Safari Picture Update #3
When I last updated you, I had sent over the second draft of the treatment. I'm pleased to announce that that also translated into them sending over the first installment of my pay for this project. So now I can truly say that I am a professional screenwriter, having received payment for screenwriting work. So update those sidebar links, those of you who separate us into amateurs and pros! ;-)
I've put most of that money away for the time being, but I did treat myself to one pleasure. I finally purchased an iPod! For those who are curious, I chose the 4gb nano, and yes, I got the (PRODUCT)RED one. (By the way, I'd say this is as good a time as any for me to plug the (RED) campaign to those who aren't familiar. Bottom line -- spend the same money you would on the same products, and the companies send a portion of their profits to The Global Fund, helping fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Thus, appropriate that I use some proceeds from my Africa script to give back an albeit tiny amount to that continent.)
Anyway, a few days after I sent the script over to the producers we had a phone meeting and started discussing it in more generic terms. But then we scheduled another phone meeting in which we would go over the treatment in a point-by-point fashion. That meeting took place last week on Wednesday, and ended up lasting five hours. Wow, that was a tiring and draining meeting, but well worth it, I think. We did get a lot done, discussing various specific points and the overall direction of the piece.
And while there was lots of good stuff in there, and what seemed to be a bit more solidity than in the first draft, we realized that what is still lacks is a single spine, so to speak. It is still basically an ensemble film, but the various aspects seem more disjointed than in even the standard such piece. So we stepped back a bit and focused on the core of the film, which we agreed was the safari experience and the animals themselves. The reason there seemed to be so much disjointedness is that the various animal scenes were too disconnected from one another. And it was this realization that has shaped the direction of my work this past week.
I have been doing some intensive research on a number of the different animals that are currently in the film, or may be likely to be put in during a later version of the treatment. The idea will basically be to create almost character bios, of sorts, for these creatures. I had already done a good amount of research on these animals, and nearly everything I had included was something that I had seen or read and that actually happened. But these separate scenes still lacked the overriding understanding of how these animals actually live and operate on a daily basis. So that's where I'm at right now.
Once I've completed my research on these various animals, then I'll go back and take another pass at the treatment and try to unifying the disparate elements. And hopefully that will be enough to ready me for the next step along this journey.
In other, related news, the trip to Botswana has been pushed back. We originally had planned to take the trip this month some time. But various scheduling conflicts pushed it back. Still not booked, but the likelihood is that I will either be down in South Africa and Botswana in the middle of September or the very beginning of October.
And in the interim (assuming I progress enough on this treatment), I may help the writer on one of the producers' other projects, which would be another job and experience. He has written a lot of stuff, and has a lot of knowledge of the subject matter he's writing about, but he hasn't really written a screenplay before. So I would be helping him get his writing onto the page properly. Could be very interesting! We'll see what happens with that.
By the way, if any of you are experts on the habits of large African mammals -- predators, ungulates, etc. -- drop me a line!
Tags: screenwriting, safari, animal+behavior