Monday, December 10, 2007

Start Date


We're going to shoot another picture starting on March 1, 2008.

More information forthcoming.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

0701 Greenlight


Angry Planet is Go.

So there is a to-do list:
1. Name Talent
2. Schedule (boards are already done, but #1 will dictate the calendar)
3. Location (best guess: we're doing decrepit Queens and Brooklyn for a post-apocalyptic world).
4. Casting

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Please send me your script


Mac,

I've only got time to get out a burst communication through the ionosphere while the drones are patrolling above this bunker. I can't let them triangulate on my position, so I gotta make this brief.

I pulled a data-load from the Hive about 20 seconds before a short-range tactical nuke took it out. I know, it's dangerous, but I have the nanobots quarantined in stasis until I can get the whole packet to a safe machine. Some of it was human readable (or at least it was in hex which my deck could spit out in image form at me before the nuke shock) and I got the "release" codes for all the HK android teams.

But here's the thing - the sat comm is going to be up over the horizon in fifteen minutes, and I can't access that without the key which is in your computer. I don't know how the nanos got into your machine and read all the data, and I don't know why they've chosen you over anyone else, but unless you get me the entire script as you have it on your drive immediately, the human race will be wiped out by sometime T-minus 43r.

Please Mac, just send it. My life, all our lives... depend on it. They depend on you. The fate of mankind rests in your hands. Send me whatever you have right away and we can stop them!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Morally Complex, Action-Packed, and Affordable


Mac Rogers' words. Perhaps this should be the second part of the Pandora Machine manifesto. No?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Thinking Out Loud or The "Writer" Credit


My thoughts about how we're going to treat writers.

I mean, other than "they're lucky if they get two dollars a day and a kick in the pants".

There seems to be three kinds of writers on any given project. One is the person who comes up with the "story". The next writer is the "main" writer. That's the writer who brain vomits a big mess of a story with most of the structure in tact. The third kind of writer I'd call the "editor" writer, of which there are frequently many.

I'm thinking that our standard way of dealing with scripts is that we will have a single-title card with a "writer" credit -- that's the "main" writer (the one who did all the brain vomiting.)
Then there will be another title card with all the "additional" writers (if there are any -- in most cases there will be but who knows?). I don't know what to call "additional" writers. But I think that all writers should be credited (something the Writers Guild of America does not agree with.)
I don't know where to put the "story by" credit. Maybe it should be a single - title card too. That makes sense because usually our movies are too short, not too long.

So, by this thinking:
1. Single Title Credit "Story by" (only if a different credit than "Written by")
2. Single Title Credit "Written by" (may be more than one person)
3. Multiple Title Credit "Additional Writers"

Who makes the credit decision?
Ultimately, I do. I imagine that in a number of cases the credit may be contractual. Still, ultimately the buck will stop with me. I think and hope that we'll be fair and everyone will be happy before we go into production on any given picture. We don't want to start a production company in order to just lose our friends, after all.

And what about the "A Film By" credit? I hate this credit. But I've used it anyway. Basically, I'll end up taking it on pictures I direct if it helps me professionally. If not, it's just a dumb credit. I mean -- "A Film By" -- pershaw! Lots of people worked on the picture! I mean, Titian had lots of people helping him, it's not just him, "his" work is the work of dozens of people. And he probably helped some of them with "their" work. Feh.

OK, so the last big question is renumeration. At this point we're looking at writers working for free. My feeling is that for a $60,000 cash movie that the writer is an "early investor" and should see some portion of "first dollar". Competing with that notion is the fact that whomever invests is putting in actual money so they should see 100% of "first dollar" for, like, 300% before any money is doled out to creatives.

But I think what will really end up happening is some combination of these ideas.

If the cash investment is, say, $250K then I think the writer will get paid in cash, the director and DP (typically me) will get paid in cash, and the investor will get a 300% return ($750K) before the creatives start seeing a portion of "net" receipts.

If an investor puts in $60K then Pandora Machine (being the producing entity) is putting up the equivalent, and the writer, director, and other creatives (actors, etc.) start getting their portion (typically .25% or .0025 of "net" receipts) after the investor and Pandora Machine (combined) recoup $125K.

These numbers will take some thought. Note that the producer's rep will be taking upwards of 30% of "gross" receipts.

Note also that we don't use "net" and "gross". Instead we typically say a real number like "$125,000" as being the recoupable amount -- no matter how much is actually spent.

This will all take a bit of thought in order to try to be fair and for it to work. So... I'm thinkin!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

General Script Notes


1. Character names should only be in ALL CAPS the first time we see them. I guess some people always put them in caps. I dunno if we should include this in our style sheet, but whatever we do we should be consistent in a given script.

2. Make everything active. Don't put "is being" or "is doing", just say whatever it is they're actually doing.

Even more, tell us about what we're seeing. For example:
"Kelly is being guarded by an alien."
should be:
GROK, a big ugly alien, with a thermal BLASTER in one hand and a bottle of MILK in the other, sneers at Kelly; who struggles fruitlessly against the ROPES binding his hands behind his back.

3. I think we ought to standardize the way we deal with scene headings.
INT. - EVIL SHRINE - NEAR OBELISK - NIGHT
Final Draft likes "INT." with the period. And one dash (-) between each element. Really, I'd like to avoid the second part of the scene place ("NEAR OBELISK" in this example) because that'll make it easier to spit out reports and such.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Project Standards

Every idea at the "let's write something down" stage, whether it is a treatment or a script or even just a story, will have a job number assigned to it.
Since we have to have only one person doling out job numbers, in order to prevent duplicates, that person will be me.
A job number will have four digits. "0701" is the first job of 2007. We can only have 100 script/treatment/stories per year, and we'll be out of business by the year 2100.

Here's an example the file name of a script in Final Draft format:

0701 v1.27 Angry Planet.fdr

Notice that the name of the movie ("Angry Planet") can be changed without affecting the alphabetical order of the project. Also note that every time a script is "handed off" to another writer, or any time anyone makes a change to a script, the "v" number is incremented. Here's an example of the above project when someone has made a change and changed the name:

0701 v1.28 Happy Planet.fdr

The job number (0701) will follow this movie until the very end of its life. "0701" will end up on slates and on contracts in order to identify the movie.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pandora Machine Logo

A naked woman enters a room with a small pool (light dancing everywhere) and a box.
She kneels and opens the box -- her ARM is a ROBOT ARM -- and removes a big GUN with LASERS.
She sweeps the gun across the lens of the camera. BANG!
Titles: Pandora Machine

Our Manifesto

Good acting. Good stories. Robots.

We're going to make genre films. Scripts will be pre-approved by our rep.

The stories will be strong. The acting will be good. There will be action and nudity and, of course, robots.

And they better sound good or it'll be really embarrassing for me.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pandora Machine

Pandora Machine is a production company which produces genre features.
I'm your host, Andrew Bellware.