Ashley: Welcome to episode #192 of the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I’m
Ashley Scott Meyers Screenwriter and Blogger over at – www.sellingyourscreenplay.com. Today, I’m interviewing Screenwriter/Director, Keir Burrows. Who wrote and directed a
low-budget sci-fi thriller called, “Anti-Matter.” It’s a great example of a grounded sci-fi thriller that was made on a modest budget. And we dig into the story that how this film got made. Which had a lot to do with him and his producing partner. Who really just went out and made it happen for themselves. So, stay tuned for that interview.
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So, now let’s get into the main segment, today I’m interviewing, screenwriter and director,
Keir Burrows, here is the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Keir to, the “Selling Your Screenplay Podcast.” I really appreciate you coming on the show and talking with me today.
Keir: Yeah, thank you very much for being here, nice one.
Ashley: 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?
Keir: Of course I’m living in the U.K. at the moment. But, I was born and grew-up in South Africa, in Durban. Which is in a big city, it’s not in Johannesburg, or Cape Town, it’s the other big one over there. I came over to the U.K. after high school when I was 18. I’ve been here for 20 odd years now.
Yeah, film making was not something that was always on my radar, it really wasn’t. Most directors have these stories to tell about how they were running at 6 years old, with an 8mm camera, and were making movies like that, till they were an adult. My dream, my ambition was always to be writer, to be an author. Yeah, in my early 20’s gave that an attempt, and didn’t succeed.
Ashley: That was writing novels? To be an author writing novels.
Keir: I was writing novels, yes. Yeah, yeah. Film was a thing that I loved. I loved watching movies, but it literally had not occurred to me, that it was something that I would or could get into. Otherwise, I had never met anybody who was a film maker. In Africa when I was growing up was not film making place. It wasn’t something that was spoke of doing. Anyway, yeah so, and it was, as I said, I was in my early 20’s and tried writing novels, and sucked at it basically, quickly and didn’t get anywhere with it. And was kind of, yeah, floundering around looking for a life plan and for all that I was 25, I think? When I saw my first ad for film school and thought, okay, well, let me try and do this? You know, I had my own business at the time, and completely unrelated, and so I had some money coming in, that I could put into that a little furthering education. A yeah, and did that, and then, the next 5 years, 4 years or so, after film school. I got a job at a big drama school, working with actors, teaching screen acting. Which was a random thing I kind of stumbled into. But, yeah, yeah, then, I made a short film. But practiced short films, and practice short reels, practice music videos and stuff. Quite that, that I was making, practice essentially, nothing that I had ever had the intention of getting out and doing. Okay, I’m going to put this out for the world. Until the end deciding, okay, okay, I’ve done enough of this and I trust what I’m doing is good enough. And we started off at it, a short film called, “Air.” Which, and my wife, Dutamae is a producer. And she and I worked it on everything. So, 6 short films and the feature. And yeah, we made, “Air” is was a little sci-fi, horror, end of the world, sort of thing. And we made it for $800 pounds.
Ashley: Self-financed, I assume?
Keir: Absolutely, yeah, yeah, it was absolutely everything kind of has been, so far. Eh, I’ll run through it briefly. But, yeah, “Air” we got up to festivals, a lot of festivals. Then I’ve got some big recognition or anything. But, it was that sort of confidence boost, I guess as a boost when you’re just starting out as a film maker. And I guess also important the practice time that I had before that, getting good enough. So, that when I did put something out to the world, it got fairly good reviews, reception, if you see what I mean. But rather than, one of the first things I made straight up. That film school also, they were terrible they thought. Yeah.
Ashley: At what point did you transition and said, well I want to be a director and a writer? Was that during film school.
Keir: It was. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, I mean, I went to film school. Was I’m sure every film school student. Who does go to film school, thinking? I’m going to become the next
Quentin Tarantino. You know, I was absolutely certain that it would take about a year and a half. And I would be discovered. So, yeah, reality was good. But yes, I stuck with it. The job that I got, which was pure luck essentially. But, working at a drama school.
