Greek Island the movie – the starting place

Posted on July 16 2010 by James

Symi a Greek islandThere is something quite scary knowing people are running about making arrangements to shoot a movie you’ve not yet written. I should learn to keep my big mouth shut.

I was in the very early stages of just thinking about an idea for writing a screenplay when the phone rang.

‘Working on anything interesting?’

Now this friend glams around in the film industry and specialises in finding good movie projects and getting the right backers to invest in them. He was just the right person to tell, but not just yet. In fact, he was probably the worst person to tell at this point.

But my vanity was inflated and my big mouth opened up.

I had no problem summarising my idea in the recommended one minute, because that’s all there was anyway. (That’s the famous one-minute pitch you’re supposed to have ready in the unlikely event you bump into Steven Spielberg in an elevator.)

‘Sounds great – leave it with me.’

He wasn’t Spielberg, but the next day he was back on the phone.

‘I’ve spoken to several people. They love the idea. How soon can they see the finished screenplay?’

I tried to explain this was just a very raw, basic idea and that I had a writing partner in England that was going to work with me on this, and …..

Before I knew what was happening I had agreed to produce, within two days, a one-page synopsis and another page of character summaries. More crucially, I committed us to having a finished screenplay by March.

Within days he was back again. Everyone loved the synopsis. Two wine companies were interested in sponsoring the finished film round the international festival circuit. At least one celebrity was interested in a part, maybe another. A couple of producers were keen to know more and a well known distributor was interested.

One of his people had worked out a ball park budget and thought the project could be financed for a mere $500,000. The gross returns would be many times more. It was a highly marketable project, he said. He was confident he could find the right backers and a business plan was already being put together.

All we had to do was actually write the thing. No pressure.

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