I don’t know where to start.
A script I wrote is about to be made into a feature film…. Why is a dream coming true filling me with such dread?… Is this is all just a cruel joke?… I’m suddenly so inside of this bizarre bubble that I can’t see the sky for the artificial rainbow.
About three years ago a feature script I first started writing in 2001 was optioned by an Anglo-Canadian director called Roger Spottiswoode, a man who is no direct relation and whom I hadn’t met till very recently. Yes, this must be a gag. Roger has had a remarkable career in film, from editing Sam Peckinpah movies to directing a James Bond and beyond. I couldn’t believe my good fortune.
But there is truth in jest. My long-standing self-deprecating joke that I’m “just a dilettante” had become a self-fulfilling prophecy. So what if I’d written a handful of scripts! None of them was ever going to cross the line and actually get made. True to form, even with the interest of a veteran director my little film did not get made. Without funds it was impossible to attach bankable actors. A nice dream while it lasted.
Then this spring Roger came back into the frame. He wondered if there was a way to make the film for a lower budget. He started crunching numbers, I started cutting scenes, a couple of producers came on board, a line producer came up with a budget…. but still the numbers didn’t add up. So close yet so far! Until in mid-August (only six weeks ago) the last piece of financing magically came through!
All of a sudden, the fantasy was very much a reality. And there was no time to celebrate. I had casting audition links to look at, location pictures to scan, and - what? - rewrites to do! Endless rewrites!!! I hadn’t realized that the director hadn’t ever really liked one of the four storylines nor that he had significant misgivings about the endings of the other three.
There is one great blessing in being an obscure independent musician: Artistic Control! I have clung on to the notion that albums can contain pop ditties, dark epics and novelty songs. Nobody has ever cared enough to stop me. I call it a blessing but I admit I’ve often wished that someone would do the hard yards on my behalf. My song Wake Me Up When It’s Over spells the feeling out pretty clearly.
I cannot imagine the stress that director Roger is under as he prepares to go into full movie-making battle with an underfunded crew and a trillion different things to consider. I would have fainted at the first hurdle. I’m grateful to the point of permanent genuflection. On top of that, 95% of the script is as it was, in fact probably even better. Scriptwriters rarely receive that kind of consideration from directors and producers. Still, the 5% that’s been changed… how it hurts. Hence my current confusion. Like so many things in life, I wonder: How long do I keep fighting and when do I push the Zen-Acceptance button? Is there any way to do both at the same time?
As the mother of my daughter says, it’s another chance to learn and grow. Enjoy it, you idiot!
All I say is Thank God For Music. In the midst of my petty artistic preoccupations I’ve valued the catharsis and connection of performance more than ever. Thank you Scandinavia! Thank you Green Note!
Either Side Of Midnight is a lyrical snapshot of the manic diversity of the city that never sleeps. It follows the separate but interconnecting stories of four troubled characters over one Friday night in New York City... A Greek woman storms out of her father’s wedding. A Jewish man, sick with food poisoning, staggers uptown to have dinner with his Orthodox fiancee. A black mother enjoys a rare night out on the town. A Bangladeshi cabdriver collects a young new arrival at the airport. Without wearing its heart on its sleeve, Either Side Of Midnight is a celebration of the multi-cultural beauty that is the soul of New York.
Shooting commences on October 15th.