Monthly Archives: February 2010

Pepsi Refresh Everything Grant

Hellow fans, followers, fellow filmmakers and friends.  There’s something very important that we NEED your help with.  We’re trying to rustle enough money together to complete the film, and have applied for a Pepsi grant called “Refresh Everything”.

We are in the final round, which is left to a VOTE, so we need you to vote for us! Sounds simple, but there’s one caveat: the contest allows you to vote once a day, every day, for the month of February! What will win us this grant is not just getting a lot of people to vote, but if our core group of fans vote every single day! Just pop this link in your bookmark bar, then when you see it every day, pop on over and hit the “vote” button.  Two clicks.  Simple as that.  Just go to www.refresheverything.com/thesheolexpress, hit the big “vote for this idea” button, then bookmark it.

Pepsi clearly wants to give this money to a project that has a large support group, has affected and involved many people, and has developed a loyal following.  Well,  you guys are that support group! Please, let’s see this come together!

This really helps us in getting one step closer to our dream of making movies that people can see and enjoy.  We really need YOUR consistency and word-of-mouth on this one.  We need you to post the link on your facebook, forward this e-mail, and twitter it.  Tell your friends about the movie and what we’re trying to do.  This is integral! Voting and forwarding this on would mean the world to us!  We debuted in 139th place out of 700 ideas, and have slowly progressed to 50th place, ever creeping higher!  With your help, I think that we can really do this!

Thanks so much!
Ryan

The Truth Behind Screenwriting

This past weekend, after some confusion, Ryan hopped on New York’s good ol’ Chinatown bus to downtown Baltimore. We met him at the rendezvous point and proceeded to Millersville. After a night discussing love and loss with computer genius and “Sheol” supporter James Flowers, we followed East West Highway into Annapolis to begin outlining the feature version of “The Sheol Express”.

Now, most everyone probably looks at writing as a relatively simple process. Break out the notebook, the moleskine, the laptop, the napkin – whatever the case may be – tap into your inner-self, and apply Three Act Structure to whatever thoughts are floating around your head. But before even this, there are a number of absolutely essential, and yet all-too-often overlooked, steps that must be taken to pave the path for a successful screenplay:

Never underestimate the power of toiletry accessories! Or of the brain’s WD-40. All of which helped us work through forty-eight hours of brainstorming in my parents’ unheated guest room. Harnessing the awesomeness of Google Wave, we banged our way through a rough outline, only to realize that, thanks to the History of Araboth (link) we wrote eons ago, “Sheol” – in its heart – wants to be a trilogy. That’s right, folks. We kicked the idea around for a while, and in an inspired frenzy of creative tag-teaming, pieced together a seven-hour epic about The Third War. Owen’s reluctant rise to leadership of the Old Regime, Rachael’s fanatical alliance with a banished warlord, and Diggory’s conniving black market empire meet on the battlefield of Araboth’s fall from grace.

We then watched  the documentary “Official Rejection“, which is single-handedly responsible for eliminating our scotch whiskey reserves and reigning our dreams back into a self-contained feature… at least, for now. It’s a bad idea to go into the festival circuit with just an overly-ambitious adaptation, we decided, and after a few more hours spent revisiting the short’s themes – as well as some of the personal shit we’re both struggling with in our own lives – we came up with a workable outline for a 110-page screenplay.

It’s funny, really, to compare our notes plotting the short with our notes plotting the feature. While overlaps are evident, the new “extensions” afforded by our higher page-count are a joy. We’ll get to visit the Ivory Gate, a sort of Ellis Island, Owen’s point-of-entry into the much darker world of Sheol. We’ll explore the Bordertowns of Sheol’s less-than-civilized frontier. We’ll see Owen’s relationships mature and complicate, and we might even get to see what, exactly, lies in wait at the End of the Line. Simply put, “Sheol” has always wanted room to breathe, and now it’s getting it. These next few months will be a ride, folks, as we run with “Sheol” through post-production and into the preliminary stages of its first expansion. Stay tuned!

Thoughts from our Editor

Evan Derrick, our brilliant editor, had some thoughts and experiences that he wanted to share from his time in New York, while we locked the edit in December.  Evan, originally from Maryland, moved to Tulsa, and we flew him in to communicate better while we finalized the edit.

An excerpt:

So, a few weeks ago I was in New York finalizing the edit of The Sheol Express with my two directors, Ryan and Mike (more on that later). As you can see from the picture, I was a lean mean editing machine, and heaven help you if you got in my way (at least that’s what I take away from that picture).

After 2 days of non-stop work, I needed to be released from my cage, so I convinced the powers that be that we should go out for the evening. What would a trip to New York City be after all if you didn’t go out for a night on the town? So we meandered our way over to Tribeca to sample the hearty offerings of the Ear Inn which, Ryan assured me, had the best Guinness tap in the city. A live jazz band called the Ear Regulars was playing in the foyer who, despite their schlocky pun of a name, were very good, and we squeezed past them in order to pounce on the one empty table in the back.

Check out his thoughts and experiences from his trip to New York City on his brilliant blog, The Brink of 30.