The Making of “The Gate Keeper”,

In my continuing exploration to learn, and my acknowledgment that I learn best by doing, I have ventured into the making of my second short film.  A friend, more kind than interested, thought I should share my process on my blog.  While she may never read the blog, it struck a note of inspiration, and distraction, for me.  I am dedicating the next several blogs to:

THE MAKING OF “THE GATE KEEPER”:  If you should venture through the musings below, please keep in mind, it’s a learning process, and this is my process.  Not always the best process (thus the learning) but it is my process, in the making.

Step 1, “THE GENSIS”:  Possibly my favorite phase of the whole process.  The birth of an idea for a story: the Brainstorming, the dreaming, the seeing scenes in my head.   I get to open my mind and my heart to all that is out there.   I get to open my ears and soul to listening.  I get to listen or watch the news with an attitude of “wonder if there is a story here”.  I get to read newspapers and magazines and listen to conversation at a coffee shop or in line at Winco.  (yes, Winco),  knowing, that there will come a thought, a notion, an idea that will resonate with me.  That will inspire me as a storyteller.

This particular story came mostly from the news.  Who hasn’t read or heard stories on our economy over the last few years:  the housing mess, WallStreet, the jobs, or lack of them.  But, in particular, the unemployed of the older generation, my generation.  The 50+ year olds that have been lost in the downsize and have spent almost every moment of the last two years of the lives networking, hitting the pavement, sharing resumes, filing unemployment, filling out job applications and not only to no avail, but seemingly no hope.  A particular segment of 60 Minutes solidified it for me.  What kind of story can be told that takes in the backdrop of our economy, the older generation in the workplace?

One of the first ideas that started percolating with me was about a couple of younger, hotshot workers pushing an older worker out of his job.  And what would the reaction of the older gentleman be?  Desperation?  Revenge? And with that thought, I started working on the story.

My way of starting on a story is jotting:  jottting down thoughts, scenes, characters, place and allowing myself complete free-flowing.  There is no wrong or bad ideas at this phase.  Although, truth be told, some of my ideas are soooo outtt there, I just can’t help but have a little self-editing during this phase.  I find that the thoughts come anytime of day and anywhere, so make sure you have a way to remember.  I.e. post-its, a dedicated file in a word document…whatever can work for you.

After a couple of months of this phase, yes, a couple months at least, after all, it’s not like I’m getting paid for this, AND, this is my favorite phase, so why hurry?  But at some point, I have a loose beginning, an end, and more ideas for the middle than I can possibly use, so time to head off into phase two:  actual writing.

NEXT TIME:  Phase 2, the blank page, and how Bernie Madoof changed my movie.

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