Was absolutely the best thing that could have ever happened. I learned so much more in that, that I ever did in film school. Yeah so, I always wanted to be a writer and the director. And as the years have passed. I thought, oh I was a better writer, and then I thought I was a better director. Now, I’m relatively happy with where I am a with both. And then yeah, we just kept making short films. Made a second one of after “Air” called, “Donkey.” A very short little art Austin thing. But we tried the “Tribeca Film Festival” with, and won a whole stack of awards with that. So that, was something that kind of say, elevated. But, was a very good calling card after that. And it was after “Donkey” that I think I wrote the first draft of what would become “Anti-Matter.” And started talking and trying to talk to people for finance for that. But, it wasn’t a very good script, I’ll be very honest at that point. You know that
Ashley: You say, “Anti-Matter” the script “Anti-Matter” wasn’t very good?
Keir: That, no, no, no. it wasn’t, so wasn’t. I was not good enough at writing, at that point. Yeah, yeah, it needed a lot of time. And so, tried to get it in front of people. I got a lot of,
“I’m sorry, we’re just not interested. Sorry, we’re just not interested.” And yeah, kept on with the shorts made, made a short film called, “Grace.” Which was also at Tribeca, the year after. Another short film called, “The Show Reel” showed at the London Film Festival. And I guess with all of these, the practice at the end. I ended up writing, and it wound up going to festivals. Seeing how audiences respond to the thing that you make. All of that was very valuable. And that all fed that into the script. Into, and I got to read, revise, it was a worm, “Anti-Matter.” Yeah so, essentially, and then eventually, after making “Show Reel.” And through all of this week. And that kind of thing, working with “Anti-Matter.” Saying to ourselves. If nobody is going to give us money to make it? We’re going to, over these years, work out a way to be able to make it ourselves, If we have to, or foreign backed. And ultimately that’s what we ended up doing. So, it was a real little micro-budget film, you know. Costs hopefully, a grand put it on credit cards, personal loans sort of thing. So, yeah.
Ashley: Yeah. So let me just dig into a couple of things you said? You were working at this drama school. And you said, you learned a lot there. Obviously working with actors, you mentioned that. Just what are some of the lessons you learned there? Maybe those will be helpful for people to hear.
Keir: I just, for screenwriting, it is you want to get your actors to read your screenplays out loud as early as you can. And you want to get people to read it, and get their inputs. There’s nothing quite like hearing your written work, written words spoken back to you, to realize how crappy they actually are. And that’s great, that’s a vital part of the process, and the more you do that? And the more, obviously, as a screenwriting you may not be opened, or be able to meet, the actors that really, but you can try to, you can make the effort to. And actors, generally love to realize that sort of love to do. They’ll do that over a beer and a bar, that you may not, they’ll do it for you. So, make the effort to do that. Because once you start doing that, once you get used to that process of hearing your lines read back to you. The dialog that you written, the scenes, the story that you’ve written. Once you get used to hearing it read back to you. It becomes a bit easier watch writer then. To imagine it being read out loud by real people, if that makes sense. So, it quite quickly feeds back into your ability to write. You know, when you’re writing down, and you write this wonderful scene, and what you think is amazing.
And then you hear it read out loud the first time. And you realize it’s way too long, way too long, its, it goes on forever, and you end up cutting it into 2/3 of what of ¾. The next time you write a scene, you’ll remember that you’ll keep it. So, yeah, yeah, great for me, anyway, in terms of my write form, working with actors on a regular basis, a drama school is a great way to just to experiment my scripts. But it’s just really fit back into that.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. That’s an excellent tip. Let’s talk about the film festival. So, you’re doing these short, consistently doing these sort films. You just mentioned like the
“Tribeca Film Festival.” These are some of the top tier, that’s like top tier festivals. So, maybe you could talk about that submission process. How did you get your first film into that festival? Was it just a random submission? And maybe you could talk about some of these other festivals? Did you submit to a bunch of other festivals and got turned down? I just like to get a sense of the scope. And I often hear people when they have done their shorts, they submit to 2, 3, 4, festivals, and they get turned down. They think, oh well, maybe the film isn’t good. But I always find that it’s about persistence, and keep submitting. You just never know what’s actually going to hit? So, maybe you could talk to them a little bit? I mean, The Tribeca as I said, that it is really one of the top festival, so how did you get in?
