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This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 427 – Directing A Day To Die, one of Bruce Willis’ last movies . [click to continue…]

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with filmmaker Wes Miller.

He is the Director/Producer of A Day To Die (2022), likely one of the last movies featuring Bruce Willis since his retirement was announced on 3/30/2022. The cast also includes Frank Grillo, Kevin Dillon and Brooke Butler.

Wes Miller’s credits also include the Action/Thriller Atone (2019). Topics include how they cast Bruce Willis, what Wes feels is the most important part of a screenplay and how early in his career he was in his “wilderness period”.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 426 – Creating WriterDuet With Founder Guy Goldstein .

[click to continue…]

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with Guy Goldstein, who is the founder of the WriterDuet software.

They talk about the origin and development of that software, about screenplay formatting and their other software WriterSolo and ReadThrough.

Our host, Ashley Scott Meyers also announces that his movie The Rideshare Killer is available for free on Tubi. The link to watch it is below.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 425 – From NYU grad to working on Taxi Driver and King Kong (1976) .

Welcome to Episode 425 of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Myers screenwriter and blogger with sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today I am interviewing actor, writer, director and producer, Dan Coplan. He just wrote, directed, produced and starred in a new feature film called Eight Winds. It’s a sort of international espionage story, but still quite low-budget. So, we talk about that for a good bit how he was able to write a low-budget script that still feels like a big international spy film. So, stay tuned for that interview.

SYS is a six-figure screenplay contest is open for submissions, just go to www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/contest. The early bird deadline is March 31st. So just a couple of days left. If your script is ready, definitely submit now as you will save some money. We’re looking for the best low-budget shorts and feature film scripts. I’m defining low budget as less than six figures. In other words, less than $1 million. We’ve got lots of industry judges reading scripts in the later rounds, we’re giving away 1000s in cash and prizes. This year, we have a short film script category 30 pages or less. So, if you have a low-budget short script, by all means, submit that as well. Got a number of industry judge producers who are looking for short scripts. Anyway, if you want to submit to the contest or learn more about it, our whole list of industry judges is all on that page too. So, you can kind of look at who is the industry judges, just go to sellingyourscreenplay.com/contest.

If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or leaving a comment on YouTube or retweeting the podcast on Twitter or liking or sharing it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the podcast. So, they’re very much appreciated. Any websites or links that I mentioned the podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. can find all the podcast show notes at www.sellingyourscreenplay.com/podcast. And then just look for episode number 425.

