January 24, 2013
A belated Happy 2013, one and all! Another year brings a firm resolve, fresh inspiration, and exciting new projects to share. I’ve been teasing feature film developments for what seems like an age, and with the challenges inherent to raising capital in the world of indie film, it’s high time to attempt a more traditional narrative. Something with multi-quadrant audience appeal, international market support, and potential franchiseability. One of those rare industry blips where the rewards clearly outweigh the risks. And, it should go without saying by now, something with multiplatform aspirations carved into its atomic structure from conception.
A little over two years ago, I committed to a ‘work vacation’. It was to be an exotic change of scene, with the hopes of finishing the first draft of a Telefilm-funded screenplay I had pitched, and getting my physical health in line after years of late nights, table-sized Canadian portions, and ungodly levels of caffeine and sugar.
I would end up choosing Thailand. And, for two incredible months, I would write…and learn the ways of Muay Thai.
With the rampant growth of mixed martial arts (ie: UFC), and my own fascination with the ‘warrior’s way’, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put things into balance. Yin and Yang. Thought and action. Discipline…and creative abandon. I had a room booked at a respected fight camp in southern Phuket, where the day is laid out for you with brutal simplicity:
- 6:30AM – wake up for a jungle road run.
- 7:30AM – stretching, skipping, and warm ups at camp.
- 8-9:30AM – bag/technique drills, 5+ in-ring pad rounds, and sparring.
- 10-4PM – RECOVER (ie: food, beach, massage, sleep, weep)
- 4-6PM – repeat steps 2 and 3.
- Repeat step 4. Add booze if brave.
All in all, it looked a little something like this:
I loved making that video. I hacked away at it every spare minute I wasn’t recovering or slipping out of consciousness from ‘pain management’. I shot and cut and shot some more – on an iPod Nano, no less – because I couldn’t help myself. Instead of using that first month to get a jump on drafting the sci-fi project I went there to write, I had taken a new mistress. I followed her everywhere – a lovesick puppy, desperate to know everything about her mysterious past, her brutal present, and her dreams for the future.
You’re probably thinking weirdo right about now. I get it. But, far from being isolated in my adoration, I had become part of a tribe. Young and old. Men and women. Bodies and minds and cultures and dreams of all types converged on this place. To learn. To escape. To fight.
At first, I felt I had nothing to offer this world. I was a middle-aged softie from the land of passive-aggressive entitlement, cringing his way through a glorified third-world fat camp, as Thai trainers and fighters alike joked of fitting me for ladyboy gowns and massage oil sponsors. But I still woke up early every morning. I still ran ‘til I vomited. I still slammed my shins into hard leather again and again, hundreds of times a day, until it looked like golf balls had been surgically inserted beneath the skin. And somehow, through the all-to-real cliché of blood, sweat, and tears…I earned respect.
Somehow, I made friends.
I’m good at making people feel comfortable. When you’re traveling, as soon as comfort sets in, the stories begin. And on those distant shores, in a far and fragrant corner of the Land of Smiles? I heard some doozies. Tales of drugs and debauchery. Of crime and punishment. Of love and sex and familial deathbed regrets. Of slipping the chains of a weary workaday life, in the hopes of being reborn in the simplicity of a strange, sun-soaked one. I was given glimmers of so many burning desires and fears, all refracted through the greater prism of Thai fighting culture. Of what we share at the core of our humanity:
The need to struggle…and the will to overcome.
And so, with another visit last year, with more training, and with these powerful and personal archetypes swirling in a rich creative broth, it’s time to officially add something new to my slate. The first draft of the screenplay is complete. The Mondo-inspired one-sheet is coming together (see below!). The transmedia strategy is in full effect. The business plan, considering the precarious world of film financing, is airtight. And the potential partners ain’t being shy with their love-bites.
Stay tuned to the PROJECTS section for more as I can announce it.