Sunday, June 23, 2013

DanielleTBD the Director...

It is the day before I am about to embark upon my first directing adventure in a long time, so naturally instead of refining my shot list for the pilot presentation of Dating in L.A. and Other Urban Myths, I am instead reminiscing about projects past.

When I first moved out to L.A. in 2003 I wanted to be a writer and director. I was armed with a number of independent film scripts (mostly of the crime drama nature) and a resume of directing student musicals and and other theater productions in high school. I entered into USC's film school with tons of ideas but few that could be condensed down into the short film requirements of my classes. One, though, managed to stand out.

Define Justice was a feature film script I wrote based around one-half of the Sunset Strip Murderers, Carol Bundy. The very true crime case caught my attention during my John Douglas and Mark Olshaker phase, and I became fascinated with the psychology behind such a woman. Partially because obtaining life rights are expensive and complicated when surviving family members don't want to be constantly reminded of the black mark on their family tree and partially because of my interest in the psychology, specifically, behind such cases and killers, my version of the story followed dual narrators, a version of Carol and a version of the cop who ultimately caught her. Two women with almost parallel lives, one who chose to go down a road of criminal activity and one who chose to go down the road of catching criminals, always begging the question of just how much one could take before ultimately snapping. It wasn't a cat-and-mouse, with each one closing in on the other; rather it was a look at very twisted, almost surreal relationships and the tolls they take.

I shot a teaser trailer using friends and past co-workers (one of whom went on to co-star in Justified!) for a film class.

Very quickly after college graduation, I realized I had no ability to actually raise a couple hundred thousand dollars to shoot this film, though, so I adapted it as an hour-long pilot instead. I turned my attention to trying to pitch television shows, but admittedly I quickly began to focus on Stars in their Eyes instead. A half-hour comedy set in Hollywood at a time when Entourage backlash had not yet started, I thought it was an easier sell. Not to mention it was a lot lighter and therefore more fun, but also more traditionally focused on relationships and their nuances. So I created a teaser trailer for that, too.

I never had expectations to direct that if it got picked up for a network, nor did I want to climb the DGA ladder. At some point, I pushed dreams of directing aside for what I thought would be more practical and steady work. Obviously my life and career took a few major detours along the way, but last year, just for fun, some friends and I jumped on-board the "Shit People Say" video craze. I did one for the "Hollywood Adjacent" (read: wannabe celebrities) and "NYers in LA". And now, here we are, everything coming full circle as I embark on a new project with oh-so-familiar themes.

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