So just a couple quick words about what I’ve been working on over the last week or so we’ve been steadily ramping up our marketing efforts for the Rideshare Killer. I’ve been creating images from basically just screen grabs from the film, and also just cutting little clips. And when I say little, they’re like, you know, maybe 5, 6, 10 second clips from the film, and just releasing those on social media, you know, and I’m pushing them out to all the actors and hoping that they’re sharing them on their social media channels as well, hopefully the distributor sharing there as well. So, we’re just kind of trying to build a little bit awareness. We’re going to hopefully start ramping up things as we start to release on more platforms. I think I mentioned over the last couple of weeks, we are available on Amazon. But we’re now also available on Google Play as well as YouTube. Same thing, though it’s transactional VOD, meaning you have to pay a few bucks. I think on Google Play and YouTube, I think it’s $2.99 to rent the film, and watch it on one of those platforms. If you do happen to watch the film, please do leave a review. The reviews are definitely helpful to us, as just that helps in all of these algorithms, whether it’s Amazon, Google Play or YouTube, if people are watching it and giving it reviews and giving a good reviews, they will recommend it to other of their users. So, it really does help out the filmmakers if you watch the film, obviously. But also, if you do take the time to leave a review. So, we’ve had some already over on that Amazon page. So, I really do appreciate everybody pitching on that. I’ve also been starting to figure out what I’m going to do with the NFT’s for the Rideshare Killer. I’ve been talking about this over the last couple of months, I’m still kind of trying to figure out how it all works. I’ve been starting by creating some NFT’s for my other film, The Pinch. I’m sort of doing this as a test, I’m probably going to release, you know, maybe 5 or 10 NFT’s for The Pinch really just to kind of figure things out, test the market, kind of see how things work. We’ll hopefully have those links to those NFT marketplaces where I’m going to be listed. If anybody’s interested, I’ll hopefully have those by next week. It’s not for the faint of heart as I’m finding, I mean, I consider myself pretty technical. And just getting this set up is, it’s not that difficult. Like I tried to like buy one of my own FTS is just it’s a really complicated there’s it’s very, I would say technically raw, there’s still a lot of things that you kind of have to understand and know about when you set up what’s called a Metamask wallet or you need like a crypto wallet basically to buy these things. And as I said, it’s just it’s not always that easy or straightforward. It is quite a bit of work. And it seems a little bit overly complicated. I think over the coming years, these things will be simplified and made more user friendly. So hopefully I’m kind of getting ahead of the curve. But once everything I think is sort of in place, as I said where things become a little bit easier to use. I really think this could be a very viable avenue for films to make some money. Anyway, hopefully I’ll have again an update on that by next week and have some links so people can go and kind of see what I’m doing with those NFT’s for The Pinch. And then over the next couple of weeks, once I get those launched, I’ll start to figure out how I’m going to do it for The Rideshare Killer. And I’ll do something much bigger this, as I said, with The Pinch is kind of just a test case. But I’m going to do something a little bigger and grander, hopefully with the Rideshare Killer. Anyway, those are some of the things I’ve been working on. Now let’s get into the main segment. Today. I’m interviewing actor, writer, director and producer Dan Coplan. Here is the interview.

Ashley: Welcome, Dan to the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.

Dan Coplan: Thanks, Ashley. It’s great to be here. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about my film.

Ashley: No, thank you. Thank you. So, to start out, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up? And how did you get interested in the entertainment business?

Dan Coplan: Yeah, so I grew up in New York City, essentially, the New York metropolitan area, and I started making movies when I was 14. My grandfather had an old 16-millimeter camera, which I inherited. And when I was 14, I was very sick. I was about 5’11, but I only weighed 69 pounds. By the time we got me to the hospital, they told my mother I only had a few hours to live. So, you know, that’s kind of a major event in a young person’s life. And while I was in the hospital, the only thing that really kept me going was watching Avid Costello movies, and, you know, comedies and stuff, I needed to laugh. And then all of a sudden, I discovered a Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, and I had grown up playing chess with my dad and my brothers. And there was this night, like, I came into the world asking for a sword and a kingdom, sort of this night playing chess with death. And all of a sudden, I related to that, I had just played my own game of chess with death. And, you know, it was just after that was the thing that lit me. Like, how do I make movies? How do I tell my story? And so, I made my first film when I was 14, called Freeloader. And ironically, or interestingly enough, I grew up across the street from David O Russell, the famous director of American Hustle. And in Silver Linings Playbook. And David is in my first movie, he plays a bartender and he really hams it up. That’s how I got started. And then I made movies all throughout high school, a couple of award-winning films. And then I managed to get into NYU film school. And I didn’t get a chance to make any movies at NYU film school, which is very frustrating. But from there, I went into work on a lot of other people’s films, and I wrote and then worked on taxi driver for about a week. And I got to observe on King Kong and Kojak. I’m really dating myself here. I went into the movie theatre business. And I managed movie theatres in New York City for three-four years, and really developed a very keen sense of predicting how a film would do based upon what I can see the audience reacting to it from watching, watching them watch movies, seven days a week. And at that same time, I was also working as a freelance story consultant for CBS Entertainment. And then I decided that I needed to get to California. So, I didn’t have the courage to simply get on a bus, pack my bags and show up with a dream and a few dollars in my pocket. So, I thought I would go to law school out here and then get a job in a studio, and then proceed to conquer the world from that position.

