From the producers to the guys behind the camera, everyone made a pitch at Filmic’s first story meeting. That’s how we work; everyone has a say. Leaving the meeting, we definitely weren’t at a loss for ideas. In fact, we had the beginnings of at least... 10 different films?!? With a WWII drama that contrasted two soldiers’ return home and even a comedy featuring Blockbuster employees’ and their attempt to take down Netflix,the list just went on and on...
So, the problem was never ‘what could we possibly make this film about’ but rather ‘what kind of film did we want to make’.
At first, we tried to work with the WWII treatment. Our writers, Emily Lyon and Barbara Twist, actually drafted three different scripts around the idea, but the story just wasn’t clicking. Capturing the story of WWII was just a little too big for what we had in mind – a 10-12 minute narrative that would draw our audience in from the get-go and keep them on the edge of their seats until the credits. So we stepped back and reevaluated the kind of film that we wanted to make… Another pondering art film wasn’t in the cards; everyone on the Filmic team was looking to make something exciting and original that people would want to watch again and again.
And so began our push towards ‘Simon Says’ – a suspenseful, action-packed, political thriller. In reevaluating our approach, our Production Designer, Christina Bender, pitched her redrafted version of a world where pressing buttons can cause accidents. The idea had earlier been dropped, because the story felt more like a Pixar short than a narrative film. But Christina’s rewrite brought a darker tone to the table that struck everyone as a step in the right direction. Still, the story needed work...
Meeting after meeting, we tossed around scenarios featuring Simon pressing buttons. And again, we were never short of ideas. A fact that may have irritated Emily and Barbara as they cranked out script after script only to find that the ideas we pitched didn’t work.
At times, we all felt like we weren’t moving at all, but looking back, each draft added something to the final mix whether it was a character, a motif, or even a specific moment. Eventually (and I use this word lightly), we found the three major ingredients that would define our final story – Equity Corps, a chase sequence, and the idea of ‘fair is fair’.
We’d come a long way since our WWII drama, and now had a story about Simon – an employee at Equity Corps who maintains balance in the world by creating accidents. But, there existed one last problem…Simon was boring, and we wanted exciting. How could we make a protagonist who just sits at a desk pressing buttons exciting? He needed to leave his desk! It was such a simple problem, but we made little progress until Christina reframed where the story began.
We don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll just say that Simon is definitely not boring, as he’ll be facing some serious obstacles from Equity Corps. The first in fact came this weekend with a fast-paced robbery and chase sequence!