HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with Nick Felice, writer/director of Getting Out


This is the next post in a series of interviews with writers who have had their first films, web series, television assignment, etc. make it to the big or small or computer screen. It is an effort to find out what their journey was to their initial success.
First, a word from our sponsors. I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one.
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Next up: an interview with Nick Felice, writer/director of Getting Out
feliceNick Felice became inspired to become a film director at age 13 after seeing Martin Scorsese’s “Casino”. At the age of 16, he started taking video production classes in high school and bought his first VHS camera to make short movies. Also at this time, he wrote his first feature screenplay and has been writing ever since. Over the past 15 years he has written/directed/edited and produced numerous short movies and commercials. In 2007, he attended the Motion Picture Institute of Michigan where he excelled even more in the art of film-making. His first short movie as a writer/director, “One Night In Rochester”, was even hailed the best film out of the class. At his graduation, he was nominated for two screenwriting awards as well. All of this lead him to personally finance his first feature film “Getting Out”.
  1. What is the name of your first screenplay that was produced, or your first project that was produced, or your first writing assignment?
getting out 1
The title of the first feature screenplay I ever wrote was The Games People Play. I wrote it at age 16. Most of the shorts I made in high school didn’t have titles. My first titled short that I wrote, directed and produced was called The Signature. My first feature film is Getting Out.

 

  1. Can you tell us a bit about the journey as to how it came about?
felice 2I spent about six months writing the script for Getting Out while residing in Missouri. I then posted the movie on a Michigan acting website hoping to gain interest in the project and planned on shooting it in Michigan. After being bombarded with submissions from talented actors in the Detroit metro area, I managed to nail down a cast and crew (having never met any of them). With what little money I saved to make the movie, I moved up to Michigan where I spent nine months from the time we started shooting to having the final cut. I hope it will gain interest within the film community and showcase my talents that will lead to other projects.
Since completion, it has been accepted for showings at many film festivals and has won awards at Universal Film Festival in Kansas City, Missouri; Nevada International Film Festival; Los Angeles Urban Film Festival; and The Boston Independent Film Festival.

 

  1. Tell me a little bit about the experience of having the project come to completion.

I’ve always longed to make movies and will always have that desire. After having my first feature come to life though and seeing all the awards and recognition it has received for being a little indie movie, it all seems surreal to me. I feel all of it has been a long time coming.

 

  1. What was the hardest obstacle to overcome in achieving that first project?

The hardest thing I had to overcome (with my shorts) was working with my friends and not serious actors as we would always joke around too much and not work. As for my feature, it was fighting time and dealing with a limited budget.

 

  1. What have you learned about the industry when it comes to being a writer?

That success doesn’t happen overnight and people like me are just a little fish in a big pond.

 

  1. What are you working on now?

getting out 2I’m hoping to have cameras rolling for my next feature early next year. It’s titled “Desperate Cowboys” and I plan on shooting again in Michigan and using some of the same actors. The script is finished. I’m just waiting to see what “Getting Out” does financially.

 

  1. What is your favorite movie or TV series?

Favorite movie is Once Upon A Time In America

 

  1. Where do you think the movie and television industry is heading? What do you think its future is?

As it is now, I think the industry/Hollywood is more focused on money-making blockbusters and less on telling good stories through movies. Also, I feel that in a few years film is going to become all digital one way or the other.

 

  1. What parting advice do you have for writers?

If you’re serious about writing, don’t ever give up, no matter what obstacles you have to overcome. It took me nearly 20 years to write/direct my first feature and I even surprised myself with what I did with it. Of course, I was always in it for the long haul.

 

  1. What do you do when you’re not writing? What do you do to get away from the industry?

When I’m not writing I watch a lot of movies whether at home or in a theater. As for the industry, I’m not really *in it* as of now. Hopefully with “Getting Out” the industry will take notice of my capabilities and talent and open their door to me.

 

  1. Tell us something about yourself that many people may not know.

When it comes to film, I’m not after celebrity or fame or even an Oscar. I’d just like to make a living making the movies I want to make.

