Allex Michael, a young attractive blonde woman with long hair

Gold text reads Allex Michael


Messages from Allex

Here are answers to a few questions I am often asked.

•How do I sell my script, my book or get my film made?

    "Other than hitting me up for a job, this is the second most asked question I get and I really wish I had an answer. Unlike most careers, where you get a degree and or apprentice, most entertainment related careers develop or flounder in their own unique way. If you research the careers of ten successful writers, you'll likely get ten different stories. It's unfortunate that history only records the failures of successful people. Otherwise, I'm sure we'd all be astounded at the number of films that never get made and literally crushed by the sheer volume of manuscripts that remain unsold.

    Here are five factors that can help sell your script, book or get your film made.
    –Drive: No matter how creative or talented you think you are, most people need a lot of drive and determination to make it in the entertainment industry. So some people, who make it, have more drive than talent.
    –Connections and Money: Though wealthy well connected people generally dispute this, having money and connections are also a great help. At least these folks have an opportunity to get their foot into an already crowded door. I submitted my first novel at the age of sixteen, and have been writing almost daily ever since. I really had little or no success for the first decade. Though I have written over two hundred articles, few people had heard of me until my first film 'Search Dog's Raven'. The film's screenplay is based on a novella I wrote called the 'Deadly Search'. I am certain my struggles would have been, and be, far easier if I had connections and or more financial backing.
    –Marketable: Art is great, but it won't pay the rent unless you can sell it. Make an effort to create a marketable script, book or film.
    –Preparation: Even if you have talent, they say it takes at least a thousand hours to become proficient. Make sure you are prepared with whatever you are selling.
    –Luck: Luck in the entertainment industry isn't what it used to be. Yet in most cases, luck is still when opportunity meets preparation.
    –Anyone interested in getting into the scriptwriting profession, should take a close look at the current lousy conditions for professional scriptwriters. It will be interesting to see what happens with the 2007 scriptwriter's union contract.
    –Advice: Affordable technology now allows almost anyone to make their own film or print a hundred copies of their book to test the market. So stop asking for advice and do it.

    But Realistically....
    As none of my books have been best sellers, and it took over five years for me to make my first film Search Dog's Raven, there are many other writers and filmmakers from whom you should be seeking advice."

•How did you get the money to make your film Search Dog's Raven?

    "I'm very good at squeezing a lot from a little, but not very good at raising money so fortunately the production budget for Search Dog's Raven was raised for me. People that knew me, or knew of me, loved my stories and just couldn't believe one person could have so many misfires. Plus this was the turn of the century, when everyone was losing big on the stock market. If you're going to be cleaned out, there's more glamour in losing money as a film producer. Perhaps it was the human need to end another creature's suffering. That creature being myself.

    Not unlike my first year in public school. Winter came early that year, and my overprotective mother bundled me up in layer upon layer. I was chubby to begin with, so additional clothing transformed me into an over inflated Michelin tire mascot. Facing a walk of about fifteen city blocks, a shortcut up a hillside park shaved off ten minutes. The long steep hill backed onto a playground, which was close to the school's back door. With snow in September, the hill was already covered in ice. Every morning I would struggle up the hill, and every morning my classmates would knock me to the ground and slide me back down. Sometimes I only slid part way. But most of the time, with enough manpower, they could slide me down the entire hill. The other children got quite a kick out of this and the ritual went on for weeks.

    One day, one of the older kids was watching. It was my third trip up the hill that morning. My face was red and I was out of breath. As the younger children swarmed, and were about to push me down again, the older boy marched over and grabbed my snowsuit. Everyone scattered to a safe distance as he pushed me back on the ground and then straddled me. Certain I was about to be beaten, I lay there submissively looking up. The older boy just sat there, silently staring down at me. His expression was something between pity and disgust. Fear has it's own time clock, but he sat there until the school bell rang. He then stood up and left. I'll never know his true intentions, but this was the last day anyone pushed me down that steep hill.

