A bit of progress in the short film area of my career. My short thriller “One Shot” goes into production in Atlanta this weekend. Directed by Chris Miller, he has assembled an impressive cast with some nice IMDB credentials. I’m excited to see the final product.
The premise of the script, involves a Hitman sitting alone in a cheap hotel room, watching an intersection. He’s waiting for his target to emerge from a different hotel. The plan is to shoot him. (Because – you know – ‘hit man’.)
Meanwhile, as he whiles away his days waiting for the call to alert him to the target, he’s watching a young woman in her apartment diagonally across the way. Nothing pervy here, it’s a view of her living room. She’s mostly just studying and dealing with an asshole boyfriend. When the boyfriend gets out of hand the Hitman must make a choice.
Now – as originally written, the Hitman never hears the dialog in the other apartment. Aside from her choice in classical music, no sounds really drift over to him.
But about a month ago, Chris asked me to work up some dialog for the characters to utilize in their interactions. I had never really given these characters much thought. I always saw the story from the Hitman’s point of view. He doesn’t know why the relationship has gone south, so why should we?
But as a writer, director and ACTOR , I can sympathize with the time constraints on shooting a short. And it would certainly be nice if these two actors already HAD some lines to improvise their physical business around. So yeah, I can do that.
I cooked up the character names Jackie and Nathan. I already knew what we had to ‘see’ happen in each of their inter actions – I just had to write the dialog to fit. Suddenly – an entirely NEW story popped into my head.
This is not unusual or really remarkable. Every character IN a story, has their own story. Tom Stoppard did a great take on this in his incredible absurdist play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead “. He took two minor characters in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and retold the story from THEIR point of view.
So I found myself imagining how Jackie and Nathan met. What were their backstories? What had brought them together? And just why did their relationship go south? Finally, what events brought them to the climactic confrontation that required our Hitman’s intervention.
Pretty good fun, actually.
I sent the sides off to Chris, and didn’t hear a word back.
This is not unusual or really remarkable. The writer is kind of the red-headed step child of a production. It’s nothing personal.
When I got the head’s up in a text that they were shooting this weekend, I asked if the sides I sent were of any use.
“Fuck yeah.” He replied. “We used it for casting and we’re actually playing the windows open, so the dialogue can ‘travel’. It’ll be so low it might only be on a subconscious level, but your mind will put it together…”
“Good! I wanted the relationship to be ‘complicated’. Not a simple break up.” I replied.
“It’s never a simple break up…” he responded.
Sending good vibes out to the cast and crew of “One Shot” this weekend. Knock ’em dead kidz!