Ashley: Uh-huh. Okay, so talk about that, then, did you get out here and eventually work for some studios? Did you work as a lawyer for some studios?

Dan Coplan: Yeah, I was actually while I was going to law school, I was working at Paramount Pictures in their business affairs department, kind of as a clerk, but I got to make a lot of deals and had tons of responsibility and no authority. So, it was an interesting time. And then that came to an end. And then, you know, I finally pass the bar. And I practice in entertainment law, still practicing entertainment law, one day, I’m going to get a perfect, and you know that but the whole scheme was to put myself into a position where I could get inside and become an insider, and make movies from the inside as opposed to outside without the contacts and knowledge that you need.

Ashley: And so, were you writing throughout this period? You’re working now as a lawyer? Were you still writing scripts? And did you start to pass them out to some of your contacts and maybe give us a little advice there? How do you know if it’s appropriate to give a contact a script? And how do you sort of navigate those waters that can be a little you know tense and awkward.

Dan Coplan: Obviously, as an attorney, I have a fiduciary duty to my clients. But I did write scripts while I was in law school. One of those scripts actually got me an agent at William Morris for a very brief period of time. And, you know, I was always pitching. So even when I was working in the movie business in New York, I was always pitching scripts and stories. You know, I actually managed to set up a picture called Just Before Dawn, which was a horror film with George Kennedy. You know, I was kind of acting as an agent, but I was a real hustler back then, you know, I admit, people came into the theatre, and then I call them up, you know, I met agents, directors and actors, they all came into my theatre. So, I got to know some of them. And then, you know, I always kept writing, you know, at some point, for me, it was just got tired of the rejection. Because, I mean, I keep writing. And I had a client who wasn’t necessarily that bright, but he was making movies. And I said, you know, this guy, isn’t that bright, I can do what he does. I have to make the movie. And so, I think the most important lesson that I learned, was actually to give my permission myself, my own green light and say; Alright, I’m going to do it. And so, the first film I made was a film called The Dragon Gate, which is a martial arts fantasy, was Academy Award winner hang noir from The Killing Fields. And I wrote it and I produced it, and I acted in it. I was going to direct it, but it seemed a little bit too much to take on. And, you know, it became a number one midnight movie in Los Angeles and Austin for a while it got banned in South Korea, in Germany, you know, it’s not a great movie, but …

Ashley: What was it banned for?

Dan Coplan: Well, at that time, you know, there’s still a lot of resentment in Korea against the Japanese for the atrocities that occurred during World War II. And the movie The Dragon Gate is based on a Japanese martial art called Kendo, which I was then black belts – third degree. And so, the Korean government banned anything that had anything to do gotcha Japanese culture. And even though I was an American, and there were no Japanese in the film, they refuse to accept it, and banned it.

Ashley: Okay, interesting. So, let’s get dig into your latest feature film Eight Winds starring Robert Davi, maybe you can talk a little bit about that. So, number one, when was the last time you made a movie before this movie, before Eight Winds? What was your previous movie?

Dan Coplan: Okay, so the one before Eight Winds was a film called Echoes of Enlightenment, which is film my first directing feature film, which I made after the Dragon Gate, and that was made in 2001. I think, 2002. And, you know, I had a chance to prove my acting ability, a chance to prove my directing ability, we went some film festivals. And then, you know, the pain, sometimes creation and watching your baby go out into the world, and not necessarily being celebrated at the level you would hope. You know, it just hurt. So, I was reluctant to go back into it. And then I tried to have another script, which I wrote, which everybody liked, called, Let It Be. And for like, a long time, I tried to get that film made, and I kept getting No(s). And so, with the 2016 election, I really had an epiphany, or a moment where I said, God dammit, I got to make a movie. I haven’t made my own film in like, 20 years now. I’m trying to get this other film made, nobody’s going to do it. So, what do I have, that I can control where I can make a movie, no matter what? So, you know, I decided that I write a script, based on the people I knew in my acting classes, based on locations and assets that I either controlled or I could steal. When I say steal, I don’t mean commit a crime. But, you know, guerilla filmmaking, where you’re shooting public places, we don’t necessarily have to pay a location fee. And so, I wrote a script around that, based upon a Russian oligarchs attempt to control California’s water supply. It was inspired by a Buddhist parable called Eight Winds. And, you know, I turned, you know, a 13th century Buddhist parable into a no budget political thriller. And that’s what happened. So, you know, it’s sometimes, you know, if you build it, they will come. So, I said; screw it, I got to do it. If I don’t make a movie now, I will not make another movie in my lifetime.

