Friday, April 25, 2014

Fade to Black:

It seems like it was a long, long, time ago in a galaxy far far away (cliche, I know) when I came up with the genesis for The One You Feed. It started with the idea, or the question, of what would a man do if he bumped into his wife's killer? A normal man, a moral man. Not a cop, or a superhero, but the average Joe.

Would he, could he, and should he?  That was my idea.

That was also 2011.

Over the next few years I started developing the story of John McNeill, a man whose wife is kill, and him left for dead. Left to rebuild his life and torn between hunting these unknown killers or continuing down a normal path, a more honest path.  That is The One You Feed. What happens next though . . . . Well, it took some time. In 2011, I wrote a ten page treatment of the story, and in the mean time I focused my craft on short films by directing Sad But True, In Your Prayers, The Last Time, Tuesday Morning, To Hold, and Hands Clean in the same year.

By October 2012 I finally started up the computer, popped open Final Draft 8, and saved a new file The One You Feed. Over the next six months I worked on the script. In that time my daughter was also born, and this naturally, ate into a little time as well. In June 2013, I turned over a draft to the New Ogden Cinema group, a film group in the Ogden area of collaborating film-makers.

They torn through the first draft, and rightly so. Indie-writer/director Jason White jokingly called it, "Toilet paper." Well, maybe he wasn't that harsh, but after the end of the night I had the information my needed - that is what wasn't working, and what needed to be cut. I knew that the first draft was rough, and I had no illusions about that. I have openly admitted it several times. What I didn't have was what to do next? What could I do to make it WORK?

I took a break for about three months. Enjoyed my time with my daughter, enjoyed the summer, and I even worked on finishing my next short film Look Who's Talking. The break was good as I needed time to flesh the story and characters out more. I have always had the beginning and the ending of the story, but it was the journey that perplexed me the most.

What has changed: I added more description of John in his pursuit of the men who killed his wife. I rounded out his character from a person who had never held a gun before, to someone who is a proficient marksman. I cut a lot of scenes that just were not working. A scene between John and Donald in a hospital, the whole set up how John meets Eady (his new friend and possible love interest), and altered/deleted a lot of the original content that I had for John and Eady.

I confidently say that the story flow is more a lot more smooth than it was before, and the story arc of the character is a lot more present. I have read over the script many time looking for loss ends, I have had other film-makers read over it as well, I have made the final adjustments and I believe that the story is as good as it can ever be.

Speaking frankly of the material, if I show you a gun in Act 1 it will be used by Act 3.

Yesterday, I filled The One You Feed screenplay with the U.S. Copyright office. A first time for me, and though I know I don't need to file for the Copyright in order to have the rights over my material. But for me it signified the closing of a chapter that I spent three years (longer that I should have) working towards, and the begin of a new segment called Pre-Production or Will I Make This Script or Sell it.

But for now . . . .


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sad But True at 10,000 Youtube hits

Probably, most personal short film and one that I am very proud of, Sad But True, has reached the 10,000 hit mark on Youtube.

I didn't happened over night, and ten thousand isn't a record breaking number. But when you consider that many videos that get uploaded never make it passed 500 mark, and many more don't make it to 100. So, 10,000 is more than I could have hoped for.

The film is not without it's fault, and I certainly learned a few things along the way. If you haven't had a chance to see the film, then please do.

Please, comment!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Poster Concepts

I haven't posted in a while, but that doesn't mean that there haven't been updates. This project is still on the move with a big update coming soon.

In the mean time, I have created a quick draw up of a poster idea (this follows up on the post).

I am not 100% sold on the text, but the free online program that I as using had some limitation. Over all I dig the concept and can not wait until we have our actor in place to implement more marketing materials.

*And yes, this is Tom Cruise from Collateral. Surprised, right?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Thinking about how I might market this to prospective viewers and inverters, and sitting here at my desk, I sketched out some ideas that I have for the  marketing campaign.


The color bar with the title The One You Feed is similar in reference to the previous marketing ideas that I had posted. I would drop the "two wolves" myth story and in place add the words - Love, Hate, Joy, Anger, Jutice, Revenge. Which One Will You Feed?

