I’m a native Oregonian. I gagged the first time I tried boiled peanuts. When I applied for my first TV job, I honestly couldn’t point out South Carolina from Alabama on a map. And yet here I am, wooing Hollywood execs on Southern Charm. At least my take on it, a la “The Wedding Photographer,” the romantic comedy I started pitching at a festival last weekend in LA. My logline (the three sentences you’d read on the Netflix envelope if it gets made) goes like this:
When his own picture-perfect wedding proposal is rejected, a hip Chicago studio photographer tries to cure himself of romance by shooting a season of weddings in the Deep South. Think hair-of-the-dog, but for saps. He doesn’t count on falling for the one bridesmaid who calls his bluff.
What was a blast was explaining how the script makes you fall in love with the South as much as any one character. I told them that it’s a lushly beautiful setting, quirky and inherently romantic. That nothing matters more than family, tradition and love. Of course I let it slip that when the hero hooks up with the girl – skinny-dipping in a tidal creek filled with bioluminescence – it’ll do for this movie generation what “Ghost” did for throwing pots or “Dirty Dancing” did for learning to dance on a log in a lake. The reaction was good – of the 33 producers I pitched, all but three asked for my one-sheet (the faux movie poster by Paul Nurnberg starring Jenny Rone and Todd Wood). Seven asked to read the script right off the bat – which sounds great until I realized I have no idea if they have two dimes to rub together.
Those of you who follow this blog know these pitch festivals are like speed dating. Only this one, InkTip, is speed group dating. You stumble around a convention ballroom, squinting up at tiny signs indicating which productions companies are looking for your genre. There are usually three or four companies per table, but of course the one you’re really interested in never shows so you end up pitching to companies you’ve never heard of. My favorites, just going by the crazy names, were Bugeater Films, Clownfish Productions and Purple Octopus Inc. I decided against pitching ShoeZart inc, apparently known for the film “Scorpio Men on Prozac” and Weirdsmobile Productions who wanted Sci-fi in the vein of their other film, “Chastity Bites.” Can’t see either of those wanting to shoot a romantic comedy in Beaufort, can you?