Just when you think something is dead…

// November 19th, 2008 // Making Arab

This is Colin.

This is Colin.

This is Colin Ferri writing, co-writer/producer of the Arab in America short, and co-writer of the Arab in America feature.

Out of the small creative team behind Arab in America I am currently the only one living in LA. I moved here a little over a year ago, and I’m living with an old high school friend. When I arrived, I was excited about being the front man of the crew, pitching the script to the Hollywood bigwigs, then relaying the info back to Nabil and Tom in Georgia.  Oh, how that all changed when I arrived.

Having barely any money and no job, Arab in America got put on the back burner because of my human need to feed and clothe myself. I had to get a job at a restaurant … I once told my self, that once I graduated, I would never work in a restaurant again… oh, how life always seems to humble you.

Now that I had a somewhat steady income, I was poised to get Arab made. All we needed to do was punch up the script and then that would be that, right? Well… We had a pretty good draft finished but at whopping 140 pages… that’s far too long for a comedy. Trimming the fat is what was needed. Much easier said then done.

Some things got cut here and there… and we had, what we thought, was a better version. Not perfect, but something we could work with and show people. It got read by some people. Tom managed to get it into the hands of a pretty well-known Hollywood producer. I talked with his assistant (who also happened to be a girl I went to school with).  “Its okay, but it’s too long” she said, with a condescendingly smug smile.   When we were in school, she was in my writing class and her worked sucked! When I say “sucked”, it’s not because she had potential and didn’t use it, it’s because she was a just a bad writer who produced nothing but god-awful scripts!  So when she said “it’s too long”, my response was “Well, you’re too fat! And you’re ugly to boot!”….That’s what I would have said… but I’m a professional (well not yet but I will be soon). My REAL response was “yeah, we’re working on trimming it down.”  I then smiled. But in my brain I was kicking her in the shins.

Strike one. Whatever. I wasn’t fazed. I’m still gonna make something of myself. A few months go by and I start chatting with my boss’s girlfriend, who is an entertainment lawyer. We chat about work and whatnot, and then she asks me “What do you do?” I tell her “I’m a writer.” Then I tell her about this wonderful project Arab in America. She seems intrigued. “Can I read it?” She asks me as she exhales the smoke from her slender 100cm cigarette. “Sure. If you want.” Maybe she can offer some feedback. “I know some people at Lionsgate.” She tells me. “Cool.” Was my response however, I wanted to go call Nabil right then and tell him “DUDE! Lionsgate is gonna read our script!!!” I don’t, though. Like I said before. I’m a professional.

I never heard anything from her again about it. Strike two. I’m getting a little discouraged.

A few months pass. I tell myself “Colin, take a break from Arab, work on some of your own things. Then you can go back to it with fresh eyes.” I take my own advice. I write three story outlines, I finish a short story, I start writing what turns out to be a book (still unfinished), and I begin a script that I still grapple with to this day. But Arab sits there. I never get back to it. A few more months go by. Tom is working on Bluebird and Nabil is working for a dumb TV station in GA. And I’m working more and more at my job. A few more months go by. Arab is still collecting dust… Not real dust but the dust that collects on files that sit in unopened folders on the hard drives of computers. A few more months go by. Arab is on life support. Nabil and I hardly ever speak of it, and when we do it is always “yeah, we should do something about that.”

More time passes. I become a jaded LA resident. I haven’t really worked on anything for a while. I’ve lost my creativity. I end up working more and more at my job waiting tables. My roommate David, who is an Actor (which means he’s also a Server) says to me “Lets go on a trip.”

“Sure.”

A few months later I’m in Europe, drinking beer in Ireland and touring wineries in France and Italy. I love it… it changes me. I’m creative again. I sit on a vineyard with a bottle of Chardonnay sketching the landscape and scribbling down more ideas for movies and stories. But I never once think of Arab.

I come back to LA and continue to work at the restaurant. But I’m working on my own writing as well. Just not Arab.

Arab is dead.

A few days ago, Nabil calls me and tells me about his idea of starting a blog and really getting Arab off the ground again. “We need to do this man, I think it can work.” he convinces me. “I’m moving out there with Tim, in January, and we need to start moving on Arab. If it doesn’t work this time, then we’re done. We’ll move on and work on something else, but we need to give it one more try.”

So there you have it. Arab is back from the dead. And I’m happy about it. We didn’t get strike three, and I hope we never do. I’ve been in LA for over a year, and now the reason I came out here has come back to me. So this blog will chronicle what is being done to get Arab made into a feature. I’m sure there will be plenty of posts about the history of the short, and how we got it made. I’m sure I’ll make a few post about it, too. But now you know me, and you know that the LA man will hold down the fort until the re-enforcements arrive. I didn’t do the greatest job before, but the best is yet to come.

~Colin

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2 Responses to “Just when you think something is dead…”

  1. Craig says:

    Love the idea guys. I can’t really help you get the movie made into a feature but I find the thought behind the movie interesting.

  2. Carey says:

    Well Colin, I think you’ve definitely got some talent with your writing skills. I’m not at all involved in your quest to get Arab in America rolling but you definitely kept me intrigued to keep reading your blog. : ). Good luck with your endevors, I’m sure you will be successful no matter what.

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