    Whenever people ask me how we got the money to make Search Dog's Raven, I think about that older boy. No matter how much the investors say they like the story and believe the film will do well, I also think they just couldn't stand to see me pushed down that steep hill again."

•Where do you get your ideas?

    "My inspiration for Search Dog's Raven is easy. One of my first writing assignments, in 1995, involved interviewing a search dog handler named Marion Hardy. While researching the article, I can remember thinking what a great book or even movie I could write about a wilderness search dog team.

    Like most of my stories, I don't have a clue where I got the idea for the search dog team's adventures being turned into an animation.

    When it comes to other stories, dreams or daydreams are often fruitful. I try to keep up with the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs so a day or week after reading an article, my subconscious whips together something great.

    I always recommend that people write down all their ideas. Some are bound to sound stupid the next day, but some will remain great and you can always come back to them when the time is right."

•How do you plot your stories or create your characters?

    "Other than a basic synopsis, I don't consciously plot each character and scene. One of my actors was obsessing as to why his character had beaten up another. He recognized it's importance to the script, but wondered how I thought of it. Sometimes you need to carefully plan a specific scene or a character's actions to improve the story. This is especially true when you polish a script and identify scenes for marketing. But most of the time I leave it up to my subconscious. The characters and story have been living in my mind for a year or longer, so by the time I write the final script, I'm basically like a biographer reporting how they lived their lives.

    I've also been asked if I base my characters on people I know. Not so far. In my film Search Dog's Raven research and victim statistics led to the scenarios for the lost people the team rescues. However, each character isn't based on any specific lost person that has been rescued. Like I said, my subconscious creates the characters and their history. Of course, during the filmmaking process, some actors naturally contribute biographical elements to their character."

•How long does it take to write a movie script?

    "That's a tough one. In addition to whatever project I'm currently working on, I often have seven to ten stories I'm thinking about. Plus every few months I'll think up yet another idea for a film or book, which may or may not move up into the top ten.

    In the case of my film Search Dog's Raven, the idea came in 1995. A couple years later, after I was unable to produce a television show about animals, I started jotting down ideas about a search dog team. That continued for three years while working on other projects. Then I took the time, did the research and wrote 'The Deadly Search'. The novella tells the eerie story of a wilderness search dog team and is the basis for the film Search Dog's Raven. I spent over a year learning about filmmaking, wrote the script and began pre production. The subplot of having the team's adventures turned into an animation, came to me during the first year. You know, film within a film. Then a few weeks later, I thought the animated adventure 'Search Dog's Raven' would make a great film spin off in real life. There were no animated series with a similar name or story so I began developing both the film 'Search Dog's Raven' and the animation 'Search Dog's Raven'.

    By comparison, some story elements weren't added to the script until much later. For example, having a wheelchair bound backup liaison instead of a computer didn't come to me until 2004. So it's difficult to quantify how long it took to write Search Dog's Raven. Start to finish took ten years, but because of circumstance and other projects, the actual script writing and polishing process was about nine to fourteen months.

    On the other hand, another movie script, whose rights just reverted back to me, only took me three weeks to write. And looking at it, I would only need a couple months to polish it up for filming."

•Do you have any advice for people who want to become filmmakers or scriptwriters?

    "Any advice would overlap my answer to selling my script, my book or getting my film made.

    –Practice makes perfect.
    –All education is good, but getting a degree in filmmaking or writing is no guarantee of becoming a filmmaker or writer. I'm unaware of any reliable statistics, but both professions are fiercely competitive. I would also say that few people who pursue either career are ever successful. The same goes for acting."

•Are reviews important to you?

    "Extremely important. Good reviews can sell an independent film to buyers and the audience. Having said that, I really don't know what each film critic will like.

    Because of this, I made a film that I would go see. Despite it's lack of big stars. Search Dog's Raven is scary, has lots of action, has a unique supernatural twist, great scenery and it has a dog."

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