So I’ve decided to write a smash Sundance Film Festival indie film. It is going to be interesting and quirky and unique, just like every other indie film.
So far, for actors I’ve signed up Alan Arkin, Zach Braff, Toni Collette, Zooey Deschanel, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Schwartzman, Peter Skaarsgard, Luke Wilson and a few others. Of course I’ll throw in some nobodies and a couple of big names in small but important roles as well. Like Bill Murray can be the estranged dad or Ed Norton can be a drug dealing half-brother or something.
And I’ll need a hot up-and-coming actress to play the love interest. Maybe Megan Fox wants an academy award?
I have the soundtrack already picked out with stuff by Fleet Foxes, Imogen Heap, Nick Drake, Regina Spektor, Wilco, The Shins and maybe some deeper Coldplay or Radiohead tracks.
The setting will be someplace nondescript. Maybe Boston’s suburban North Shore or some nth tier city like Hartford, CT.
Now I just need to decide if my story will be a tale of (check all that apply):
Coming of age
Make sure your hero is a nondescript, mopey, arrested adolescent 30-something guy with self-esteem issues and who works at a low-level dead end job.
His love interest must be a cute Manic Pixie Dream Girl. By sheer virtue of her flighty, eccentric charms, she will inspire him to break through his self-imposed limitations and become a Responsible Adult.
Bonus points if the MPDG is dying of some incurable disease.
Gotta go with self discovery and coming of age. That way you get the Boomers on nostalgia and the Ys because its their demographic. And as long as you get someone other than Megan Fox (who’s hot, but not indie enough), then you’ve made a fan outta me. Think an updated version Parker Posey and fresher than Ellen Page.
Radiohead, Nick Drake and Coldplay would sound more like self loathing for doing something that cost someone something, and then forgiveness at the end for whatever they did by some next of kin or the victim himself.
Or you can just go with a score completely written, composed and performed by Colin Hay.
Be sure to end the film on as flat and anti-climactic note you can. Preferably at some random point, where it feels like there should be more coming, or some sort of resolution. It only adds to the poignant tone and risky (but brilliant) direction.
Also, your title sequence should be composed of hand-drawn looking fonts, and mundane shots of the characters doing mundane things like washing the dishes, riding their bike to work (wearing a helmet), eating cereal, or sleeping.
The cast should be diverse. And it need hardly be said that any white people in the film be SWPL white people, not the wrong kind of white people. In other words they should look exactly like your audience.
Diversity? Really? Because every indy Sundance film I’ve ever seen mostly seems to have suburban white people dealing with the angst of growing up somewhere between abject poverty and extravagent wealth.
Also, I plan to actually get Ellen Page pregnant for my film.
From the cast you have assembled I gather you mean to make one of those indie films that when you think about it an hour after it’s over you realize that if the leads had been gainfully employed and more interesting and played by say Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and you cut some of the irritating peripheral stuff including the friends and siblings unnecessary to the story it would just be yet another stock standard Hollywood rom-com only pretending to be all daring and out there!?
I haven’t decided if I want the story to be about a bunch of friends living on the edge of poverty trying to get it together or about a bunch of affluent kids trying to avoid growing up and entering a lucrative lifestyle that has been basically handed to them.
I think it would be even better if you used staunchly middle class folk from a blue collar suburb of someplace cool (like, say, any big city in New Jersey).
Their parents should be terminally uncool with uninteresting jobs (like factory foreman or postal worker), and the house should look like a 1970s time capsule complete with wood panelling, brown plaid upholstery and shag carpet. Bonus points if either of the leads ends up having to borrow their dad’s El Camino.
Or maybe they ought to be from Niagara Falls, because there’s something inherently ironic and kitsch about Niagara Falls.