Keir: Absolutely. It’s, I hate submitting to festivals, I really hate it. It’s a long process, and it’s an expensive process. Because you really need to carpet them. You really need to go out there and it’s quite easy these days. It’s very easy, you’ve got some film lee way Chatterbox and so on. But, you know, even with, I mean, “Donkey” was probably one of the, the one I had the best acceptance to submission really, initiative. But even that, it was 1 in 4 festivals we submitted to, that we actually got into, you know. So, yes, you have to submit to a lot and understand that you’re not going to get in most of what you want to submit to. What I realized after “Donkey” was that you need to be quite strategic about it as well. You know, and come up with a strategy, doesn’t correlate very well with a quick plan. You know, if you think you’ve made something that’s genuinely amazing. You really need to start small and submit to the big ones, Sundance, and South By Southwest, and Toronto, and try shorts there. But, Tribeca, the biggest. Because if you submit to the ones down the road, that no one’s ever heard of? You can open for 2 years, get them there, and that’s great. Sundance is going to be a lot less interested, unfortunately, that’s how it is. They like to be first, especially at the short film stage. You know, if you’ve made something, that’s a genre film: Horror, sci-fi, a short film like that. Again, target at your festivals. But, don’t worry about Vernonal, or Denise, or whatever, that’s probably not going to work. You want to be going forward suggest or a fact festival, or yeah, a genre festival. So, it is a very strategic thing, the whole film festivals, it’s expensive, it’s you know.
Ashley: Yeah, and do you build a relationship like you took your film to Tribeca. And then the next year you took your next film. So, once you’ve gotten into a film festival, you get to know some of the people there. And then when you submit again, your chances of getting in go up exponentially because you’ve been there.
Keir: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, you know, festivals take pains to explain that it doesn’t necessarily boost your chances of getting in again. But it does, I guess, boost your chances of risk the chances of your film being watched by the right person, by a decision maker. Rather than by one of the intends, or whatever who.
You know, they get 10, 12, 14, thousand entries in the short film set to be to Tribeca, or Sundance. Yeah so, it does hear it. But, you know, I was at Tribeca twice with short films. But, a short film after grace, didn’t get in there with
“Dead Zone.” “Anti-Matter” too Tribeca. Which I had hoped to. So you know, it yeah, it’s up to them.
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, so let’s dig into “Anti-Matter.” And I guess this is your first feature film, which you’ve written and directed. Maybe just to start out, you can give us just a quick log-line and or pitch about what the film is about?
Keir: Cool. So, “Anti-Matter” is science fiction, probably described as hard science fiction, and that it’s very scientific. It’s about 3 students at Oxford University, in England. Who, inadvertently, invent a worm hole generator, teleporting device. And they start a small working outward done, teleporting small objects, teleporting small animals. Eventually it gets big enough that they want to start testing the three of them. They draw straws and Art, who is the lead on the project is the one who goes through. And she does, and she gets teleported across the lab, where they work. And then the body of the film follows here. And obviously something has gone wrong, something has gone wrong and from there. Comes kind of a paranoid thriller, or it’s gotten worse. She’s trying to understand what has gone wrong. She’s not making new memory. Everybody is so strange. She’s being investigated, she’s been followed, she’s been tracked. Yeah, so that’s the basic of it. It’s kind of a fun one, I don’t know?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, no perfect. So, maybe you can just talk about where this story idea came from? What was sort of the genesis, or seed from this story?
