I have been reviewing the episodes. Placing them under various microscopes. Story. Character. Dialogue. Budget.
The last word has had my stomach turning cartwheels. Budget. Night shoots. VFX. SPFX. Can I do this – and do it well – for five grand?
In a word – no.
Granted, I will have some nifty effects… however, I realized that I needed to tone things down. Pull it back. Write it with what resources I have.
This decision has been a good one. Why? It’s forced me to write for character.
Character is what drives They Live Among Us. You’ve met Beth (now Lillith, her name, like her story, evolved), and, you’ll begin to meet the others. An angel in love with a prostitute. A youthful pop icon, who is thousands of years old. A park ranger in love with a ghost. A writer who yearns for adventure. A priest who tends to demons.
When you return to character, you return to what is essential. You cut out the fat that having money can bring. You can’t hide poor storytelling with eye-popping visuals, because you cannot afford them.
I’ve had to limit locations, because each set-up costs. By doing so, I’ve created a common ground for my characters – a shared space between them. They are strangers to one another, as are many in L.A., the countless tapestry of people weaving in and out of each others lives… connected yet apart.
These budget imposed limitations have opened up yet another portal into my gothic urban tale of the dark side of the City of Angels. I’ve been able to tap into the vast and rich history of Los Angeles. Present and past collide in startling twists and turns… and the result (I hope) is rich.
If I had ten or twenty or thirty thousand dollars to spend, I am not certain that these discoveries would have been made. For that I am most grateful
We are just over 20% of our funding for They Live Among Us. I am thrilled and eternally grateful to my beautiful backers… and am still seeking more. Consider joining our Kickstarter campaign. It will be the journey of a lifetime. I promise you.
“Character is what drives.” Who your characters are allows the opportunity for fantastic story and conflict. And I love the idea of giving them common ground. Brava.
It really has been a gift. In theatre, we call this the “happy accident” – the moment when an actor misses an entrance, a prop isn’t there, a break-away chair doesn’t. It forces you to be in the moment, to be present… and to create.
That being said, I’ll breathe easier when funding is reached! I plan to be at goal by the end of next week!