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Myspace Opens Doors For Writers

  -  Digg!Submit to NetscapeBookmark at del.icio.usreddit is a horrific phenomena that reminds me of what the Internet looked like when I first fired up some bastard of a program that ran over a Unix shell, then connecting it to some other bastardized program you ran locally, which created a sort of TCP/IP tunnel through a dial-up terminal window, allowing me to run NCSA Mosaic for a couple of minutes before it crashed, taking Windows 3.1 with it. I saw the web, if only for a moment, and it sucked.

In the age of slick Javascript and Shockwave Flash driven interfaces with professionally drawn Photoshop graphics and real-time event driven information delivery, Myspace has made ugly, slow, bloated and useless, cool all over again. Within this sea of garbage that's very much resembles a teenagers disgusting and smelly bedroom that hasn't been cleaned -- ever -- there exists a treasure trove for people interested in working the film industry.

Just the other day, I ran across a profile created expressly for the low-budget horror flick Feast, the winner of last years LivePlanet & Dimension Films Project Greenlight contest. A quick look at the friend list reveals profiles for all the relevant players, from writer Marcus Dunstan (I didn't look to see if co-writer Patrick Melton had one), director John Gulager, actors Jason Mewes, Henry Rollins, Duane Whitaker, and the insanely hot actresses Jenny Wade, Krista Allen, and Navi Rawat, just to name a few.

Also present is a profile for Team Maloof. For those who don't know, there's a bit of a back story here. Project Greenlight films receive very small budgets, less than three million dollars total, and Feast wasn't even being given the funding it was promised. In a story that is quite befitting of Hollywood, one of the producers heard a live interview in his car with the Maloof brothers (they own the Sacramento Kings), and the radio personality was asking them what they wanted to do for their next investment, and also taking calls. The producer called in and asked the brothers if they wanted to invest in the film, and was promptly hung up on and then laughed at over the air. Sensing opportunity, and being a bona fide producer for Dimension (the Weinstein brother's company that Disney used to own, they did Scream, and many other big films) he was able to contact the Maloofs and setup a meeting to pitch their situation. The Maloofs came on board, and provided somewhere on the order of another couple of million in funding, allowing the film to go forward in the way it was imagined (as much as films can be these days.)

Feast had reached post production when the Weinstein/Disney split became public, and was visibly interfering with the production as was seen on the reality TV program that followed the films production. The film was eventually finished, screened, and shelved, even though it was one of the films that the Weinstein's elected to take with them in their split with Disney.

The Maloofs have several smaller companies, including a television/film and music coop that serve as investment vehicles, and the fact that they have a profile on Myspace (at least for the music deal) is significant. What they did for Feast was nothing short of heroic, and anyone on the planet now has a quick and easy way to contact them because of their Myspace profile. The same goes for a lot of the principles who worked on the production of Feast, and they aren't alone.

A few weeks ago, I was doing some research on all the B-movies that the Sci Fi channel has been producing over the last few years. The New York Times did a piece on them, and I have to say it was a bit of a shock to find out that Sci Fi was making B-movies on purpose, not trying at all to produce good quality movies. They saw a market opening on Friday nights and weekends where the networks were slacking off, and B-movies are a proven draw when there is nothing else on. I wanted to find some contact information for the companies producing these films, and found that one company alone had made something like half a dozen of these films, on extremely low budgets, just like Feast was.

I wanted to pitch myself to them as a reliable source for scripts, as it's a perfect way to get into the business without having to blow your way through the 50 foot-thick concrete walls that most studios and production companies place between you and them. Working my way along the chain of searches, I found an interview with the writer/director of a recent Sci Fi movie, Abominable. Subsequently, I found his Myspace page. And once again, I have an "in" most people don't, simply because they don't think to look in a place like this for these kinds of contacts.

In the comments of a recent post, in which I briefly listed all the blogs I read that are written by actual employed writers, someone noted that Terry Rossio has a Myspace page. This is really interesting, because Terry Rossio co-wrote Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest, along with Ted Elliot (who supposedly co-writes with Craig Mazin on The Artful Writer blog, even though I have yet to see him actually write anything. He does chirp in the comments, though.) This is an incredible thing in my mind, where not only can you find profiles (and a direct line of communication) with small-time writers, actors, and directors, you can also find A-list talent that represents the very best of this generation.

Here we have a website that looks every bit the caffeine-driven 3am design of a 14 year old with nothing better to do than create web pages with the 'under construction' picture standing out in yellow-on-gray, and it's becoming one of the very best communities for writers and people in the film industry for finding each other.

Finding them is one thing, getting them to listen to you without being ignored, written off, or suckered in by a fake profile -- that's another story.
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Jul 13, 2006, 9:55:00 PM

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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.