Keir: Um, these things are very hard to pin down, you know. I, the way I work? Just related to “Anti-Matter.” I keep notes on my notepad. And every time I get even the slightest idea for anything? Whether I’m watching something, or it’s an idea for a line of dialog. I will just scribble it down. And then what often happens is, I’ll have enough scribblings to scribblings suddenly unite and become one in my mind. I’ll go, oh this is an interesting location, or this is an interesting line of dialog, oh let’s turn this into a film. So, where did “Anti-Matter” come from? It started out as a short film idea. The beginning part of the movie, I had actually written as a short film, about the idea of some kind of scientific discovery. And wanted to bring in an audience along on a journey of discovery. And make them excited about or work them into the emotional state that the scientists were involved in. I never made it as a short film, it just didn’t work. Yeah, and then watched “Primer.” And being blown away by it, “Primer” I love that film. And also being able to see how far you can go in science fictions. Especially when you’re absolutely no money. Provided you’ve got a good, or a smart one, an idea, and you’ve got some good actors to work with. And so, that was very, especially after watching “Primer.” It’s like, okay, let’s dust off this old short film. See, what I can do, with it. Yeah, okay.
Ashley: Okay. That’s great, and you know, you mentioned “Primer.” And that’s what I thought when I was watching this film, I sort of thought of “Primer” precisely. And I’m curious, when I meet producers, and even distributors. And I will often ask them. What kind of movies are you looking for? What is a movie you wish you know, you had distributed or produced?
And “Primer” is one that comes up often, as sort of grounded sci-fi, “Source Code” is another one that comes up often. And I’m curious, how much, that played into your decision to turn this into a feature, and pursue this as a feature film. Did you have some conversations, or was there some conscious choice that grounded sci-fi like this. It has an audience, it has a market, there are producers and distributors that are very much looking for this kind of stuff. As opposed to your drama, which is more typical of Indie drama, which you know, unfortunately doesn’t have a feature audience.
Keir: Yeah. Yes, yes. But, question? I mean, I guess? That stage when we were making it, or the writing stage. I was just like, I want to write this, like whatever, without actually thinking this artist about who the audience might be? But, once we began down the path of seriously saying, okay, we are going to make this. Yes, you know, the idea that there is a spirit in it, in built audience for a film like this. And also with genre films, where they’re, again, I guess I’m talking about science fiction and horror, and into that. But, with genre films, you don’t need big names, to find an audience. Yeah, you don’t need your “A-List” it’s all going to be “B-List” it’s all going to be a bit of amazing horror out there, and science fiction that doesn’t have anybody recognizable, horror especially, it’s good for that, provided it works? To try to make something that’s good. So, yeah, that definitely helped us, when we were kind of making the decision to okay really enter, and swallow, take the financial leap, and dedicate years of our life from about all our savings too, to making this, that we would have some kind of audience.
Ashley: Okay, let’s talk about your writing process a little bit. I’m curious, how much time do you spend And I guess you were kind of doing that with your taking down kinda little scribbles as times goes on. But, I’m always curious to hear from writers. How much time do you spend outlining, once you kinda have decided on an idea? How much time do you spend outlining, versus actually opening up “Final Draft” and writing pages.
Keir: Oh, I have lots of projects that were a great idea in my head. And I thought, yeah, this is going to be amazing. And then, I’ve got, buy lots of probably 15 or 18 or so, on my computer somewhere? And then I got to the, not even the treatment stage. But, I guess kind of taking an idea, and actually sitting down and writing it, a paragraph, and then a word, or something? Just so that my idea becomes flesh. And then realizing that actually, it sounded like a good idea in my mind, isn’t going to work out. They’re, I definitely don’t have one single way of doing it.
You know, as I said with “Anti-Matter” and “Anti-Matter” I did it in one feature script before. But, that was awful, I didn’t even figure it exists to be there anymore. But, with “Anti-Matter” it came from short films. I already have a short film draft to start writing with. I’ve got a horror movie, that I am kind of in development with. But, attached with, hopefully will be next, the next film we’re looking at, the budget we can afford it. But that was a much slower process, that was several ideas, and then, turned into a full treatment, maybe 15 pages of treatment. Slowly, before I actually finally opened up “Final Draft” I’ve got a drama with, I’ve also written, I’m doing quite well with my next round for the Sundance. Script writers lab there, I’m going to Europe with some writers. We’re going to treat them as well. We’re getting quite a lot of traction with that I’m sending pages finals with a page of awards with it. And that I don’t, some I don’t do treatments at all. Yeah, there okay, you’ll find this is a good idea as such. I sat down and wrote for 3 weeks and had the whole script and yeah.
