A Filmmaker’s Journal

My First Feature Film

51EMH9VJXWLUnder the Gipper. I was doing a producing internship in the glass skyscraper they blew up in Diehard (former president Ronald Reagan’s office was above us). Anxious to find a project, but lacking the money to option the rights to the latest New York Times bestseller, I started reading old classics (= free, stealable stories!) at the Beverly Hills Library.

Rip van Offable. Then one day I stumbled across Rip Van Winkle, an iconic American story that had–amazingly–never been made into a feature length film! Which was probably because it was only a fifteen page wisp of a story.ย  So I expanded it into a full-length treatment (Hollywood language for a sort of blueprint for a movie). In it I imagined all that might have happened to Rip’s wife, children, and community during his twenty year nap. What would he have to do to fix relationships when he (a former city leader) returned to an abandoned wife, kids adrift, and a town under the sway of his wife’s unscrupulous fiancรฉ?

I pitched the story to a contact at Columbia Pictures, and he said, “Well, Showtime’s looking for modern fairly tales…”

“Ah,” I said… (dramatic pause) “…funny you should mention that, ‘cuz this just happens to be a modern fairly tale!” Then got off the phone and spent the next two days modernizing the treatment! Two weeks later, Showtime bought the rights and I got my first producing credit!

To be honest, as a freshman producer I didn’t have a lot of clout (like none), so when major changes were made I wasn’t even consulted. Following the premiere screening, my wife turned to me and said, “Well, the good news is you can sell it again–since they changed everything you wrote!” Still, it came out pretty decent.

I hope you enjoy this brief clip from Out of Time, my first feature film!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir, Movies, Popular Culture & Entertainment, Videos and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to A Filmmaker’s Journal

  1. That’s really cool! Cool you worked in the building (or should I say Nakatomi tower) from Die Hard! Loved that movie growing up. ๐Ÿ™‚ God bless!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. smzang says:

    Your mind constantly amazes mine.
    The clip was too brief ! (but thank you
    for sharing it.) As for the idea, pure genius!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. So, how can we see the whole thing? Is it available on Netflix? Amazon? Hulu? (etc.)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jane Tawel says:

    Looks great. Can’t wait to watch. Congratulations!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Eliza says:

    So cool! I didn’t know you had anything to do with films. So basically you wrote the story? Yeah, I know you said it was changed completely ๐Ÿ™‚ but is that what you did? And what did you do for future films? I know, I should know more…..

    Okay, I wrote this comment then thought that I should really google. Only looked at the page, but it’s cool that you’ve acted, produced and written. What was your favourite part? This is a film-maker’s journal, no? Looking forward to seeing the rest of what you have to say (if you share it on here). What kinda films are your favourite (yeah I know they’re not going to be mine, which are innocent, sweet, hunky dory).

    Sending sunshine and sparkles

    Love, light and glitter.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. DeniseBalog says:

    Wow! That is so exciting! Congratulations!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. isn’t it true, though, Mitch that almost no writers have say in what happens to their property after it’s optioned? Don’t you have to rather have the clout of J.R. Rowling? And for Fantastic Beasts, she even pitched to them for her to be involved.(Like they would turn her down???)
    It’s a great premise. Thanks for the clip.The cinematography is good.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I did enjoy the clip. (I’d continue watching.) Your wife’s quote at the end was my favorite part of your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Now I am going to have to find a copy to watch. I am all in.

    Liked by 1 person

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