These are diary entries, tracking my progress and process making the 12 Westerns in 12 Months project. Every now and then I will be publishing these daily notes that were taken on my phone. They have not been edited at all.
To learn more about my 12 Westerns project, visit our Facebook page and to donate to this project, please visit our GoFundMe campaign here.
JUNE 2, 2019
If any time away from the Westerns is cheating then I had a long affair the last three days filming this mad max movie.
But it was desert living and I think the more of that I do between now and the Westerns, the better. Jared handles it well. So does Rich. We’ll see how tough our cast and crew is. I’d like to find out before I choose them.
JUNE 3, 2019
I’m running on fumes today. But I got two more investors promised. They are smaller amounts but every bit helps. I think I’ll commit both towards Texas Red to keep that one going.
JUNE 4, 2019
It’s fascinating to see how the female roles in the Westerns are shaping. I told a woman friend about this last night, that with no intention there are many strong female roles in these films. And that’s exactly how it should be ideally: unintentional, natural. I credit this to how much I watch old movies, where women were stronger, not new ones.
JUNE 5, 2019
These rewrites and reading are wearing me out. I feel like bouncing things back and forth through email isn’t effective. So many of my notes get missed or ignored. I also feel that it’s so difficult to be sure someone really understood or retained something.
Brimstone was surprisingly good. A dark fairy tale western.
JUNE 6, 2019
Getting back to the Pearl Hart story has been interested. The more articles I read the more interesting little tidbits I find.
I’m torn between giving it a frame story and not. My idea to have her as an older woman telling the story is a good one I think but this tale might be better served to just do it straight. It’s almost twice the work but I think I’m going to complete both versions and see what the reaction to them is.
JUNE 11, 2019
I have returned to Mississippi. Driving always makes me feel behind. I seriously need to consider having someone to drive me across the country during the Westerns so I can work or rest on the road. I’m hitting the ground running today.
JUNE 12, 2019
Tomorrow I’m driving four hours to meet Cedric. I hope it’s worth it. I hope we have the discussion that confirms for both of us that this is the right move.
Nothing from the Georgia guys… who knows at this point. I need to get back into the mindset that I’ll need to raise every dollar to make the 12.
JUNE 14, 2019
The meeting with Cedric went well enough. I’m nervous about talking to his manager and that the business side of it might fuck everything up. It’s also a big role. No one has shown this level of interest or commitment to it but making that final choice is still nerve wracking.
He said he’d watched Blood Country three times and his daughter had detailed thoughts about it. That made me feel most confident.
JUNE 15, 2019
I’ve reached out to Ritchie for the last time. If he’s not going to respond or take the time to read a script for a lead role then so be it. I’m not going to chase him or anyone else for these Westerns.
Non responsiveness is bullshit. If you’re too busy to respond to people who hit you up repeatedly then you need to fix that or hire an assistant. It’s unprofessional.
JUNE 16, 2019
Though this method I have developed of giving a half hour to each task daily has helped to conquer many things and not get hung up on one project, I feel that it sometimes prevents me from making focused progress, finishing some jobs. In the near future, maybe in July or August I will switch up this method and dedicate a whole day of the week to each project.
The last few nights I’ve had trouble going to sleep. This is rare of me. As my bed mates often comment, I am fast to fall. But not now. I go to bed exhausted and stay up thinking of things, sometimes worries and other times just random things.
JUNE 19, 2019
Today I went with Lynn and Bill to scout in Franklin county. In many ways it was more beneficial as a conversation than a scout, getting to know Lynn, hearing the history of some of the characters in Texas Red and some that aren’t who lived in that area. It all added background. We did see a really good swamp. And we saw a bridge that might be the one for the finale.
No word from Cedric’s manager. I feel like that’s a bad sign, that they don’t care enough to make it a priority.
Also no word from Mario’s main investor contact… I can’t help but be worried she won’t like the script and we’ll be at zero with that one.
Apparently the Georgia deal is still possible. It would be the biggest relief to see it come through.
A couple days ago I argued via email with someone I can’t mention about a contract we have related to the Westerns. They stated they wanted a right, the ability to approve something that wasn’t provided in our agreement. I reminded this person of this. They argued again. I again reminded them. At this point they informed me that in the South it is rude to bring up the letter of the contract like this. I politely found a way to respond. But that’s the whole point of an agreement and if that’s the way of the south, I don’t agree with it.
JUNE 20, 2019
I’ve adjusted my method of working because it’s been impossible to get my daily tasks done on days when I travel or scout. So now I set a timer for 15 mins per task on those travel days. Any days that I stay home, I go back to the half hour method.
JUNE 23, 2019
Not one but two people in Natchez remarked with surprise at how “calm” I am considering what I’m doing… I found this to be quite a compliment.
The scout in Freewoods went well. I couldn’t get the best read on the owner of the cabin and how he felt about me but at least verbally, he is willing to let us film there. These locations will require a lot of work to clean up and design. I hope that people will volunteer…
Tonight I am forcing myself not to keep working but to take a break and watch a western, which of course is a form of work but it’s one that refreshes me.
I’d like to know what people making supposedly progressive movies with strong female roles in today’s society, “changing” the portrayal of women in movies, would make of Jean Arthur in ARIZONA. Check out this dialog:
William Holden: “Where I’m from women are supposed to need protection.”
Jean Arthur: “I don’t ask nor get favors for being what I was born.”
JUNE 24, 2019
Something interesting and unexpected has happened. A filmmaker I met not long ago, who makes westerns, has parted ways with his main partner, the person who directs the movies they make. He hit me up yesterday about potentially filling that place and making his next western one of my 12. It’s an interesting proposition. We spoke today and for the most part that went well. I’m very curious to see how this develops
JUNE 25, 2019
Another traveling day but a good one. Lunch with Larry to talk about Texas Red and opened the account for the movie with two investor checks. That felt good.
Allergies are hurting my productivity. I hope my body will kick into high gear as it usually does closer to production.
JUNE 26, 2019
Something that I never thought would be a challenge in this project has become one: the selection of DPs for each project. I’ve had Nick and Jared read different scripts. It’s tough on them I’m sure to have so much reading material sent their way. Sometimes the responses to these are difficult. Today I spoke with Nick about Texas Red. He has good questions and good thoughts about it but I get the feeling that his heart isn’t in it much. Not like it is in Heart of the Gun. This is the challenge: I need each DP to have a strong passion because this will help significantly with my energy.
JUNE 27, 2019
An interesting meeting today that relates to my concern last night. I met this cinematographer based in McComb. He has an interest in social justice and after our conversation I felt that we had a lot in common, also that he might be a good fit for Texas Red. Our ideas of how a set should run seem to also have some similarities. I’ve sent him the script. We’ll see what he says.
JUNE 28, 2019
Last night I heard the news I’ve been hoping for. Mario and I have been waiting to hear word if an investor liked the script. The word back was “Amazing” and now I hope this means we will have momentum.