So, there isn’t one way, there isn’t one way, and maybe that’s a good thing, I guess, If you get fixed with one way of doing it. Then if that way starts bogging you down, it becomes harder to change. I don’t know?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah. So, what does your day look like when you’re writing? Do you have days where you write for 8, 10, or 12 hours. Or do you write for like an hour or two in the morning, and then work on other stuff. Or just maybe talk about your actual day’s work like when you’re writing? It sounds like with the drama, you just wrote probably 10 hours a day for 3 weeks.
Keir: Pretty much, I mean, I’ve got 2 small kids and so, I very best in a week of 7 days. I get 3 days of my own to write. And I’ll sit down and sit around a day job and do some as well. And then those 3 days, which are very precious to me. They all get eaten up by other random thing. Yeah, lovely, a good week, is where I get 2 of those 3 days to sit down from 9:00-10:00a.m. in the morning, and write until 6:00p.m. in the evening. So, that’s fantastic. And I get to sit always helps when you know exactly what you want in your writing. And things to flow. You know, if you get stuck half-way. Or when you’re writing I don’t really know what I am doing next? That’s when things struggle and slow down a bit. But yeah, that’s generally it’s, I guess when I do get to start writing, things tend to flow relatively well. A yeah. But if that’s answered your question?
Ashley: A no, no. Because it’s just kind of a window in sort of your process. I always find that interesting. Let’s talk about re-writing the script. Once you have a draft done, how do you know when it’s ready to show to other people?
Keir: Um. So, I had to think for a second? So, I guess, first off, everything that I’ve written, or a scripts or that I’m doing things with. Which were “Anti-Matter” a horror movie and a drama, at the moment. It, everything has a lot of re-draft. We have 40, 50, 60, times where you go through and make changes. And sometimes there’s a small-changes, just a bit of dialog here or there. But, very often they are huge re-writes. My horror film that I am working on. I’ve done about
14 or 15 drafts of it. And then through conversation to producers and finance, actually decided that the whole second half from page 45 onwards needed re-written and completely redone. That was their notes in very good notes. And I agreed with them. So, then I was like, okay let’s sit down and start all of that, again, generally. And this is kind of strategically, it’s one of the things that I tried to write something, and then to sit on it for a while. And by a while I kind of mean, at least a couple of months, without going back to it too many times. Write something, then go through it 2 or 3 times to rough draft, to draft to make sure all of the mistakes are out. Make sure everything makes sense. And this is a good case scenario. And then kind of shelve it, think about another project, work on something else. You’ve got something else to work on. Because that space, that month or two, the lease of space is a fantastic thing to be able to come back to it. To read and go, oh wow. This is pretty damn good, or this is okay, but it needs work. Or, eh, let’s just chuck this one into the bin, and that happens a lot. So, you know, I’ve got another handful of projects that are out, that are at that sort of stage all the time. I drafted, all you know, or scripts where, I’ve kinda written through to the end, but left chunks out in the middle because I didn’t know how to solve certain problems. And those are stepped aside as well. A, yeah.
Ashley: And what is your development process in terms of other people. So, it sounds like you have your wife, who is a producer, you give it to her, do you get notes from her. How, easy does that process work? Do you have a trusted friends that are in the business, a writer friend.
