If you've been following what's been happening in the crazy world of Jpm Films Worldwide you'll know know that after a long and stressful journey my short film Conclusions has finally been filmed and is now in post production. What you may not know is that Conclusions is the first in a trilogy of short films the second of which will be Ashes and the final one will be Scars. In saying that I'm very aware that it will be hard to complete this series of films which was why I modelled the trilogy layout in the way the original Star Wars trilogy did. Star Wars A New Hope finished in a way that if George Lucas didn't get to make Empire or Jedi it would be OK as a stand alone film, everyone got their happy ending, evil was punished but it did leave that one shot of Darth Vader escaping the Death Star explosion as a yes there could be more. That's what I've tried to do with Conclusions. It tells its story but at the end it will raise the question of what's happens next but as with Star Wars A New Hope Conclusions will be able to stand alone without the next two.
I'm not trying to compare my abilities as a filmmaker to Star Wars I'm just saying I've modelled the layout similar to that. I'll never be that good a filmmaker. But hey back to the point of this blog. In the early days of writing the script for Conclusions I'd written a couple of characters who's only purpose was to show that the lead character is the way he is because of this or that. That's not a very in depth way of describing that but I don't want to go into detail of Conclusions because if I do get detailed it'll spoil the film for you.
As I went through different rewrites of Conclusions the other characters started to write themselves and as I got close to locking the script for Conclusions I started to get curious to what happens these characters after the credits roll.
Ashes will take place one year after Conclusions finishes and will show the chain reaction the events of Conclusions has had on the other Characters. What did I mean when I said I burned the scripts? Well burn isn't really the right word delete would be more apt. When I was writing Conclusions my idea was to get it in front of as many eyes as possible so I'd written and shot it in a way that would be palitable for everyone. There's nothing in it that would be classed a graphic material so it could be shown to minors at youth meetings if leaders feel it's appropriate. I tried my best to make it as tastefully as possible for fear of offending anyone. Don't get me wrong that's good. last thing I wanted is to offend only help with this film. But the truth is people get offended. I've lost friends over Conclusions simply because of what the film is about. The subject matter offended them to the point where they wouldn't even read the script to see that the film even though deals with suicide does so as tastefully as possible with the end goal of trying to help. One of the things said to me was "You haven't suffered enough to make this film" that blew my mind. I wasn't aware that mental health issues was a competition.
As I started into writing Ashes it became a big story that then spilled over into the third and final short film Scars. But as with Conclusions I was terrified that I'd offend people so I started dropping things that the films really needed because again this might offend.
Years ago I was given this piece of advice. When you think you've written the best script possible put it in a drawer and leave it there for a month. Go out live your life, write something else then come back to that script with fresh eyes. When you reread that blockbuster script you'll most probably realise that it's really not as good as you felt it was a month before. That's exactly what happened with Ashes and Scars even though the scripts were nowhere near completion the break away from them shooting Conclusions opened my eyes. These short films were sugar coated politically correct nonsense that will make no difference to anyone. On trying to not offend people I'd been writing stuff that was just plain pointless and terrible so I deleted both drafts and went back to my original notes.
You see Conclusions as it is works because as I said earlier I want it to be seen by all ages. But I've also said that I lost friends over it because the very idea offended them.
So where does that leave me? I'm at the point now where I've had enough of dancing round people's feelings. People get offended over the simple stupidest shit these days, if you stop at every point you think you'll offend someone then you'll get very little done. If I'm not willing to push my art to the point where it may offend some people then I really can't expect it to help anyone. It doesn't matter what you create you'll always offend someone but equally there will be someone who will love it.
Perfect example is another film we have in post production. Weapon of Choice. It's a domestic violence piece that I'm pretty sure will most likely offend someone. It's not even fully finished yet and I have to tell you already a person outside of the cast and crew has seen it and it has affected their life in a very positive way. Thats not a story that's mine to share so I'll leave it at that.
So yeah I've started another draft of Ashes and Scars that will have everything the films need to work. It may not be for everyone's taste buds but it will be for the people that need these films.
Big Love. Rock n roll