Big D

The spring of 1994 I was handed a copy of the shooting script for Reservoir Dogs. The film hadn't been released yet if I remember my dates correctly. I had been in film school for about a year, recently changing from a degree in Architecture. It wasn't the success of El Mariachi that convinced to make the change. No, I saw a film (shown at an Austin Community College class that I crashed) called Shameless: Sin Verguenza by Robert Byington. The film really got to me and I decided that I wanted to make films like that... films that starred normal people and took a fond look at their own self-inflicted maladies. Anyway... I came home to Dallas, took a semester off, and I took survey of what I had available to put in a film. Big D is more like an inventory of what I had available to me in 1995 than it is a realistic template for making a film.

My friend Dave Wallin gave me a key to his house and I pounded out the 120 page script in about three days. Dave hadn't installed a printer driver to his Quadra, so I had to spend three weeks reformatting and page breaking the script in order to get hard copy. I registered it with writer's guild and sent it everywhere. The script is generally considered to be D.O.A. because it has camera instruction written into it. I'm not ever changing that. I used a shooting script as a template and I think it makes sense to include in the one-page-per-minute formula an indication of a camera movement that would occupy a significant amount of time.

I would have put this thing in the can for thirty grand and had it star my friends Jon Mooneyham, Gary Price, and John Freeman. I visited each of them to videotape a reading... and thats where I ran into trouble. Jon didn't like the third act. Originally there was quite a lot of emotional acting (and death). I compromised on his behalf and threw away the last 40 pages and rewrote everything happier inside 25 or so pages. I only have hard copy of the original ending... no electronic. Sad.

The film relies heavily upon the vision I had for it. It would work like a charm with the matching requisite visual storytelling. By itself, the script only serves to illustrate that I am capable of writing a lot of stuff. On the webpage it is presented as a document that was "saved as html" from within MS Word. The formatting got a little out of hand, but I don't feel like recoding inside notepad as cleaner html. I might do it someday when I'm not busting rocks for a living and nursing scraped up fingers.

 

Read the Big D screenplay at your leisure.

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© J.R. Kerr

last update 02.12.04
created on 02.12.04

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