diy Failed Projects

So, I want to hear everyone's horror stories about projects that took a nose dive and never happened or if they did, turned in to the farthest thing from the original idea.

Sometimes projects just never take off and that's fine but it's the ones that you put the blood, sweat and tears in to that really stick with you. I will post mine below as well.
Good story and I love that you stuck to your guns.

Did the movie get made?

If I remember right, I had recently come off a directing gig that had turned into a post production nightmare. During pre production, I had a feeling it wasn't ready to move into production but it was only my second or third gig in the directing chair, so I wasn't sure my gut instinct was tuned yet. It was one of those lessons where you learn to trust your own intuition more. It was probably that combined with my distaste for people pushing surprises down the track instead of being up front that made me so rigid in what I saw that was acceptable and what wasn't for this project.

Yeah. I think they started shooting 9 months later. It was a shame. The project had a lot of potential and was time sensitive. 9 months later it would have become a follower of the pack instead of having the potential to lead it. The producer often had good instincts on timing for when issues were going to hit the mainstream.
During a 48 Hour Film Project:
1 hour before the start the sound guy drops out.
So I had a boom op who had never seen a mic up close. Mic was never in frame, but hard to hear.
The lead was given to a female extra: turning it in a lesbian drama without making any fuzz about it.
The movie is in Dutch, the editor was still learning Dutch, but was mostly trying to salvage the sound.

I was both producing and directing: a nightmare.

We had a great time, but the short is terrible as it is now, lol.

Reminds me of many 48 hour projects I got involved with. I've always been liberal in getting involved with 48 hour projects. It's sometimes a nightmare but you figure out how to get it done as best you can. Outside the time issues, I always find there's no pressure. If it sucks, it people don't get along, if people don't turn up, script doesn't work, locations/cast/crew don't pan out.... at worst it's only a waste of a couple of days. It's always been a, "Lets have some fun and tell a story" kind of thing.

It helped that between myself, my wife and a close dedicated filming buddy, we could step into most roles on a set (obviously we're better at areas than others) and between us, we always had decent enough gear and relative (crew) experience to complete a production (mostly) to an acceptable level even if people dropped out... at least for this kind of production.... so maybe I've been spoiled in a way.
There was this one project.

Early on when I was directing, the producer who gave me my first directing break asked me to look at a script and see if I was interested in directing it. It was one of those "This is my story, I want to tell" I read it and passed on the project and wished her welll. It was a drama and I didn't want to work on another drama and especially not one like this.

About 9 months later, she's still hunting for a director and calls me again. I went through the script again and talked with her on the issues I had with the script and why I wasn't interested in directing the project in its current form (drama on the depressing topis of breast cancer) and suggested some other directors to try. They all pass.

She calls me again. I explained there was no way I was going to direct that script. We get into what I didn't like about the script and whether she's open to a big rewrite and change more towards a feel good comedy/drama with strong interesting characters. We discussed whether it was more important to tell her story or to make a good film. She agreed to a good story. I came on board and we went to rewrite the script. It took a few months to get the script to a point where I was happy with it.

Pre-production: It wasn't going to be an easy shoot as a lot of it involved hospitals, so location scouting (an area which I really suck at) was going to make it a real challenge. I used a lot of my connections and we built the team (when I say we, it was mostly my connections). Prepro had it challenges, but we were getting through it. There were delays with the producer not being as dedicated to the film as I would like.

The shooting date was coming up fast and most of the people the producer had picked were blowing the deadlines. We were about 2 weeks away from shooting and we were still fighting on casting choices. On the meeting we agreed was where we were going to finalise the cast, the producers dropped a bombshell. "We've decided we're going back to the original script.".. "Oh, ok. No worries. I think I've been clear I'm not directing that script so I guess we're parting ways."

Her primary concern seemed to be more whether I'd sabotage the production. "What about the other crew? Are they still in?" I had convinced a lot of people to get involved partially on the strength of the new script and partially on my local reputation. "Look, I'm going to email everyone and let them know I've left the production and you can call them and ask if they're still want to be involved."

I think only one cast member stayed.
This sounds like a nightmare!! Hopefully you got through it.
Oh wow, where they betting on you having invested so much time you would not walk away in that stage?

Maybe they thought I was in a similar situation to they were. I can understand that thinking. They were always struggling to get gigs. They were also struggling to get their projects done. So maybe you're right. Maybe they weren't aware of the sunken cost fallacy. Maybe they thought I'd capitulate to stay involved due to a lack of options.
Interesting thread...

My first actual PAID gig was a FAILED project i.e., I didn't get paid.

What made this even worse to me is that a famous OLDER writer wrote a screenplay -- his last. He did not use his actual name to write it which SUCKED because I was hired to rewrite the entire thing from the ground up. I had to sign an NDA because this writer was afraid of what he wrote... i.e., that it wasn't going to be criticized well. The producer is a fairly famous producer. Probably not one that you'd know the name of if I wrote it here now but you've definitely seen a few of his produced films.

So even though I rewrote a famous writer which would have been a really nice credit? I couldn't get any of the credit because nobody ever knew who wrote the original screenplay, let alone who rewrote it. LOL.

If that wasn't bad enough? Like I said... I didn't get paid. I was brand new and chomping at the bit to work and made a bad decision and the producer screwed me for it.

I did later on turn his Bentley into an El Camino but that's another story... LOL.
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