This is the obligatory first post wherein I tell you what I’m going to be telling you about.
Well, my name is KC Jones (not really but it’s what I like to go by sometimes) and I’ve been writing spec screenplays for about a decade now. Most of them have been met with variations on Pass, a few have become passion projects for various producers/reps, and fewer still have even wound up with attachments and at studios before plummeting back to the ground in flames.
These are their stories. You won’t find any tales of the red carpet or studio backlots here, but I do hope you’ll enjoy a peek into what the movie-writing biz looks like from someone still trying to break in.
I’m not normally a superstitious person. However, if you recall in Part Four, I mentioned a certain bottle of whiskey that my dad gave me, and that I told myself I wasn’t going to open until I’d either sold a screenplay or otherwise made some money from writing.
I opened it. And for neither of those reasons.
I was fixing dinner and needed something to deglaze the pan and make a sauce, and, well, that just happened to be exactly what I was looking for. I told myself it was okay, because I wasn’t drinking it. As if by drinking it, breaking that vow, something bad would happen. I would somehow curse myself. Haha! Silly, right?
Continue reading “A Tale of Two Directors: Part Five”
My wife read the first draft of Accessory in a hotel room on the Oregon coast, deep in the fall of 2010. It was dark out. We had a fire going and the windows cracked just enough to let in the roar of waves but keep out the cold. I sat on the bed gripping a mug of coffee with trembling hands (first reads always make me anxious), repeatedly — obnoxiously, I’m sure — glancing her way for the better part of an hour, trying to gauge her reactions to things I thought might be happening in the story.
When she finally finished it, she set the script down, let out her breath, and said, “Whoa.”
I knew then that I’d done something right. To this day, I’m trying to figure out what it was. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Directors: Part Four”
When I was a kid, I wrote a short story about a man driving at a high rate of speed when he discovers a rather large spider in his lap. I don’t really remember anything else about it, other than it ending with the spider casually walking away from a flaming wreck, but my dad was really impressed. He always encouraged my creative endeavors, whether it be drawing, music, film production, or writing. I’m sure he’d have also loved to see me pursue a career that might help keep the power on, but he never advocated for writing to become a hobby. I dove headfirst into this and he supported it entirely. Most of the people in my life do. I feel pretty lucky about that.
But for some reason I always wanted my dad in particular to see me succeed. He certainly didn’t need to, for his sake; he never had any doubts. But I just wanted to point to my name up on that big screen one day, look over at him, and say, “I finally got here, all the way from that stupid spider story. Thank you for the push.”
Continue reading “A Tale of Two Directors — Part Three”
After writing a spec crime thriller that garnered unexpected excitement from my manager, I quickly tried to pull the script from a self-marketing site before anybody could see it and potentially throw a wrench into the suit’s plans. I wasn’t fast enough. (Read more in Part One)
I looked from the name on the caller ID to the name listed on the website of the person who’d viewed all the material — logline, synopsis, and script. They matched. Apparently I’d made an impression, because he’d only just read it that morning.
I answered the phone.
He was a young guy, full of energy, and very excited about Accessory. He was also an agent-in-training at one of the top Hollywood agencies, and was eager to pass the script along to his boss, but he wanted to check that it was still available, first.
“It’s all yours,” I said, trying to play it cool, but by that point I was speaking mostly in vowels, wandering around my office in dazed little circles. Was this actually happening? Continue reading “A Tale of Two Directors — Part Two”
It began in midsummer.
I’d been with my first literary manager for about five months, and spent most days beating my head against the wall in frustration over what to work on next. I had plenty of ideas, but Suit 1.0 discouraged me from investing time in any of them. “It’s just not high concept enough.” “What’s the concept here?” “This concept is too familiar.” “Concept concept concept.”
In an effort to spark something, he sent along ideas of his own that were met with similar disdain from me. “You call this high concept?” “I’ve seen this movie a thousand times.” “What does high concept even mean?” “This movie is literally in theaters right now.”
One morning, after another round of ideas had been summarily shat upon, I just started wailing on my keyboard in a haze of rage and despair. Blindly pounding those smug little letters until my fingertips hurt and I realized several hours had passed. When my vision cleared, I saw that I had produced thirty pages of words. A first act. But of what, exactly?
Continue reading “A Tale of Two Directors — Part One”
Flashback to December of 2013.
I decided to enter a screenwriting contest. Contests are where I’ve had the most success in my career — beyond a bit of prize money and free publicity, I’ve met some pretty awesome people over the years from placing in these things, from industry contacts to reps to confidants and friends. Many of them play a role in the story to follow. Not all of them survive.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Continue reading “A New Nope”