Friday, November 18, 2016

My Warner Brothers' Studio Tour

Last Saturday, I went on a tour of Warner Brothers' Studio with my daughter and daughter-in-law. It was so cool! Our main motivation was to see Stars Hollow, the set of Gilmore Girls, but sadly, it looked as if that wasn't going to happen. Bethany, Jen, and I were sitting in the front of the tram directly behind the tour guide, so she undoubtedly heard our moans of disappointment. The tour guides huddled for a brief moment, and decided to make a short, quick run through the "midwest set" AKA the set of Stars Hollow and Pretty Little Liars. Near the end of the tour, Bethany asked if we'd be able to see Loreli's house, and the answer was maybe. But then the tour ended and the tour guide thanked everyone for coming, said goodbye, while waving her hand at just us, motioning for us to stay.

We got our own private tour of Loreli's house! Just the three of us--four if you counted our fabulous tour guide/photographer. Bethany even got teary-eyed. Cool fact--it's Loreli's house in the front and Suki's house in the back. We got out, walked around, went inside, took pictures...happy sigh.
And I'll admit, I began to fantasize about one of my books becoming a movie. In fact, I decided that The Little White Christmas Lie should be on the Hallmark channel.

After the tour, the freeways must have been jammed, because the GPS took us to Jen's house in Santa Monica via Beverly Hills. It was so fun to drive past all those beautiful houses on the tree-lined streets. (More fantasizing ensued.)
It was a great day and I really didn't think much more about it until I went to my writers' group on Wednesday night and sat next to my friend, Terry Black. He said, "This is a little different, but tonight I'm going to read from a script." (Terry is a great guy, one of my favorite writer friends, and is an incredible writer probably best known for writing Body Heat and his work on Tales from the Crypt. Although, sadly, when I just googled him to see what the internet would say, I found this:
Terry Black (I)
Writer | Miscellaneous Crew | Producer
Brother of Shane Black See more trivia »
Shane is, according the internet, Hollywood's most expensive screenwriter.)
Anyway, back to Wednesday night. Because I was sitting next to Terry, as he was reading, he would put one page down, and I would pick it up and look at it. If you don't know, a screenplay is formatted very differently from a novel. And, of course, it's also written very differently. After the meeting, Terry asked if I'd like to have the copy of the ten pages of his reading. I said of course, and did a little happy dance. The next day, on a whim, I looked up how to pitch a screenplay to the Hallmark channel and found this:
The Hallmark Hall of Fame does not accept unsolicited material. If you have a story, idea or project that you feel could work for the Hallmark Hall of Fame, please have it submitted through a licensed literary agent.
It is the Hallmark Channel’s policy not to accept or consider unsolicited ideas, proposals and/or other creative materials (e.g. scripts, treatments, stories, etc.).

But then, I found this:
Former Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition finalist Mandie Green began an assignment through Larry Levinson Productions to write a TV movie for the Hallmark Channel, an opportunity credited in part to her contest placements for her script The Michaels, which was produced in 2014.

And this:
2017 Screenwriting Contest
Pre-register Deadline - December 31st, 2016

Terry must be in tune with my dreams because the next day--without being asked--he e-mailed me his entire script. So, while I really don't believe I'll be getting a movie deal, or I'll sell my screenplay to the Hallmark Channel, it'll be really fun to try. I know this all seems very coincidental, but I don't believe in coincidences. I do believe in working hard.
I have to say that for me one of the big take aways from my day at the Warner Brothers' Studio was this: movies are magic. Even the bad ones. As an avid movie goer, I'm too quick to say, "That was so bad," not even considering HOW MUCH WENT INTO MAKING IT! The filming, the lighting, the sound, the makeup, the actors, the camera guys, the editing--making a movie has got to be so incredibly hard and complex. It's so much more than beautiful people in a lovely setting mimicking life, making an audience laugh or cry or both.

It's exhilarating to even try to write a screenplay. Something new. Something I've never done before. Wish me luck.

(Did you know that the Batmobile is a real car? They make like 5 of them per movie and they're serious machines that can go up to 130 miles per hour! Somehow, I thought they'd be little models. The tour made me realize that I'm completely clueless. It was strangely humbling.)

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