Surprisingly, it seems I do have at least one friend who appreciates my advice and the fact that I’ve been involved in this industry for a while. Perhaps he’s the only one, but he’s surprisingly willing to admit that I know something of what I’m talking about when it comes to filmmaking and selling films. (How I fooled him, I don’t know…)
This friend, Randy (not his real name), has made one film to date. Actually, he’s made one very good film to date. For having a very small budget, he did a wonderful job. I’m impressed and I don’t give out that accolade lightly. He put together a hell of a cast and crew and delivered a project that’s solid in every respect. Recently finished, I have no doubt he’ll get it out there…I’d even be very surprised if it didn’t turn a profit…I just hope the distributor he’s working with doesn’t screw him.
So, he’s developing a new project and wanted some advice. Actually, now that I think about, maybe he didn’t want advise at all, maybe he just wanted to share with me his ideas for the new project, but it ended up in advice from me. Lots of it, in fact. He’s stepping up his budget and wants to do a comedy for the next project. Right out of the gate, I warned him that, all things being equal, not the best genre to start with. Comedy is very tough to pull off. Everything thinks they have a sense of humor and are funny; very few people actually are. Even those who are often fall on their faces when it comes to making a film. But Randy wasn’t remotely deterred. ”We have an amazing script!” Okay, I told him I’d take a look.
I read Randy’s comedy script. For what one person’s opinion is worth – not funny. Not at all funny. I don’t mean “not hysterical”. I don’t mean “not terribly funny”. I mean “not funny”. I mean “not funny at all”. I’ve read comedy scripts that had me laughing out loud a dozen or more times and chuckling regularly the rest of the time. I got one half-chuckle out the entire script. Any by half-chuckle, in retrospect, it may have just been gas.
I relayed these concerns to Randy who assures me that a lot of people have read the script and they all think it’s great. In fact, I’m the only voice of dissent out of everyone. Fair enough. Obviously I could be completely wrong on this one. My opinion should carry no more weight than any other sexy, talented, film genius out there, so we talked a bit more about the project.
Even if he’s got a winner, even if he’s got a very funny script, he still has to translate that to the screen. A tough task indeed. His writer is a first time writer who is also going to be a first time director. Another big concern Iwarned Randy about…to no avail again. Seems Randy is sold on this guy. Clearly he admires him. I can respect that. I’m not sure how admiration relates to the ability to direct a film, but Randy seems to think so.
I went on to impress (or try to impress) that comedy is a tough sell internationally. What we find funny in this country is vastly different than other parts of the world which is why many comedies don’t make the same level of international sales as more mainstream genre films. It seems my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
I like Randy and think he’s got great potential. I’m also convinced this sophomore effort will be a tremendous flop. I hope I’m wrong, but I think it’ll take a miracle.
If I were a betting man, I’d bet against the miracle every time…