Spy the Movie
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Spy The Movie
Ben Curtis (the Dell Kid) as Jonathan
Vincent Pastore (the Sopranos) as Dante
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At a production meeting

All Hands Meeting

A small room full of 10, or is it 8? No wait...7 people (where's the team mathematician?) share the stuffy, yet creative air as Ricky, the 'web master' on the other end of the speakerphone, runs through the Talent Message Board, the latest addition to the soon to be www.spytheFilm.com and www.ShootingDV.com web sites. These sites are chronicling the production of the spy feature film, on-line and real-time, in an OpenProduction environment.

"Can we condense some of the threads so it's easier for the talent to view their postings?" asks Executive Producer / Co-Director, Jim MacPherson.

Julia, staff writer, actress, and the only lady in the room, announces that she has the answer. The level of testosterone surrounding her moves up a notch as she navigates Jim to www.luv2sweat.com. "It's an exercise web site." Julia responds to the all-too curious, male eyes now fixated on the monitor.

"Sure," says Charles Messina, Screenwriter/Senior Editor, "and just which muscle gets exercised?" Laughter bounces around the tiny room.

The aerobic site arrives on screen and its red background color matches the new shade of Julia's face. She quickly recovers and says triumphantly, "See what I mean? Their threads are easier to read and I can get the same software to Ricky." It's a plan. Speakerphone disconnected.

Kevin Abdullah, Staff Writer and Marketer, loosens his tie under his leather coat. "Can we open the window and door now...or do we all just 'luv to sweat'?"
The laughing leads to a bathroom break.

With butts back in the seats, Kevin shares the first look at cinematic advertising 'dollars and sense'. The initial proposal for rolling stock commercials for spy in theatres across the country runs about $388K, which is about $388K more than the production team is willing to spend. Time for Plan B -- college venues, web links, and...

"Viral marketing" inserts Alex Klymko, spy's obsessive, addictive Co-Director / Co-Producer, who at 35, already has two features, countless short films and Latoya J under his belt. "That's how we will get known. And our virus will be a foot and mouth kick-ass movie." He passes out some white tablets (relax it's only Altoids) and downs about a half dozen of them himself. After receiving some Tic Tacs as chasers, he asks half-kiddingly, "Does anyone have any real drugs? ... Like Listermints? I'm absolutely hooked on Warner-Lambert products ever since Pfizer bought them. I do a good bit of production for Pfizer and I've always wanted to approach them about making a Viagra/Ritalin/Thorzine mix. You know, something you could chase with a fine Chablis..."

Jim quickly intervenes and gets the meeting (and Alex) back on track. They propose a solution on the distribution of FilmSharesSM, the concept Jim created to allow for industry professionals and service providers to be compensated for their time and expertise with equity participation in the profits of the movie over a five-year period.

Industry jargon about 10 hour days, above the line costs and flat fees ensues. Abe Schrager, the Director of Photography who has worked for some of the industries heaviest hitters including Tim Robbins on Dead Man Walking and David Jones on Jacknife (and dozens of low-budget features including Klymko's A Killing and MacPherson's Prime Suspects), carves out a new plan with input from everyone including newcomer, Scott Hitner, freelance photographer, and the guy whose father keeps Klymko "out of jail each fiscal quarter." Abe concludes that we must adhere to industry standards. All agreed.

In a couple of NY minutes, the spy moviemakers find themselves at Judge Roy Bean's bar and grub place again. The bartender puts on a receptive smile and carefully takes everyone's usual orders with a wink and a nod and no notepad. Maybe his attentiveness is a result of the team's tips last time or maybe he's just getting used to the eclectic group.

With booze now filling the bellies, this film crew has the 'nads' to extend the bar onto the sidewalk outside, drinks sloshing, ice clinking. The bartender shoots them a look, but turns his head away from them. (Is he clearing his throat?).

Third Martini in hand in less than an hour, Alex raises his glass in defiance, "No one has ever questioned that I have resolve, devotion or balls. I'll sit on the face of the first person who tells me that I can't have a breath of air and cell phone reception with my drink. Let them arrest me." He winks at Scott.

"Is that your Keith Richards impression?" asks Kevin, duly scribbling in the small notepad he keeps in his oversized black briefcase.

"Give me an hour with a bottle of Grey Goose (Vodka) and some heroin. That's how to become Keith. In fact, I've worked with him and that's how Keith becomes Keith. That was the energy that drove the Stones. For the Beatles, it was acid. For me, it's making movies...and Martinis are how I bide away the time between productions." He orders his fourth?

Jim and Charles tackle the task of scheduling the next script meeting and the next all hands meeting. So many schedules to accommodate. After all, we do have day jobs. Well, some of us do anyway, "Ain't that right Zen?"

This comment does not faze Zen. Nothing can thwart the team's spiritual adviser, who also does the film's editing, audio, and anything else that needs doing. He's got nothing to worry about. He can land a job anytime as a Bono (U2) impersonator. He even looks 'Better than the Real Thing'. Zen follows up with his Robin Williams and Hitler impressions. "Sorry, but we don't need any more of either of those types of goofs."

Still, Zen's antics touch a chord with long time pal, Alex. "Oh, I could kiss you Zen!" he cries and does. Another shocking Klymko moment for the crowd. "Hey, I move forward with what I'm thinking. It helps me understand audience reaction." More like an improvisational syndrome he's naturally prone to but more susceptible to after tipping back a few.

"We understand," laughs Charles. "Is that why you followed Abe into the bathroom?"

Alex smiles back. "We had a lot of catching up to do."

"And there's a lot more work to do on spy". Jim reminds the group and picks up the tab...yet again.

The bartender tipped twice, and Alex still buying rounds for pretty ladies and their handsome guy friends he doesn't know. The members of the production crew depart, notebooks filled with to-do lists, heads filled with ideas, and souls filled with the confidence that they're all one step closer with miles to go, but that's okay, it's an industry standard.

Klymko's parting words (or is it yet another toast), "Plan of action: Danger, fun, excitement, commitment and accountability; onward! Are there any hookers in this bar?"

KA

 
Spy The Movie


Ben Curtis
Ben Curtis

Vincent Pastore
Vincent Pastore





Spy The Movie
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