Keir: Absolutely. So, yeah having my wife as a producer is fantastic, because she’ll read everything very clear production mind, rather than the pat on the back sort of thing. She’ll be like, this is possible, this isn’t. Yeah, I mean, it’ll always take me, it’ll definitely take me, a couple of months, of finishing a first draft, before showing anyone, not even her. You know, this I guess once she shows somebody for the first time, that’s it, their potentially speak, that is, relatively used them. So, you do want to make sure, before you go showing anybody, that what you’ve got, you think is amazing. And you first, your second, your third, draft are never going to be amazing. They just aren’t, they can’t be. And again, you’re chances of making something, or having something hasn’t improved, if you’ve given it a couple of months of space between finishing up that first draft. So, yeah, once I feel that I am ready, I’ll get her to read it, and I’m lucky she’ll do notes on it fantastic, and very optional as well. I guess producers are good at that, it’s possible, it’s their job to give, the actual note on that. Things I’ve never obeyed, wrote the other things, like, this section needs to come out, this character needs to be clearer. This character doesn’t have an arc. This side character is supposed to I feel like, let’s get rid of him. I’m like, yes, yes, yes, yep, hep, hep, hep, right, lovely person. He told what to do as a writer, would you agree with what you’ve been told? Yeah, and then, I guess it depends, you know, and again, some of the type of project, you know. So like, my drama, is a very, very, very, personal story, not that it isn’t, it’s about me. But, it’s about a sheriff in Oklahoma, in a small town. And he’s just suffering from loneliness. And so, it’s a very human story. And actually, it’s not a story, that I wanted a lot of feedback on from people at this stage, I have a lot of trust in it. It’s, yeah, and what I don’t want is a bunch of conflicting opinions, but grasp for horror. I wanted as many opinions as I could get, you know. You know, horror is a far more, this is going to sound, kind of dismissive. And I don’t want to mean it at all. Because I love horror, I’m not kidding. I’m a huge horror fan, I love the film that I have made. But, horror has got a lot more to do with the rule. You know, marry, and structure, and get the rules of horror right. It will be in the evidence. But, it’s rule based and you want people’s input on the rules, the script stage. This makes sense, this is scary, or maybe this doesn’t really work. Yeah, you know,
Ashley: Yeah, okay, nice. Okay so now let’s talk about what you had done with “Anti-Matter” once you’re done with the script. And you actually started to take this out. It sounds like over the years, with these shorts, you’ve been approaching the financier, producers, that could potentially come in maybe, walk us through some of that process. And again, if you’re winning talk about some of the failures, and some of the, you know, the road-blocks you run into. I think is very inspirational to the writers. Because we all run into these problems when we all get rejected a ton. So, hearing sort of some of those stories now. Ultimately how you arrived under the decision to just self-finance it and do it yourself.
Keir: Yeah, absolutely. You’ve been through all the process of making in short films. And with “Anti-Matter” the one thing that I never did, we never did. Was kind of entrenched ourselves in the industry, and I guess here in London, spoke and the London centric. So we never, we neither of us became very connected. We were always just work towards, that maybe this is one of them. The draw backs are about working with your wife, or your partner.
And working with the same person, who over all those short films, is that we both shared the same small network of connections and in that way. So, when we kind of decided earlier, let’s make “Anti-Matter” was done. We started shopping it around to financiers. And I had some meetings, but not many. And I didn’t have an agent, at that stage either. And yeah, I had a couple of conversations. But, it was a strange, it’s not a very conventional marketable film. Or it certainly wasn’t in the script stage. Um, yeah. And I guess also, we’d always had in the back of our minds. Plus writing it, and prepping for it. That because we financed our short films ourselves, or through “Kick-Starter” or Indigo Where we go for such things. That was could, or always go down that route if we needed to. There’s a scheme, or there was a scheme, here in London, or here in the U.K. called, “Microwave.” Which is a development scheme for micro-budget feature films. And we submitted to that and, got on that. And went through that process. I had a mentor on that, Pete Travis, who he, directed, “Parade.” And he was great! See, he was, and oh, excuse me. I forgot somebody’s name?
Ashley: No, no problem.
Keir: But he, helped get the script in much better shape. Yeah, and I mean, at this stage, as well as we were quite farm along far enough, preparation to make it, the film. On our own, there. You’ll have to bear with me, it’s quite difficult thing, yep, difficult to talk about. But, It all happened so slowly, and I was like, such a long period of time. And you kind of sit down comfortably, oh, okay this is how it’s going to happen. I mean, the way that we made,
“Anti-Matter.” We didn’t block out six weeks and don’t shoot it at all, I mean, we made it over the course of 9 or 10 months.
Ashley: You mean you just made, you actually shoot, you shot, shooting took 9-10 months.
