Instead of finding a script of a story we wanted to tell when we set out on this 100-day journey, we decided to make it even harder on ourselves and start with nothing. We had a vague idea about portals as a plot device, but there were no characters, no plot, and certainly no definitive idea of what movie we were making. We had a seed, and we had to bury it deep and see what came from it.
The process was unconventional but very creatively rewarding. We sat in the writers' room for the first 50 or so hours (except for sleep and food breaks) and hashed out every idea we could come up with, good and bad. We hit several creative and logical walls in the process, and the story got the best of us many times. It went out of control. It got boring. It started following characters we realized we didn't care about. It quickly got too expensive on several occasions.
At a certain point, we all landed on two ideas that focused our story and the direction of the film as a whole. Those ideas were the lifestyle-hobby of "picking" and Albert Einstein's relatively-unknown history in Greenville. These two ideas shaped the conversation and the film dramatically. We've settled here and continue to develop these ideas as we build the blocks of the story and production.
The script is not complete, and the ending is still unclear to us. But we know who we're following, why we're following them and a lot of pieces that shape their journey. We're learning as we go, about the characters, about this world, and about our story. It's an exciting, challenging process.
Episode 4 is about the initial story breaking process as well as revealing our story idea:
A scrappy picker, always on the heels of his bully rival, steals an antique, which happens to be lost Einstein technology that allows the user to instantly travel between portals.
When we set out to document the filmmaking process in the 100 Day Movie Project YouTube Series, we had a very specific vision for what we wanted that to be. We wanted to offer a real-time, behind-the-scenes look at what we were doing. We wanted to give transparency to the process, converse with the audience and develop a relationship.
We started with nothing at all. None of us had ever made a YouTube series. Or a feature-length film for that matter. But we dove right in. We had ideals for the first two episodes, but we were also under a self-imposed deadline. We wanted real-time content, and we wanted two episodes released in the first few days so our followers would have something to watch since we'd just gone live.
When we finished the first two episodes, there was a sense of relief. We finally had the content we were talking about for so long. But when we watched them, there was no spark. We missed our mark in a lot of ways. They didn't feel conversational. They didn't strike the tone we wanted. They weren't what we envisioned when we started. The information was stiff, and it wasn't engaging. We uploaded them because it was time, and we wanted something to point new followers to.
In the hours after posting, we considered taking them down. The videos were posted at 6 AM, and only a few had viewed them. While we seriously considered this, we thought that went completely against the heart of our project. We wanted transparency, not a polished, edited history of our project. So we kept them up. And immediately started filming.
The very first shot of Episode 3 is what we filmed right after we decided to leave the videos up. The idea behind Episode 3 was to re-imagine Episodes 1 and 2 with the benefit of hindsight. Why didn't we like them? What could we do better? Episode 3 is both a retelling and a reflection. We went back to our vision and tried again.
YouTube is hard. We're learning that very quickly. This whole project, both the film side and the YouTube side, is full of lessons in learning by doing and making mistakes assets. We still don't know what we're doing exactly. We like the direction we're going. And we know more than we did 13 days ago. We're excited about the lessons we're going to learn and the mistakes we're going to make in the next 87 days.