It’s June 1st, 2004. I haven’t slept well in the past several weeks. When I do sleep, I have a recurring nightmare that this contest I entered in will come to an abrupt halt and these well laid out plans I had will also cease to exist and I’ll have to *gasp* get a job, a real job. A job type job. The one Mr. Blonde wanted no part of.
About seven months ago in December 2003, I started writing this script about four friends who become mobsters, and how they ultimately betray one another, either on purpose or incidentally. I wrote the first draft in about a month, and did about two or three rewrites before February 1st, 2004. February 1st was the deadline to submit your PDF to Project Greenlight 3. I never entered a script in a contest before and really didn’t know such things existed up until that point. I had only been writing screenplays for about six months at that point.
Sitting at my computer with about fifteen hours to spare I finished registering and uploaded the PDF. I was pretty nervous as they had some pretty strict rules about having no title page, proper page numbering and absolutely no mention of your name anywhere in the script. I probably checked that PDF about fifty times before clicking “submit”. I recall thinking that I had fifteen hours and that I could go through a few more times and ensure that every it’s or its, or you’re and your were correct. I could ensure that every piece of dialogue zinged as much as it could. But I didn’t, I uploaded it with fifteen hours to spare. Thank God since my computer died a few hours after that.
What ensued was the most fun two months I ever had as a writer. I wasn’t writing anything new, but the peer-review process to whittle down 4000 scripts to 1000 was a real joy. We were contractually obligated to read three scripts and I ended up reading about ten. Some were really good, and some were really bad. I recall one of the best ones I read ended abruptly at page 96. I don’t mean the story just finished, I mean something happened with the PDF the author uploaded and it just cut off. Unfortunately that script was disqualified, which is a real shame because it was so good.
When I hit submit I had no doubt we would make it into the Top 1000 (The Quarter Finals) basically, and we did. What really shocked me was when we made it to the Top 100 (Semi Finals). That’s when everything got serious. We had to sign an agreement with Live Planet, and put together a pitch video. Something similar happened back in 2004, and what happened recently when I shot my initial part of my Kickstarter video.
I hated the first attempt we did.
I’m no pitch man, as I’ve stated before and I’m just not natural on camera. Perhaps with practice I could be, but I’m just not. And the first video we did for Greenlight was just stupid. We were trying to be funny and charming instead of just being charming and funny. So we re-did it, packaged it up and shipped it off.
Sadly, that’s where my Greenlight story ended, on June 1st, 2004.
I recall receiving an e-mail from the producers a few days prior to ensure they had the number where I would be during the time window they would be calling. I thought this was a sign that we made it into the Top 5 (turned out to be 6), but I found other people online who had also received that e-mail.
I recall sitting at my desk, waiting. Every time my phone ring my heart raced only to be disappointed when I recognized the number or the voice on the other end of the line.
Have you ever seen American Idol? You know when they bring in the finalists before the live show? They put them in an elevator or they make some long walk, sit down and are told Yes or No? Being told no sucks. It sucks really bad.
And I finally got an e-mail from Greenlight saying they had picked the top 6. “Four of a Kind” wasn’t part of that.
Devastated would be one way to describe it.
So what made me think of this? After all it’s been eight years.
I’m still putting together all the links, articles, e-mails etc… I’m going to use for the Kickstarter video, and also once it launches the people I’ll reach out to. I plan on mentioning the whole Greenlight thing in the video, and thought it would be nice if there was a graphic I could show.
The Greenlight site has long since been down, but thanks to archive.org:
(I had to cut this together from two images and I suck at Photoshop so yeah)