Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Blog 3: The screenplay

Travel Day is the story of an aging actress who was once one of the many sex symbols of the late 60's and early 70's and is now relegated to smaller roles.  It's basis comes from my experiences over the past 20 years in television series and movies. Some were better than others, some were not great and some were just plain bad.  My best moment was heaving a phone book at one of the producers as she fled out the office door. Those were the days. 

The premise of the screenplay is a "travel day", that time given to actors and crew to reach a distant location.  The story focuses on one such day that began with our aging star reluctantly traveling with a bit-part actor and a teamster driver in a large 15 passenger van heading to a location in a remote area far from any city. The odd couple threesome have little to say to each other and in some ways, worlds apart. The star clings onto her gift basket and wine and offers nothing in the way of conversation. 

Then they meet a young girl, hitchiking in a frozen wilderness. 

I had wanted to write this screenplay for several years but never got around to it until my actor friend reminded me of some of the stories we shared on that series. But it wasn't until a few years ago that I finally wrote the screenplay and the characters became more alive and colorful than I imagined they would. 

All of the script was based on the experiences of myself and Paul Jolicoeur, during that time. I also added a new character, the 15-year old hitch-hiker, to balance the age group which now ran from 15 to 60'ish.

I had always intended Travel Day to be a no-budget film made by myself and a handful of friends and I never showed it to my agent or anyone else. But a year ago, I got interest from Sally Kirkland, who was an Academy nominee in the late 1980s' and a year later from acclaimed Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann. Their interest made me think of  a bigger movie,maybe even one where everyone got paid!  

But what ultimately got me motivated was a hat-trick of circumstances; my 85-year old mother's  near passing away, a dry spell of creativity for me, and a talented and energetic director named Shirley Petchprapa.  My mother recovered fully and Shirley wanted to direct Travel Day as, by this time, I really wanted someone else to direct it and she was perfect for the job.  

So finally I had run out of excuses as there was more incentive to make Travel Day, now supported by two great actresses and a smart director. I now had the chance to make another film like I had done in the past. Once again, I would be the producer and the weight of the production would fall on me. 

And make that kid in the picture with the truck realize his dream again.

Coming next; we begin the process of film development.


  1. Very cool. I will follow this process diligently as I'm curious how it all really works and I'm dying to find out what post heyday actor will finally be the one to take on that role.

  2. That's the one thing that is in constant change, there are a lot of women out there in the 60-ish range who are tired of playing grandmothers, hoping that helps us find someone made for this role.

  3. I can't wait to read/hear/see more of the tale. You've brought us inside of the passenger van already. We're there.
    Shauna Osatchuk

  4. Shauna, the script can be downloaded on this page, go to Material and click on the script, it's pdf and should play.