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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Remembering "The Keyman"

I wanted to make a movie.  I had tried writing screenplays but could never get past page 18.  I hated what I read and would lose heart.  When the idea came for "The Keyman," I was a new father, working at a production house doing commercials and corporate video.  What I discovered in this screenplay was that if I don't read what I wrote, I'd be able to push through.  The real writing, as they say, is in the re-writing.

So in 1998 and 1999, after finishing early drafts with a co-writer, I kept polishing and refining the script, until I got to draft 13.  In July of 1999, I incorporated and created the entity.  In early August, I left the corporate video world and began to focus on getting this movie made.  I remember talking to my first investor, telling him I believed I could have the funds raised in two or three months.

A year later, and I finally have just enough to begin shooting, so we enter pre-production in late July of 2000.  We came close to getting Mark Hamil in the leading role, but he had a conflict come up.  Then we talked to Adam Baldwin, who really liked the script and was eager to play the role.  Adam ended up doing an excellent job.

Another LA actor with the same manager as Adam contacted us about the crazy homeless role.  They sent his demo tape.  I was concerned-- he played mostly detective types and was too cleaned up, as it were, to play a dirty, crazy, homeless man.  But Tom Wright ended up being one of the best surprises in the whole movie, playing "Popeye."

We signed with a distributor in the summer of 2001, and scheduled to go out on the foreign market in October of 2001.  Timing wasn't great, being one month after 9/11.  We did sell to some foreign countries, but for US-- we got told the subject matter was just too sad-- that it wasn't a "Friday night rental."

Later, in an effort to get it out, I renamed it "Finding Redemption: The Keyman," but we still couldn't get a US distributor to back us.  I made a limited number of DVD's that I sell out of my office (if interested, only $10, click here.)

Tom Wright said at a public screening of the movie that this film had a soul.  And I think he's right.  It certainly has touched quite a few people, from the letters and email I receive.  I've been thinking a lot lately what I'm going to do-- and I'm thinking about shooting some new stuff, incorporate with the movie and release it.  When I shot the film originally, the target audience was secular.  But it's all about forgiveness and would be great for the church, but would require a little re-editing.

Plus, we shot in 35mm, and I never made a inter-positive of the print, which I would love to do.  So who knows, maybe we'll release the new version of the movie sometime soon. 

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