless get-rich-quick schemer, putting his money where his mouth is…empty. Edwin is a liberal free-spirited entrepreneur.z Anthony_Michael_Hall_1

MONA

And Ed…

EDWIN

(He taps his forehead.) I’m a marketing master. The wheels never stop.

MONA

Like recently, you hosted an adult Slip & Slide contest to try and drum up business.

EDWIN

(He smiles.) Brilliant, I know.

MONA

People got hurt. And your P.I. Referral just signed 3 new clients and filed cases against us.

Ed frowns.

MONA (CONT’D)

Oh by the way, they sent you a fruit basket.

She points to a basket of exotic fruit off to the side. Ed gets excited.Z Anthony+Michael+Hall

He’s like a child in so many ways, 200% loyal, fearless, easily excitable, always upbeat and positive, his enthusiasm knows no bounds and often gets them into trouble, especially Calvin.

CALVIN JUSTICE AND EDWIN WYNN TALKING HEADS

EDWIN WYNN

We don’t need her. What happens when you fall off a horse?

CALVIN JUSTICE

ED, don’t cliché me.

EDWIN WYNN

Winners are just losers who never gave up.

CALVIN JUSTICE

Ed…

EDWIN WYNN

I’m just saying, we’re Wynn-Justice. We just need to figure it out.

Although, if backed into a corner, he can be a scary and formidable foe.  Someone you want on your side, he has a joyful glee in making people think he’s mean, but can use it at times to make the pair stronger. It’s downright mischievous at times.ZL ANthony Michael Hall

LAUREL HUNT

Their INVESTIGATOR is a bounty hunter named LAUREL HUNT. She owns a self-defense dojo, which is appropriate when you think of the world they live in, survival is a much valued commodity. She is the muscle.

Fringe TV Series starring Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Michael Cerveris, Kirk Acevedo, Seth Gabel, Ryan McDonald, Mark Valley, Michael Kopsa, Lily Pilblad, Leonard Nimoy and Ari Graynor - dvdbash.com

Laurel walks over to a small counter by the door. A rough Biker is waiting for her.

BIKER

I’ve got a coupon for your “Evading Police Package”…

He pulls the piece of paper from his leather jacket vest pocket and slams it on the counter.

LAUREL HUNT

The free lesson on how to get out of handcuffs? She looks at the flyer and reaches into a drawer.

BIKER

That’s the one.

She pulls out some handcuffs and slaps one on the wrist of the Biker.

BIKER (CONT’D)

Hey, what the…

LAUREL HUNT

You want the lesson, right?

BIKER

Yeah…

She cuffs the other side to a pipe attached to the wall nearby.

LAUREL HUNT

Here’s the lesson. Don’t break the law!

BIKER

What the? Why you little B—

Laurel headbutts the Biker in the face and knocks him out.  He hangs limply from the pipe.Z Anna Gun

Long-time friends with Calvin, they do not realize yet that, THEY ARE IN LOVE. The sexual tension is tangible, from the very start. The attraction is there, even if they don’t admit it verbally at first.ZL Anna Torv Window

Later in the season they complicate things by replaying the wall of Jericho scene in It Happened One Night. (look it up) Eventually, they connect.

She comes in handy every week and provides the show with some much needed action at times. In the 2 k’s…kicking butt and kissing.

JUDGE DEL TORO aka DODGER ELVIS

Living in an odd world where zombies are real and running around, gives the show an unusual feeling that anything and anyone is possible.  To emphasize that very thing, we’ve created a character that exemplifies that “anyone can be anything” persona; The Dodger Elvis as a JUDGE.Elvis Shadow

ROBERT RUE

Aren’t you going to swear me in?

JUDGE DEL TORO (40’s) turns to Robert to address him. Judge Del Toro looks like a Hispanic Elvis impersonator, with rings on all his fingers, sideburns, oversized gold shades and a pompadour. He picks up his bedazzled gavel and points it at Robert.

JUDGE DEL TORO

Now, see here, little man, this is just a hearing to determine if the plaintiff has a case, no need for that formality just yet. Please just answer the question, thankyouverymuch.Elvis

ZOMBIES

Let’s talk about what the series is wrapped around…ZOMBIES.

