Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A New Direction

When I originally approached Jeanne about creating an IMAX (or Giant Screen) version of Stardance, my strategy had to do with expanding on her short-film vision - in a kind of parallel track. Traditionally, short films don't really have markets - and with something as ambitious as Stardance, the budget would require SOME kind of market to justify it. Large format (up to this very moment, as you have read in Jeanne's recent posts) seemed a viable venue that created a market for shorter pieces - and though large format films aren't traditional big moneymakers, they nonetheless have financing opportunities beyond the traditional investor/producer relationship, be they grants or sponsorships. Sounds good, and even with the change in the industry it would still be a valid choice.

But with the giant screen choice there come limitations. The main limitation being that we have to take the TEETH out of the original award winning story to make it fit this semi-educational and agenda filled entertainment format. That's a shame, because Stardance is such a wonderful and powerful story with real conflict and heartbreak, hope and transcendence. Our newly derived story is filled with hope and transcendence, but like so many large format films the story really serves as a vehicle to get to the cool parts, the giant screen set-pieces that give the visceral thrill of immersion. But our giant-screen story doesn't really immerse the viewer in the drama - and since we've been collaborating on this new story my main cry has been "Where's The Conflict?"

The answer to this ancient question bandied about by aspiring and veteran screenwriters alike, was staring us in the face the whole time. Forget the "Stardance Experience" in IMAX, and make Stardance as a feature. The original story that caught the hearts and minds of so many, once updated beyond its prescient view from the mid 70s, has everything we need. And so much of what we have discussed and written together for this project WILL apply.

Jeanne and I are beginning the task of adapting the original story for the screen. Our primrose path has just taken a turn into the woods, and we have promises to keep (and miles to go before we sleep.)

Thank you all.

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