$2 Dollar Productions Goes On Hiatus . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Sunday, May 04, 2008 26 comments

Effective immediately, $2 Dollar Productions will be shutting down operations - temporarily - for the month of May.

Luckily, the impetus for the decision sprang from recent good news rather than a forced shut-down due to insanity, job loss, divorce, an all-consuming heroin addiction, blindness from masturbation, death, destruction or having my penis chopped off in the middle of the night.

Small favors.

Instead, my brother and I agreed to a revised outline of our screenplay - "Monkey Business" - with the movie producer/director we've been working off and on with since the beginning of 2008(see bottom of the post for history).

We'd been working through the outline for the past 6 weeks as the guy went to Florida to direct a movie. He returned to Austin in April, and after sitting down with him for a four hour meeting last week, he said that our script was something that he wanted to pursue.

The good news was as follows:

* He wants to direct it himself if possible, and if not, then to work with Sony or another studio to try and get it funded
* He wants to attach his name as a co-writer (a concession that we would make if this thing ever happens)
* He can allegedly get the script directly to a major comedy star that I actually like and that everyone would recognize (don't want to jinx anything by mentioning it right now)
* He wants to get the script written to match the outline right away

It's hard to believe that there's a chance in hell that any of the above might occur (and we're still instensely skeptical until it does). But my brother and I both agree that we must strike quickly while we have his attention.

So, instead of blogging and virtually anything else this month, we are going into the trenches to churn out a script that we are angling to finish by Memorial Day Weekend. We'll see.

I plan to write before work, at work and after work. The last version of the original script was finished in October 2007 and equates to about 50% of the revised outline, a fact that means I will be writing a considerable amount of new material.

It's somewhat daunting, however, the door seems to have been nudged ajar and we are going to attempt to kick the damn thing completely open. Why not?

I firmly believe that when you've got luck running with you that you ought to push things to the edge and beyond. That theory will be tested soon enough.

But all things are driving towards a completed screenplay by the end of the month, which means I need a small break from the blog. It will be strange as the longest time-off I've taken in two years has been a vacation week here or there.

In the interim, I hope everybody has a hell of a good month and when June rolls around I should hopefully return with a few decent stories to tell.


{I would be remiss if I didn't mention and say thanks to a fellow blogger who was the genesis of the effort. She met the producer/director at a Bennihana and said "I know someone who is writing a screenplay" and the rest has brought things to this point. Thank you.}

I got an early birthday present this past weekend during my second meeting with the film producer (see old entry at bottom of this one for history).

We had a 30-minute conference call on Sunday to discuss his thoughts after reading the full script for "Monkey Business." I always imagined or rather hoped that such a conversation would take place at a hipper-than-thou Hollywood club, however, this one took place with me drinking coffee in my underwear inside my loft. Selah.

The first thing I learned was that this guy just signed on to direct his first comedy, which begins shooting in Florida next week. This was good news in the long term as our script is meant to be funny.

The second item was that he actually read the full script, and he still liked the overall plot and concept. He was also still interested in exploring things further, and his three main points for my brother and I to work on were:

A) Make the main characters more likable/empathetic early in the script
B) Develop the love story more
C) Have 1 - 2 more "outrageous" moments of comedy that people would be talking about

He cited the hair gel scene in "There's Something About Mary" as an example of the last point. Of course.

My gut reaction is to:

A) Have both main characters save a cat from a tree, thwart a mad-dog rapist and kidney punch a would-be church arsonist within the first 5 pages
B) Feature an envelope-pushing, sweaty sex scene or two
C) Ponder other bodily fluids to be used as hygiene products

But those are just my initial thoughts.

Anyway, while he's in Florida shooting the movie, my brother and I supposed to work up a detailed outline to address the points we discussed. Our contact will be back in Austin at the end of February, and at that time, we'll re-connect to discuss the changes. It will be time for a decision (at least in my mind) at that stage, so the next month will require a fair bit of work.

I only hope the final meeting will be held at a nightclub with loads of champagne and debauchery at hand. We'll see.



I got semi-good news this weekend as I spoke to the film producer who now has a comedy script - "Monkey Business" - written by my brother and I resting in his hands.

{Editor's Note: Unfortunately, there are no actual monkeys in the screenplay.}

As a quick recap, this started about a month ago with a random introduction to the producer followed by:

* The producer asking for a script treatment to read
* Me frantically writing a treatment which totaled about 12 pages
* A coffee shop meeting where we discussed his thoughts on the treatment.
* He liked the premise and the characters and asked for the full script
* We mailed the script and celebrated a very minor victory with a couple of pitchers

These past few weeks, we have wondered how our actual script has been holding up, and after calling the producer to find out, we discovered that so far the feedback is still positive.

On the phone, he said that he had already read the script once, then silence. This felt ominous so I said, "Well, I hoped you laughed a few times."

He said "Yes, I did." Then more silence.

"So, what are your impressions so far?" I asked.

This time he went into a bit of length, and stated that he still really liked the premise, the story structure and the comedy. The main changes he saw right now was adding more depth to the characters to juxtapose the comedic situations with something more firmly rooted in reality.

Fair enough. I can add depth any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I'll just splice in a few scenes with main characters pontificating slowly about life set against some background that's highly symbolic - like a rotted-out dumpster or more to the point, the broken-down dumpster of life.

Well, maybe something else, but it is a reasonable fix and far easier than blowing up the structure or adding characters.

The call ended with the producer telling me that he wanted to read the script a second time before we met again to discuss his thoughts in more depth. So, we now have plans to sit down the week after Thanksgiving or the first week of December, depending upon the projects that he's working on.

