Hopes & Dreams… CRUSHED!!!

I write tonight with a heavy heart…

I moved to L.A. in search of a new life five years ago. A part from that it was my love for writing. I always thought that someday the words I wrote alone at night in my room would someday be on-screen.

I’ve been toiling away for 3 years now on a script that I felt had the best possible chance of growing wings. The name of the script isChalkboard and it pretty much summed up my life circa 2007. I was down-and-out, single, lonely and frustrated and just wanted a new beginning, the new beginning I thought I was getting when I left New Orleans to move toL.A.

The story was a bit of a passion project, sort of something I would write for kicks and I really took my time writing it (3 years) because I had quit on writing and I just needed it to be a hobby more or less — the screenwriting that it is. (If a wrote a line, I wrote a line… it didn’t matter if some suit didn’t like it. A month or so, I’d add one; then another — really fleshing things out. No pressure to sell. Just me and my work.)

What's in a name?... EVERYTHING!!

TheL.A.grind had worn me down. I was a novice screenwriter who had written his first script and pitched to studios and such but they were all telling me “no”. It was confusing because it was my work that put me in the room with them in the first place. Anyone pursuing a career in screenwriting knows this, especially those who have pitched before.

As I rose out of my slump, I picked up the script last December (2010) and I remembered how funny, and how genuine of a place I was writing from and felt the need to complete the process — take all of those notes and scenes that weren’t attached and finish the back-end of the thing. It wasn’t until late into the semester (2011) that I realized I wanted to submit it to the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab. I was in Economics class and my teacher made a comment. He said, “To declare ‘I’m hungry’ means absolutely nothing unless you perform like someone who is hungry.” which was in the letter I wrote to Sundance. And in one instance, the past four years of my life shoot down this tunnel and it hits me: I’m sitting on a really good script that would make an even better movie. Follow the damn thing through!

As for the story…

It’s sort of a farewell tour to L.A./Hollywood with a slight romantic comedy edge to it. This character, Scoot, is frustrated with his life. He’s stopped painting and he’s terrible at dating. He receives a call from home saying he must leave Los Angeles, but on a fluke he catches feelings for a hipster. Two people from opposite backgrounds. He’s sort of working class African-American, she’s anL.A.underground Asian D.J.-hipster. And as we watch the world of this character (Scoot) unfold, we see how his immaturity hasn’t prepared him for something down the line — failure, accepting failure. He wanted so bad to be a world renown artist, but he realizes that it won’t happen.

And it mirrors my life as well as those who pursue careers that are very, very challenging — acting, dance, writing etc… where the stakes are high. That’s why I felt the need to see it through. Those of us in SoCal — the select few in SoCal will get our dreams out, the others; well we know where that road heads.

My dilemma:

To date two people have seen it. I sent an earlier rough copy to a friend in San Francisco. The girl I’ve been seeing off and on as of late has seen it and I also read it aloud to her ( she genuinely likes it ).

And then Sundance… I doubt I got hacked!!! I hope Sundance is planning on sending me a letter saying I got in!!!

Because when I mailed it off to Sundance a while back AND when I picked the title four years ago, there was no motion picture/short film/TV movie/Web Series/TV Series on IMDb.com with the word “chalkboard” in the title; seriously, none were listed or existed — definitely not a single word title. Tonight I’m scouring IMDb because I like to see if the titles I come up with are there, wanting to be original (the title I’m considering naming my next short doesn’t exist which is how I found this alarming news) and that’s when I see —> CHALKBOARD (2011)

I gasped!! It’s one thing be named Chalkboard, but 2o11! The exact year I completed my version… I call bullshit!

Again, I can only hope that Sundance has a letter coming in the mail for me soon. I’m blogging about this now so that it shows I was well ahead of this thing. It would really suck if someone makes something remotely close to my script, because I already know where they got the “source material” from.

Yes, I’m overreacting, but when you pick a name like Chalkboard, c’mon! And for four years keeping mum on it, not saying anything…

All I can say is, like when I set out on this screenwriting endeavor, my Hopes & Dreams are/will be crushed!

Dear Hollywood:

Can you make my version of Chalkboard and not someone cheesy, half-way put together, watered-down version of my work?

Sincerely,

The original writer of Chalkboard, Gregory A. Netterville

p.s. — update the main details page. I’d like to ask the “writer” for their “inspiration” on how they came up with the title!

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