Ashley: So, let’s dig into the actual script for a while and then once we Get through that we’ll dig back into the production aspect of it. So, just where do you typically write? And when do you typically write? Are you someone that writes first thing in the morning? Do you write late at night? Do you have a home office? Do you go to Starbucks, you need that ambient noise? What is sort of your writing routine look like?

Dan Coplan: Well, for me, writing is always dreaming. So, I find myself being most productive between 10 and two in the evening tenants 10 at night to 2am. And I write wherever I’m living, I usually have an office wherever my residence is. So, I start, you know, that’s where I write, I find it impossible to write in public places. I’m just too curious about what’s going on around me to focus. But never been able to do that. Of course, you know, sometimes when a project really grabs you, you know, there were times writing this script, where I just I started writing as soon as the idea came, and that may have been in the morning that may have been in the middle of the day. It wasn’t my normal routine of writing after 10 o’clock. But normally I write after 10 o’clock.

Ashley: How much time do you spend with the outline, index cards, kind of figuring out what you’re going to write? And then versus how much time you spend, actually, in final draft cranking out screenplay pages?

Dan Coplan: Yeah, I mean, I spend a lot of time doing research and outlining. I mean, I think that, you know, people say; Oh, the blank page is terrifying. I’ve never been terrified by a blank page. Because by the time I got to the blank page, I knew the beginning, the middle and the end of my story. So, and I knew what the story is about, and I knew the characters were. So, by the time I start writing, literally, I know what’s going to happen. I mean, I’m always open to surprises and they come, you know, if you do your legwork, and your research and your outline, you’ll be surprised when you get into it, what the characters will do, what turns will take, but I do an outline. You know, I watch movies that I think are similar to the genre, you know, I’d read books. And then you know, I pieced it all together, I stitched together. Now for me, for Eight Winds, the shot I had in mind was the end, so I knew how I wanted to end it. So, the question was, how do I begin it? And how do I get to the middle? And how do I get to the end?

Ashley: Gotcha. So, your intention all along, it sounds like was to produce this thing you wanted to write something low-budget and then produce it. And you mentioned that you want it to take you sort of did an evaluation of what you could get for free and stuff. So, for people that are in that same position, where there’s anything that surprised you, like were there some locations that you thought you could get for free, you couldn’t end up getting for free, but just talk about sort of how your expectations of; oh, I should be able to get this actor for very cheap and this location, just how do the expectations not actually come to fruition in some cases?

