Thursday, February 28, 2008


The Goldberg theater in the Tisch Department of Dramatic writing was packed with writers. NYU instructor Mary Gallagher, a stunning playwright/screenwriter in her own right (Ayn Rand starring Helen Mirren), a fellow Actor&Writer ( met me on the 7th floor. Sophia had left me at the Beard Papa's across the street buying cream puffs with David Smilow, another Actor&Writer, who also plays the Confederate who kills Harry in RACING DAYLIGHT, who we ran into at the Astor Place Starbucks on his way to a rehearsal, for the HB lab, of his play HIT THE BUTTONS. Whew! Sophia had gone ahead to take control of the technical aspects of the screening. She is awesome and detailed and charming and kind. A wonderful business partner to have.

So, packed with, not just writers, but screenwriters, Sophia and I huddled in the front row of the Goldberg theater surrounded by about 60-70 students. In that moment, I could feel my cheeks getting red and hot, the skew of this audience had not occurred to me until this moment. These people were potentially my worst nightmare!

There are markers in the way this film generally plays to an audience, or at least ones I have come to notice in repeat tests, markers of whether the viewers are in synch with the rhythm. In the first book shop scene Emily Ruscoe's "Whatever .." usually earns the film's first chuckle, followed by Sadie's "Well it is, you little twit ..." as the second. By the end of the film, if they laugh at the fart joke they're still llistenting, which is all you can really ask of an audience after all. Once we hit the first mark with this audience, and the chuckles came, I calmed. They reacted delightedly, as we have heard so many now, to the antics of Sadie, Edmund, and Henry, and their subtle esoteric love story, which we have offered up in whimsy, and economy.

The questions were about the making of. The first of the evening a question about the ppm, the financing, not an art question but a question for the executive producer. In our post-mortem on the drive home, Sophia noted that in a group of writers not a single question was related to the story or structure, the questions were all how did you do this thing, get these people, make it happen, the industry ... with questions as well about how long it took to write, whether I preferred writing for art or money ... they were clearly smart people, very smart, each about to launch into this world and wondering. It was so interesting to be among them.

I spoke with Madeleine, a writer who's focusing on cable at present, interning at Jon Stewart and writing spec scripts. She thanked me for the way we portrayed women in our film. I am grateful for this comment because it was a concerted effort to portray a woman's beauty as completely tied to her vision of self. Thanks for noticing and for reinforcing our notion that changing the conversation is about changing what we see.

Roxanne Bridglall along with Mary shared their classes with us last night and we are grateful. Jamie Kirkpatrick and Jason Downs came with us to field a broader spectrum of questions. Thanks guys! And thank you to to another wonderful audience who received our film with good humor and enthusiasm.

We are not an "edgy" film by industry standards. We have no pretentions to it. "Edgy", which to me means that someone has to get slammed up against the wall while getting simultaneously fucked and shot in the head in the opening scene, has its place, as do films such as ours, which assault different cognitive senses. We are a love story which crosses time, with elements of history, ghost stories, and murder mysteries all wrapped in a jigsaw puzzle of breathtaking beauty, coupled with exquisitely simple performances from some of the best actors working. Racing Daylight consistently delights and has a proportionately high repeat viewing interest. We are excited by the possibilities.

Watch and vote for us on Babelgum, the online film festival judged by Spike Lee, premiering in March,"">

Due to the time constraints imposed by this festival, our 3 act structure has served us allowing us to show RACING DAYLIGHT as 3 seperate films, (Sadie, Edmund, Henry), which make up the RACING DAYLIGHT TRILOGY.


John said...

Hard to believe the students didnt have any questions about the plot, and the structure of the plot.

Racingdaylightllc said...

It surprised us too. We pondered some scenarios; does it actually seem commonplace, when we consider it so novel? is that generational? No, because other college age and younger have queried us on it, on the esoterica, the source of the sotry etc ....

Or maybe because it worked for them, their interest was in how you get something this weird made?

Many questions I hope to have answered when the colloquium next meets and we can garner some feedback from their teachers. thanks for your thoughts.

John said...

please post more clips from the movie. like dueling hats. it is fascinating

Racingdaylightllc said...

i'll give it a go. the other files i have may be too large for the server. fingers crossed.

John said...

the crime scene one would make my day!