Then have two track-able QR code boxes, one listed, "Love," the other listed as, "Hate."  Each QR code would lead to a separate  30 second trailer would play on the users smart device - one themed with love and the other hate. 

So, yes, we would need to create two style of trailers, but it provokes the view by asking the question and then adds the pay off of a different video at each link. 

The two types of videos would also help support the doppelganger/duality theme that is present throughout the story.

Another thought I have on this would be flyer hand outs that look similar to this - 

This is a bare bones sketch and the final product would have more imagery on it, but the basic concept is present. The front would prompt the question, "Which One Will You Feed."  Then the back side would offer the same two QR codes that lead to the separately themed videos.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

All are welcome, stay tuned for another homework assignment as well as a much needed update on where the script is.

Coffee of the Day - Teen Wolf

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Homework - Vanilla Sky

This weeks homework assignment is Cameron Crows Vanilla Sky, a remake of the Spanish film Open Your Eyes.

A film about revenge?
- No
 A film with guns?
- No
 An explosions?
- No.

So what gives? Well, Vanilla Sky doesn't have the same traits as other will be later Homework assignments will. It's not really a crime thriller, it doesn't have a killer gang, and a dead wife with a  vengeful husband. 

The film starring Tom Cruise,  is about a millionaire playboy who has everything he wants and also thinks he can have it all, including his best friends date to a party while still entertaining another girl on the side.

The films deals with consequence of choices, a theme that is currently very present the first draft of The One You Feed. The film also has two female leads, one blonde and one brunette - showing their contrast to each other, and our film will have the same. 

 One scene that has always has an impact on me is one in which Tom Cruise meets Penelope Cruz in the park. He has just been in a car accident with Cameron Diaz, at first is lost as to how he woke up in the park. In that moment, he finds that he is in a dream. That he doesn't actually have Penelope with him, and they are not together. 

I love the idea the scene because it shows that even after you have lost someone, you may continue to dream about them. In that dream everything seems real, and your significant other is with you again. However, soon you will wake up and what was a wonderful dream is now a nightmare, because in reality that person is gone forever. 

A scene similar to this will be in The One You Feed - but of course different and more in the context of our storyline.

Here is a trailer for the film, and be sure to complete your homework assignment before next weeks assigned film.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Word of the Day


As define by Wikipedia  - "Revenge is a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance, be it real or perceived. It is also called payback, retribution, retaliation or vengeance; it may be characterized as a form of justice, an altruistic action which enforces societal or moral justice aside from the legal system. Francis Bacon described it as a kind of "wild justice."

Also on the WIKI page -


The popular expression "revenge is a dish best served cold" suggests that revenge is more satisfying as a considered response enacted when unexpected or long feared, inverting traditional civilized revulsion toward 'cold-blooded' violence. In early literature it is used, usually, to persuade another to forestall vengeance long enough for wisdom to reassert itself. This sense is lost in recent presentations.[citation needed]

The idea's origin is obscure. The French diplomat Talleyrand (1754–1838) has been credited with the saying La vengeance est un mets que l'on doit manger froid. [Revenge is a dish that should be eaten cold.].[7] It has been in the English language since at least 1846, via a translation from the French novel Mathilde by Joseph Marie Eugène Sue: la vengeance se mange très-bien froide [sic],[8] there italicized as if quoting a proverbial saying, and translated revenge is very good eaten cold.[9] It has been wrongly credited[where?][10] to the novel Les liaisons dangereuses (1782).
Its path to modern popularity may begin with the 1949 film Kind Hearts and Coronets which had revenge is a dish which people of taste prefer to eat cold. The familiar wording appears in The Godfather by Mario Puzo (1969) and is quoted as if from an "old Klingon Proverb" in the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and in the title sequence of the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol 1 (2003).

Another proverb states: "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." The implication here is that a desire for revenge may ultimately hurt the seeker as much as the victim. Alternatively, it may imply that you should be prepared to die yourself in the process of seeking revenge.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Coffee of the Day - Janus Tattoo

Though I had previously owned Armageddon and The Rock on Criterion (I know big art house films right?) DVD, I had never been exposed to so much foreign and hard to find films than when working for my Bachelor in Film.