Keir: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We did, yeah, it wasn’t blocked out, it wasn’t, because we did weekends, here, there, we did one day here, we flipped, we did reading. Before we made it, just an article about Chris Noland’s going from the very first, and not budget, and how it would be. And he explained, in theory right there, over the course of the year, the second weekend then, and the friend left and shoot a little bit. And that’s how we did it, how we always planned to do it. Yeah, and so, by the time we were doing this “Microwave Film.” I think we had already began our projections and our plans to go and make it like that. And making a feature film, like that, it’s very possible to do it for very little money then as well. Because you’re never having to remove people from their day jobs. You can make favors quite easily, favor baked for a day, or two days. There’s something a person can do, getting somebody. To give six weeks of their life for minimal pay is, a very different thing. And yeah, yeah, And deciding, looking back on it now, we’ve gotten Blu-Ray DVD, it seems like was very easy deal, of how all this came about. It’s very haphazard.
Ashley: No, I think that’s very excellent, excellent answer, so thank you. How can people see “Anti-Matter” do you know what the release schedule is going to be like?
Keir: Yeah, I mean, like, so it comes out in the U.S. pretty soon on that, the 8th of September. It’ll be in theaters, I don’t have a list yet of what they are exactly? I mean, it’ll be very limited release, I’m assuming, yet. Just a couple of markets.
And it comes out on DVD and VIDEO-ON-DEMAND, at the same time. So all the major tap forms on VIDEO-ON-DEMAND, so, hopefully the 8th of September onwards. If you want to watch “Anti-Matter” you’ll be able to watch it. It comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray either December or January. I believe it hits the stores in final hours, fine to offer that. Yeah, theoretically, weeks from now, you’ll be able to watch it, if you like.
Ashley: Great, perfect, perfect. So, is there a way for people to keep up with what you are doing? Twitter, Facebook, anything you are comfortable sharing? Just mention that now, and then I’ll round it all up and put it in the show notes, so people can click over to it.
Keir: Absolutely. So, Twitter, from, it’s the thing that I use, for film, and for talking about film, and for chatting. Not since try to keep up with the latest on Twitter, it’s hard, it’s crazy so much, all the stuff happening in the world. A so, yes, Twitter, it’s just my name – #Keir Burrows. A yeah, that’s pretty much it.
Ashley: Okay, perfect, perfect. well, Keir I really appreciate, as I said, I really enjoyed your film, and so, good luck with it. And when you’re done with your next film. Let me know, and I’ll definitely have you on and we can talk about that story as well. So, thank you very much.
Keir: Would love to, thanks for having me.
Ashley: I just want to mention two things I am doing at “Selling Your Screenplay” to help screenwriters find producers that are looking for new material.
First, I’ve created a monthly newsletter that will be sent directly to producers. Every member of SYS Select can submit one log-line per newsletter, per month. I went and Emailed my large database of Industry contacts and asked them if they would like to receive this newsletter of monthly pitches. So far I have well over 400 producers who have signed-up to receive it. These producers are hungry for new material and are happy to read scripts from new writers. So, if you would like to participate in this pitch newsletter and get your script into the hands of lots of producers. Sign-up at – www.sellingyourscreenplayselect.com, that’s – www.sellingyourscreenplayselect.com.
And secondly I’ve contacted one of the premier paid screenwriting leads sites. So, I can syndicate their leads onto SYS Select members. There are lots of great paid leads coming in each week from our partner. Recently I’ve been getting about five to ten high quality paid screenwriting leads per week. These are producers and production companies who are actively looking to buy material. Or are looking to hire a screenwriter for a specific project. If you
sign-up for SYS Select you’ll get these leads Emailed to you directly several times per week. These leads run the gambit from production companies looking for a specific type of spec. script.
To producers looking to hire a screenwriter to write up one of their ideas, or their own properties, Producers are looking for shorts, features, TV and web series pilots, it’s a huge aray of different types of projects that these producers are looking for.
