I was recently interviewed by Craig D. Forrest. Craig is a producer, director, and writer of documentary films that lives in California. He has a podcast called Six Ways to Sunday Podcast that engages in conversations with leaders, artists, and creatives.
In each episode, Craig covers current trends and insights that shape our digital world. His episodes focus on the main stream media, film, and TV industry, as well as the faith-based film, TV and media market.
Craig has cut my interview into three episodes. The first episode released today and can be listened to by clicking here. I’ll post the subsequent episodes as they release each Thursday. However, you will be able to find Craig’s podcast on all the major podcast platforms under the podcast’s title of Six Ways to Sunday Podcast.
I had a wonderful opportunity to meet some fans this week. The Itasca Country Club has a book club where members pick a monthly story to read and discuss. Their most recent book was my novel, STEELE BLUE: The Forgotten Crime. The women invited me to join their discussion and I accepted.
Due to COVID and the weather (the rain impacting the outdoor seating), not everyone from the club was able to attend. While it was hot, the cool breeze made the night pleasant, until the heavy rainstorm pounded loudly on the tent where we were seated.
We all had a great time discussing the book. And yes, they managed to pry out of me little pieces of information concerning the sequel (STEELE BLUE was designed as a trilogy). After sharing some of the differences between the book and my recently awarded screenplay, we took time to brainstorm potential actors for the film roles.
I was amazed at how everyone picked the exact same actors for 95% of the characters. There were only a couple of roles that weren’t perfectly aligned. For the character of Samantha, the character could be played by Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato. For the role of Diaz, Antonio Banderas was mentioned along with another actor whose name I don’t remember, but would be someone like Javier Bardem.
Everyone was 100% aligned with the actors mentioned for the other roles we discussed. The conversation generated strong sentiment about how well the actors would be able to play the main characters.
The fun developed into an interesting discussion on some of the underlying plot threads that I held back from the sequel. Everyone voiced how much they were looking forward to the second book in the trilogy and suggested I release it soon. They even shared some of their hopes for the characters.
Unfortunately, I had to let them know that I was still working on the story. While I heard a few boos, everyone was adamant about learning where the next story was going to head, but I shared very little. This resulted in the women sharing their wonderful ideas about the second book with various possible rabbit trails, red herrings, and elements of mystery.
Everyone requested a photo before we parted. One woman asked me to sign her book. A couple others sadly announced they had bought the Kindle version, which made me understand why some authors carry headshots of themselves to autograph. I’d feel a bit awkward carrying photos around, but maybe someday I’ll print extra frameable book covers that I could sign.
On my way home, I realized how excited I was to get back to my characters and work on the sequel. However, it might have to wait a bit as I just received notice that my screenplay made it into the Burbank International Film Festival. It is my hope that it will be noticed by the right people and a door or two opened that leads to production.
Having a screenplay making the rounds in the film festival circuit during a pandemic is a unique experience. It’s easy to be distracted and focused solely on the big win. In fact, I’ve neglected to realize the additional prizes and rewards that I might win. Since STEELE BLUE: The Forgotten Crime has placed, been a finalist, and a semi-finalist in various festivals, I’ve started receiving these “unexpected” rewards.
SHOTLISTER is an app I received that works on my laptop and iPad. The iPad version is actually free for a limited time for any filmmaker that wants to snap it up before it’s too late. The software allows a director to determine and schedule what scenes will be shot on a specific day. The app also provides a live mode to keep an eye on how many shots remain within a day’s shoot, which can easily be rescheduled. The depth of information that can be logged for each shot is amazing, although I’d keep the data at a higher level for my use.
The program is highly customizable and can be synched with the Director, AD, Producer, Script Supervisor, etc. The best part is that adjustments only take a few seconds instead of having someone run back to base camp in order to alter the day’s shoot. There is also a pro version that incorporates storyboards and other extras that independent filmmakers don’t typically have the luxury to use.
I’ve also received additional rewards including budget development for my script, a conversation with a distributor, and several consultations in the areas of development packaging, raising venture capital, and international advanced sales. Who knows what other benefits I might receive as my story continues on to the next festival.
The entertainment industry has always moved in waves and this timing is no exception. I’m speaking at a small book club next week that was just opened up from the book club to the entire clubhouse membership. That gives me a week to prepare a different type of talk should the outdoor venue rapidly grow. Either way, it will be a lot of fun.
Many of the judge’s comments led me to believe certain changes are needed to prepare the audience for the true-life portions of the screenplay, which some feel can’t be true (even though we all know life is stranger than fiction). Meeting with the club will give me an opportunity to test new material and get immediate feedback.
Well, I’m off to prepare for the next step on this journey. I’m also feeling a bit nostalgia based on the changes I’m making to the original story. The story seems to keep on improving from its original screenplay form to a book, and back to a screenplay—becoming a more entertaining story with each step. Hopefully everything will be just right the moment the film is given the green light.