Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Violet/Indigo Giraffe

So!  Where should I start!  When was I last posting on a regular basis?  Two months ago?  And yet not talking about life in anything but a series of metaphors, because I was afraid I’d jinx something?  So, like, what, April or something?

It’s a little wonky, because I can talk, but only about half of what I WANT to talk about.  And it’s all intertwined and co-mingled and difficult to convey just how WEIRD the past few months has been.

But let’s talk about a giraffe.  Let’s talk about a Violet Giraffe. 

In the Fake Animal Names menagerie of my writing projects (I never use the script’s real names, just like most people and most dogs on here don’t go by their real name, unless otherwise stated) Violet Giraffe was written around the same time as Pink Piggy and Striped Tiger.  It was written totally as a goof, much like Pink Piggy was.  I was tragically single, and spent many a weekend hunched over my computer, writing characters and dialogue and situations to make me laugh, since reality was grim. 

Much like Pink Piggy, Violet Giraffe was written without an outline, without a care in the world.  Much like Pink Piggy, I didn’t write it for a writing sample, or as something to get other people to buy it, or to rep me as a writer.  It wasn’t much more than a premise – six friends play a special game on New Year’s Game.  I knew what the game was, I knew who the characters were, I knew the secrets that were gonna be spilled.  And I knew there was going to be a song about a monkey in it.

(Pink Piggy also had a song in it.  This isn’t a hallmark of mine, to write songs into my scripts.  More an indicator that these scripts were written around the same time and without any concern for comparison.)

So I wrote it, I don’t even remember how long it took.  Probably not long, I’d guess two or so months, while I was working as an assistant for not one but two Batshit Crazy Bosses in a row.  I workshopped it through my writer’s group.  I put up a staged reading of it in Mella’s living room to an audience of about 25, including a guy one of the actresses had brought along, who I subsequently went on one date to the Farmer’s Market with, that ended in a pssssssfffftttt of unbearable mediocrity (which is why I found writing so much more satisfying.)

Violet Giraffe was fun.  It made people laugh.  The actors liked being in it.  And I moved on to write other things that I thought would be more commercial, that still haven’t sold.  YET.  We always have to say Yet.

Violet Giraffe went into the proverbial drawer, which isn’t really a drawer at all, but a folder on my computer’s hard drive.  Sometimes I’d pull it out to see if it could still make me laugh, and it did.  (much like Pink Piggy, Violet Giraffe has a ton of swearing in it, and I’m perversely proud that I got to use “Ratfuck!” So much more satisfying than your regular usage of the F word.)

And life went on, and I wrote other scripts, worked other jobs, went on other mediocre dates, always returned to my faithful laptop.

Every now and then, someone would ask me if I had a feature script that could be done for cheap.  I’d give them Violet Giraffe, which takes place in one location – a house – over the course of one night.

And they’d have notes, because people always have notes, and they’d be really excited and I’d smile and nod my head and say the equivalent of “You run that football as far as you can.  I’m not gonna stop you.”

And then they’d fade back into the woodwork, because they couldn’t get the money, or the location, or the actors (but usually it was the money.)

This had happened at least twice before, in 2007 and 2009.  So when Claudette, an acquaintance I had been working with on a TV version of Striped Tiger, called me at the beginning of this year, asking me if I had any small scripts that could be done for cheap, because she had access to a source of funding and wanted to make her feature film directing debut, I shrugged and passed along Violet Giraffe. 

And Claudette got excited.  And had notes.  And said she was going to make this.  And I smiled.  And nodded my head, and said the equivalent of “You run that football as far as you can.  I’m not gonna stop you.”

I didn’t pay much attention to it, because other things started to pop and sizzle, things that I still can’t talk about yet, though hopefully I can in a few more weeks.

But Claudette was different.  Because she came through.  We wrapped production on Indigo Giraffe (she insisted on a name change) last week.  An eleven day shoot with seven actors you’ve never heard of and maybe 12 crew members in a vacation rental home in the Cahuenga Pass.  I’d drive past it on my way to work every day.

I should be excited.  I should be thrilled.  I should be overjoyed.  And instead, I am… calm.  I am… stable.  I am… the equivalent of a gentleman in a rocking chair in the 1940s, puffing on a pipe of some sort, listening to big band music on an oversized radio and nodding my head, “Yes… yes… that sounds quite exciting.  Quite.”

I’ve been here before.  I’ve been here with Pink Piggy.  Thinking finally, FINALLY, this is the fuse that sets off the rocket that launches my career into the bluer skies of Making My Living From My Writing.

And that Pink Piggy rocket fizzled out and went nowhere (though you can download it on iTunes!  Wheeeee!)

So even though this is movie #2 being made from a script I wrote, I am… cautious.  Reticent.  Guarded.  Observing and acknowledging.
In the Pink Piggy days, I was so agog that it was happening, and spent a lot of time trying to rationalize why God wanted (or allowed) this to happen.

With Indigo Giraffe, I didn’t bother.  Partly because of the other sizzling things on the Writing Grill and I simply didn’t have the headspace.

But maybe it’s because there is no good answer.  This is not a Christian-themed script, unless you want to look at it through the slightly overreaching lens of Truth Is A Good Thing. 

And I’m tired of trying to squash and compress things into a God Wanted This To Happen And It Is GOOD box.  I tried like hell to do that with Pink Piggy and absolutely bupkiss came from it (I feel like I can say that now, since Pink Piggy was filmed back in 2008, and released on DVD in 2010.)  Nothing came from Pink Piggy.  Nothing good, nothing bad.  Just a lot of mental effort and blog entries that added up to nothing. 

I can’t point to Pink Piggy and say God Wanted This To Happen so THIS Could Happen.  God Is Good!  All The Time!   Instead, I could more honestly say Sometimes Things Happen And Nothing Comes From It!  God Watched It All And Said “Yeah, That Happened.  So What Now?”

So for the second time, Amy The Writer wrote a not Christian-themed microbudget movie where they still all swear like drunken sailors and it got made.

Most likely, nothing will happen with Indigo Giraffe.  This is not me being pessimistic, Indigo Giraffe has 1/10 of the budget that Pink Piggy did.  If Pink Piggy had ten times more money and sunk without a trace in the murky waters of Independent Film, how could Indigo Giraffe do better?  It would take a miracle…

And no.  No, nope, I refuse to believe that.  I refuse to believe that because of my lack of faith in Indigo Giraffe, because I’m pretty much proclaiming seven ways to Sunday that Indigo Giraffe will go nowhere, I’ve somehow jinxed it into becoming a film festival darling.  Nope.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.  I’m not even saying that secretly hoping it’ll work.  It won’t.   Thank God I have nothing emotionally invested into this one.

My friends are thrilled for me.  Even you, Casual Reader, might be slapping your foreheads, thinking, “C’MON AMY!  HOW COOL IS IT THAT YOU HAVE ANOTHER MOVIE BEING MADE FROM YOUR WRITING!?  CAN’T YOU BE EXCITED ABOUT THAT!?”

And I am.  I am the calm pipe puffing gentleman in the 1940s rocking chair, listening to big band music, “Yes… yes… that sounds quite exciting.  Quite.”

I don’t know why I came up with that image.  It’s the best I got for right now.

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