 

 

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CRUISING: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
mi 2In watching Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the latest attempt by Tom Cruise to keep his box office status as superstar and not let his being a Scientologist be held against him, one thing that struck me is that it seemed to be violating a basic law of physics, as least physics as stated by such scientific experts as the writers of shows like Star Trek.
The basic premise of MI – RN is that there is now a mirror version of this secret espionage group that is doing everything it can to cause chaos in the world. Or as described by Ethan Hunt, our fearless leader, an anti-IMF (hold for gasps).
But if that is true, then if one IMF member comes into contact with an anti-IMF member, shouldn’t the universe be destroyed in a huge explosion?
At any rate, growing up I was a big fan of the Mission: Impossible TV series. Every Sunday (or whatever night it was, it was so long ago, I don’t remember) I was there to find out what foreign country the MI bunch were going to covertly go into and destabilize or stabilize, depending on how James Phelps’ never seen but only heard, comforting, middle American accented boss felt about them. Continue reading

My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 8/7-8/14/2015


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,
 
And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 8/7-8/14/2015
24 daysON NETFLIX: Based on a true story, 24 Days is a French film about the kidnapping of a young Jewish man who is held for ransom. Though he was targeted because he was Jewish, it wasn’t really for political reasons, but more because the kidnappers had the absurd belief that all Jews have lots of money. The screenplay by Alexandre Arcady (who also directed), Emelie Freche and Antoine Lacomblez is riveting, taught and edge of your seat.
naked civil servantON HULU: The Naked Civil Servant is a made for TV biopic about the early life of Quentin Crisp, a bon vivant gay man living in London before, during and after WWII. Written by Philip Mackie (based on Crisp’s autobiography) and directed Jack Gold, it’s an outrageous, funny, heartwarming and dramatic story about a man who refused to live by society’s rules at a time when those rules were very harsh. With John Hurt giving an amazing impersonation of the great man.
shaunFIRST RUN and OPENING: Shaun the Sheep Movie; Diary of a Teenage Girl; Ricki and the Flash; The Gift; Stanford Prison Experiment; Best of Enemies; Listen to Me Marlon; Phoenix; The End of the Tour; The Look of Silence; The Best of Enemies; Irrational Man; The Stanford Prison Experiment; Tangerine; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

Continue reading

STAR TURNS: Southpaw and Mr. Holmes


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
southpaw oneI’m not about to say that director Antoine Fuqua is a great filmmaker by any means. But he is a solid craftsman of pieces of entertainment, perhaps one of the best around today. His films are technically impressive, satisfactorily written and they deliver the goods.
And Southpaw is no exception. It’s a movie that doesn’t take you anyplace new (in fact, it takes you to a myriad of places you’ve been before). And when it comes to, say, boxing movies, I don’t think it’s an insult to say he’s no Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull) or John Huston (Fat City).
At the same time, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if all you want to do is spend a couple of hours being amused, diverted and distracted. And actually, if truth be told, Southpaw is probably a bit better than that.
I do think the main reason for this, as if I have to tell you, is the performance of Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead character Billy Hope (Hope?, really? Okay, sure why not). Striving very hard to be taken seriously as an actor since his Oscar nominated performance in Brokeback Mountain, he has pushed the boundaries of the types of character he plays in movies from Jarhead to Zodiac to his magnificent tour de force last year in the creepy, creepy Nightcrawler. Continue reading

MEAN STREETS and TRAINWRECK: Tangerine and The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
 
and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE
 
Warning: SPOILERS
tangerine oneGuerilla filmmaking is nothing new to the world of cinema. It’s probably existed since the first motion picture camera was invented. But perhaps the most famous and influential one is Rome: Open City in which the action is often filmed on the streets of a newly un-Nazi occupied Rome with a mixture of amateur and pro actors.
It’s never not gone out of style since (Sam Fuller uses it during the opening scenes of The Crimson Kimono, for example), but bulky cameras and sound gear made it very difficult. Now with smaller, cheaper and easier to use film equipment, it has been on the rise.
Most notably and recently we had Escape from Tomorrow, much of it secretly shot at Disneyland and Disneyworld (and often impressively so). But that film lacked a strong and focused narrative until it felt like the writer and director ultimately lost control of it all and the final third never came together in a satisfying way.
And now we have Tangerine, shot not just on the streets of Los Angeles (mainly on Santa Monica between Vermont and Highland, though it does extend to West Hollywood at one point), but also on busses, motels and in fast food restaurants, especially a donut shop manned by a very beleaguered clerk. Continue reading