This past Friday, a scheduled shoot for the upcoming web series “The Big Play” was halted and quickly revamped when a major cast member was unable to shoot. Instead of bemoaning, we quickly changed gears and started production on “The Extraordinary Secret of Jamie Klotz’s Diary II.”
This was not a project that I had necessarily intended to make. I feel pretty strongly about not reusing the same characters in stories and I felt that Jamie Klotz’s Diary did what it set out to do: provide a simple filmmaking challenge for myself and several people. I did not anticipate it to turn out as good as it did or be as well received as it was and I was even more shocked when, at the premiere, someone asked if there WOULD be a sequel. At the time, I said no, probably not, so I could focus on The Veterans Town and Never Been to Graceland.
But then the kids who did the project with me expressed their interest and enthusiasm for giving it another go. I told them I would only do a project like that if I felt the story was worth telling. I wasn’t interested in meeting a challenge I’d already met, nor would I want anyone to assume that Jamie Klotz is the only story and characters I have worth telling and using. So for several months I worked on a few different scripts but kept the idea of a sequel in the back of my mind. If we DID do another Jamie story, if JKD 1 took any inspiration from 80’s teen comedies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, then JKD 2 would have to take inspiration from genre: time travel, paying homage to films like Back to the Future, Bill & Ted, Terminator, and Star Trek. A time travel twist would be an interesting enough challenge for me to write, and I had a few ideas. I also didn’t want it to be as long as the first one. I expected a 20-30 page script, tops.
On April 6, the story finally clicked with me, I sat down and started writing. On April 10, the script was finished. On April 11, I had confirmed the necessary cast members to join the project. On April 16, the second draft fixing some of the middle section that I had issues with was done. It was 55 pages long, nearly 10 pages longer than the first movie’s script and with no montages! Explaining time travel is exposition-heavy, as it turns out. On April 18, we started production. When Aspen and I started bright and early that morning, I found out she hadn’t even read the script yet, it happened that fast!
I took a lot of the criticisms (mostly my own – you’re always your own worst critic) about the first movie and incorporated changes into our production. Adding some DIY lights and a new mic for audio, giving better direction to the actors, taking the time to compose shots better… all components I hope make this project a better viewing experience.
Of course, there’s really not a movie without the script and I’m satisfied with what I have, though I am having a couple people read through and offer suggestions to help polish it up, even as we are already underway. I think it’s a stronger story and ever so slowly, I’m starting to incorporate a little more heart into my scripts. This time, if the first movie’s theme was mere fun & adventure, I would say JKD 2 is about friendship and what it means to be someone’s friend and to what lengths you will go for a friend.
I’ll be getting more info up here soon as we progress on both this and The Big Play!