And these leads are exclusive to our partner and
On the next episode of the Podcast, I’m going to be interviewing Screenwriter Eddie Renner, he wrote “Crepitous” a low-budget horror movie which is being released this month. He was instrumental in helping to raise the money for the film. And we dig into the details and specifics of exactly how he was able to do it. So, keep an eye out for that episode next week.
To wrap things up, I just want to touch on a few things from today’s interview with Keir. Really listen to what he is saying about the short film he did. You know, the short films got into some festivals. But, they didn’t go viral. They didn’t get him his first look at Universal Studios. But what they did give him? Was a great confidence boost, and this is one of the bid reasons I am so passionate about people who are going out and making stuff on their own. Whether that be features, short films, by getting out there and doing stuff. Even doing stuff that’s terrible. You’ll get into the scene and you’ll, this whole process will start to get demystified. You might make some terrible short films at first. But, hopefully you will learn from them. If you keep making them, hopefully they will get better. Eventually hopefully you will graduate to feature films. And hopefully you will be able to make a half-way decent low-budget feature film. Throughout this process you will, keep meeting people. Some of these people will go on to have some success. And hopefully that success will rub-off on you. With myself growing-up, in
Annapolis Maryland. I really didn’t have any artists as role models. So, when I moved out to California, I think I was lacking the confidence to do much of anything. Just because I really didn’t think it could happen for me. Because I had no perspective. And I just didn’t know anybody that did actually happen to. You see these celebrities, like all the time. And you see them get interviewed, and they will say, stuff kinda casually, “Oh I, yeah, I always knew I would be famous.” And honestly after I sold one script. I had exceeded any expectation and patience I ever had. Because I never thought I could sell much of anything. So, I really think they might. My attitude was partly just what I was keeping me from really going out and trying to make it, make this happen. Just a lack of confidence. And that’s just totally wrong. It’s the people who are succeeding, even at the highest levels. If just people, like the rest of us. You know, what you’re going to find out? Is, you start to meet these people, interact with these people. You know, they are just guys working really hard, trying, you know, find that next project. They’re just exactly like us. As I said this whole process will start to be demystify. And you will start to gain the confidence that you see these people, meet these people. You be like, they’re not that much different from me. He doesn’t seem a lot smarter than me. And you see how hard they are working. You see what they are doing, how they are working it? Again, there can be some sort of tactical tips. But, I really think one of the big things you will gain, is just the confidence. The demystification of it, they entire process, of writing a script, selling your script, seeing the script getting made, all of that stuff, that’s demystified when you’re actually out there in the thick of things, in the weeds of this. Making a short film, taking it to some film festivals, talking into those other writers and directors at the film festival. You know, if you do this consistently? You will run into those guys that make it the next year. You might even be friends with them? Because, hey you met them, at this film festival, you hung out with them.
You had a beer with them at this one film festival. 2 years down the road, they may be directing your next big project from Universal Studios, and they maybe looking for a writer. But even more important, you can just meet that guy, and see that guy. You see that guy go on to that success. You will start to look in, and say, you know, he’s not that much different than me. It’s just a guy who was given a shot to get out there and doing it and stuff. And that’s really the biggest thing.
Just really listen to what Keir said there, it just gave him a confidence boost. And if you are suffering from that. You are in the situation, again, much like I was when I moved to L.A. You just don’t feel like it could happen to you. Just because it’s means so much, sort of a pie in the sky. I can’t emphasize enough, of going out there and making short films. It will get you over that hump. It will get you to the point where it doesn’t quite feel like the pie in the sky. Maybe you’ll succeed, maybe you won’t? But, the bottom line is? Try or you won’t succeed. It won’t just be because just a sort of lack of confidence, or feeling like, hey, it’s just something so far off, or just so beyond anything that is in my experience, that I won’t be able to succeed. Anyway, I really love hearing stories like the story Keir told us today. Hopefully you do too? If you’ve gone out there and made your own feature film, like Keir has done? Drop me a line, I’d love to hear your story too. Just send me an Email, let me know a little bit about your own and how you made it? As I said, I just think just find these stories, just interesting. And if I find them very, very, inspirational.
Anyway, that is the show, thank you for listening