Small Things, Good Packages

Considering my last blog post was almost two weeks ago, it’s probably clear that I’m still adjusting to the new work schedule.  The return to Disney has been warm and welcoming – cartoons really do keep people young at heart because no one I’ve reconnected with has aged.  Seriously, all of my former colleagues look exactly the same!  (Meaning terrific, of course.)

But despite the fun studio homecoming, I have definitely felt “spent” by the end of the day.  I know I’ll get in a groove soon enough.  And that’s important because there’s always Deliberate work to be done and my extra-curricular hours are the time to do it.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m gearing up to start a new script in April.  While Script Frenzy is dearly departed (R.I.P. Script Frenzy!), I will be holding my own personal challenge to write 100 script pages in 30 days.  I’m feeling excited and inspired by my latest idea so I’m hoping this enthusiasm will carry me through the bouts of self-doubt and general procrastination I will inevitably encounter.

One of the films I revisited in preparation for this new project was SLING BLADE.  Written by, directed by, and starring Billy Bob Thornton, it tells the story of a mentally handicapped man who returns to his hometown after decades of confinement in a mental hospital for committing a violent act in his youth.  What a great, powerful film.  The Southern setting is backed by Thornton’s lyrical writing – you feel like these characters genuinely inhabit this world. (And in some cases, I think Thornton actually cast locals in key roles in the film.)  The movie is poignant and sad and philosophical – a study of the sometimes not-so-great divide between love and violence.  I can see why it won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

And as I watched it I remembered that SLING BLADE began as a short film, SOME FOLKS CALL IT A SLING BLADE.  The content of the short eventually became the opening sequence in the feature.  The short won a number of film festival awards and was accepted into Sundance in 1994.  I have to think that the encouraging reception for the short helped launch the making of the successful feature.

So I’ve been thinking about tackling BENEATH THE SURFACE as a smaller package.  For the benefit of my creative soul, I must produce some sort of live-action project this year and why not start with the screenplay I know and believe in so deeply?  The shape of the short is already clear to me and I’ve mentioned the possibility to some of my creative team, all of whom seem game for it.  I think we could shoot it in Los Angeles over the course of a weekend for a low budget.  Yes, the wheels are starting to turn.

So once my April frenzy comes to a close, it looks like a May project might be on deck.   Sleeping be damned!

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