Bret Wood's Efforts and Exploits

An updated guide to film and DVD work.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Eden Video Teasers

A burst of Thanksgiving Eve inspiration caused me to spend a couple of hours working on the Eden, Alabama website. I assembled a couple of video clips that hint at the milieu and flavor I want the film to have... if and when the cameras ever turn its direction.

Ahh... grainy black and white 16mm in a cheap motel room.

I'm hoping that as the weeks pass, the site will grow larger, more complex and more eclectic, and the town of Eden will begin to materialize in people's minds... if not on their movie screens.

The main site is here:

Eden, Alabama website

Click on "View Parade Video" to watch one of the movies.

The other, more provocative movie, can be accessed at the
Local Attractions page.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

EDEN, Here I Come

Alright, I'm done with it.

Actually, I'm done with the first draft of it. After much struggle with the always challenging third act, I'm finished with my screenplay of Eden, Alabama. I'm sure that in the months to come I'll continue to tinker and rewrite, but it feels like the story is essentially there.

When I wrote Psychopathia, the longest individual segment was maybe fifteen pages. And even then, I did very little revision. The 100-page single narrative proved much more difficult than expected.

Hey, I'm no neophyte, I've written scripts before. Tons of them. But most of them deserve to remain buried in the green file cabinet to my immediate left. The experience of making Psychopathia, talking to viewers about it, reading reviews of it, taught me more about screenwriting than any class or book ever did. Let's just say I took the art of screenwriting much more seriously. In fact, I can safely say that anything I wrote prior to Psychopathia could be thrown in the trash without qualm.

It used to be if I wrote a good scene, it stayed in the script no matter what. Whereas now -- having killed plenty of darlings in the editing of Psychopathia, removing great scenes that just don't work within the context of the film -- I know it's better to chop out anything that doesn't significantly establish the setting, character, tone or advance the plot. If I'm still in love with the unnecessary scene three years from now, we can put it on the DVD, right? (knock wood).

So what now?

I'll provide more details later but one day, later in November, I'm going to have a table read with a group of actors, just to hear it out loud for the first time. If you're an actor reading this, let me know if you're interested. Coffee and donuts on me.

As I've mentioned before -- and will no doubt remind you again later -- the script was selected for inclusion in their biennial "Brave New Works" play festival. In February, it will be intensively rehearsed in a workshop environment. Amy Cook will be directing the actors. Daniel Burnley (who stars in my short film Rapture) will have the lead as Cal Jenkins, smut-peddling Shriner extraordinaire. Then on Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 pm, Eden, Alabama will be performed as a staged reading at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts at Emory University. Refreshments and feedback session to follow.

If your curiosity is piqued and you want to know more about Eden, Alabama, you can go to the official website (A Tourism and Business Guide, sponsored by the Eden Jaycees). It doesn't reveal the plot of the story, but it offers little glimpses at the locations and events that figure prominently.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cucalorus 12

Well, Thursday November 9, Psychopathia played what is probably its last festival -- and went out with a bang. Called "The best kept secret on the indie fest circuit," the Cucalorus Film Festival is a compact and energetic three-day fest in Wilmington, NC. Because Wilmington is eager to woo filmmakers, the festival is given loads of support by the community.
Psychopathia had the good fortune to play in Thalian Hall, an amazing opera house built in 1858.

And the film never looked better. The projection system installed in the theatre was phenomenal. I don't know if they up-res'ed the SD to HD, but the image was crystal clear, and the sound was throbbing. It's always great to end a film's run on a high note.

The screenings were well-attended, the audiences were enthusiastic, and there were constant opportunities to mix'n'mingle. The films at Thalian were introduced by the vocal and guitar stylings of off-kilter troubador Matt Malloy. There was, indeed, a festive air. Kudos to festival director Dan Brawley and crew (including Joel, Barbara, Allison, Andrea, Dixon and others).

Here's a link to a brief interview with me that ran in the local paper.

As an added bonus, I got to see the police station featured in Blue Velvet (sorry, I didn't take a camera), and visited the amazing Cape Fear Serpentarium, owned and operated by writer/crooner/painter/herpetologist Dean Ripa. Judging from the website, I thought it was going to be a roadside snake shack, but it was an extremely well-designed hall of snakes, with incredibly well-crafted habitats (better than I've seen at any zoo).

Alright, festival fun is over...I gotta get busy and make another film.