In most zombie films and TV shows, zombies are mindless, feeding monsters that are used as fodder.  To kill and forget about, to mow down in droves.

Our series ventures to change that. The series ventures to play on that impression by starting out to make fun of it and then to slowly HUMANIZE the zombies again.Zombies

To show the progression of the zombie disease as if it was Alzheimer’s or Dementia. To slowly endear the zombie to the viewer.  To get them on “their” side. We use it as a metaphor for HUMAN RIGHTS and to help us examine the human condition and the political and prejudicial atmosphere that is the United States of America.Zombie_law

www.injuredbyazombie.com   www.facebook.com/ZombieLaw

Zombie Sign

Ruckus or First Blood

 

Here is the plot for a movie:

Kyle Hanson is a Vietnam veteran whose traumatic war-time experiences have left him unable to rejoin mainstream society. When Kyle, unkempt and in dirty fatigues, stops in a small town for some food, the local bullies can’t wait for an opportunity to harass him. After Kyle uses his Special Forces training to escape the bullies, he becomes the subject of a community-wide manhunt. Only Jenny Bellows, a local girl whose husband was declared missing in action in Vietnam, is willing to give Kyle a chance.first blood

You may be thinking that it’s the movie, First Blood, only all the character names are different, but you’d be wrong. It’s actually the plot listed for the movie Ruckus, made in 1980, two years before First Blood was released. Just to share the plot of First Blood as listed on IMDB.com:

John Rambo is a Vietnam Veteran, winner of the Medal of Honour for serving his country in the Vietnam war and the last surviving member of the unit he was in. Rambo arrives in a small town, where he is arrested by the abusive local Sheriff Will Teasle for refusing to leave town. Rambo is mistreated and he relives his painful memories of being tortured in a prison camp, which goes too far and Rambo escapes from police custody. Rambo is pursued by Teasle and the local police into the woods and Rambo begins a personal war with Teasle, and uses his combat skills and hunts down Teasle and his men. Rambo’s former commanding officer Colonel Samuel Trautman arrives believing Teasle and his men don’t stand a chance with Rambo, and tries to put Rambo’s personal war to a end, as Teasle wants Rambo dead.

Now the history may go back even further than that. First Blood was originally written by David Morell and published in 1972. He started the book in 1968. In 1972, Morrell sold the film rights to First Blood to Columbia Pictures, who in turn sold them to Warner Bros. This trend continued for ten years. The story passed through three companies and eighteen screenplays. Finally, Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar, two film distributors looking to become producers, obtained the film rights.Morrell_First_Blood

Now during the development time of 10 years, word of mouth on productions can spread and several competing projects at various studios can begin based on similar ideas or the same idea or subject. That’s pretty common and as long as the same script is not used, it’s not usually a problem or a copyright issue, as you can’t copy an idea, just a script or novel or treatment can be copyrighted. But similar elements pop up all the time in the movies.  Just look at 3 movies all released in 1989 by different studios that all have similar elements:

Leviathan:  An American deep-sea mining colony stumbles upon a sunken Soviet vessel hiding a horrific secret.

Deep Star Six:  At the bottom of the ocean, the DeepStar Six has just discovered a new and deadly alien menace.

The Abyss:  A civilian diving team is enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and face danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.Max KLeven

Now, in the case of Ruckus, the man behind the picture is Max Kleven, a stuntman/second unit director of over 25 years at this point with work on movies such as Rollerball, Silver Streak, Charlie Varrick, Never a Dull Moment, just to mention a small few and TV Series such as Star Trek and Streets of San Francisco, and many more. He wrote and directed the film Ruckus and it was his first film as director and was produced by independent production company International Vision and distributed by Indie favorite New World Pictures. It was the only film produced by International Vision, which tells me the company was probably formed to produce this one film only, which is very common in independent filmmaking.ruckus

Now the APEX of where the two meet, could have been F.I.S.T. (1978), which just happens to have been written and starring non-other than Sylvester Stallone, who also wrote the screenplay and stars in First Blood. Max Kleven was the Stunt Coordinator for F.I.S.T. and was looking to move over into directing his first film. Now I’m not sure if David Morell’s book was on the set somewhere and both happened to see it, or if either Max or Sylvester was having discussions with each other or other people regarding the book or the idea or what, I’m not sure, but there seems to have been something that happened somewhere to give each an idea that culminated in their two films.ruckus dirk benedict

Regardless, Max Kleven made it to the screen first. He hired an actor straight off a huge TV Series, Battlestar Gallactica, Dirk Benedict and an actress famous for The Exorcist and was deemed as a young up-and-comer, Linda Blair and even hired an ex-stuntman Richard Farnsworth (in fact I write about him as a stuntman for the movie Wells Fargo HERE) in a key role, who was nominated for an Oscar for acting in 1978 for Comes A Horseman.  All the elements seemed to indicate this could be a BIG hit, but it wasn’t! There was a key element missing and that element simply was Sylvester Stallone. I liked Ruckus and saw the film in theaters when I was a child. My brother and I enjoyed it very much, but it’s no First Blood. First Blood is amazing and became the standard in a slew of films that would come after.first_blood

A lot of people have thought over the years that since Ruckus came out first that First Blood ripped it off, but with the extra knowledge about David Morrell and the fact that both screenwriters were key members on F.I.S.T., I would have to say that First Blood has a case that they were the ones ripped off. Now if Ruckus had been a HIT, I’m sure they would have gone after them in court, but since it wasn’t and they moved forward with their own production and became the big HIT, then I think it all worked out. With this said, Ruckus is a fun little film and should be watched if you get the chance.firstblood sylvester stallone

Just a side note, in his commentary, author David Morell cites the inspiration for John Rambo as being World War 2 hero and later Hollywood actor Audie Murphy. We have another great blog post about him here.

 

 

David Tomlinson, Go Fly a Kite

 

Now here’s an actor, I never fully thought ever got his due. He was utterly brilliant in several films, mostly Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Mary Poppins and The Love Bug for Disney, but also a few others. He played the foil in so many of these films, and was so believable and real that he was never fully embraced for his contribution for the success of these films. For these films to be as successful as they were they had to have a bad guy that was convincing and despicable. He could come off as slimy and snooty and arrogant, and so much of it was so totally opposite of his true lovable persona off-screen.david-tomlinson-8

Of the more than 50 motion pictures he appeared in during his career, however, his most popular role was as the rigid and positively clueless father George Banks in Mary Poppins. As Ed Weiner wrote in TV Guide, “Of all the movie moments we hold dear from childhood and revisit most often with our children on video, Tomlinson as a changed and suddenly life-loving George Banks happily singing ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ is one of the sweetest.” Tomlinson also voices several of the animated characters that Bert and Mary Poppins encounter in the chalk drawing, including a penguin waiter and the jockey who allows Mary Poppins to pass on her carousel horse. He also voices the Parrot Umbrella Handle at the end of the movie.  Robert Stevenson who directed Mary Poppins, liked working with Tomlinson so much that he cast him in two more of his movies; The Love Bug (1968) and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971).David in The Love Bug

Tomlinson was a generous and gregarious man by nature and had some famous life-long friends, like Peter Sellers. Peter Sellers and David performed in The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu and David brought out the best in Sellers. He said of him, “The only person I want to see is David,” Sellers remarked in hospital shortly before his death. This was the last film for both of them as David would retire and was only seen on the stage after that. Another friend, Griff Rhys Jones said of him, “His was an act, a good one, supplemented by an outrageous baby face and upswept eyebrows. The reality was a sympathetic and understanding man. He was as funny off as he was on, which was invariably very funny indeed.”Davd-Tomlinson-Bedknobs-and-Broomsticks

Craig Brown also tells a great story about Tomlinson, “Many years later, I became friends with David Tomlinson, the marvellous English character actor who played Mr Banks. We were once having lunch in a crowded restaurant with David, when our little son asked him if he would sing: Let’s Go Fly A Kite. Without hesitating, David, who was then in his late 70s, launched in to a hearty rendition at the very top of his voice. The restaurant came to a standstill. When he came to an end, everyone burst into applause.”

Read more about Mary Poppins from Craig Brown: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2111741/When-Mary-Poppins.html#ixzz4CE52227E