Dan Coplan: Right. Well, for the most part on this film, everything went as a new are definitely roadblocks. So, one major scene takes place on a yacht, and I had a friend who has an annual Christmas party on this big yacht. And I thought for sure he’d let me use it. You know, it was just going to be an afternoon. And he said, No. And it was like; Oh, crap, I got to find another yacht. So, I started, you know, driving around Marina del Rey on my bicycle, looking for yacht brokers and yachts for sale. And I call the yacht brokers. Look, I just need to borrow the yacht for like, X number of hours. Can I rent it? And they said, No. And then there was a go to, there’s an outfit called Peer space. That actually with locations you can rent, and they actually had a yacht rent, and the guy wouldn’t give me a break. He wanted like, $3,000 for the day. And I said, No, no, no, you don’t understand. You don’t need gas. We don’t need crew, just has to sit there and just need two actors, one camera, and we’ll do this scene and four hours, and we’ll be done. How much will that cost? He said; $3,000. And they said, Screw it. And then one of the guys who has an office where I have my office, he actually owns a yacht and I asked him if I could use it. And he said, Yeah, and he gave me a really super, super nice deal. So, we ended up there three days, and it worked out. There was another time where I mean, it was a location I wanted in a restaurant. And normally they had an open-air curtain that’s up. And so, I thought we steal it. I put the camera man in the middle of the street on the divider. And I would go in the me and the other actor or go and order a meal and have the cutscene and we have radio mics, so the cameraman would be across the street filming us and nobody be the wiser. To the day we go to shoot there, they actually had the outdoor section closed. And I couldn’t shoot through it. And I’m kind of had to scramble and went to another location and scene didn’t turn out that good. So, then we went to Beverly Hills, and we reshot the scene, different locations that have two people sitting, that turned out to be a walk and talk. And apparently that night, there’s a block party going on, all of a sudden, there’s fireworks everywhere. And it was just this magical moment that we captured. That if you know, if we had gotten the scene the other way, we never would have had. So, it worked out, but you got to keep, you have to be when you’re making a movie, whether you’ve got a buck, or $4 billion. You always have to be willing to stay flexible and adapt and pivot because you just never know what’s going to happen.

Ashley: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So, what is your rewriting process look like for this script? It sounds like you already had actors in mind and stuff. Were you giving them you know, scenes to kind of workshop throughout the writing process? Did you get a first draft done? And then workshop it? Just walk me through sort of your rewrite and development process?

Dan Coplan: Yeah, definitely. I had actors that I had worked with in other shows, and then into my acting class. So, I was writing specific parts for them. But I don’t really workshop things. I write a first draft. Good, bad, indifferent, the important thing is to finish. It is easy to rewrite than the write. So, if you get from A to C, then you’ve got something you can rewrite. But if you stop at A and say, oh, this has to be perfect before I move on, you’re never going to get anywhere. There are people who work that way. I’m not one of them. So, what I do is I do the first draft, I let it sit for a week, I go back and I read it. And if I’m happy, I start showing it to people whose opinion I trust, maybe five or 10 people, I’ll give it to them for comments and feedback. And then I’ll do another rewrite. And I’ll do that three-or-four times, until I’m satisfied that I’ve hit, you know, ironed out all the kinks in the armor.

Ashley: How do you approach genre requirements? You mentioned it’s sort of a political thriller, I’m sure especially on the low budget, political thrillers, there’s probably distributors can probably tell you what you need, you know, some sort of action thriller scene, every 10 pages, there’s all these things. How did you approach some of that stuff? Did you talk to some distributors? Did you watch a ton of these low-budget political thrillers? How did you kind of get in tune of what was sort of appropriate for the genre?

Dan Coplan: Yeah, I mean, I certainly had a vast knowledge of the movies that I wanted to make a movie like most of the films of the 70s Chinatown Passenger, Parallax View, All the President’s Men, the French film diva. I mean, the list goes on and Mr. Arcadian, Orson Welles all those type of third man narc, French Connection, seven offs, all those films. So, I mean, I honored the genre, but I honored it in my own voice. So, it’s more of a, I like to say I make French films in English. It’s very European. I mean, I want to ask somebody wants what this is, so remind you of and he says, I can’t say because your films don’t fit in a genre. They’re kind of unique unto themselves. And since I knew this was going to be a low-budget film, and I knew I was making it for me, I didn’t really care about genre and going to distributors and saying, you know, what do you need to make this work? I mean, I wasn’t going to do the action sequences, I didn’t have the budget for it. One thing that will kill an action picture is you don’t execute those action sequences correctly, you need to budget for it, and I didn’t have the budget. So, I knew I was going to have to navigate that in the writing to create tension without necessarily cars exploding and guns. I didn’t want to, I mean, if you do that stuff, your production insurance goes up, even if you post, it still has to be executed properly. And why this film is going to go, it just wouldn’t be executed properly. So, I focus more on character and plot. So instead of being like Bond, it’s more like John le Carre, a Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy, that sort of a political thriller.

