The Truth about Project Greenlight (and, bonus Wedding Photos!) 11/2/00

Wow, have We ever been busy lately. In the rush of wedding/honeymoon/reception stuff, We've barely had time to talk to you about any of this -- but We've got a few things going on.

However, before I say anything about the Greenlight stuff, lemme just show you a couple of wedding photos -- this being one day after our One Month Anniversary, and all.

First, this is Red Rock Canyon -- the view from the site of the wedding. We weren't sure exactly what Red Rock would look like when we got there -- but suffice to say, we were not disappointed.

And now ... drum roll, please ... the Truth Page Debut of Mr. and Mrs. Steele ...

Ain't she beautiful? What a great wedding. There are video clips I could put out here too, except that Mr. Steele places too much value on Marital Harmony for that to seem like too good an idea.

Moving on ...

On Saturday, October 14th, I was let-go from my new car sales job. One week before my reception. What can I say? I guess I was too slow in picking up the new procedures in this place, I couldn't bring myself to ask the proper 'closing questions,' and sales were very slow and they didn't really need me. (Plus, I sortta mouthed off to one of the managers. Repeatedly. And, he was short. I'm sure that didn't help.)

There are actually a whole lot of things that factored into this -- but the bottom-line is, the dealership felt that I wasn't working out -- and I can't blame them, even though I don't necessarily agree.

So. Needless to say, that night I wasn't an overly happy camper. I wasn't my usual, jovial self -- and my usual self ain't all that fuckin' jovial to begin with.

Mrs. Steele says to me, "Every time a door closes, another door opens. Maybe this happened for a reason. You know, there's a screen writing contest on HBO."

Um ... what?

It's called Project Greenlight, and here's the deal: anyone can submit a screenplay. All submitters review three of the submitted screenplays. They cut it down to 250 screenplays based on the critiques of your peers, and then I think down to 30, and then down to 10, then 3, then 1. (I might have the progression wrong -- but what-the-hey.)

The winning screenplay is produced by Chris Moore, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon, under Miramax Films, with a $1 million budget. HBO will shoot a 13 part series on the making of the movie, and the writer of the screenplay will direct it.

Sounds pretty cool, huh? Then came the dreaded question: "When's the deadline for this thing?"

October 22nd. Eight days. I had eight days to come up with a screenplay that could be shot for $1 million. Just how little is $1 million? Well ... let's just say that I've heard that Good Will Hunting cost $2 million. I mean, great movie and all. But no car chases. No explosions. No vampires or werewolves or any of those other things I like to hide behind when I write. Roughly translated, "$1 million budget," means "Just be yourself."

Gah!

Oh ... wait ... but it actually meant, "Just be yourself. You have eight days."

Double Gah-Gah!

There was no way I could type 90 pages of Just Myself in eight days time. I mean, it's probably physically possible -- screenplays write pretty quick, especially when you play fast-and-loose with the formatting. But would it be any good, considering it would probably take me two or three days just to decide what the heck I'm gonna write?

The inevitable answer to that one, Gentle Reader, is No.

Fortunately, I wrote a screenplay about a year ago that would fit the bill. Unfortunately, I wrote it specifically for a friend of mine as a favor. I mean, no money has changed hands or anything, but I still considered it his script. I thought about just how I would handle this for the next eight days. I carefully considered the fact that my odds of actually winning were slim-to-none, and that he could still do this movie if he wanted. I thought about the fact that if it won, I'd be able to hook him up somehow.

I also thought about how I was going to turn this screenplay into something that was a little more of a reflection of myself. And while I was thinking about that, I thought about our wedding reception on the 21st -- one day before the deadline.

I worked like hell to make the deadline, with as strong a script as I could conjure with my little fingers. And in the rush, I never quite got around to deciding just how I would handle this with the friend. I rationalized that it would make his end of making this movie (as far as finding financiers, etc.) easier if I made the Top 250 or the Top 30 in this contest. And I reasoned that if it won, I'd be able to do something for him.

The screenplay is called Passed Around. And I guess it's really a win-win situation, no matter what happens. I'm getting critiques on it from my peers, so I'll be able to improve it -- on top of all the other benefits I just mentioned. But the bottom-line is, I still don't like the way I handled it.

So, this Truth serves two purposes. Erm ... three purposes. Maybe four, by the time I finish (one never knows, with Mr. Steele).

    • An announcement of my participation in Project Greenlight.
    • An apology to Roy, along with assurances that I'll hook him up in some manner if this thing goes anywhere.
    • An explanation to all readers of just where the hell I've been for the last month or so.
How about that? I stopped at three. Whodda thunk?

Oh ... and I think I've got one more announcement before I'm outta here: at long last, we've found someone to design the new cover for the Completely Revised Edition of ... never dream. Turns out, my brand new sister-in-law has a talent for that sort of thing. She stepped up a few days ago and asked, "Have you found anyone to do that yet?" And she sent me a sample yesterday that blew my doors off.

Now, all I have to do is finish revising that sucker, and we'll be just-about all set.

Those who are interested in reading Passed Around should be able to get to it on Project Greenlight without having to commit to three reviews ... even if you read it already, there have been exactly eight days worth of revisions you might like.

Well, I'm off to type. Er ... I'm off to continue typing ... something else. That is, assuming I can resist the mighty allure of Myth II.

(Just kidding, Mrs. Steele.)