As a filmmaker and specifically as a writer; you strive to create original ideas and pitch, pitch, pitch. And you think to yourself you got a good idea. And others hear it and like it and you get some support and you become convinced this is a good idea. It has weight, it has merit, you wanna make it, they wanna see it, and all that shit.
And you spend the rest of your time panhandling. Asking for scraps to try and put together your ideas and because you’re broke some of them fall to the way side and you think smaller, etc.
Do we need the highway chase? What about two guys running down a back alley instead? Do we need the exploding cheese sandwich? What if it was just an old piece of bread instead and it doesn’t explode? Do we need 40 extras playing aliens? What if its just a disembodied voice on the wind? And all that shit.
Downsizing your dreams to match your cashflow.
OR, you bide your time. Holding out for the real budget, keep the dream alive. Keep the script full of all those big moments you think will make it special. Definitely need a big actor for this role. Totally need lots of practical effects for this scene. Oh this scene needs a CGI flying gimp for sure, and all that shit.
Now you are in the weird position every no one finds themselves in of both wanting to show everyone on the planet but being afraid that anyone who sees it will steal what makes it special. So you try to send it to certain people but not just anyone, and all that shit.
The inevitably is this: if you are a poor filmmaker, no matter how good your idea, if you don’t get the money fast – you will see your idea come from someone else. Fact. And proof:
I came up with an idea for a film which is a cross between SAW and BATTLE ROYALE. A Horror chop socky flick. And then me and my partners, Wayne and Jim put together a script and an EPK (Electronic press kit). I designed a poster for it and we released our EPK into the world, sending it to various people to try and raise awareness and we got some great feedback from some people. And a couple of good nibbles but no bites. No budget.
So this project has sat on our website for 6 years – SIX YEARS – synopsis, EPK and poster. We’ve had maybe a thousand email chains about it and tens of meetings with people about it. But none of them led to the budget.
I see yesterday a strikingly similar concept… And I know, my movie is blown. No whether its dark forces who took elements for themselves from my idea or a pure coincidence – we’ll never know. But its similar enough that you feel like getting litigious – but what is the point? It’s also dissimilar enough that it would never get through court.
But look at the evidence below and tell me I shouldn’t feel bad for the loss my story baby.
|My project: KILLING TIME||Their Project: TRIGGERED|
After being drawn together by a mysterious entity, a group of strangers with only violence in common are forced into competition; each has a timer attached to them counting down. Locked inside a facility for 90 minutes, they must buy additional time to survive by killing and stealing time from the others. The last man standing has a wish granted for a better life.
Nine friends, all harboring a dark secret, go camping in the woods. After a wild night of partying, they wake up with SUICIDE BOMBS strapped to their chests, all with varying times on their countdown clocks. They decide to work out how to disarm the bombs or find help – until they discover they can ‘take’ one another’s time by killing each other.
Don’t get me wrong, there are differences. In ours you didn’t see your own time, it was on your back so you’d have to form uneasy alliances to know your remaining time, it seems in theirs everyone can see. And in ours it was different fighters from around the world. In theirs its just some punk teens who are friends.
But the core idea – stealing time from one another by killing them or the vests explode – is ONE HUNDRED percent the same idea taken away. Killing what made our idea unique.
Did some loose lips decide to steal this or is it pure coincidence? We’ll never know, but while you know its just ONE idea and you don’t want to get disheartened over it, its hard not to. This movie would have come out 7 years ago if it wasn’t for one thing: the budget. The indie filmmakers greatest nemesis.