Ashley: Gotcha. Gotcha. So how did you raise the money for this? Once you had a script that you were happy with, what was his next steps actually raising the budget that you didn’t need for this?

Dan Coplan: Right. I mean, I said I’m going to make it for 2500 bucks. That was the initial plan. And you know, it’s kind of like The Field of Dreams and the Nail Suit formula, you know, kept going and I was able to pay for most of it myself. And then I had other investors come in. Sometimes that’s the way it works.

Ashley: Are these friends and family? Maybe you can talk a little bit about that. How do you bring in other investors on a project like this?

Dan Coplan: Yeah, I mean, so one investor was a guy who was intimately involved in the production. And I was trying to get a name actor. And he said, don’t, cover it. I’ll write you a check for the actor. And so, he did. And then the other investor was somebody who I met at a networking group who would been an executive producer investor in another film and I said, I know you weren’t an executive producer of that film, would you consider being an executive producer in my film? And he said, yes. And then, at one point, I was out riding my bicycle, and I got hit by a mail truck and had to have surgery. But when that the settlement of that that lawsuit came in, I got a little bit of money, and I use that. And since one of my brothers gave me a gift, and that’s how you do it.

Ashley: Mm hmm. Gotcha. Gotcha. So just on something that’s this little budget, where did you spend your money? Can you just tell us roughly, you know, what did you actually end up paying for? Sound guy, cinematographer? Where did the money spend? It sounds like you spent some money on your lead actor Robert Davi first starters.

Dan Coplan: Yeah. So, most of the money went to liability insurance initially, I mean, the actors were all working on deferred basis. The crew was like three people, and they were all working on a deferred basis. So, I mean, I actually went out and bought the camera and the mic. That was you know, not a lot of money, but the large part of the budget, just because I knew the way this film was going to get made, I couldn’t do it on a regular schedule. I mean, it was going to be we shoot when we have everybody available, we shoot what we can steal location. And then, after that, it was the two lead actors were probably the largest investment, Leona Paraminski who is a superb, superb actress. She got a fair amount of money. And then we had cast another named star in the John Conover role. And then we got hit with a Kevin Spacey type situation where my distributor said, if he’s in the film, we’re not going to distribute it. So, I had to cut him out and recast. And that’s how Robert Davi came on board. But it took another year to actually raise the amount of money to go out and re reshoot that just to get the money to hire somebody, Robert Davi’s caliber. So that’s where most of the money went. Then after that, the post, I edited it myself, but I’m not really that good on sound and color. So, I brought in a sound team to do sound work. And that was another large expense. And then the composer was another large expense. And then the colorist wasn’t too bad. And then the other major expense will be the errors and omission policy, which I’ll be purchasing soon.

Ashley: Yeah, exactly. So, you mentioned that you had this distributor that said you they wouldn’t distribute. So, you shot the whole movie with this other actor, and then had to reshoot his scenes?

Dan Coplan: Yeah.

Ashley: Okay. And so how did you get that distributed? When did the distributor come on?

Dan Coplan: Right. Well, this has never happened to me before. And I’ve made a movie. And I’ve been involved in a lot of projects. So, we had done a documentary called The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille, which is about the huge city of the pharaohs said that the mill built up in Santa Barbara County in the 1920s, to 1922 version of the 10 commandments. And distributor of that film said; Hey, I hear you making another movie, I tell you what, let me be your executive producer. I’ll distribute it, and I’ll give you a break on the distribution fee. So, because he was so happy with our relationship on the documentary offered to be our distributor, and you know, distribution is the hardest thing to get. So having a burden hand is worth two in the bush, and I left for the opportunity. But it did create a problem because now I had to go out and it killed me for a year, my recast and reshoot that role.

Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So, let’s talk about that. I get a lot of emails all the time, say how can I get this actor into my movie or this director and stuff? So maybe talk through that process. How did you get some of these names like we can use Robert Davi is a specific example. Did you hire a casting director? Did you know someone who knew his agent, was there a personal connection? How did you actually get him into the film?

Dan Coplan: Right Well, I mean, I talked to some casts directors who are my friends and colleagues and I say, who do you think I can get the support I’m looking to spend, and they try this person, that person, and you call their managers and you say, I’m trying to make… I mean look, if you’re trying to get an actor attached, and you don’t have a start date, you don’t have your money yet. It’s really hard. But I was in position where I had my money. I knew exactly how many days I needed the actor for and I was flexible enough, so I could schedule it around their schedule. So, you get on the you know, you look up on IMDb, you look up on wherever you look up who the representatives are. And you say; Hey, I you represent John Doe, I would like to hire him for a day or two days for this. And they say; send over the script. And then they came back and some said; No, we’re not going to do it. And I said; Nope, that’s too much money. I can’t afford that. And, you know, you go through the dance and begging and controlling and trying to convince somebody to do your movie. This is what a producer does.

Ashley: Yeah, exactly. Initially was it a phone call or an email when you did made that first initial reaching out to their manager or agent?

Dan Coplan: I usually I try and go with a phone call, because they’ll tell you right away whether who you’re asking for will even do it. I mean, there were some actors, you know, I wanted, they wanted like $60,000 a day. And I said, No, I can’t. And then there’s some actors, you know, well say, okay, so John Doe doesn’t do it for less than 60. Do you have another client who might be interested in working on this? And you know, you ask him for suggestions, and some of them will be helpful, and some of them won’t. You know, I mean, the funny thing that happened, casting, Leona, who’s the female lead in the film, is I actually ran out of stuff to shoot. So, we shut down production, because I hadn’t been able to cast that part. It was like, right out of Gone with the Wind. I mean, I haven’t found my Scarlet yet. So, we shut down for like three weeks while I tried to cast this role. I finally was able to bring America or, and then we picked up and we shot her scenes for a week.

Ashley: Gotcha. Gotcha. So, I just like to wrap up the interviews by asking a guest. Is there anything that you think was really interesting? Or is that screenwriters could really could check out if you’ve seen Netflix, HBO? Are there anything maybe something a little under the radar that you could recommend to screenwriters?

Dan Coplan: Yeah. I mean, I was really impressed with Station 11 on HBO. Great story. I just started watching the Girl Before also on HBO. And I think the writing on that is pretty brilliant. And there’s a French film, which is a Spirit Award nominee called Archie era, an Italian film that I also really like. And then the Nicholas Cage film, Pig. I got to say that film really stands out for me, his performance in that film is stunning. And it’s really, really great mix of kinds of genres. So, there’s really interesting writing, and genre bending plots in that film.

Ashley: Hmm, yeah, all good recommendations. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Pig. I’ll have to check that one out, for sure. So how can people Eight Winds? Do you know what the release schedule is going to be? Like, when’s it going to be released, and how can people find it?

Dan Coplan: Right. Well, we’re going to be coming out on March 29th, 2022 on all your digital platforms, will also be available on DVD. So, look for March 29th, wherever you get your movies in the United States and Canada.

Ashley: Perfect, perfect. And what’s the best way for people to keep up with what you’re doing? Twitter, Facebook, a blog, anything you’re comfortable sharing. I’ll round up for the show notes here.

Dan Coplan: I have a Facebook page Eight Winds and I’m on Twitter under Dan Coplan. And you can follow me if you dare, I promise I will walk off a cliff.

Ashley: Gotcha. Gotcha. Well, perfect. Dan, I really appreciate you coming on the show with me and talking about good luck with this film. And good luck with all your feature films as well.

Dan Coplan: Thank you, Ashley, it’s been great. Thanks for having me.

Ashley: Hey, thank you. We’ll talk to you later. Bye.