Many of the films that we watched came from the Criterion collection, and most of them all begin with the Janus image above. Seeing the Criterion's Janus film symbol before every movie left a lasting impression. There are several storytelling narratives that are simply my favorite, one being stories that are told in non-linier form, time traveling is another, and duality.

For those that are not aware of who Janus is, here is what Wikipedia has to say -

"In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus (Latin: IANVS) is the god of beginnings and transitions,[1] thence also of gates, doors, passages, endings and time. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past. The Romans named the month of January (Ianuarius) in his honor. Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict, and hence peace and war."

The Janus symbol inspired me so much  that during my time at the Univeristy of Central Florida I made a a short film called Doppleganger, in which I named my main character Janus, a man with a split personality that talks to his dog about possibly killing his wife.

The myth of The One You Feed obviously deals with the internal struggle of duality,  good versus evil. In writing the script I have attempt to add several scenes that are, in a sense, duplicates of previous scenes. There are things that happen twice. Hitchcock did this in his film Shadow of Doubt and also in Vertigo.  Not that my story needed any more duality in it, but I thought that following in the same feet steps wouldn't hurt either.

In the script, John's wife Linda is killed in a brutal attack. The only distinct item that John can recollect from one of the thugs is a tattoo. I had long thought the tattoo to be a cross of some sort, knowing in my heart that I would change the design later to something more distinct. Something that we as the audience, and John, will recognize later when bumping into that thug again.

I scratched my brain for a long time about what that symbol could be, the tattoo that the thug has on his arm. I even researched gang tattoos in the hopes of finding something that would work. Then it finally dawned on me - Janus. A symbols of duality and a mise en scene that I was toying with anyways.

It was perfect, I thought. The character will have Janus tattoo. But what would that actually look like? Would that look plausible? After doing a little Google image search I found this image below - a person with a Janus tattoo on their wrist. 

 Ehh, not really what I was looking for. What do you think?

I am sure that the tattoo fulfills this person lifestyle and completes them, maybe.  But it's not aggressive enough for a thug character. Right? Doing a little more Google image search, "Janus Tattoo," I found the image below. 

More perfect than I could imagine. Dropping the facial feature and beard from the image and making it skulls gives it just the edge that it needs. And it seperates it from the Criterion image so it doesn't look like the Thug is a huge art house film fan. 

 Audience, I think I just found my tattoo for the thug character.  By the way, the thug character's name is Emil. The name is in reference to Robocop. You know, the guy that says, "I know you. You're dead. We killed you!" 

But more on that later - as it will be one of the homework assignments in the coming weeks. 

Please, let me know what you think, like, dislike and also please show your support by liking the Facebook page. 


Ryan McDonald

Monday, April 29, 2013

Homework - The One You Feed

In a new section called the "homework" that is required for my feature film The One You Feed.

Along the way of writing the screenplay I have add many nick-knacks inspired by other films. Some parts are just lines of dialogue; others are entire scenes that have been inspired by these movies, and some are films where the visual style, sound track, or themes that are inspiring The One You Feed movie. 

First assignment in The One you Feed homework is Michael Mann’s 1981 film Thief

Thief follows Frank Hohimer, played by James Cann, a professional criminal thief with multiple fake front business operations.  Frank also works independently from any gangster organization. But a onetime gig, with a local Mob tie may have the pay out that Frank needs in order to retire and go legitimate with his new girlfriend/wife. If successful, Frank could continue his life free of any criminal association. 

Fans of Michael Mann’s will see the similarities in the character mentality, the “Don’t be attached to anything that you are not willing to walk out on in 60 flat if you spot the heat around the corner.” We also see Mann’s attention to detail and the authentic nature of his characters and films compared to typical Hollywood – crap.

The last third of this film is my favorite part, and it has a very profound influence on the ending for The One You Feed.

Last I checked, this film was available via Netflix instant stream.