But regardless, it was certainly good news that our finished screenplay held up under his initial examination. It sounds like round of celebratory pints are in order to me as every little step is a small victory when you're coming out of nowhere.


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Quick Hit Friday . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Friday, May 02, 2008 20 comments

"My father used to say that not playing to win is like sleeping with your sister. Sure she's a great piece of tail, with a blouse full of goodies, but... it's just illegal." - Charlie Sheen, "Hot Shots"

I always play to win, and today is no different as I am engaged in a battle to finish my work and get out of the office to enjoy the day. Before that struggle is over and I am declared the victor, however, let's take a look at the tough stories of the week such as:

Miley Cyrus was apologizing this week for the pictures that have appeared online and in print recently which showcased a different side of the wholesome pop starlet.

Regarding the photos on the Internet, Cyrus said these were "silly, inappropriate shots" and she was sorry if she had disappointed anyone.

"I appreciate all the support of my fans, and hope they understand that along the way I am going to make mistakes and I am not perfect," she said. "Most of all, I have let myself down. I will learn from my mistakes and trust my support team. My family and my faith will guide me through my life's journey."

The other guiding force in her statement was the Disney executive who was holding a pen knife to her back until Cyrus apologized and stopped slowing merchandise sales.

Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon are reportedly engaged and possibly even married as a source close to Mariah has confirmed to “Access Hollywood” that the music diva and the “Drumline” star are going to be hitched.

The couple started the rumor mill when 38-year-old Mariah was seen sporting a huge piece of bling on her ring finger at the after party for her Tribeca film, “Tennessee, in New York.” When asked at the party what he loved about Mariah, Nick Cannon said “everything.”

Cannon later added "especially her money."

Rumors that Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer are dating started spreading after the two were seen having a private lunch together in a Miami restaurant that opened just for them on Friday afternoon.

The duo arrived at the Michael's Genuine Food & Drink restaurant while it was closed between lunch and dinner hours, but the manager, Charles Bell, said he was happy to accommodate them.

"I can't speculate on what kind of meeting it was but they looked happy and seemed to have a great time," Bell says, as quoted by People magazine.

After reading the story, Jennifer Love Hewitt's representatives sent Aniston a note saying that you might have Mayer now, but "my body will always be a Wonderland." Petty.

The woman linked to the sex scandal that forced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to resign last month is suing "Girls Gone Wild" adult video founder Joe Francis for more than $10 million for the illegal use of her name and image.

In the lawsuit, filed on Monday in federal court in Miami, Ashley Alexandra Dupre contends that she was 17 and not old enough to sign a legally binding contract when she appeared partially nude in video footage filmed in 2003 by members of Francis' Mantra Films production company in Miami Beach.

"At the time of these events, plaintiff did not understand the magnitude of her actions nor that her image and likeness would be displayed in videos and DVDs produced and distributed by defendants," the lawsuit says. "Defendants created the false impression that plaintiff has endorsed and/or approves of the graphic sexual content, including lesbian acts, contained in the video, which in reality she does not."

Dupre obviously disapproves of any sexual acts which aren't performed for lots and lots of money.

Teen star Jamie Lynn Spears' mother has let it slip that the pregnant actress is expecting a baby girl.

The 17-year-old star confirmed she was expecting her first child in December, and now her mom, Lynne, has been overheard telling friends the baby will be her first granddaughter.

A source tells Life and Style magazine, "I heard Lynne talking about Jamie Lynn's baby. She said Jamie Lynn and the baby's dad (Casey Aldridge) were so excited when they found out it's a girl."

It's so lucky that the gender turned out to be a female because the Spears clan has been so successful with girls up to this point.

Paula Abdul went off the tracks on "American Idol" this week as the show switched up the judges' format by making them hold their appraisals until every contestant had a turn. Abdul offered her feedback Tuesday for two songs by Jason Castro — except that he'd only sung one.

"Oh gosh, we've never had to write these things down ... fast enough," she began, shuffling through her notecards. "Jason, first song, I loved hearing your lower register, which we never really hear, um ... ." "The second song, I felt like your usual charm wasn't — it was missing for me. It kind of left me a little empty."

"The two songs," she continued, "made me feel like you're not fighting hard enough to get into the top four."

Personally, I fear that Abdul's brain is not fighting hard enough to speak in coherent sentences and thoughts.

Jimi Hendrix is the latest celeb to pop up in a sex tape as there is now a 11-minute video being peddled by Vivid Entertainment.

The L.A.-based adult entertainment company reports the 40-year-old tape came their way via a memorabilia collector. The footage allegedly features Jimi engaging in various sex acts with two Foxy Ladies in a dimly lit room.

Vivid has consulted with experts to verify the authenticity, however, it has been hard to confirm due to the Purple Haze which makes viewing difficult.

David Blaine set a new breath-holding record on the Oprah Winfrey Show this week.

Submerged in a water-filled sphere on the stage of the show, Blaine held his breath for 17 minutes and 4 seconds. That bested the previous record of 16 minutes and 32 seconds, set Feb. 10 by Switzerland's Peter Colat, according to Guinness World Records.

"I feel great," Blaine said and later added that breaking the record was a fulfillment of "a lifelong dream."

My dream is that I never have to see Blaine on television ever again, but I doubt I will be able to live that dream.

Speaking of wish fulfillment, let's end with a gold image for the week:

I love when I have the world at my feet, and I can defintely appreciate this woman's stance. So, rise above the muck, step on the neck of anyone who stands in your way and . . . Happy Friday!


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