I just want to talk quickly about SYS Select. It’s a service for screenwriters to help them sell their screenplays and get writing assignments. The first part of the service is the SYS Select Screenplay database. Screenwriters upload their screenplays, along with a logline, synopsis and other pertinent information like budget and genre and then producers search for and hopefully find screenplays they want to produce does as a producers are in the system looking for screenplays right now. There have been a number of success stories come out of the service. You can find out about all the SYS Select successes by going to sellingyourscreenplay.com/success. Also, on SYS podcast episode 222. I talked with Steve Dearing, who was the first official success story to come out of the SYS select database. When you join SYS select you get access to the screenplay database along with all the other services that were provided to SYS select members. These services include the newsletter, this monthly newsletter goes out to a list of over 400 producers who are actively seeking writers and screenplays. Each SYS select member can pitch one screenplay in this monthly newsletter. We also provide screenwriting leads, we have partnered with one of the premier paid screenwriting leads services, so I can syndicate their leads to SYS select members. There are lots of great paid leads coming in each week from our partner. Recently, we’ve been getting five to 10 high quality paid leads per week. These leads run the gamut. There are producers looking for a specific type of spec script to producers looking to hire a screenwriter to write up one of their ideas or properties. They’re looking for shorts, features, TV and web series, pilots all types of projects. If you sign up for SYS select, you’ll get these leads emailed directly to you several times per week. Also, you get access to the SYS select forum, where we will help you with your logline and query letter and answer any screenwriting related questions that you might have. We also have a number of screenwriting classes that are recorded and available in the SYS select forum. These are all the classes that I’ve done over the years, so you’ll have access to those whenever you want once you join. The classes cover every part of writing your screenplay, from concept to outlining to the first act, second act, third act, as well as other topics like writing short films, and pitching your projects in person. Once again, if this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, please go to sellingyourscreenplayselect.com. Again, that is sellingyourscreenplayselect.com.

On the next episode of the podcast, I’m going to be interviewing Guy Goldstein. He is the founder of Writer Duet which is a screenwriting software that’s gaining a lot of traction right now. He’s a really smart guy and just a really cool, creative and very, very generous soul. There’s lots of free tools that his company offers to screenwriters. So, we’re going to be talking about all of that, the paid tools as well as the free tools. And there’s some really cool free tools that they’re getting ready to release that I’m excited about. So, I’m excited to share this with you guys next week. So, keep an eye out for that episode. That’s our show. Thank you for listening.

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with filmmaker and actor Dan Coplan.

Topics include how he went from NYU film School to working on Taxi Driver (1976) and King Kong (1976) and how getting hit by a mail truck went towards financing a movie.

Dan Coplan is the actor/writer/director of the crime thriller 8 Winds (2021) which stars Robert Davi.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 424 – Christopher Vogler and The Writer’s Journey .

[click to continue…]

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with Writer/Author Christopher Vogler.

His writing credits include Disney’s The Lion King and Christopher Vogler is the author of one of the most acclaimed guide books on writing. The Writer’s Journey which is now in its fourth edition.

They talk about what inspired him to write the book, one lucky event that led to The Writer’s Journey being published, an applied study using popular movies as examples and what Joseph Campbell called The Hero’s Journey.

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show:

This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 423 – Le-Van Kiet on The Requin starring Alicia Silverstone .

[click to continue…]

This week Ashley Scott Meyers talks with filmmaker Le-Van Kiet.

They talk about his new Thriller, The Requin (2022) starring Alicia Silverstone. The movie is about a couple on vacation who get stranded out in an ocean of shark infested waters.

Le-Van Kiet talks about the challenges and expectations of writing and directing a shark movie. His other credits include being the writer/director of Furie (2019).

The podcast is available in iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher (for Android users), the Windows Marketplace, and the Blackberry store or you can simply listen to it or watch it right from my blog.

You can also read a transcript of this episode.

Links mentioned in the show: